Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Batman And the Aliens: 1960

Continuing our backwards trek through the Schiff era, we come to 1960. The Pittsburgh Pirates stunned the baseball world by defeating the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series, behind Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Green Bay Packers lost their only championship of the Vince Lombardi era to the Philadelphia Eagles and Norm Van Brocklin. Cathy's Clown by the Everly Brothers was the #1 pop music hit, while Gunsmoke was the top-rated TV show.

In Batman #130, Batman and Robin faced The Hand From Nowhere, which was controlled by two apparent aliens:

Status: Fake aliens; in fact it's a criminal gang led by longtime Superman foe, Luthor.

In Batman #132, the dynamic duo meet a man from Mars:

Status: Another fake alien; Karik was actually an actor playing a part who suffered the dreaded "blow to the head" that made him think he was really from Mars.

In Batman #136, Batman and Robin repel an Vordian invasion force:

Status: True aliens, human sized and yellow in color. Two Klaatus out of a possible five.

In Detective #277, an alien ship crash-lands on Earth:

Status: True alien, human-sized and orange in color. His crash landing frees the Jigsaw Puzzle Creature. Three Klaatus out of five.

Detective #279 features these:

Status: A very tough call. The robot-looking thing is a robot and the orange and pink creature is a beast, with only rudimentary intelligence. In addition, they are from another dimension, which also makes things trickier as I've not included Bat-Mite, for example, as an alien in my schema. I'm going to rule against the true alien nature here as even a robot has no real intelligence.

In Detective #282, we first meet Batman's Interplanetary Rival, Tal-Dar, chief of the Interplanetary Space Police:

Status: True alien, orange and human-sized. As the only alien who appeared in two separate Batman stories (other than Superman of course), Tal-Dar, who later popped up in Batman #142 gets the full five Klaatus.

We also meet another alien race in the story:

Status: True aliens, human-sized and green. Two Klaatus.

In Detective #283, a crooked scientist summons an alien to Earth with a machine:

Status: True alien, white and human-sized. Three Klaatus for DC daring to reuse the Martian Manhunter's origin in a Batman story in Detective.

It certainly looks like 1960 was another banner year for aliens in the Batman canon. Summary for 1960:

Batman #130: Fake aliens
Batman #132: Fake aliens
Batman #136: True aliens, yellow and human-sized
Detective #277: True alien, orange and human-sized
Detective #279: Not a true alien, rather alien robot and alien beast
Detective #282: True aliens (two races): one orange and one green, both human-sized
Detective #283: True alien, white and human-sized

Overall for the year: Four stories with true aliens, one with an alien robot and an alien beast, and two stories with fake aliens.


Batman #137: True alien, white and human-sized and true aliens, yellow and human-sized (two separate stories).
Batman #140: Superman appearance; not counted in the tabulation, and true aliens, green and human-sized.
Batman #142: True alien, orange and human-sized.
Batman #143: Not a true alien, an alien beast.
Batman #144: True aliens, yellow and human-sized.
Detective #287: True aliens, one white and the other yellow, both slightly smaller than humans.
Detective #291: Not a true alien, an alien beast.
Detective #292: Superman cameo, not counted in the tabulation.
Detective #293: True aliens, pink and oversized.
Detective #295: True aliens, yellow and human-sized.

So in total we have 8 stories with true aliens (counting both stories in Batman #137), two stories with alien beasts and two Superman stories.


Detective #299: True aliens, several, green or white, human-sized.
Detective #303: Fake aliens.
Batman #148: True aliens, green and human-sized
Detective #305: True alien, orange and human-sized
Batman #152: Fake alien.

Three real aliens, two fake aliens.


Batman #153: True aliens, green.
Batman #153: True aliens, multi-colored.
Batman #156: Fake alien (dream sequence)
Detective #320: No alien visible but implied.
Batman #160: Fake Alien

Two real aliens, two fake, one not seen.

I try to mention when I remember it, that these types of posts are very much inspired by H at the Comic Treadmill, whose terrific prop stars series are highly recommended.