Batman Book One by Neal Adams (graphic novel review).

Believe it or not, the long river website already declares that ‘Batman Book One’ by Neal Adams is already out of print or give it a high price when I was looking earlier in the year although some lower priced ones are there again now. I noted it in my bucket list on the hope I could get it cheap. Oddly, this happened and from an unusual source, Neal Adams’ own website.

Granted they don’t have many copies left but at $30 (£22) and autographed as well and I got all three books together, the prices were at least comparable. A lesson to be learnt from not to check all other sources, especially if you want something unique.

In the ‘Introduction’, Neal Adams acknowledges the writers, Dennis O’Neil and Bob Haney for writing the stories that helped to change the Batman image although it wouldn’t have hurt DC Comics to credit them on the cover. He also explains how he moved up from drawing ‘The Adventures Of Jerry Lewis’ to Deadman in ‘Strange Adventures’ and Batman by doing ‘The Brave And The Bold’ first. Initially, we start here with World’s Finest # 175-176 and then into The Brave And The Bold # 79-85 – all the stories are here.

The ‘World’s Finest’ issues are written by Leo Dorfman and Cary Bates. Without giving too much about one of the stories, you would think if aliens watching from above worked out who Batman and Superman really were they have a good way to attack them without a fight.

Of course, ‘The Brave And The Bold’ stories move towards the Batman as we see him today and the removal mostly of his ‘eyebrows’, except for the odd emotional surprise. It also provides a means to see Adams drawing other DC characters including Deadman, the Creeper, the Flash, Aquaman, Teen Titans, Sgt. Rock and Green Arrow. I’m still not sure how Bruce Wayne travelled back into the past and bumped into Sgt. Rock.

Don’t forget, this is still relatively new Neal Adams back in the 1960s still developing his new poses and moving away from the stockiness of the DC Comics formats as he began to play with panel design and pages as a whole. His characters were tellingly more expressive and less stereotypical.

With DC Comics reluctance to credit their people, the first time I spotted it here is with Brave And The Bold # 83 where Adams and Bob Haney are noted.

It’s also of interest to note that Brave And The Bold # 85 is the first introduction of the Green Arrow’s new costume by Adams and has become iconic ever since. Mind you, considering the original costume looked like it was cut from a couple sheets that’s not too surprising.

Although the plot content is largely down to the writers and this is the first time that I’ve seen these ‘The Brave And The Bold’ stories, I was surprised how on 3 occasions outsiders were either told or found out that Bruce Wayne was Batman considering how hard he generally made it for people not to make the connection.

Of course, the knowledge was never passed on for one reason or another. In many respects, ‘The Brave And The Bold’ was more a secondary title to the main two Batman comicbooks but they made their mark as Book 2 will show next. I’ll probably do a full assessment of his early Batman art when I reach Book 3.

GF Willmetts

December 2019

(pub: DC Comics 2018, page graphic novel softcover. Price: well, I paid $30.00 (US) for a signed edition. ISBN: 978-1-4012-7782-6)

check out websites: and–Signed_p_1618.html

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