Monday, April 30, 2007

Giant Batman Album # 26

Giant Batman Album #26, May 1973
Cover artists: Neal Adams and Dick Giordano

Batman: The Man With Ten Eyes!
Frank Robbins/Irv Novick/Dick Giordano
(Batman #226, November 1970)

Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder: The Case of the Honest Crook
Bill Finger/Bob Kane/George Roussos/Jerry Robinson
(Batman #5, Spring 1941)

Batman with Robin The Boy Wonder: The Masterminds of Crime!
David Vern Reed/Curt Swan/Charles Paris
(Batman #70, April-May 1952)

The Batman: Blind Rage of the Ten-Eyed Man!
Frank Robbins/Irv Novick/Dick Giordano
(Batman #231, May 1971)

Plus fillers: Cap's Hobby Centre (0.5 pages) and Science Says You're Wrong If You Believe That... (1 page)

The appearance of contemporary Batman stories in Giant Batman Album #27 was not completely unprecedented in the series. As mentioned in passing, Giant Batman Album #’s 25 and 26 were also prominent exceptions to the rule of reprinting nothing but vintage Batman comics.

Giant Batman Album #26 in particular lays the groundwork for the two related Batman/Man-Bat stories in Giant Batman Album #27. As in the Man-Bat example, the two stories featuring The Ten-Eyed Man appeared over 6 months apart in the US editions, but were presented together as bookends for this issue of Giant Batman Album.

However, this issue is not contrived as a theme issue as per #27. It simply reprints the cover from Batman #226, the first of the two appearances of The Ten-Eyed Man, and this comparatively modest aspiration is, presumably, deemed sufficient for the purposes of this issue.

And there does not appear to be any particular effort to shoehorn other loosely related material in a theme issue, as I have speculated is possibly the case in #27.

Speaking of the vintage strips, it’s worth noting that “The Masterminds of Crime!” is sourced from Batman #238 aka DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-8, January 1972. This is in a sense ‘leftover’ from Giant Batman Album #25 which is itself largely based on Batman #238 (to be discussed in greater detail later). It is also curious to note that it had previously appeared in the May 1969 issue of Giant Batman Album #19 – another very interesting issue which I’ll be covering shortly! The reprint in Batman #238 credits the art to Win Mortimer. Some online sources credit the pencil art to Curt Swan, and I’m inclined to agree, noting the tell-tale signs of Swan's joined middle fingers in the art.

The other vintage story, “The Case of the Honest Crook” is sourced from Batman #241, May 1972, and is just the sort of story one expects to find in a Giant Batman Album. No mystery to be solved there!

From a design perspective this cover mostly resembles the post-“Giant” Batman Albums which also paid little or no heed to any of the preceding templates for a compilation cover by featuring a single image directly related to one of the stories reprinted within. Apart from #19 all of the preceding Giant Batman Album covers at least implied a range of contents - even the “The Secrets of the Batcave” on Giant Batman Album #17, the various panels/photos on the cover of Giant Batman Album #18 and the line-up on the cover of Giant Batman Album #25 all suggested a wealth and variety of stories. The speech balloons and story title beneath the main image root the cover image to a single story.

Indeed, in both cover design and content mix Giant Batman Album #26 most closely resembles the short series of Batman issues which followed the cancellation of Tip Top Comic Monthly, such as Batman #’s 132, 133 and 134.

1 comment:

mcannon said...

Nice series on rundowns on the KGM Batman comics, Spiros.

At one stage, I thoght Giant Batman Album #26 was just about the easist early-70s KGM to find. I must have seen 4 or 5 copies in a year or so, and somehow ended up with three of them!

And yet, some GBMs are just so damn rare.........

Mark Cannon