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Bat Bulletin

The 700 Issue Feat


700 Issues for Batman’s main title. Obviously not taking into account the Issue # 0 (during the 1994 Zero Hour event), Issue # 1,000,000 (during the DC One Million event in 1998), all the annuals, specials, cover variants (oh the 90's through today, how you annoy collectors so) and whatnot that are included in the “Batman” magazine category, which according to Mike’s Amazing World Of DC Comics brings the total, including the regular and two variant covers of #700 itself, of Batman issues 774. Regardless, 700 is a large number, no matter how you slice it.


Also hitting the stands in June will be the 700th issue of The Big Blue Boy Scout’s titular title, although the title has seen a couple of name changes on its way to the 700 mark. Starting off a little less than a year before Batman came out in his own title in the spring of 1939, “Superman” would be the name of the title through issue 423 in June of 1986. With the John Byrne Post-Crisis reboot of the character, Byrne was given his own “Superman” title, along with Action Comics, which would have a brand spanking new #1 issue. Rather than seeing the 423 issue old title go away, DC rechristened the book “Adventures Of Superman” once Byrne’s Man Of Steel mini series wrapped up and the reboot of the character was underway. Things went smoothly for about 20 years, until Infinite Crisis came along in 2006, and once again plans were made to revamp the character, in the same way they did with the Byrne reboot. Unfortunately it took about half a decade for the revamp origin to finally be told, and it appears we are finally going to see the conclusion of said story in August! Well anyway, "Adventures Of" was on the title until issue 649 in February of 2006, and it was removed as soon as # 650 hit the stand the next month, and the previous adjective-less Superman title was canned after 20 years and 226 issues.


Of course the two big Icons of the DC Universe did not start in their very own title. But both pretty much own their debut titles since their respective debuts, and those magazines are still chugging along to this day.


We begin with a magazine that in mint condition, if you can find one, can fetch upwards of a million bucks today! That would be one Action Comics #1 in the early summer of 1938, featuring Superman’s first stories and first cover appearance. On June 30th of this year issue #890 is set to hit the newsstands.


Now, we get to the title that would eventually lend the company its official name! Detective Comics, starting publication in March of 1937, but issue #27 which hit stands in the spring of 1939 is probably the most famous issue of the publication as The Batman is first seen swinging into action on the cover and in stories in the book. On the 23rd of June, issue #866 will be hitting the stands (Action Comics went weekly for about a year in 1988, which is how it managed to surpass Detective). Now, it is interesting to point out that during the first 26 issues of the title a character named Slam Bradley was featured. Later, after Gotham was officially named as a city Bradley was said to have worked in Gotham. So, it can be said then that all 866 issues of Detective Comics have featured characters from the Batman Universe!


So, that is it when it comes to DC. Just the big four of Action, Detective, Batman and Superman. Now, moving over to the Grand Comics Database shows that a book published by Dell from the 1930s through the late 1960s called Four Color, an anthology book featuring licensed characters ran for 1,354 issues. Give or take due to numbering skips and re-issues, but still Action and Detective trail it for the most prolific published book in American comic publication history. It also should be noted that a book titled “Walt Disney’s Comics And Stories,” an anthology book based on the Disney characters, has been published by one publisher or another, (currently at Boom! Studios since 2009, no word yet about Disney’s intentions with possible moving the licenses over to Marvel) since 1940, and have just put out issue #707. Now it hasn’t been put out consistently, but the publishers have kept the numbering system on the title.


So, it is quite a feat for Batman, and here is to the next 700 issues!


Posted by SteveJRogers

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