Friday, September 7, 2018

Retro Review: Detective Comics #83 (1944) - "Accidentally on Purpose"

New and Improved

Written by: Don Cameron
Art by: Jack Burnley and George Roussos
Cover Price: 10¢
Release Date: January 1944

As I've gone through the older Batman comics, one thing that consistently cracks me up is Alfred.  He looks a bit like Wimpy from Popeye and I half expect him to tell Batman he’d gladly pay him Tuesday for a burger today.  So, reading an issue with the goal to trim up Alfred and get him in fighting shape seems like so much fun.  Was it?  Let's find out…

We open the issue with Bruce and Dick trying to find Alfred.  They just need someone to make them some cucumber sandwiches!  They are interrupted by the alarm in the Batcave and so, head off to see what’s going on.

Luckily, they labeled the rooms!
At first, I thought the description of the cave and how they get down into seemed a little wonky, but then I found out this was the first appearance of the Batcave in comics which is so awesome!  They do find Alfred in the gym...he thinks he needs to get in better shape.  Alfred is 100% right there!

Bookish Type = Way out of Shape!

Bruce suggests Alfred take a vacation (though he still has him serving him and Dick here!) And Alfred agrees to head off, but the destination is a mystery.  I bet it's not the dude ranch like Dick suggests...actually Dick just keeps on yelling out random shit in this issue and it cracks me up!

Epic Burn!!!

After Alfred heads off, the Dynamic Duo throws shade at him immediately and lament that he was not around when a guy gets hit by a car driven by a gang boss, Biff Bannister.  I am not sure what Alfred is into and I don't think I want to know either.  The story moves forward when Doctor Goodwin shows up to help the hurt pedestrian, who happens to own a jewelry store.

The rest of the issue involves people getting hurt, receiving treatment from Doc Goodwin and then trying to rob themselves afterward.  Yep, Goodwin and Biff Bannister are in cahoots and when Batman goes to find out more, he ends up getting the brainwashing treatment as well.

That night, Batman heads off to do a little safecracking, but his overall greatness helps him fight it all off, but he and Robin still would have been goners if it wasn't for a mysterious, thin man.

It takes the World's Greatest Detective way too long to figure out the mystery man is Alfred, but damn, he looks great!  He went to an exercise camp and really turned things around, but the issue ends with the new and improved Alfred showing that he still is a bit of a clutz.

But Alfred, You are the Bookish Type!
This was a fun issue that may make Batman look like an idiot, but we get the Alfred we recognize her and also the first glimpse of the Batcave.  Yea, that's worth the ten cent price of admission alone and so everything else is a sweet bonus.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue gives readers a slim Alfred and the first foray into the Batcave.  Both are cool and even if Batman is a bit of a buffoon here, Robin is hilarious and the whole package is good fun.


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