The Early Days of the Dark Knight

Detective Comics 31

Fans of The Batman know that he hit the scene in Detective Comics #27, published in 1938, just a short while after Superman made his first appearance (and changed comic book history) in Action Comics #1.

Writer/Artist Bob Kane is given credit for creating The Batman, though much of the more enduring Batman mythos was either created (or co-created, depends who you believe) by Bill Finger, a largely unheralded figure in comics history for many decades.

Well, when Kane was handling his duties on Batman in the earliest issues of Detective Comics, the results were crude and uneven. The art was sub-par, even for its era. The stories were dull and uninteresting. Batman himself was a different character than most are familiar with today – he packed a gun, for example, and wasn’t shy about using it.

Indeed, I have maintained for years that if the Bill Finger contributions had not been made, Batman would have faded into the past and largely forgotten, like most of the Golden Age comic book characters.

But in any event, Bob Kane did deliver one of the greatest comic book covers of all time with his cover for Detective Comics #31, which is a lot more stylish than the much more popular cover of Detective Comics # 27.

This comic features the first appearance of a character called The Monk, a vampire who wore a red gown and hood, and caused all sorts of trouble for The Batman. Indeed, The Monk story was The Batman’s first extended adventure, as the storyline lasted more than one comic. At the end of their battles, The Batman shot The Monk with a silver bullet, ending the vampire’s existence.

The Monk remained unseen for several decades, only returning to action in 1982 in Detective Comics # 515.

Pretty forgettable stuff, truthfully, but one of my favorite comic book covers of all time! Enjoy!