The mythos of the crime-fighting superhero known as Batman continued to grow in 1948 with the addition of several new characters. Some of them made the rogues gallery, while others were added to the ever-growing group of characters outside of a mask. on the side of the law.
In Batman #47 from June 1948, Bill Finger retold Batman’s origin story. The story follows Batman as he tries to track down Joe Chill, the man that killed his parents in an alley when he was a boy. Batman shows Chill that he is Bruce Wayne, the son of Thomas and Martha who he had killed. Chill runs away into a room with his men where they shoot him to death. They held Chill responsible for creating Batman, their greatest enemy. This is the second story to expand Batman’s origin, the first being in Detective Comics #33.
The next month in Batman #48 saw Bill Finger give readers “The 1,000 Secrets of the Batcave.” The story shows the first and only appearance of the criminal Wolf Brando. Wolf had managed to escape from jail and broke into the home of Bruce Wayne where he knocks out Dick Grayson and stumbled into the secret hideout of Batman. Batman is quick on the scene and fights with the escaped criminal. After trying to escape using the Batmobile, Brando disturbs some bats who attack him as he falls into the river below. The police soon discover the body of the criminal who took Gotham City’s biggest secret with him to his watery grave, the identity of Batman and Robin. Interestingly, earlier the same month Detective Comics #137 showcases the Batcave as a proper cave with some of the common elements associated with it including the giant penny and the mechanical dinosaur.
In Detective Comics #140 from October, one of Batman’s more famous rogues was created in the form of The Riddler. Bill Finger authors the story that sees Edward Nigma become the criminal known as the Riddler. Nigma would leave clues and puzzles at all his crime scenes to prove to Batman that he was smarter than him. The story ends with Riddler trapped on a pier as it explodes leaving Batman to believe that the man of puzzles had drowned along with his future criminal exploits. The character was also popular enough to have another appearance just a few months later in Detective Comics #142.
Also in October, Batman #49 saw two more characters made their debut, Vicki Vale and the Mad Hatter. Vale is a photojournalist who is taking pictures of Bruce Wayne when the Mad Hatter appears and steals some things from the club. Wayne changes into the Batman, but during the scuffle gets a cut on his chin. Vicki Vale noticed the cut the next time that she saw Bruce and became suspicious. Trying to prove her theory that Bruce Wayne is Batman, Vale puts a glowing substance on Batman’s glove that will leave a mark on his skin. Batman is able to put a stop to the Mad Hatter and then go out on a date with Vale, but much to her surprise, both of his hands are glowing. Figuring out her trick, Bruce bought her some glowing flowers for the date to throw her off her suspicions.
One final thing to mention is that in Batman #50 an editorial mistake could have been the reason Two-Face’s identity is what we know it to be. When first introduced, Two-Face was known as Harvey Kent. While that last name has a connection to another certain hero from DC Comics, the name changed to Dent and never was addressed. Some attribute this to a simple editorial mistake, while others state it was on purpose due to the similarities to the alter ego of Superman. Either way, it was something that has stuck with the character who now was Harvey Dent before becoming Two-Face.
1948 saw several new characters appear in the mythos along with a more detailed origin story that concludes with the death of Joe Chill. Readers got to take a detailed look at the Batcave and were introduced to a new love interest of Bruce Wayne. What does the future hold for Batman and Robin?