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  • By Michael Brown
    Jan 5, 2011
    Once again, Altus Press gives us a great pulp collection. "The Bat" was a pulp hero who was published in Thrilling Publications' "Popular Detective" pulp from Nov 1934 to Feb 1935. This is BEFORE both Thrilling's The Black Bat or DC's Batman, who appeared in 1939, but AFTER all the major pulp heroes who started in the early 30s (Shadow, Doc, Phantom Detective, Moon Man, G-8, Spider, Secret Agent X & Operator #5). Now, these 4 short stories of this character were published under the "CKM Scalon" house name. Per Will Murray, this hide, for some reason, Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro. Most fans (myself included) may not know that McCulley created several other early pulp characters, such as The Crimson Clown, Thunderbolt, Mongoose, the Green Ghost (a different one from the well known one from Thrilling), even the villinous Black Star. One would think that with his fame, they've not want to hide the fact he wrote them. The Bat was in the model of... More > his other characters, wearing a sack-cloth mask with a white bat on the forehead (as we see on the cover of this collection), and the common theme of an innocent man framed, who strikes back at his enemies. And like other such characters, has a special gas gun. Like the Spider, he has a special ink stamp that he stamps on the forehead of the criminals he catches (but doesn't kill), at least in the first story. Overall, in some ways the stories were part of one big story. The setup is in the first story: a state gripped by criminal corruption. Dawson Clade, private detective worked the case, is framed and will be executed. The governor, about to sign his pardon, is murdered. His assistant takes the unsigned pardon, signs it, and drives to the prison. He convences the warden and executor (who are on the side of the reforms) that the pardon is genuine, but to fake the execution so that Clade will be free to gather evidence. In the stories, Clade, now operating as The Bat, works to find evidence of the criminal corruption, and clear his name. He deals with the murderers of the governor, and shows the corruption of the Lt. Governor (now Governor), and gets a confusion from him that Clade was innocent. Apparently the series was planned to continue, with a 5th story announced. Was it written, prehaps re-written as another character? (McCulley moved on to his Green Ghost character, who was similiar). We may never know. In addition to the stories, we also have the original illustrations, which just adds to the overall package. Now, Murray has tried to push this character as "The inspiration for Batman". I would have to say, after reading them, that NO, that's a bit of exageration. He may be AN inspiration, but I really found only ONE element of the Bat that could have influenced Batman, IMO. As with all other Altus Press titles, another winner.< Less
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Product Details

Altus Press
April 12, 2009
Hardcover (dust-jacket)
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.83 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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