Proto-Batman?

Here’s a strange one, from a Chips comic of 1918:

Batsowl

Guide to the Story so far - Dec 21st, 1918.

A man with a secret identity as a giant bat, with a operating from a spectacular hidden cave full of astonishing equipment…

I’m sure that Bob Kane and Bill Finger really do deserve all the credit for the Batman comics – but maybe, just maybe they had dim memories an English story-paper of twenty-one years earlier before they produced that their first episode of the Batman saga for Detective Weekly.

Or maybe not.

One Comment

  1. Posted August 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Interesting! My guess is that he’s a relative of Spring Heeled Jack, who was often portrayed with bat-like wings. Wikipedia has a good article on the subject, which discusses SHJ the literary phenomenon between 1837 and the early 20th century:

    The later fictional portrayals of the character as a wronged nobleman who adopted the guise of Spring Heeled Jack in order to reclaim his stolen fortune and to right injustices, anticipated several distinguishing features of the 20th Century superhero genre.

    Sounds pretty close.


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