Sunday, May 01, 2016

A Month of... Batman's Got a Gun, Day 1: Now that Batman's got a gun he ain't never gonna be the same

Everybody run
Batman's got a gun!

All sung to the tune of that popular '80s hit that probably shouldn't be played today:

If there's any superhero or costumed crimefighter who is more a figurative wasp up the literal nose of Earth-1's NRA, it's Batman. (The NRA fully support Batman's begunnéd protege Red Hood, however.) Does Batman like guns? Well, let's check:

Panels from "The Night of the Shadow!" in Batman #259 (November-December 1974), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Irv Novick, inks by Dick Giordano

He does not like guns, Commissioner Gordon I-Am. He does not like them with a silencer, he does not like them when they're quieter. He does not like them shooting his dad, he does not like them, they make him mad.

Panels from "There Is No Hope in Crime Alley!" in Detective Comics #457 (March 1976), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils and figure inks by Dick Giordano, background inks by Terry Austin, letters by Ben Oda

And he doesn't mind telling you about it, either. He's the equivalent of your grandpa telling the same old story about when he had Ben Grimm in the back of his cab. All the crooks know Batman doesn't like guns, and yet they risk hearing about it every time they pick up a gat or a roscoe. And also risk getting beaten to a pulp.

Panels from Batman #607 (November 2002), script by Ed Brubaker and Geoff Johns, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Andy Owens, colors by Gregory Wright, color separations by Wildstorm FX, letters by John Costanza

To be fair, all the really horrible homicidal criminals (Joker, Penguin, Kite-Man) are pretty pleased that Batman favors his patented "hammers of justice" instead of a gun. Batman was later denied this application from the Gotham Patent Office on the basis that you can't trademark your fists, but that doesn't stop the Caped and Gloved Crusader, no how, no way.

Panels from Legends of the Dark Knight digital comic #6 (July 2012); script by B. Clay Moore; pencils, inks, and colors by Ben Templesmith; letters by Saida Temofonte

Yes but aside from all that small discomfort and mild unpleasantness in Crime Alley on the night of June 26 — don't remember? Check here, and here, and also here to refresh your memory — why does Batman have such a strict personal boycott against guns, which, after all, are just tool not unlike your explosive batarangs shot out of and air compressor gun or maybe missiles fired into a parade commandeered by the Joker? What's better than a gun for senseless comic book violence, Batman?

Panels from "Fugitive from the Stars!" in World's Finest Comics #211 (May 1972), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Joe Giella

Well, that certainly makes sense! So ergo, the conclusion we should draw from Batman comic books is

Panel from "Batman — Frontier Marshall" in Batman #99 (April 1956), script by Edmond Hamilton, pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Pat Gordon

So Batman never has a gun. What this feature presupposes, however...what if he did?

Yes, this month, all month: panels featuring Batman with a gun. Nope, he won't touch 'em, carry 'em, or hold 'em, except for every day in May! You might say April flowers bring May showers...of bullets! And it's true, lots of these are gonna be fake-outs or Batman doubles or hoaxes, dreams, imaginary stories...or comics written and drawn by Neal Adams, but get ready for Batman's Got a Gun by scoping (heh!) out some early examples of the Armed and Dangerous Dark Knight. These events may no longer be canon at hand, but he's certainly carrying a hand cannon! (tee hee)

Splash panels from "The Case of the Ruby Idol" in Detective Comics #35 (January 1940), script by Bill Finger, figure pencils and inks by Bob Kane, background pencils and letters by Sheldon Moldoff

Panels from "Batman vs. the Vampire, Part 2" in Detective Comics #32 (October 1939), script by Gardner F. Fox, figure pencils and inks by Bob Kane, background pencils and letters by Sheldon Moldoff

Panel from "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939); script by Bill Finger, pencils, inks, and letters by Bob Kane

So put your safety on and check back in every day, firing wildly into my blog, to see that Batman's Got a Gun! To the tune of this '80s classic! Ah, you know you've been humming it under your breath this whole time.

1 comment:

Blam said...

Ooh... I betcha one of my first-ever comics is in here: Detective Comics #452, dated October 1975 — It's Yaktastic!