Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and twenty-one.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend this week’s Photography Legends Revealed for a story that can best be described as “Ivy League Nude Photo Scandal.”
I just couldn’t help myself with this week’s theme once I saw the number of this installment!
COMIC LEGEND: There were FIVE different Two-Faces in Batman comics of the 1940s and 1950s!
In 1942’s Detective Comics #66, we meet Harvey Kent, the villain known as Two-Face!
His first story continues in Detective Comics #68 (anyone know why the issue gap? My best guess is that while working on #66, they realized they liked the character enough to want to give him another issue, but had already begun the next issue, but I don’t know if that’s accurate)…
Interestingly enough, the next year, in Detective Comics #80, the Bat-trio of Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Bob Kane decided to give Harvey Kent a happy ending!
What’s even stranger for the comics of the day, they decided that they did not want to go back on their happy ending!
So when it was determined to have Two-Face appear in the Batman comic strip in 1946, a NEW character was introduced – an actor named Harvey Apollo…
The character was too cool to go to waste, though, so in 1948, in Batman #50, we saw a brand-new Two-Face, who was really just Harvey Dent’s butler in disguise…
The official “next” Two-Face showed up in 1951’s Batman #68, in a story written by Bill Finger. Echoing the Batman comic strip idea, the new Two-Face was an actor, Paul Sloane, who was meant to just PLAY Two-Face!
Bizarrely enough, less than a year later, over in Detective Comics #187, writer Don Cameron was bringing the Two-Face character back, only he was sticking with the previous “guy pretending to be Harvey Dent even though Dent is still a good guy” story idea (naturally, no reference is made to Sloane).
This guy, George Blake, was ALSO an actor!
Then, two years later, in Batman #81, writer David Vern decided to bring Harvey Dent back as Two-Face…
From 1954 to 1971, the character basically fell by the wayside (with a few random appearances here and there) before Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams proudly brought Two-Face back into the Rogues Gallery in Batman #234…
So that’s the bizarre publication history of one of Batman’s greatest villains! Weird, eh?
Thanks SO much to William F. Jourdain’s amazing Golden Age Batman site for the assistance in finding all the Two-Faces (and for the scans of the 1946 comic strip)!
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