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Comic Book Easter Eggs – Batman Anniversary Easter Egg Explosion!

Every week, I will be sharing with you comic book “easter eggs.” An easter egg is a joke/visual gag/in-joke that a comic book creator (typically the artist) has hidden in the pages of the comic for readers to find (just like an easter egg). They range from the not-so-obscure to the really obscure. So come check ‘em all out and enjoy! Also, click here for an archive of all the easter eggs featured so far! If you want to suggest an easter egg for a future column, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com (do not post your suggestion in the comments section!).

This week, as suggested by reader Aaron, I am doing a special edition where we just look at easter eggs from the Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell story in Detective Comics #627, the 600th issue of Detective featuring Batman. There are over a dozen of them, so be prepared!

The conceit behind Detective Comics #627 is that the two then-current creative teams on the two ongoing Batman titles (not counting the rotating creative team of Legends of the Dark Knight, of course) would both do twenty page adaptations of the original Batman story from Detective Comics #27. For their take on it, Grant, Breyfogle and Mitchell added a little extra something. Throughout the story, they (well, it looks like letterer Todd Klein did it specifically) worked in the names of famous Batman artists and writers into signs, labels, and book names.

Here they are!

1. Steve Englehart
2. David Mazzucchelli

3. Jim Aparo

4. Norm Breyfogle

5. Bob Kane

6. Ernie Chan
7. Terry Austin
8. Marshall Rogers (there is also a Rogers Chemicals in the comic, I presume that was just the actual name of the chemical company)
9. Dick Sprang
10. Don Newton
11. Frank Robbins
12. Len Wein

13. George Roussos

14. Dick Giordano
15. Neal Adams
16. I presume longtime colorist Adrienne Roy
I don’t believe Kev is a reference to anyone…

17. Denny O’Neil
18. Frank Miller

19. Mike Friedrich
20. Bob Brown

(Friedrich and Brown did a similar re-do of Detective #27 for Batman’s 30th Anniversary. It was also included in Detective #627)

21. Bob Haney

22. Mike Grell

23. Sheldon Moldoff
24. Jim Mooney
25. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
26. Paul Neary
27. Jack Burnley
28. Paul Gulacy
29. Jerry Robinson (a nice nod to the political cartoons Jerry Robinson did after leaving comic books)
30. Alan Davis

31. Dave McKean

32. Charles Paris
33. Brian Bolland
34. Steve Rude

35. Carmine Infantino
36. Bill Finger

If you’re familiar with the issue and think that I missed a reference, let me know!

Otherwise, wow, over thirty easter eggs in one comic! Impressive tribute to Batman history. Who was the most notable creator not to be mentioned?

39 Comments

Hey Brian –

On the title page, David Mazzuchelli’s name is on one of the drums. I found that one before I found Steve Englehart’s name.

Love the feature. Thanks for keeping it going.

“Mazzucchelli Chemicals” in the splash panel, on the barrel just right of center

Pete Woodhouse

June 6, 2012 at 4:21 am

I also saw Mazzucchelli Chemicals straight away. I loved picking up on some of the references when taking this off the comic shop shelf x-zillion years ago!

This is one of the first books I ever bought! I had no idea it was full of references.

Finger Alley is also a long-standing geographical feature in Gotham City. Back when Batman was based out of the batcave beneath the Wayne Foundation, Finger Alley was the name of the street the secret entrance for the Batmobile came out on.

Mike Grell doesn’t get a mention. Neither does David V. Reed (no loss there).

(Steve) Rude on the waste-bin unter Paris Supplies ?

Gardner Fox might be the most notable to not get a mention.

Doug Moench also wrote a fair bit, but doesn’t seem to have a reference.

“Bolland Art ” on window under Paris Supplies

Isn’t Rogers Chemicals a reference to Marshall Rogers?

Sale at Robbins could also reference Tim Sale. Kelley Jones and Lew Schwartz are the obvious missing ones, although at the time this was published they aren’t maybe as obvious. Kev may reference Kevin Nowlan?

15a: Kevin Nowlan

@Stevie B – This is 1991, and I don’t think Sale worked on Batman until 1993 (Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1)

Easter eggs are generally a lot of fun, but this issue has so many that they distract from the story being told. They should be a lot more subtle.

"O" the Humanatee!

June 6, 2012 at 7:38 am

If there’s no mention of Irv Novick in the issue, that’s a major oversight. I believe Gene Colan had already worked a fair bit on Batman by this time, and I think Win Mortimer had done a lot of work on the character as well. There are other artists I could imagine being in the issue: Nick Cardy drew Batman extensively in Brave & Bold, and Curt Swan drew Batman a fair bit in World’s Finest, but maybe Klein was including only creators who worked on the main Batman titles; that might also explain the absence of Mike Golden, who drew Batman primarily (if wonderfully) in Batman Family, and for not too many issues. and Lew Sayre Schwartz was one of Bob Kane’s “ghosts,” though a relatively obscure one; I only know about him through one of the TwoMorrows magazines. There have to be numerous other artists over Batman’s long career (especially once one includes Kane’s ghosts), but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. (I have this issue and could look for references, but it’s in a fairly inaccessible box.)

It’s worth noting that mentions of “Kane” can do double duty, as Gil Kane drew a number of Batman stories. But what does Dave McKean have to do with Batman?

Finally, in addition to what you point out about Jerry Robinson’s “Political Art,” several of these tributes consist of more than just the creator’s names. Mike Friedrich was an agent for comics creators, hence “The Deal,” and it’s hard to image that Garcia-Lopez’s name on “The Art of the Figure” is an accident, given his beautiful figure drawing. “Aparo Advertising” might be in recognition of the fact that Jim Aparo came into comics from the advertising world. “Giordano’s – Open Early” could refer to the fact that Dick Giordano started his workdays quite early, especially when he was DC’s editor-in-chief; if my memory of his “Meanwhile…” columns of the time is correct, he tried to put in some time at the drawing board before taking the train into the office. There may be other examples. (You could check with Todd Klein on all this.)

It’s funny, other Batman comics have continued to use a lot of Gotham streets based on Batman writers and artists. I wonder if any of them specifically originate in this issue to become geographical fixtures, or whether it’s just a case of later creative teams doing the same thing without really worrying about whether, say, Miller Road had been established as being out in the ‘burbs.

But what does Dave McKean have to do with Batman?

The Arkham Asylum graphic novel was a pretty big deal–probably especially at that time.

One of my all-time favorite Batman comics. I remember seeing that gorgeous painted Breyfogle tribute cover to Detective Comics #27 and knowing that I was about to open something special. Of all the stories in the book, the Grant/Breyfogle is the best, IMO.

You did miss a few references, but others have pointed them. Unlike Chris, however, I don’t think they distract from the story. I’ve read that story countless times and didn’t notice half of those names…the art and story always got my main focus.

“Detective Comics #627, the 600th issue of Detective featuring Batman.”

…shouldn’t that be 601st?

Or was there an issue of Detective somewhere between #27 and #627 that did not feature Batman?

I loved this issue, both for the Grant/Breyfogle tributes above and for the way the same story is told in different ways by different writers over the years.

Not in this issue,but Kelley Jones did a nice tribute to Marshall Rogers in a Clayface one shot a year or two back.

“Easter eggs are generally a lot of fun, but this issue has so many that they distract from the story being told. They should be a lot more subtle.”

This.

amazing all those names who worked on batman over the years snuck themselves in as part of gotham city. and surprised to see what looked like the first ventrilquest being killed.

@Thad

Readers back in 1991 noticed this too. It was mentioned in the letters page a few issues later. I believe the editor admitted that having the 600th appearance anniversary issue be #627 instead of #626 was a mistake. They got it right with #526 and #726 though.

Along with Miller, they should have included Klaus Janson. Not only did he ink Dark Knight, he did full illustration on “Gothic”.

Actually they got it wrong the next time too, because as I recall Batman didn’t appear in the story of #650, which focused on Robin, Harold and Ace the Bathound.

It’s almost a cliche to bring this up, but I really wish DC would quit shitting out Geoff Johns Jim Lee hardcovers for a second and give us a nice Grant/Breyfogle omnibus or three.

LOVELOVELOVE this issue! One of the first comics I bought with my own money. The entire Grant/Breyfogle run is just dynamite. I noticed a unch of these easter eggs in my various readings of the issue, but i don’t think I ever did go through specifically looking for all of them.

Isn’t Rogers Chemicals a reference to Marshall Rogers?

No. That is the name of the company in the original story (Rogers Chemicals). That is why they gave Rogers his own separate reference.

On the title page, David Mazzuchelli’s name is on one of the drums. I found that one before I found Steve Englehart’s name.

Thanks!

Steve) Rude on the waste-bin unter Paris Supplies ?

Thanks!

“Bolland Art ” on window under Paris Supplies

I got that one!

On the same page with Gordon shouting “Batman!” (Jim Mooney, Jerry Robinson, et al), Batman is shoving a handgun in the crook’s mouth. GRELL is on the side of the gun, so I assume that’s Mike Grell.

On the same page with Gordon shouting “Batman!” (Jim Mooney, Jerry Robinson, et al), Batman is shoving a handgun in the crook’s mouth. GRELL is on the side of the gun, so I assume that’s Mike Grell.

Thanks! I added it in.

Given the timing of this (1991), I feel like Jim Starlin is a pretty big omission. He had just written two of the biggest Batman stories of the era in ’88 and ’89 with Ten Nights of the Beast (an all-time top ten Batman story for me) and Death in the Family.

Also, I think it’s weird to include Bolland but not Moore, McKean but not Morrison, and Davis but not Mike W. Barr.

Also, I think it’s weird to include Bolland but not Moore, McKean but not Morrison, and Davis but not Mike W. Barr.

If we presume that it was the artist who decided the Easter Eggs, it makes more sense.

Pete Woodhouse

June 7, 2012 at 4:45 am

If the artist was responsible for the Eggs, then that would explain the absence of many long-time Batman writers: Fox, John Broome, Moench and Gerry Conway.
Even so the absence of Novick, who probably drew more Batman in the 70s and 80s other than perhaps Aparo, is baffling.

“Kev’s” is probably a reference to Norm’s brother Kevin Breyfogle who got a few credits as an art assistant at the time.

Boy, these Grant/Breyfogle issues were great! Must surely be among the highest quality runs on Batman in the last few decades. I don’t think there’ve been many runs this century to come close to it.

I guess if it’s mainly artists from the Batbooks it’s not a huge surprise that Dick Dillin didn’t get a guernsey, but he did a great Batman in JLA for years.

I bought this issue when it came out and have read it several times since and don’t remember seeing half these eggs before at least, so they were certainly not too obtrusive for me. Reading four variations of the same story in one issue wasn’t distracting either, for an anniversary celebration.

I missed a number of top Batman artists, writers (and of course editors, who I wasn’t even trying to include), and more (tens or maybe over a hundred) who did lesser amounts of Batman work. I wasn’t attempting to achieve a thorough inclusion of names. My leaving out some was not meant as a slight at all to anyone. Furthermore, I hid the “easter eggs” entirely on my own initiative without any suggestions of doing such from anyone, and I didn’t make or ask anyone for a complete list. (I now wish I had!) But then, a truly complete list might’ve been impossible to represent, or nearly so. I suspect if I’d been thorough enough, there would’ve been an over abundance of names on absolutely every surface, everywhere! lol

I left out Mike Barr, which really bugs me, since he was writing Batman so closely to when Alan and I were working on the character.

“Kev’s” was meant as a reference to my brother, who often worked as my assistant back then. But, Kevin Nowlan was one I apparently forgot to include, so I guess it could be for him, instead.

“Kev’s” was meant as a reference to my brother, who often worked as my assistant back then. But, Kevin Nowlan was one I apparently forgot to include, so I guess it could be for him, instead.

Thanks for the info, Norm! Much obliged.

Especially the Kev bit, as I couldn’t figure out who that was a reference to (as if it was Nowlan, I’d imagine you would have said “Nowlan’s”). Thanks for the head’s up!

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