by Jack Seabrook
Batman continued to appear in other DC comics in 1974: he was featured in six issues each of the Justice League of America, World's Finest, and The Brave and the Bold, as well as an issue of Secret Origins. Finally, four $1.00 treasury editions appeared with Batman reprints. They were Limited Collector's Edition C-25, which reprinted five Batman stories, Limited Collector's Edition C-34, which included one Batman reprint, Famous First Edition C-28, which was a facsimile reprint of Detective Comics 27, and Famous First Edition F-5, which was a facsimile reprint of Batman 1.
In short, there were fewer individual Batman and Detective comic books issued in 1974, but the increased page count and the $1.00 books meant that over 1500 pages of Batman comics came out this year, allowing readers and fans to read many old stories that had not been easy to find.
Peter: I hope the quality continues despite the huge loss of Archie Goodwin. I'm cautiously optimistic since we'll see the arrival of Len Wein and Michael Fleisher, writers whose work I've been fond of for years. Obviously, to me, the paucity of the name Frank Robbins is a big plus but the worst aspect of the year was the fumbling of The Rogue's Gallery by writer Denny O'Neil after the phenomenal resurrection of The Joker in Batman 251. As I've commented in past posts, O'Neil may have had his hands tied by editor Julius Schwartz. If not, his "Legendary Writer" status was built on exactly one stellar script.
Jack: Don't forget that he also wrote Green Lantern/Green Arrow, a pretty memorable series.
The Best (and Worst) of 1974
Best Single Story: Night of the Stalker (Detective 439)
Best Back-Up Story: Resurrection of Paul Kirk (Detective 439)
Best Writer: Archie Goodwin, Manhunter
Best Artist: Walt Simonson, Manhunter
Best Reprint: The House Where Time Stood Still (Detective 442)
Worst Single Story: Catwoman's Circus Caper (Batman 256)
Worst Writer: Denny O'Neil
Worst Art: Irv Novick & Dick Giordano, The Night of the Shadow (Batman 259)
Best Single Story: Judgment Day (Detective 441)
Best Back-Up Story: Cathedral Perilous (Detective 441)
Best Writer: Archie Goodwin, Batman and Manhunter
Best Artist: Neal Adams, Batman
Best Reprint: Plastic Man (Detective 441)
Worst Single Story: Hail Emperor Penguin (Batman 257)
Worst Writer: Denny O'Neil, Batman
Worst Art: Irv Novick & Dick Giordano, Batman