Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reading Room: THE BATMAN & THE SHADOW "Who Knows What Evil--?" Conclusion

Art by Mike Kaluta
While tracking a group of counterfeiters, The Batman is saved by an expert marksman who shoots a criminal in the hand who was about to plug the Darknight Detective.
The wounded criminal runs into a dead-end alley...and disappears...with only a mocking laugh to indicate anyone had been there!
A clue from the crime scene leads the Caped Crusader (as Bruce Wayne) to Tumbleweed Crossing, where he meets another visitor...Lamont Cranston, a scientist investigating the water supply, which is loaded with minerals and would be perfect for matching the government's formula for the ink used in!
Believing nearby abandoned cliff-dwellings would be an ideal base of operations for the counterfeiters, The Batman is ambushed as he heads there, but an antique autogyro distracts the gunmen long enough for the Cowled Crimebuster to capture them.
As he nears the ruins, The Batman speculates about the identity of the mysterious laughing marksman in the autogyro.
Could he be...?
This appearance in Batman #253 came between the first and second issues of The Shadow's bi-monthly Bronze Age run at DC, back when comics actually came out on schedule.
It was a nice tip-of-the-fedora to the long-believed idea that the pulp character was a primary influence on the creation of the Caped Crusader. (A fact confirmed by Shadow historian Anthony Tollin HERE.)
Denny O'Neil was also writing The Shadow comic, and this issue's cover artist Mike Kaluta, who had already done a number of wonderfully-moody Detective Comics and Batman covers, would come to be the definitive Shadow artist for all versions of He Who Knows What Evil Lurks since. (much as James Bama's version of Doc Savage is the iconic one all others have been based upon)

We'll be presenting the other Batman story featuring The Shadow HERE, and the Shadow/Avenger team-up HERE!
And, if you want to see a REALLY strange version of Lamont Cranston, be here next week, when the purple and green costumed version makes his debut!
(Yes, you read that right! Purple and green costumed version! And you can blame Batman for that...)

for goodies featuring other Silver Age heroes, besides The Batman and The Shadow!