Nov 22, 2019
Batman #147 “Batman Becomes Bat-Baby” (part 1 of 2)
With the arrival of The Dark Knight, the second Christopher Nolan-helmed Batman movie, Albert asked me to take a look at a past Batman comic. But of course, this site being what it is, I knew he didn’t have in mind Knightfall or A Lonely Place of Dying. Oh no. I got to look into the distant past of the Bat-franchise. And it’s a scary, scary place.
While the Adam West Batman series tends to get a lot of the blame for giving the character a campy reputation, Batman was already having rather bizarre adventures well before the show’s premiere in 1966. Case in point: the abomination which we’re about to endure here, which was published in 1961. And I can say without a hint of irony that the Adam West series made a hell of a lot more sense than this story.
For reasons that completely boggle my puny human brain, Superman writers were having success around the same time introducing the concept of a “Superbaby” into the occasional issue. I’m not certain why a superpowered being’s antics as a toddler were so popular with the readership, but then again, even Rob Liefeld still has fans, so there’s no accounting for taste.
Inspired by Superbaby, the Batman writers gave the idea of a Bat-Baby a try in the pages of Batman #147, with a cover date of May 1961. And one of the things I discovered about these older Silver Age comics is that while the story on the cover is indeed inside of it, there’s also other minutia that gets pushed in there, too. Basically, the whole issue is kind of a miniature Batman anthology book.
And while the other two stories, “The Plants of Plunder” and “Secret of Mystery Island” are pretty demented in their own right (the former actually features alien plants robbing jewelry stores), both stories pale in comparison to the utter horror and sheer WTF-ness that is “Batman Becomes Bat-Baby”.