Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Punches of 1965: Batman

I did a post the other day counting all the punches landed in Spiderman during 1965. My idea was to compare this to Batman during 1965, to determine whether the common rumor was true that Marvel had more physical fighting than DC during the Silver Age. I found that Spiderman had 102 punches landed in 240 pages. How does that compare to Batman?

It's not even a contest:

Batman #169 had a grand total of 2 punches landed in 24 pages; ironically enough in the same panel:

Batman #170: Four punches landed (including one at a bear) in 25 pages.
Batman #171: 14 punches landed in 25 pages.
Batman #172: 12 punches landed in 25 pages.
Batman #173: Nine punches landed in 25 pages.
Batman #174: 21 punches landed in 25 pages.
Batman #175: 18 punches landed in 24 pages.
Batman #177: 12 punches landed in 24 pages

(Note: I skipped Batman #176 because it was a reprint issue of stories published prior to 1965). The total is 92 punches in 197 pages, or .467 punches per page. That's actually about 10% more punches in Batman stories in 1965 than in Spiderman.

So the theory that Marvel comics were more violent than DC does not seem backed up by this analysis. It is possible that a larger study might find some differences, but I particularly picked two comics that were notable for featuring lots of fight sequences.

Update: One addition. It was definitely my impression that Spiderman had more panels with punches in them. Batman had some very concentrated violence. For example, here's the cover to Batman #174, which had the most punches thrown of any of the comics:

So the plot involves having punches thrown, which not surprisingly add up to a lot in a very few panels.

Still, my overall conclusion remains the same.