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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 297

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today, on a suggestion by reader the third man, we look at Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano (with assists by Berni Wrightson and Harlan Ellison)’s classic “Night of the Reaper” from Batman #237!

Enjoy!

This was one of the first comic books to be set at the annual Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade, and it features Tom Fagan, the late founder of that parade (regular Comic Book Legends Revealed readers know we just recently discussed the Marvel/DC crossover involving Rutland).

The story deals with Dick Grayson going to visit the parade with a few college chums, but being waylaid by a mysterious group of men (with too much training to be simple thugs).

When he goes to investigate, he discovers what looks to be Batman…dead!

What an opening, huh?

Robin is startled enough that he falls down, but luckily, the REAL Batman was ALSO in town (some coincidence, huh?) and Robin is saved.

Batman was called in by a doctor who was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. He called Batman because he discovered one of the Nazis in charge of the camp alive and in Rutland! So Batman goes to investigate…

(that was, of course, the real Tom Fagan dressed as Batman)

but when he discovers one of the earlier stooges, he learns that THEY are here for the Nazi, as well!!

Pretty dramatic, huh?

Now we get a lot of nice 1970s pathos from Batman…

Have YOU guessed who the Reaper is (I’d hope so, there are not exactly tons of people to choose from)?

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but suffice to say that it is extremely dramatic.

This was a top-notch Halloween tale by one of the best creative teams you’ll ever be lucky to see.

13 Comments

Let me guess… Tom Fagan?

Ha! I guess I didn’t think of Fagan as a suspect. No, they did not turn him into a murderer. That would have been funny, though!

I love the Marvel costumes in there. Especially the guy dressed as Havok.

I guess Adams drew fellow pros too – Wrightson (part of the group on the 1st page?), Ellison, etc?

So the bottom panel of page 12, the comic book writer – is that supposed to be Denny O’Neil himself?

Yeah, Pete, lots of fellow pros appear in the issue (none named, though).

Unless there’s a suspect you haven’t shown us, it has to be… ROBIN! He developed a split-personality from the mental anguish running around in short-shorts and pixie boots causes.

Thanks for taking me up on my suggestion Brian!

I first discovered this comic in a recommendation from an old issue of Wizard in the mid 90s, and I managed to find it at my local comic shop (you could still snatch up Neal Adams comics pretty cheap in those days). It was one of my favorite Batman stories when I was a kid, and proved to be my introduction to Adams–certainly a valuable discovery for a young comic fan.

If anybody’s interested, I write a film blog (http://thirdmanmovies.blogspot.com), as well as occasional pieces for Detroit’s Metro TImes: http://blogs.metrotimes.com/index.php/author/daniel-joyaux/

Batman telling Robin “Don’t be stupid, kid” just seems wrong.

The Doctor it was the doctor, right?

Yep.

I must be really bad at these mysteries, as I thought this one and the one awhile back for Elongated Man’s birthday mystery were clear, but I guess I was mistaken!

Man, they blew up poor Bumblebee… AGAIN!

Man, some of that dialogue is very… “goddamn” Batman-esque.

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