Detective Comics #407 (January, 1971)
cover: Neal Adams (unsigned)
title: "Marriage: Impossible!"
writer: Frank Robbins
penciller: Neal Adams
inker: Dick Giordano
editor: Julius Schwartz
Batman reads in the newspaper that the bat exhibit at the Gotham Museum of Natural History will open today, and then curator Kirk Langstrom will marry his fiancee, Miss Francine Lee. Batman is angry because he knows that Kirk is still Man-Bat. He storms the cathedral and pulls off Kirk's life-like face mask, revealing Man-Bat! Kirk then angrily flies off into the rafters.
After Batman drops Francine off at her apartment, Man-Bat shows up. She swears she still loves him, so he asks her to go to the museum to pick up some things for him. The next day, Francine goes to the museum to finish the bat exhibit and to work on something else.
At the end, Kirk and Francine embrace, still in love.
And thus ends the first great Man-Bat trilogy by Frank Robbins and Neal Adams. Man-Bat obviously came back, but (in my opinion) he was never quite as sympathetic or interesting as he was shown to be here. Of course, this story shows Francine to be just as, if not more, bat-shite crazy as he is for 1) standing by her man and 2) flying by his side, as well! It's one thing to be The Bride of Man-Bat; it's another to take the drug and become She-Bat (or as I liked to call her, Ms. Bat).
There definitely is a sense of 1970s Gothic Horror to this trilogy. And the art is just amazing. There is definitely a reason these stories keep getting reprinted over and over.
This is Neal Adams' final story featuring Man-Bat....in an actual DC comic.
Man-Bat Trivia Notes:
- The cover blurb is "The Bride of Man-Bat!" which is a much MUCH better title than "Marriage: Impossible!"
- There are no wedding guests. And after Batman interrupts the ceremony, the minister and oen other man (the museum curator?) disappear from the story completely.
- The back-up in this issue stars Batgirl in "One Of Our Landmarks Is Missing!" by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane, and Vince Colletta.
- A notice in this month's Direct Currents ad mentions this actual issue. It also mentions that Jack Kirby is working on Jimmy Olsen (#135), and the debut of Aquaboy in Superboy #171.
- There is another letter in this issue's letter column by fan Alan Brennert, who grew up to write some of the most-loved Batman stories of the Eighties, as well as becoming a best-selling novelist and television screenwriter and producer. If you haven't read Time And Chance or Palisades Park, I recommend them.