Detective 36 – Hugo Strange debuts, Buck Marshall and Bruce Nelson end, and Slam Bradley heads to China
Although the ears on the Batman costume had decreased to their “normal” level by this time, the insert on Detective 36 (Feb 40) still showed the long, pointy-ears.
Bill Finger and Bob Kane introduce Professor Hugo Strange in this story, a criminal mastermind, who uses a fog machine to allow his men to safely flee their crimes.
Strange is cut from the same cloth as pulp fiction villains: wealthy, intellectual, but physically inferior to the hero.
There is not too much else to the villain at this point, but he returns later in the year, in Batman 1, with a monstrous plan.
Buck Marshall’s series comes to a close with this issue. Bad guys try to steal a claim to a gold mine and kill the prospector, but Buck saves the day.
My feeling is that at this point, the Sheriff retires, possibly be awarded a name for doing so, and Buck moves into the Sheriff job. As this clearly involves relinquishing one’s name, his series ends.
Bruce Nelson’s series also concludes with this issue. For the previous three issues, Bruce had been in Africa, but he is now back in the US, skiing.
He solves a fairly run-of-the-mill murder case. There is little that remains of the dark and twisted serials that began this series. I suspect Bruce Nelson himself has grown bored of the ease of his last year or so, and heads to Europe and enlists to fight the war.
After their harrowing time in the French Foreign Legion, when Slam and Shorty were forced to sleep in neighbouring cots, they are back in bed together at the start of Jerry Siegel’s story in this issue.
But not for long, as they get hired to retrieve (steal) an idol from deep inside China. While it’s true they are clearly in a very remote, inland region, it still seems odd that there is no acknowledgement of the war.