The Biggest Superhero Films That Didn't Happen, Part 2
Comic Books, Film
27. Don Cameron
While Gardner Fox was the first writer other than Bill Finger to write Batman’s adventures, Don Cameron was the first writer other than Bill Finger to take over on a regular basis. Staring with Batman #12, he became a regular contributor to Batman and eventually to Detective Comics, as well. Honestly, throughout the 1940s, Cameron was writing more or less every major DC hero. He was writing Batman, Superman, Green Arrow – he was all over the place. As the decade ended, though, superheroes became less popular and Cameron moved over to the booming Western comics world where he wrote all sorts of Western comics for DC (including his own creation, Pow Wow Smith) before he died in 1954.
Here is a snippet from likely his most famous Batman story, the first team-up (and ONLY team-up during the Golden Age, at least) between the Penguin and the Joker from Batman #25…
26. Frank Robbins
Frank Robbins might just be the most underrated writer in the history of Batman comics, if only because his influence is typically completely overlooked. Denny O’Neil is generally regarded as the guy who brought Batman out of the “camp” era, but it was really Robbins who got there first, he just didn’t do it quite as memorably as O’Neil later did. To wit, O’Neil did not even WRITE an issue of Batman or Detective until 1970. Robbins had been working on the character since 1968. A big part of the problem is that Robbins’ darkening of Batman was incredibly gradual. When he took over the book in 1968, his stories still roughly resembled the camp days, they just slowly but surely gained a bit of an edge to them. Take this early issue of Robbins that ends with the villain deciding he wants to be dressed as Batman as he walks the “Green Mile” to his death…
That’s pretty hardcore stuff for a Batman story of the late 1960s.
Within a dozen or so issues, Robbins’ Batman was beginning to look like the Batman we’d see for good starting with Denny O’Neil’s run…
I think it is fair to say that Robbins’ stint wasn’t quite on the same level as the work of O’Neil or Archie Goodwin, but I think it is far better than he is often given credit for and his influence on the titles was tremendous. He and Julie Schwartz (who obviously decided to let Robbins darken things up) deserve a ton of credit for what we think of as Batman today.
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