Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Origin of the Two-Face Bust

I noticed a forum post which linked to an old Dick Sprang tribute post of mine, and in the same post, a link to this post about the Secrets of the Batcave poster by Sprang.

Chris Sims has done a great job over the filling in the origins for many of the items shown, but I noticed this:

I can't place the Penguin, the giant Joker and Two-Face Heads, or the 8-ball.


I can only cover the giant Two-Face head for now, although I suspect I will find the other items eventually. The Penguin (in this case a stuffed bird, not the villain), for example, was one of the first objects ever shown in Batman's trophy collection in Batman #12, so we know it's got to come from an earlier story than that one.

The giant Two-Face head comes from Batman #50's The Return of Two-Face! The climax of that story has Batman and Two-Face battling it out atop the giant bust:

Batman explains the origin of the bust to Robin:

This appears to refer to the initial appearance of Two-Face, in Detective #66:

Although you will note that the bust depicted in that story is much smaller than the one in Batman #50.

The bust made a significant appearance in the Silver Age. Batman #108 (June 1957) included Prisoners of the Batcave, where Batman and Robin are trapped in their hideaway, just as a package they received turns out to be a firebomb. Here's the action as seen in that story:

The air inside the hollow bust is quickly used up and the fire dies out, although not without damaging the bust significantly. The material of the bust is described in the text as glass, although there is little doubt that the Golden Age bust was intended to be of stone or plaster.

Monday, June 7, 2010

You've Got Bat-Mail

A regular occurrence in the Golden Age was the arrival of a package at some mobster's office or hotel room:

It was always a signal to the crook that Batman was on his tail:


Batman sent it as a message to a judge:

It even popped up on a cover:

Any more modern examples out there?

Update: Here's one from Batman #121 ( February 1959):
As you can see, the crook tailed the bat back to the Batcave, which may explain why Batman gave up on using live bats as a warning.