Batman Kicking It Old-School

In an article that I recently read, it described the “old look” Batman vs. the “new look” Batman. I knew exactly what it was talking about. I remember that as a kid I preferred the “old look” Batman. Even so, that when I went to the used bookstore by the K-Mart on Long Point Drive in Spring Branch to buy comic books, I would buy Batman or Detective Comics only if it was “old look”.

However, what I did NOT know until now is when that changeover took place. It was between May & June of 1964.

The last old look Batman issues for both the Batman and Detective Comics series was in May 1964, but what is interesting is that the artists were not different. It was the guy in charge who was new to Batman. Julius Schwartz is the guy who created many of the Silver Age characters (Flash, the Atom, Hawkman & Hawkgirl, etc.) all by reinventing heroes from the Golden Age and for that, bringing Batman into the Silver Age, I can understand the Bats getting a new look in the Summer of ’64. (But that doesn’t mean that I had to like it.)

Here are the credits for Batman #163 and #164.

Executive Editor; Jack Schiff
Cover Artists: Sheldon Moldoff & Ira Schnapp
Writer: Bill Finger
Penciler: Chic Stone
Inker: Charles Paris
Letterer: Joe Letterese
Executive Editor: Julius Schwartz
Cover Artists: Sheldon Moldoff & Joe Giella
Writer: Ed Herron
Penciler: Sheldon Moldoff
Inker: Joe Giella
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino

Batman #163 (May 1964)

Batman #164 (June 1964)

Detective Comics #326  (May 1964)

Detective Comics #327 (June 1964)

One thing about buying Batman comics was that I was especially drawn to the giant annuals and giant specials published throughout the Sixties because those were reprinting older Batman stories. So, these were also a source for “Old Look” Batman.

Batman #187 (January 1967)

Looking at the credit listings above, I see Sheldon Moldoff’s name. “Shelly”, as he signed his name, was the second artist to draw Hawkman in the early 1940s, but he also gave us Bat-mite and Poison Ivy.

Then there is Bill Finger. He was the guy who invented many Bat-things (the Batmobile, the Batcave, the Batplane, etc.) and until 2015, Finger was not credited as being the co-creator of Batman. Since 1940, Bill Kane had gotten all of the credit because beyond his retirement in 1966 it was his name that appeared on the title page. Bob Kane’s name continued to appear on the title until issue #202 (June 1968). This was when Carmine Infantino, a contributor to the new look, took over as executive editor.

Here is the title page to Batman #163 (May 1964) and note that “Bob Kane” is the only name that appears.

When Carmine Infantino took over in 1968, things changed and the writers and artists started getting credit where credit is due.

Title page of Batman #205 (September, 1968)