Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Bette is Batty for Robin ....... Meet The Original BAT-GIRL

Continuing my history of the Bat-Man Family we now move on to BAT-GIRL

Readers of my Blog will know that I have already done a piece on Bette (Betty) Kane aka the Original Bat Girl, so I will make this posting brief.

Appearing in 1961 Betty Kane was the niece of Kathy Kane who secretly operated as the Bat Woman in Gotham City. On  a visit to see her Aunt Kathy, and hopefully spot Robin the Boy Wonder who she had a secret crush on, Betty discovered that Bat-Woman was in fact Aunt Kathy.  Betty would then decide that she would be an ideal person to be the Partner of Bat-Woman.  Without her Aunt's knowledge Betty designed and made her own costume ,  basing the colours on that of Robin's and elements of Bat-man's and Bat-Woman's Costumes....... She chose her moment and in the middle of a Battle involving  BAT-MAN, Robin and BAT-WOMAN fighting some crooks, Betty saved the day as BAT-GIRL.


After announcing her identity to her Aunt Kathy, Betty does her best to   convince her aunt to let her fight crime as her side kick.  Kathy hoped that her niece would soon lose interest; however, Betty would prove herself and  earn the right to continue acting as Bat-Girl . Like BAT-WOMAN who's character was designed to give a "LOVE INTEREST" to BAT-MAN, BAT-GIRL became ROBIN'S unofficial Girl Friend.

As Betty did not live with her Aunt, her career as BAT-GIRL would not be on a full time basis.  Bat-Girl would appear along side Bat-Woman and the Dynamic Duo on and off over the next 3 years, and would later disappear along side many of the other members of the BAT-MAN FAMILY.

Although, in the 1970's Betty would again go back into costume as part of the TEEN TITANS, where she would again try to catch the eye of her Boy Wonder.

Unlike Kathy Kane aka BAT-WOMAN, who would later be killed off and removed from the DC Continuity, Betty's Bat-Girl character would live to fight another day after the CRISIS. However her Title of BAT-GIRL would by then be owned by a Red Headed Crime fighter.

Betty or Bette Kane has recently appeared in the DC Modern line up of Characters along side the Current BAT-WOMAN....... However now she is called FLAME-BIRD ..... BUT to old Comic Book Fans she will always be BAT-GIRL

Maybe not the Greatest, but Betty Kane was the Original BAT-GIRL.


Next time its all MAGIC !

Until Next Time    ENJOY !

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


The next member of the Bat-Man Family first appeared in the Batman stories way back in 1955.

In issue #92 of BATMAN a German Shepherd called ACE was introduced. He was introduced after  Superman's pet pooch KRYTO had appeared for the 1st time earlier that year too. Kryto was an over night success with the fans, so DC comics thought that if the readers loved a SUPER - DOG then  a BAT-DOG would work too. However, whilst Kryto was every bit as SUPER as his master, The new BAT-HOUND would be more like a cross between RIN TIN TIN, REBEL and LASSIE. No Super powers, but a clever mutt all the same.

In ACE's  1955 debut, a lost Ace was found by Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson. Bruce put a notice in the local paper with a picture of the dog in an attempt to find his true owner. When the dog later jumped into the Batmobile as Batman and Robin sped away on a case, Robin had to make their new companion a mask to hide his very distinctive face markings for fear of someone noticing that Batman was patrolling around  Gotham with Bruce Wayne’s dog. Along with the mask , BAT-HOUND  (Robin's Nickname for the dog) , he had a BAT  shaped dog tag on his collar to complete the outfit.  But No CAPE !!!

After Ace was returned to his owner, Mr. Wilker, that may have been the end of it. However, fan reaction was strong enough for Ace to return to the Batman line of comics just a few months later. Once again, Ace was working with the caped crusaders on a case.

Ace became a full fledged member of the Batman family a few years later when Mr. Wilker got a new job which required him to travel a great deal. He simply could not  look after Ace anymore. Luckily, his pal Bruce Wayne agreed to take on the adorable hound full time. Ace was now a regular in the Bat cave.

When Ace first appeared he was a brown German Shepherd with dark markings, Various artists tended to draw Ace in different ways. While he appeared to be a German Shepard in his debut, that began to change over time. He just became a mutt whose breed was indeterminate. He appeared to be a hound in name only. His colour also could change from Brown to Black, but no one seemed to mind.

The ever changing face of ACE

Over time, Ace’s star faded. He began to be used less and less. When he did appear in an adventure, it was only for a few panels.  Ace went from being Bat-man's best friend to Bruce  Wayne's pet.

However by the early 1960's along with a lot of the BAT-MAN Family, Ace faded from sight. Although Bat-Hound was no more, in the years since Bruce Wayne has had  pet dogs, and these have usually all been called ACE, a nod to the original.

Whilst the original ACE never worn a Bat Cape, a version of him wearing a Full cape and cowl in recent years has appeared in cartoon tales (Or is that TAILS !) Here is my modern day version of ACE the Bat-Hound complete with Cape, cowl and Utility Collar.


Next Time  its a new partner for Bat-Woman


Friday, 14 June 2013


During the 1940's both Batman & Robin enjoyed many adventures. Their relationship was seen as a mixture something more than  father - son friendship, more like brothers. However, due to their age differences Bruce was in his early 30's and Dick was aged around a young teen ager, and this was beginning of the 1950's , questions were being asked about WHAT WAS THEIR REAL RELATIONSHIP ?
The Dynamic Duo

The world had changed much  from since the end of the  2nd world war, and the idea of a grown man running around with a teen aged boy at night in tights was raising a few eye brows.

The solution was to give BATMAN a Girl Friend.  In the past Batman had had a kinda girlfriend with reporter Vicky Vale, but due to the secret identify of BATMAN it was difficult to take the relationship any further. As far as the World was concerned BATMAN was a mystery man, whilst Bruce Wayne was a playboy businessman. Both were extreme characters from different worlds.   Bruce had girlfriends, but used this as part of his cover story. None meant anything, and also the Batman  and crime fighting was his passion.  Superman on the other had had Lois Lane, his official Girl Friend. She worked along side   his alter ego Clark Kent, who she also had a friendship with. She considered Clark her best friend and big brother, whilst Kal-el aka Superman was her Boyfriend. Clark - Kal- el had the best of both worlds. he had his family, a girl friend,  a job.... what more could he want.

All Batman had was a lot of money, a job that meant he worked most nights, a teen aged boy as his best friend and Alfred.  (more about Alfred soon)

The  Post war people in general were moving away from unhappy memories of conflict and war.  Films, books and TV had started to move into telling more lighter tales. About family life, Love and Romance.... ie the Soap Opera were big business. Family Life was the where it was at.

So to help cater for this, and to hopefully get Girls to start reading comics a  Girl Friend was conceived for the Dark Knight. A Girl Friend who could interact with Both Bruce and his Batty alter ego. A strong Woman, who did not have to be the victim, but the Victor.

ENTER...... Kathy Kane.

Katherine "Kathy" Kane  had spent her youth as a circus acrobat and daredevil. She would later inherit a lot of money  and became the heiress of a wealthy family fortune.  Retiring from her life in the Circus, she Now resided in Gotham City, and here she did the same circuit as Playboy Bruce Wayne. From their very first meeting  they shared an interest in one another, but Kathy had another man on her mind... The Man of Mystery The BATMAN.   Enamoured with Batman, Kathy Kane decided to become the Bat woman so she could combat crime like he did...... and also she hoped  to entice the Batman at the same time.

Donning  her BAT WOMAN Costume complete with her Shoulder Bag of crime fighting tools.... (All designed to mirror those items carried by Batman in his famous utility belt. However, Bat woman's had a feminine  twist to them,  her charm bracelet converted into handcuffs, her lipstick was explosive, and her powder compact contained sneezing powder )

On first meeting the new BAT-WOMAN , Batman was concerned for her safety and  tried to discourage her so she would give up the cowl and cape. Bat-Woman refused, but  After Batman discovered Kathy was Bat-woman, he finally convinced her that if he could discover her secret identity, so could criminals. Thus risking the lives of her friends and relatives in the process. Reluctantly  Kathy Kane retired for a short time as Bat-woman, diving into her role as a Gotham City socialite, but she missed the thrill of being Bat-woman. She got in costume once again to save Batman, Robin, and Superman during a mission, but this time continued and would not be  dissuaded from continuing  as Bat-woman . However, Kathy grew defiant and proved her skills as a crime fighter and a detective, this eventually started impressing Batman, who reluctantly agreed that she was an asset to him and his war against crime.

Soon Bat Woman got her own teen aged side kick and partner BAT-GIRL ( More about her next time )

Bat woman became the unofficial 3rd member of the team. However this was not always fine with Robin as he tended to feel left out...... and worried that he would be replaced.

Batman and Robin along with Alfred knew Bat-woman was Kathy Kane, but Kathy Kane did not know the identities of the Dynamic  Duo. However, due to the then nature of the Batman comics, imagination stories started to be told. Many written by Bruce Wayne's man servant Alfred, These stories were written as fun, and these usually themed around that Batman & Bat woman had married and started a family. Batman was now part of his own Bat Themed Soap Opera, More about that later soon.


Bat woman costume and look remained constant during the 50's and early 1960's . During the 1960's She like a lot of  characters eventually disappeared. However Kathy Kane the originally Bat woman would again step into the spot light again in the 1970's when she shared many more adventures with the then members of the Batman Family.

Her costume was slightly up dated, and with different   artists would change..... but she remained the same as a strong female character up until when she was finally  "Killed Off" after criminals discovered her identify and murdered her to get back at Batman.

Although a new BAT-WOMAN has emerged in recent years, Katherine " Kathy" Kane was the original. More about the NEW BAT-WOMAN soon

Next time Batman goes to the dogs !


Wednesday, 5 June 2013


When Richard John (Dick) Grayson's family were murdered by a gang boss wanting to extort money from a travelling circus that employed them, he started on the road to becoming the crime fighting partner of The Bat-Man.

As the youngest member of the acrobatic "FLYING GRAYSON'S " the now orphaned Dick would soon become the legal ward of Bruce Wayne aka The Bat-Man. Bruce Wayne seeing another person like himself, orphaned at a young age, the result of murder, believed that he should step in to help the youngster. However, after Dick discovered Bruce was in fact The BAT-MAN he petitioned his guardian to join him in his fight against Crime in Gotham City. Bruce reluctant to allow his ward to face the same danger as himself felt that the Dick needed some thing to help channel the anger and frustration he had as a result of his parents untimely death into a positive cause.

After a lot of training Dick Grayson became Robin The Boy Wonder...... and along side The BAT-MAN, they became known as the Dynamic Duo.


Robin's original costume was slightly different to the one he would later wear.  His Tunic and boots would later be refined. Also The Bat-Man 's look also was now refined to a less scary one. Again this costume would remain more or less the same for many year afterwards.


However, the costume was soon updated and during the rest of Dick Grayson's time of being Robin, his look and costume remained more or  less the same.

Robin Made his Debut in 1940 in Detective Comics #38.

Here is my version of the classic cover.

BAT-MAN & ROBIN , \the Dynamic Duo.

Next time ...... Love is in the Air for the Caped Crusaders