Hi Jay, good question as your posting has prompted me to write something about this topic that has been on my mind for quite some time. I'm not aware of any Batman sets prior to 1966 but want to mention the first appearence of The Bat Man with trading cards. The year was 1936, issued by Wolverine Gum from Detriot. A set of 24 Strange True Srories cards (R144) with various topics icluding the last card, #24 titled The Bat Man. Fast forward to 1938 when Action Comics introduces the iconic creation of Superman. It was hugely popular and DC comics wanted new superheroes. In the spring of 1939 The Bat Man makes its very first appearence. With all this said, the STS card predates the initial comic book hero by 3 years. It is my belief that the 1936 card spawned the creation of the caped crusader.
It might be a bit of a stretch, but in 1943 a "thank you" postcard showing Batman and Robin was issued for contibuting to the Infantile Paralysis fund. Girls received a similar card picturing Wonder Woman.
Wow, that Batman pulp is pretty risqué! And it doesn't waste time getting down to the naughty nitty gritty! The very first paragraph says:
"Sometimes, he loved the woman who had been his fiancee, and other times, he cared only for his furry mate."
Who-- or WHAT was the furry mate? (Certainly not Robin, I HOPE!) And exactly what kind of love was he practicing on his mate? (Where's the SPCA when you need them?)
The #24 "Batman" card was one of the first Strange True Stories cards I ever owned, purchased from Hugh Jones. (Nearly every time we spoke afterwards, he wanted to buy it back.) Hugh's prices were rather steep, but it was awfully nice to have a dealer that you could turn to provide those impossible cards (even if the prices were hard to swallow). Between losing him and Macalouso, tough to find card collecting became a heck of a lot harder.
I think Richard Lapointe may be onto something about the inspiration of Batman -
The first time I read Richard's highly intriguing idea that points directly at the Wolverine Bat Man card as the inspiration for the "Caped Crusader" I very much wanted to own a Bat Man card...and yes, it's my fave card.
I personally think Richard's story has merit and I think it's one of the best postings on this site (ditto for Richard's posting about the Heinz Hughes card - my absolute favorite posting of all time).....I love history combined with rare cards...throw in an Iconic image, and you've got it all...
And I absolutely love looking at The Bat Man card...I never tire of it...and if there's one card I'm proud to own, it's The Bat Man....
allen mchenry houston texas
...with help from my good friend "Natalie"
This message has been edited by allenmc on Feb 23, 2015 10:59 PM
I owned two fairly nice condition examples of this card 25 years ago and sold them along with everything else that I owned in my first "card-collector-life" in a Lelands Auction on 8 March 1991. I was deploying at the outset of Desert Storm and although I was a submarine officer, there was quite a bit of concern that the Russkies might try something funny as their "empire" disintegrated. In any case, I did not want my bonnie bride to have to figure out what to do with my collection.
Back on point, my better "Batman" card was nicer than the condition of any of the cards in my near set of 20 cards that Lelands sold (which included my other #24). It was certainly one of my favorite cards as I had been a hard-core comic collector in my youth, and I absolutely felt Bob Kane had ripped off Wolverine Gum! One of my favorite cards but NOT near the tops of my favorite card possessions which included uncut sheets of Sea Raiders (a great title for a Submariner), Skybirds, Indian Gum (sheets from 6 different series), Worldwide Gum World War Gum, Jungle Gum (Highs and lows which made the complete set), War News Pictures, War Gum, Horrors of War, American Beauties (all 24 cards on the sheet), and 2 sheets Pirates Pictures (the second of which had all three rare cards - 9, 34 and 51-72), plus a few other sheets (Bowman JRS, Pee Wee Comics, etc).
Back on point again, my individually-listed Batman was graded by Lelands as VG/Excellent and was one of my last acquisitions before I liquidated my cards. I paid $50.00 for it as I recall, and Lelands opened bidding on that particular card at $75.00 (the same price as their opening on 8 Soldier Boys dupes from my collection) and they opened my partial set of 20 at $400.00 (the same price they opened my set of Gum, Inc Wild West Gum cards - minus #25, of course). Funny how the scarcity of things was not well-understood, even as late as the 1990's.... I have misplaced my bids realized sheet, so don't recall what the Batman card or the near-set that also included a copy of the card went for, but often look at the auction catalog with fond memories.
I'd love to learn where the Batman cards and the sheets ended up and if someone someday is liquidating their stuff, I'd sure like an opportunity at returning a few of the sheets and one of the Batman cards to one of their former loving homes!! Wink -wink!!
Well.... That was a long message, just to say that I once owned 2 copies of the "Holy Grail" so to speak, and that 25 years ago, the Grail did not command too high a premium....
Documentary on a well know streaming site the other day .
A bref review taken from the net ....
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT Batman fights for justice. Until recently, though, only die-hard fans knew about the grave injustice in the Dark Knight’s own past. Artist Bob Kane, despite receiving sole credit (and payment) as creator, wasn’t the only person responsible for Bruce Wayne: writer Bill Finger had invented most of the crime-fighter’s coolest stuff. The controversy and conflicted lasted for 75 years, but in 2015, DC Comics and Warner Bros. finally agreed to grant Finger co-creator credit.
Yet, there was no undoing the damage already done. A new Hulu documentary, Batman & Bill, chronicles how Bill Finger created a legend and died penniless and forgotten, and how Finger’s heirs, along with writer Marc Tyler Nobleman, finally righted this wrong. It also shines a light on the systemic injustices in Golden Age and Silver Age comics publishing, in which many other brilliant creators were shafted. But most of all, it makes you think about the meaning of Batman in a whole new way.
The documentary’s most compelling when it focuses on the relationship between Kane and Finger, two men who couldn’t have been more different. Kane, who died in 1998, was a brash, boastful figure, one who saw his creation—and its popularity—as an extension of himself. A classic showman, he greeted fans wearing sharp suits or Bat-cowls, sold original oil paintings of Bats (which the documentary claims were painted by other artists), and wrote a grandiose autobiography. Even when he wasn’t around fans, he preened; the documentary makes much of archival footage and audio recordings of Kane extolling his own genius.
Meanwhile, Finger was … well, a total nerd. He obsessively researched weird facts, and kept a giant notebook full of scraps and notes that he could use in the next Batman comic—information gleaned from riding the bus for hours on end, staring out at the city and recording what he saw. Batman’s tragic backstory sprang from his own dark imagination, as did most of the hero’s other defining traits, and even feverish gimmicks like having Batman fight on giant typewriters or dodge giant pennies. But that creativity came with isolation: He made only one appearance at a 1965 convention, and did almost no interviews.
So which one of these men was the heart of Batman? Bob Kane’s gravestone insists that “Bob Kane, Bruce Wayne, Batman—they are one and the same,” and that Kane “infused his dual identity character with his own attributes.” Batman & Bill, on the other hand, argues that Finger, with his eye for strangeness and his penchant for avoiding the limelight, was Bruce Wayne’s real spiritual father.
But with a cultural icon like Batman, who historically has reflected the zeitgeist rather than steering it, that discussion depends on which version of Batman you’re talking about. It’s no accident that Kane seized the moment when Bats became a TV star in 1966, and again when Tim Burton made him a movie juggernaut in 1989. Kane’s larger-than-life personality and big talk were the perfect match for the giant media phenomenon who sailed through kaleidoscopic pop art and dark-camp lunacy. But there are many beloved versions of Batman , that range from grim to glam.
And as Batman & Bill continues, it becomes obvious that Kane only understood part of what made Batman great. Again and again he trumpet’s the hero’s surface elements, the cool car and the awesome gear. But that surface is built on a foundation that Finger constructed. It was Finger, not Kane, who obsessively built the tiny details that, along with the core of Bruce Wayne’s motivations, became the substrate for one of comics’ most enduring and adaptable heroes. Even if you still believe that Kane, not Finger, came up with the cape, the cowl, the billionaire alter ego, the origin story, the Batmobile, and most of the supporting cast, those things are just the trappings—they’re not why people keep falling in love with Batman.
Batman’s great strength is that he’s always recognizably Batman, with his thirst for justice and his single-minded focus, whether he’s in a dark alley or a day-glo soundstage. And the range of weirdness that Batman can live within feels like the work of a geeky introvert who kept a giant book of random facts and observations. (Not to mention that the best Batman stories are often where he wins by being a total geek—by figuring stuff out or by using knowledge, rather than batarangs, against his foes)
Recognizing Finger as the unsung co-creator of Batman doesn’t just right a longstanding wrong. As Batman & Bill shows, this long-deserved recognition also helps us to understand what kind of mind really built Gotham City. (Fair warning: Batman & Bill is about 20 minutes too long, with some slow parts, and needless repetition. But it’s still a highly compelling documentary.) Finally seeing a portrait of the shadowy figure behind Batman is like getting to know the real Bruce Wayne, for the very first time.
To my knowledge, this is the earliest card/postcard depicting Batman & Robin. The postcard was issued in 1943, which corresponded with the release of the serial, "Batman" which starred Lewis Wilson (Batman) and Douglas Croft (Robin).
The postcard measures 4.75" x 6.5" and was issued by the March of Dimes in 1943. The back reads, "Thanks For Your Contribution To The March Of Dimes To Fight Infantile Paralysis!"
I recently bought a high grade example at the Kane County Toy show and submitted it to PSA for grading. I am not sure if they will evaluate this piece.
Troy R. Kinunen
This message has been edited by troykinunen2008 on May 15, 2017 1:40 PM