Who is that woman driving the motorcycle on the cover of Detective 151 (Sept. 49)? The picture does not correspond to the Batman and Robin story inside. Simply due to her red hair, and from lack of any other options, I aver that this is Vicki Vale. She had been introduced almost a year earlier in the pages of Batman, although she had yet to appear in Detective Comics.
The story in this issue is a complex one, dealing with a man who rescues others, but then demands they sign over an I.O.U. for their lives.
He then attempts to blackmail them, warning that he can foresee their deaths and prevent them, but if they refuse to pay him, he won’t.
Aside from the Dick Sprang art there is little to recommend this tale, but I decided that if any of the interior stories were worth commenting on, I would also write up the Batman story in that issue. Which I have done.
The Robotman story in this issue is entertaining, sometimes even intentionally so. The story opens with a man discovering a box containing Robotman’s head.
Ah, that panel made me laugh so hard.
It turns out Robotman allowed himself to be used to test out a new motor an inventor had created, but it sent racing uncontrollably around the world until he smashed his own body in order to stop.
Pow-Wow Smith, Indian Lawman begins in this issue, with art by Carmine Infantino. The series is vastly less racist than its name would imply.
We get the whole backstory of the character in this issue. His real name is Ohiyesa, of the Sioux. As a young boy, he made friends with a white settler, Jimmy.
After stopping a fight between loggers, they give him the nickname Pow-Wow Smith. So it’s bestowed on him by white men, who are shown to be abrasive and difficult. It’s a backhanded compliment, but Ohiyesa accepts it with pride, and refers to himself that way as well.
Jimmy goes off to college, and Ohiyesa decides to go as well, though members of his tribe are concerned that he is abandoning their ways for those of the white invaders.
Ohiyesa graduates, and gets a job as a “lawman” (presumably a freelance policeman). He returns home to his tribe, but dons his native gear when he is with them, to show he has not abandoned his past.
Although the series would become primarily a mystery series with a western patina, this first story gives more of a taste of the actual issues that the character would deal with, a foot in each world, but not entirely part of either.
It was also a good addition to the book, maintaining the “detective” concept, while at the same time bringing a western series into the title, at a time when westerns were the big hit craze.