The legend of Batman and Robin continues to grow as the 1940s comes to an end with the addition of a new vehicle to the Dynamic Duos arsenal as well as a few other small additions to the mythos.
In May 1949, the crime fighters are up against a new criminal in Detective Comics #147. The man was a famed oceanographer by the name of Doctor Gaige who became the leader of an underwater gang. Gaige, known as Tiger Shark, helped design the new Bat-Submarine that became his eventual downfall when Batman and Robin captured him. While only having a single appearance, the character of Tiger Shark was brought back by Scott Snyder in 2011 as a reimagined character who appeared a few times over Snyder’s run.
In November 1949, readers saw Batman fly for the first time in Detective Comics #153 in a story titled, “The Flying Batman”. Batman and Robin are attending a talk about bats where the speaker debuts his latest invention, a set of batwings that allows humans to fly with them on. The talk is interrupted by an escaped criminal intent on killing Batman. Slits Danton, who makes his single appearance in the comic, manages to knock out Batman. Batman takes to the sky on the new invention and flies. He isn’t able to stop the criminal though as he is forced to rescue Robin from a bomb. Batman then wakes up and realized that it had been a dream. Robin had stopped the criminal after he knocked out Batman. Batman is left wondering how he can turn the new invention into a reality after he is told that the wings are just a prototype, that they can’t let people fly.
Only a couple of minor things to note for 1949 as Detective Comics #148 would be the first issue to reference the Black Casebook; a book that would serve as a record to some of Batman’s early missions that sometimes went unexplained. Also while not worth more than a mention, there were two villains who had one-off appearances in 1949, both of which share names with villains from Flash’s gallery of rogues. Pied Piper appeared in Detective Comics #143 and the Thinker appeared in Batman #52. This wasn’t uncommon at the time as the names were used years prior for a variety of different characters with both names. Just interesting since both characters were villains of Batman prior to settling down with Flash where they are best known.
Outside of the world of comics, the caped crusader took to the big screen for the first time since 1943 with the movie serial, Batman and Robin. The serial debuted on May 26 and featured Robert Lowery as Batman and Johnny Duncan as Robin. This serial would be the last time the duo would appear in a live-action form until the 1966 television show.
So as the 1940s come to a close, Batman has a new mode of transportation to capture the criminals of Gotham City. Whether they are old foes or new ones that pop up and are never seen again, Batman and Robin will protect the city from evildoers into the new decade.