Poll: the best Batman cover…1940 Pt. 1

After seeing how popular Batman proved to be, DC not only made sure to include him in every issue of Detective Comics from this moment forward, but they gave him his own series in the Spring of 1940 in addition to his appearances in Detective Comics! Since the number of comics to choose from is so much higher this poll, I’ve broken it up into two parts and we’ll pit the winners against each other later. Here are the comics that came out from January-June of 1940 along with some fun facts about the really important episodes.

Also, the winner of the 1939 poll is Detective Comics #31, which earned well over half of the votes!

Pick the cover you like the most. You’re not voting for which comic you think was the most significant to Bat-history or what story you liked the best. This is specifically for which cover moves you the most. Poll ends in 2 weeks!

Detective Comics #35


Cover by Bob Kane

Detective Comics #36


Cover by Bob Kane

The first appearance of Hugo Strange, the first Batman rogue with real staying power. Professor Strange will be seen again when he escapes from prison in Batman #1 later in the spring of 1940. Issue #36 also marks the first time we see the spikes (or fins) on Batman’s gloves. 

Detective Comics #37


Cover by Bob Kane

Cosmo, the master of disguise first seen in issue #1 of Detective Comics, has his final adventure as he is forever replaced by the Batman. However, Detective Comics will still remain an anthology series with Batman sharing the title with the likes of the Crimson Avenger.

Detective Comics #38


Cover by Bob Kane

It might surprise you to know that Batman wasn’t even around to fight crime solo for a full year before DC introduced his sidekick Robin. Besides being the first appearance of Dick Grayson, it is also the first we see of Tony Zucco, Mister Haley, Dick’s parents, and Haley’s Circus. 

Batman #1


Cover by Bob Kane

The Joker’s first appearance. There is no battle at Axis chemicals, no mention of the Monarch Trading Card Company, and no Red Hood disguise. In fact, Axis chemicals and the Red Hood concept are never introduced into the Batman mythology until 1951! Much like the way he was represented in the film The Dark Knight, the Joker of the comics  came out of nowhere. It was almost as if this evil city had created him to counter-balance all the good that Batman represented. In this issue, Joker goes on the radio and causes panic among the average citizens of Gotham, the police, and even the underworld as he announces that he will kill three of the city’s most prominent figures. We even get a glimpse at the rivalry between gangsters and freaks as mobster Brute Nelson plans a trap for the Joker that fails miserably. Another first is the use of Joker venom. The Joker racks up quite the body count using this bizarre weapon and even to this day we still see victims of the Clown Prince of Crime wearing a permanent grin! It’s really quite amazing how perfectly formed The Joker was in his very first appearance. Very little has changed about him over the years and it could be argued that Batman has evolved more than the Joker. And as if the monumental first appearance of Joker wasn’t enough, Batman #1 also marks the first appearance of Catwoman, but here she is simply known as The Cat. And yes, Batman does allow her to escape. 

Detective Comics #39


Cover by Bob Kane

Detective Comics #40


Cover by Bob Kane

Think that crappy remakes of classic horror films are something new? Think again! In June of 1940, actor and makeup artist Basil Karlo was furious to discover that his most famous film, The Terror, was being remade and shot without him so he went on a bit of a killing spree. He’s not a shape shifter or a mud man at all. The villain in the movie being remade is called Clayface and the enraged Basil dons the character’s mask, hat, and cloak before roaming the set with a dagger (it’s a hatchet on the cover) and killing the actors in the same order they would die in the movie. When we think of the very first Batman villains, I’m sure we all instantly list such names as Joker, Hugo Strange, Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, etc. But many don’t realize that Clayface is one of the oldest.