Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Story: Frank Robbins (Dead... Till Proven Alive!), Mike Friedrich (Case Of No Consequence!)
Art: Irv Novick & Dick Giordano

Funky radio DJ: "Yay, keeds -- This is Ho-Ho-Ho, your jolly green deejay at XJL -- with the newest poop on ye great "Oliver Twists" mystery!

Dig the seventh groove on our boys' 'Summer Knights'! Spin at 78 R.P.M. instead of 33 -- take it off on tape -- and playback at 1-⅞ I.P.S.!"

I had to read that opening page three times just to figure out what on Earth was going on there.

And the solution to that particular bat-mystery was... that it was the year 1970.

The whole lead story is a spin on the real life "Paul McCartney Is Dead" urban-meme from the previous year, to the point of featuring a 4-boy pop group from Britain called 'The Twists'. (pictured on the cover) The above radio opening reveals a backmasked, or rather fastmasked, message hidden in one of their songs, hinting that their singer Saul Cartwright (geddit?) is in fact deceased.

Hidden message: "Sure was a ball, Saul -- Too bad it's over!"

Well, that's good enough evidence for me, but not apparently for Batman and Robin, who go to farcical extremes to ascertain just whether or not the lad from 'Lunnon Town' has in fact now been replaced by a lookalike imposter. They secretly record him speaking, secretly record him singing (I said it was farcical) and even bug his phone calls. Do the good guys sound to you a bit, well, obsessed?

Sheesh, they're just a pair of fanboy stalkers now!

By the end of the story the good guys have even broken into a recording studio, however despite his tunnel-vision, the world's greatest detective does still come through with the correct solution by the end of the strip.

And as twists in the tale go, this one's an absolute doozy. In fact I thought the ending was so good that I couldn't possibly tell you what it is here, you'll just have to find a copy of this and read it for yourself. Or look it up elsewhere on the net, I'm sure it won't be too hard to find. Suffice to say that it's completely plausable.

The media theme then continues in a single page of text by Joe Kubert about how to draw comics. Then there's this issue's back-up strip Case Of No Consequence!, which concerns Bats' attempts to recover a stolen camera on behalf of a deaf-mute. It's fortunate for said innocent that Bruce Wayne is not just a photography buff, but also versed in basic American Sign Language.

The Letters To The Batcave page features epistles from one "Mike W Barr" and also a "John Workman" (surely not?), but the media element that most interested me here had to be the advert on the inside back-cover for an 8mm ciné projector.

Not only could this ingenious contraption project both black-and-white AND colour film, but it was also battery-powered, and even came with a free pair of "Miracle Specs".



Makes People Look So Full and Real, You'll Feel You Can Reach Out and Touch Them

Just put on the "Miracle Specs" and you achieve a thrilling new experience. You see - not the old flat pictures you've seen for years - but life-like round images so real you "know" you could reach out to touch and feel them."

In my quarter of a century as a ciné enthusiast, I have never come across such incredible technology, let alone any projector powered solely by batteries. Just who was this genius who was capable of manufacturing such an unheard of device?

On the evidence that I have available, I'm guessing Bruce Wayne.

(with thanks to Herschel)


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