The mysterious figures known as Batman and Robin continue their crime-fighting ways into 1941 with a strange and unusual case found in the fifth issue of the Batman comic book in a story titled, “Book of Enchantment”. The Dynamic Duo happens upon two thieves breaking into a house owned by a Professor Anderson. After the duo put a stop to the criminals, the professor begs for their help in finding his daughter Enid who is trapped inside Fairyland.
Professor Anderson explains that he had created an invention that transports people into the book that they are reading and his daughter had traveled to a book of fairy tales. Batman agrees to help the man and along with Robin, they begin to read the same book as Enid had. The two heroes are sent to Fairyland and happen upon several characters such as, Father Time, and Humpty Dumpty who guide them on their way to find the missing girl.
The duo must also deal with Gruel, the Black Witch, and her evil henchmen. After tracking Gruel back to her castle, Batman and Robin are able to stop the witch and free Enid from her imprisonment. The three of them ride a magic carpet back to where they entered the book from and are transported back to their own reality where they are greeted warmly by the professor.
The toll that Bruce Wayne must pay for being the masked vigilante is not only physical but emotional. In the Detective Comics #49 story, “Clayface Walks Again,” Julie Madison now known as Portia Storme, is becoming a star in the movies and wants Bruce to give up his playboy ways and find a career. Wayne won’t give her what she wants, so Julie ends their engagement and leaves.
1941 also gave us two important figures in Batman’s Rogues Gallery. The first one came in September in World’s Finest Comics #3 in “The Riddle of the Human Scarecrow.” The story introduces Doctor Jonathan Crane, a professor who is fired from his position for shooting a gun in his classroom in a demonstration of the psychology of fear.
Crane went on to make a deal with business owners to scare people away from their competition for a price. Batman and Robin are able to track him down and after a fight, capture the former professor and lock him up in jail. But will the cell be able to hold the master of fear? Only time will tell.
The other figure that was introduced to Batman’s Rogues Gallery in 1941 was the Penguin in Detective Comics #58. In the story “One of the Most Perfect Frame-Ups” written by Bill Finger, sees Penguin take over a crime organization. He frames Batman for one of the jewel heists, and as Batman is arrested and being driven to police headquarters, one of his henchmen crash into it and abduct Batman. With the help of his young aide, Robin the Boy Wonder, Batman is able to escape from the Penguin and return the stolen jewels back to the police clearing his name. Not only did Penguin sully the name of Batman, if only for a short while, but he also managed to escape the clutches of Batman and escaped on a passing train, leaving Batman to wonder if their paths will ever cross again.
1941 was an important year in the history of the Batman mythos as it saw the introduction of two new villains for the dynamic duo to face. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne’s personal life fell apart for the first time as a result of his career as a crime fighter. What do the following years have in store for the Dark Knight?