In 1979, twelve monthly issues of Batman and six bi-monthly issues of Detective Comics were published.
Detective was 68 pages for a dollar, with no ads until the last issue of the year. Issue #483, with a May cover date, celebrated the 40th anniversary of Batman's first appearance. Editorial chores were shared by Paul Levitz, Al Milgrom and Julius Schwartz. Covers were by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano, Rich Buckler and Giordano, Jose Garcia-Lopez, Giordano alone (2) or Jim Starlin.
Batman Family had been canceled at the end of 1978 and became part of Detective with the first issue in 1979. This meant that each issue of Detective began with a lead story featuring Batman and then included various characters in backup stories.
The Batman lead stories ranged from 16 to 20 pages. Scripts were by Denny O'Neil (5) or Jim Starlin. Art was by Don Newton and Dan Adkins (4), Marshall Rogers, or Jim Starlin and Craig Russell. Guests included the Bronze Tiger, Kathy Kane, the League of Assassins, Maxie Zeus, Ras al Ghul, and Talia.
The backup stories featured a number of characters. Robin appeared six times, in stories ranging from 10 to 12 pages. Stories were by Bob Rozakis (3), Jack Harris (2) or Paul Kupperberg. Art was by Kurt Schaffenberger (4), inked by David Hunt (2), Jack Abel or Frank Chiaramonte; Juan Ortiz and Hunt; or Newton and Adkins. The only guest of note was the Scarecrow.
Batgirl also appeared six times, in stories 8 to 12 pages long, written by Harris (3) or Rozakis (3) and drawn by Don Heck (5) with inks by John Celardo, Frank Chiaramonte, Vince Colletta or Bob Smith; or Bob Oksner and Vince Colletta. The only guest worth mentioning was Killer Moth.
Batman appeared in two backup stories, 8 and 16 pages long, with scripts by O'Neil or Starlin and art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin or Starlin and Craig Russell.
The unlikely team of Man-Bat and Jason Bard appeared twice, written by Rozakis and drawn by Don Newton, with inks by Hunt or McLaughlin.
The Demon was seen four times, in stories of 9 to 15 pages, all written by Len Wein and drawn by Mike Golden and Giordano or by Steve Ditko (3).
The Human Target appeared in three stories of 8 or 9 pages each, written by Wein and drawn by Howard Chaykin and Giordano or by Giordano alone (2).
Finally, Bat-Mite appeared in one 6-page story, written by Rozakis and drawn by Golden and Bob Smith.
The letters column was edited by Mike Barr, Levitz or Rozakis and was called Batcave (5) or Batmail Family.
Batman was less complicated. Each issue was 36 pages for 40 cents and it came out monthly. Editors were Schwartz, through the issue cover-dated March (ending a 15-year run on the title), and then Levitz for the rest of the year. Covers were by Jose Garcia-Lopez (4), Jim Aparo (3), Giordano (2), Andru, Kubert, or Walt Simonson and Giordano.
Each issue featured a single Batman story; ten were 17 pages long, one was 18 and one was a whopping 23 pages. Writers were Wein (11) or Steve Englehart. Artists were Irv Novick and McLaughlin (7), John Calnan and Giordano (2), Calnan and McLaughlin, Novick and Giordano, or Simonson and Giordano
The letters column was Bat Signals, edited by Rozakis or Levitz. Other editorial filler included the Daily Planet Page and the DC Feature page with DC Profile.
This year's Batman run abounded with guests: Batgirl, Blockbuster, Boss Thorne, Calendar Man, Crazy-Quilt, Dr. Phosphorus, Firebug, the Gentleman Ghost, Killer Moth, Kite-Man, Selina Kyle, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, Robin, and Two-Face.
Elsewhere in the DC Universe in 1979, Batman appeared in 12 issues of The Brave and the Bold (covers by Aparo); 12 issues of Justice League of America (covers by Andru, Buckler, Dillin, Garcia-Lopez or Giordano); 12 issues of Super-Friends (covers by Ramona Fradon or Schaffenberger); 6 issues of World's Finest (covers by Neal Adams and Giordano, Aparo or Buckler and Giordano). He also appeared in one shots: Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest (cover attributed to Wally Fax, which sounds fake to me) and DC Special Series (cover by Andru).
THE BEST (AND WORST) OF 1979
Best Script: "A Caper a Day Keeps the Batman at Bay!" by Len Wein (Batman 312, June 1979)
Best Art: "Ticket to Tragedy" by Marshall Rogers (Detective Comics 481, January 1979)
Best All-Around Story: "A Caper a Day Keeps the Batman at Bay!"
Worst Script: "Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas!" by Len Wein (Batman 309)
Worst Art: "Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas!" by John Calnan and Frank McLaughlin
Worst All-Around Story: "Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas!"
Best Script: "Dr. Phosphorus is Back!" by Steve Englehart (Batman 311, May 1979)
Best Art: "Ticket to Tragedy" by Marshall Rogers (Detective 481, January 1979)
Best All-Around Story: "There'll Be a Cold Time in the Old Town Tonight!" by Len Wein, John Calnan and Dick Giordano (Batman 308, February 1979)
Worst Script: "The Galileo Solution" by Denny O'Neil (Detective 484, July 1979)
Worst Art: "The Galileo Solution" by John Calnan and Frank McLaughlin
Worst All-Around Story: "The Galileo Solution"
The 1970s: A Few Last Words
In our 66-week journey through the 1970s, we managed to read 195 comic books (101 Batman, 92 Detective, and 2 specials) and kept our sanity... well, kinda.
THE TOP BATMAN STORIES OF THE 1970s
1 Red Water Crimson Death (The Brave and the Bold 93, January 1971) O'Neil/Adams
2 The House That Haunted Batman! (Detective 408, February 1971) Wein/Wolfman/Adams/Giordano
3 The Lazarus Pit! (Batman 243, August 1972) O'Neil/Adams
9 Ghost of the Killer Skies! (Detective 404, October 1970) O'Neil/Adams/Giordano
10 The Dead Yet Live! (Detective 471, August 1977) Englehart/Rogers/Austin
11 I Am the Batman! (Detective 472, September 1977) Englehart/Rogers/Austin
12 The Laughing Fish (Detective 475, February 1978) Englehart/Rogers/Austin
13 Sign of the Joker! (Detective 476, April 1978) Englehart/Rogers/Austin
16 A Monster Walks Wayne Manor (Detective 438, January 1974) Goodwin/Aparo
17 Night of the Stalker (Detective 439, March 1974) Englehart/Amendolas/Giordano
18 Judgment Day (Detective 441, July 1974) Goodwin/Chaykin
19 Batman's Greatest Failure! (Batman 265, July 1975) Fleisher/Buckler/Wrightson
Best Writer: Steve Englehart
Best Artist: Neal Adams
Best Back-Up: Manhunter
THE CIRCULATION FIGURES
*great covers by Neal Adams
*Gil Kane drawing Batgirl backup stories
*first appearance of Man-Bat
*all-reprint Batman giant-size issues for 25 cents
*Manhunter backup series
*Steve Englehart begins writing Batman stories
*$1.00 classic reprints in Limited Collector's Edition and Famous First Edition treasuries
*Archie Goodwin as editor of Detective
*5-issue "Bat-Murderer" arc
*begin to see new artists like Mike Grell and Ernie Chua
|"Enfantino said what about Frank Robbins?"|
*Englehart/Rogers/Austin run in Detective
*Len Wein takes over writing Batman
*Don Newton's art
So, what happens next? Well, we've got a couple of things planned concurrently that should take up a couple years' time. Hope you haven't planned anything for our foreseeable future, every Monday starting next week.