Monday, January 14, 2013

Batman in the 1970s Part 53: The 1977 Wrap-Up

by Jack Seabrook
& Peter Enfantino

1977: The Year in Review

1977 was a stable year for Batman and Detective, with all of the highlights occurring in the latter book.  Both series published nothing but 36 page issues all year and cover prices began at 30 cents but went up to 35 cents with the June issues. Batman was published twelve times and remained a monthly, while Detective began the year as a bi-monthly but switched to an eight times a year schedule and thus had a total of eight issues published. Each issue of both titles featured 17 pages of new material, in addition to house fillers such as "Direct Currents," "Publishorial," "The Daily Planet," and a few "DC Profile" features about writers and artists. The letters column in Detective remained "Batman's Hot Line," while the letters column in Batman began the year as "Letters to the Batman" but was renamed "Bat Signals" with the November issue. Letters columns were edited by Bob Rozakis. Julius Schwartz edited both titles all year.

In Batman, covers were by Jim Aparo (7), Mike Grell (4) or Ernie Chua and Vince Colletta. Inside stories were always full-length and starred Batman. Writers were David V. Reed (11) and Denny O'Neil (with Julius Schwartz and E. Nelson Bridwell). Pencils were by John Calnan (4), Grell (4), Romeo Tanghall (2), Chua or Irv Novick. Inks were by Tex Blaisdell (4), Bob Wiacek (3), Colletta (2), Frank Springer (2) or Chua. Guests included Catwoman, the Joker, Lex Luthor, the Penguin, the Riddler, Robin, Skull Dugger, Dr. Tzin-Tzin, and a large cross-section of the Rogue's Gallery in the "Where Were You on the Night Batman Was Killed?" four-issue story arc.

In Detective, covers were by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin (4), Aparo (3) or Rich Buckler and Colletta. The first issue of 1977 featured an 11 page lead story starring Batman and a six page backup story starring Hawkman. The third issue of the year featured an 11 page lead story starring Batman and a six page backup story that told the origin of Dr. Phosphorus, the villain in that issue's lead story. The other six issues featured full length Batman stories.

The lead stories were written by Steve Englehart (6) or Rozakis (2). Pencils were by Rogers (5), Walt Simonson (2) or Calnan. Inks were by Austin (5), Al Milgrom (2) or Colletta. The backup stories were written by Englhart or Rozakis, with pencils by Simonson or Rogers and inks by Milgrom or Austin. Guests included the Atom, Black Canary, the Calculator, Deadshot, Dr. Phosphorus, Elongated Man, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Hugo Strange and the Penguin.

Batman also appeared in the following DC comics in 1977:

Batman Family (6 issues)
The Brave and the Bold (7 issues)
DC Special (1 issue)
DC Special Series (1 issue)
Justice League of America (12 issues)
Limited Collector's Edition (2 issues)
The Super-Friends (7 issues)
World's Finest Comics (5 issues)

1977 was also noteworthy for the return of Neal Adams as a frequent DC cover artist. While he also drew covers for other series, this post features examples of the covers he drew this year that included Batman.

Finally, DC Super-Stars 17 featured the first appearance of the Huntress, who was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman on Earth Two.


Peter's picks:

Best Script: Steve Englehart, "The Dead Yet Live" (Detective 471)
Best Art: Marshall Rogers, "I Am the Batman" (Detective 472)
Best All-Around Story: "The Dead Yet Live" (Detective 471)

Worst Script: David V. Reed, "Skull Dugger's Killjoy Capers" (Batman 290)
Worst Art: John Calnan & Tex Blaisdell, "Where Were You on the Night Batman was Killed?"
(Batman #291-294)
Worst All-Around Story: "Skull Dugger's Killjoy Capers" (Batman 290)
Special Achievement for Awfulness: The "Where Were You on the Night..." arc (Batman #291-294)

Jack's picks:

Best Script: Steve Englehart, "I Am the Batman" (Detective 472)
Best Art: Marshall Rogers, "I Am the Batman" (Detective 472)
Best All-Around Story: "I Am the Batman" (Detective 472)

Worst Script: David V. Reed, "The Testimony of Lex Luthor" (Batman 293)
Worst Art: John Calnan & Tex Blaisdell, "The Testimony of Lex Luthor"
(Batman #293)
Worst All-Around Story: "The Testimony of Lex Luthor" (Batman 293)

1977 Circulations

Batman 150,853
Detective Comics 125,743
Superman 223,222

The Amazing Spider-Man 258,156

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