Detective Comics #416 (Oct 1971)
cover: Neal Adams (?)
title: "Man-Bat Madness!"
writer & artist: Frank Robbins
editor: Julius Schwartz
Batman attends the actual wedding of Kirk & Francine, post-poned after the ending of Man-Bat's previous appearance (Detective Comics #407). As a wedding present he gives them a case of anti Man-Bat serum. He tells them that if they ever "flash-back" to their bat forms, they will be able to return to normal using this medicine. Later they talk together and consider their condition as similar to diabetes, in that they decide to always carry a vial of the serum at all times.
This story is notable for several reasons. Not only is this the first Man-Bat story that was not illustrated by Neal Adams, it is the first of two that was actually illustrated by Man-Bat's co-creator, Frank Robbins, and is Robbins' first artwork for DC. Although Robbins came to DC Comics in 1968 as a writer of Batman, Superboy, and The Flash, he was at that time mostly known as the creator of the comic-strip Johnny Hazard. This story is Robbins' first artistic work for DC, and in an open letter to DC fandom explains that he was so enraptured by the character that he asked for and received permission to illustrate the story.
The worst part of this issue is the cover, which appears to be one of Neal Adams' lesser efforts. Or perhaps it was an inker? Man-Bat himself gets the worst of it, as he appears more as a quick sketch, with none of the typical Adams' detail he had in his first three cover appearances.
Man-Bat Trivia Notes:
- The cover scene never appears in the story.
- The back-up story in this issue stars Batgirl in "The Deadly Go-Between!" by Frank Robbins and Don Heck.
- This issue features two reprints. "Rex: Circus Detective" by Robert Kanigher, Alex Toth, and Sy Barry was originally published in Rex the Wonder Dog #3 (May/June 1952). Casebook Mystery "The Case of the Gold Dust Death" illustrated by Ramona Fradon was originally published in Gang Busters #30 (Oct/Nov 1952).
- Frank Robbins writes a letter to the fans in this issue explaining why he wrote and drew this story. It is reprinted above in its entirety. (On the right is an odd letter saying that Batman has the greatest super-hero uniform....with Aquaman getting an "Honorable Mention.")