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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Batman and Plastic Man Have a Buttlegging Christmas!

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

This classic issue of Brave and the Bold by Bob Haney, Joe Staton and Jim Aparo (#148) still brings a smile to my face every time I read it. Read on to see how Batman and Plastic Man stopped a buttlegging ring!

So the bad guys in the story are stealing cigarettes and then smuggling them into Gotham City. Bob Haney has decided to refer to their scheme as “buttlegging,” a play on cigarette butts and bootlegging. It also, of course, involves using the term “buttlegging,” which is hilarious.

Note how often Haney tries to work it into the script.

I love how Haney has Batman screw around with Gordon. There should be more instance of Batman saying stuff like, “Sorry, Gordon, I can’t investigate this murder, Honey Boo Boo is on!”

Plastic Man shows up in the story as only Haney could write – random and arbitrarily…

But then the Lacey’s display is stolen! Plastic Man, luckily, is along for the ride and he gives Batman hints as to where the display is being taken. Batman catches up to the bad guys (who are using a convoy to bring the display somewhere in the South) but then he and Plastic Man are delayed. Luckily, Plastic Man knows where they’re headed.

That must be Batman’s catch phrase from here on out. Do you hear me, Scott Snyder? If Batman doesn’t remark that he has to high-ball somewhere fast in a future issue of Batman, I will be so, so disappointed.

The display was brought down south to lure other gangsters to show up for an opulent Christmas party at which point the head gangster was going to kill them all…

He said “buttlegging,” so you have to drink (oh, did I not tell you about the “buttlegging” drinking game? Sorry, I thought that you knew)!

The plan goes into effect…

Batman and Plastic Man take care of business…


Luckily, Gotham’s Christmas is not ruined, because Batman and Plastic Man put the bad guys to work…


What a great issue, even if you’re drunk by the time you finish reading it.

I hope you all have a wonderfully strange Christmas this year!


This is fantastic, thank you. And I have to say, I loved that version of the Batmobile.

“Batman, you got here ahead of us!”

“That wasn’t hard, sergeant!”

Well f**k you, Mr. Million-Dollar-Super-Car. Maybe if you invested some money in the GCPD we could get to crime scenes faster.

Seriously, it’s amazing how Jim Aparo’s art can make any story feel far more serious than it has any right to be.


(BUT.leg.ing) n. Smuggling cigarettes. —buttlegger n. A person who smuggles cigarettes.

Earliest Citation: “Buttlegging,” Forbes, December 1, 1976.

Haney always portrayed Plas as a down on his luck hero for some reason.

Was Plas depicted as being able to soak bullets like that elsewhere? I certainly remember Mister Fantastic could, but not Mister ManPlastic.

Plas makes a funnel with his HEAD!!!

This is the best Christmas present EVER!!!

Actually, on the page when you tell us about the “buttlegging” drinking game, they don’t say “buttlegging”, they say “buttsmuggling”. Which is almost as funny.

I want this story reprinted in a book with the Joker’s boner story.


“Yank it, Kris Kringle!!!”

Actually, on the page when you tell us about the “buttlegging” drinking game, they don’t say “buttlegging”, they say “buttsmuggling”. Which is almost as funny.

I think buttsmuggling is actually funnier!

Jack Cole had Plas shrug off bullets, swords and pretty much everything.
It’s always a pleasure to see Jim Aparo art.

For a really weird Haney, there’s the B&B where Batman thinks the villain is Satan and Sgt. Rock’s convinced it’s Hitler. Though I quite like it actually.

Dude, since I read this post, I heard on the radio about an incident in upstate NY somewhere where a company based in DC was shipping cigarettes to NYS and bypassing getting the proper tax stamps and stuff on them. Unfortunately, they did not refer to it as either a buttlegging operation or a buttsmuggling operation.

And yeah, buttsmuggling might be funnier.

“Salestons”, LOL. Between Gordon’s pipe, the mayor’s cigar, and Wolfie’s Nat Sherman, this issue should come with a secondhand smoke warning. I wonder if that guy actually is the mayor of Gotham or just a guy named Mr. Mayor.

Those panels of Batman zipping down the highway and tooling around Gotham in his convertible in the snow are simultaneously the goofiest and the most dignified images of Batman I’ve seen in years. Aparo is amazing. And CRUCIFIED on a CHRISTMAS TREE?! How is that not the cover art?

Not that I don’t love a Plas story any chance I get one, but I wonder how DC Editorial decided whether to use Plas or Ralph Dibny in any story that required a stretcher.

Oh, gentlemen. Where are my manners? It’s almost midnight. LET’S START HIGH-BALLIN’ OURSELVES!

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