Written by: Bill Finger
Art by: Bob Kane
Released on: May 1939
Published by: DC
Well, I usually tend not to review old comics. When I do, people tend to ask why I would review something that is that old. The answer is easy: have you read the comic or know anything about where the characters come from? Do you know how each of your favorite characters started? Have you seen what they have faced and how they have evolved to who they are now? It is interesting seeing how much has changed within comics, the art form, the technology that everyone uses in the comics, to the way they talk and dress.
Now onto my thoughts on this comic. Now as everyone knows I am a big Batman fan, or how Uncle Willy will say FANBOY!!! (Ed. note: I just finished my one trillionth viewing of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer. I guess I’m the pot and you’re the kettle?) But I never had the chance to read the very first issue of Batman’s appearance. Detective Comics #27: The Bat-Man: The Case of the Chemical Syndicate starts off with Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne having a conversation and enjoying a smoke together at Wayne Manor. Gordon receives a call about a murder and invites Wayne for the ride. You can tell that the Jim Gordon from the 1930’s to the current Jim Gordon we all know are extremely different as modern Jim would never take a civilian to a police investigation into a murder.
I do love the art on this issue. It’s raw and not as vibrant as most comics are now. The tone is somewhat dated but it stills feel like a Batman comic. Throughout the comics you see Batman investigate the rest of the murder and was able to locate the culprit before the third victim was killed. This is also before the whole “no killing” rule that Batman adopted for himself. He doesn’t kill per se in this issue, but he also doesn’t try to save certain people. It was an easy read and it was interesting reading a piece of comic history for the first time. I do appreciate what was done with the first appearance of the Bat.
The only member of the Bat Family introduced in this first issue is Batman himself, as well as Commissioner Gordon. There is no Batmobile; Batman drives a regular red car. There’s no Batcave at this moment, either. The issue is not long or short but felt right for its time. It is easy on the eyes to read as you know where to go with the dialog. It does feel very Noir as it should be.
I really can’t complain a lot about this issue since it was done in a different time and was set for a different mentality. Did I enjoy reading this issue? Of course, because I got to read about Batman’s actual first adventures within DC. Will other people enjoy it? That is really a hard answer, as it will depend on the person. Do I recommend people to check this issue out? Why not? It doesn’t matter if you’re a DC fan or a Marvel fan. If you love reading comics and want to know how it all began then by all means go for it.
Without Bill Finger and Bob Kane, there would not have been Batman, and I am thankful for them for that. It did suck that Bill got shafted for so many years, never getting credit for helping create one of the DC Trinity. Fo more history on the topic, I recommend you go watch Bill and Batman. It is a good documentary that will go deeper into the Bat mythos and its startup.