Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Batman #26: The Back O' Bourke Variant

If DC publish a second volume of Batman: Secrets of the Batcave, I'll be looking forward to seeing the inclusion of "The Atom Cave Raiders", a nifty little Bill Finger and Dick Sprang production which was originally published in Batman #68, cover-dated December 1951-January 1952, and reprinted by K.G. Murray in Batman #26.

This is one of those reprints which has dialogue modified to reflect Australian place names, so in one exchange one criminal says to another: "You made a few mistakes in your past, Duane, and I know all about them! That business in Bourke -- that job in Brisbane - it would ruin you to reveal that now!" Hmmm... now I wonder whether the UK version via K.G. Murray maintained these place names, or substituted them for Hackney and Liverpool...

A colour reprint will also reveal just how much Batman and Robin were glowing due to the radiation after the atom bomb blast...

But I really don't have much confidence that this story will ever be reprinted again, given the apparent suspension of the DC Archives program on the one hand, and their propensity to recycle previously reprinted vintage Batman stories in new editions (Archives to Showcase to Chronicles...) on the other... OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it does seem that way... Maybe if they do ever deign to give us what we really want - a single hefty collection of all of Sprang's Batman stories - then we will also see this story reprinted... but I'm not holding my breath for it.

The cover to Batman #26 above is also by Sprang, modified from the cover to Detective Comics #136, June 1948. The background has been omitted, and some minor extension work is evident (Batman's cape and right elbow, the bottom portion of robin's chest and emblem), but a bit of judicious cropping would pretty much keep Sprang’s linework intact. The cover is also reprinted in Batman Archives Volume 7, which looks like being the last volume in the series. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

1 comment:

spiros xenos said...

My UK correspondent says:

"The UK edition was, according to the back cover printed by
Morrison and Gibb, Edinburgh, for KG Murray, and distributed by Atlas in
the UK. All of the UK-reprinted Australian reprints, to my knowledge,
retained the Australian changes (so, for example, the Australian flag
appears on a couple of covers, and the world has Australia
centrally-located on another). To a ten-year-old in England these
apparently exotic elements would have been no less exotic than the original
US versions, I suppose. He would never have heard of Bourke, though....

So - no editorial changes to the stories in the UK, only to advertising