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Batman 100
"The Great Batman Contest!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND June, 1956

Story: Bill Finger (?) Art: Sheldon Moldoff

The Bat-Rope, The Utility Belt, The Batarang, The Batmobile, and The Batplane -- Readers have seen The Dynamic Duo use these in their fight against crime, but now a new "Bat-Weapon" has made its debut! What is this new device? How does it work? All this is answered when Batman and Robin reveal the winner in "The Great Batman Contest!" On the splash page, The Caped Crusader tells The Boy Wonder that somewhere in The Bat Cave is an invention which will become a great asset in their crimefighting exploits, and Robin can only wonder which one, indeed? Across the country, folks tune in to the national news and learn that The Caped Crusader will award a Batman scholarship for a four-year course in Criminology for the student who invents the best "Bat-Weapon." The winning device will become a permanent addition to The Masked Manhunter's arsenal of crimefighting equipment!

Throughout the nation, kids like Jeff Keating labor at completing their inventions so that they can win the scholarship and learn how to fight crime! On the day that the contest deadline has come and gone, The Bat-Cave is filled with several distinctive entries, and while The Boy Wonder marvels at the scope of the devices, Batman already sees that many of the devices are impractical! A flashlight projector with microfilm slides of an encyclopedia of Criminology for easy reference. Plans for a Batmobile-Cannon are deemed too risky for being catapulted from rooftop to rooftop. (Holy Cannonball Run, Batman!) Soon, after all of the entries have been examined, four inventions are left. Each one is to be given the ultimate test, and the one which is found to be the most useful in an actual Batman case is to be the winner! The Boy Wonder figures that Number Four will have the best chance of winning. At night, Batman and Robin are on patrol in Gotham City, when they spot Stilts Morgan -- The Harbor Pirate and his gang! Stilts and his men are making their getaway in a speedboat, but The Caped Crusader is confident that they won't be getting far... that is if Invention Number One works out!

The instantly inflatable plastic watercraft is soon set, and Batman applies the compressed air cylinders, which will propel it along like a jet. The Dynamic Duo are soon on their way on the water, but even as they begin to catch up with the speedboat, their craft has run out of "fuel" since the "boat" can only run for fifteen minutes. The first invention has been rejected, but Batman uses his belt-radio to contact the harbor patrol and gives the location of The Morgan Mob. The harbor police catch Morgan's men, but Stilts has given them the slip, but they have learned that he is hiding out in a lighthouse! They soon arrive at the watchtower, where the mobster has barricaded himself, but Batman has brought along Invention #2 -- suction shoes for scaling the sides of buildings!

Soon, The Caped Crusader is moving slowly, but surely up the side of the lighthouse, where Stilts can't see him, but as a storm begins, Batman is confident that Invention Number Two will be the winner! Unfortunately, the rain has caused the suction shoes to be caught on the slick surface of the lighthouse, and at that moment, Stilts spots Batman, and prepares to shoot the easy target, but The Caped Crusader's Batarang enables him to disarm the mobster! He surrenders and Batman is soon aided from his uneasy perch, and back at The Bat-Cave, Robin sees that only Inventions #3 and #4 remain, with Batman believing that #4 will be the winner!

The following night, The Dynamic Duo are patrolling Gotham's streets, when they spot masked men, who dash back inside a building, then split up! Batman hands Robin Invention Number #3 -- portable T.V.- Walkie-Talkies Outfits! Batman and Robin enter the warehouse, each reporting to the other on the walkie-talkies, and when The Boy Wonder arrives at the west wing of the furniture warehouse, The Caped Crusader sees on his monitor that Robin is surrounded! As he starts to advise his partner of the positions of the bandits, the screen begins to show static from electrical interference, and Invention #3 has failed, with The Masked Manhunter hoping that he can get to the room in time to help Robin!

In the meantime, The Boy Wonder makes good use of the Bat-Rope by lassoing the furniture behind the crooks, and bringing it down on them! Batman arrives in time to see how Robin has cleaned house, and at The Bat-Cave, the only device left is Invention #4, which they hope lives up to its expectations. The nation learns of the three failures, and Jeff Keating watches as his invention will be the next to be used by The Dynamic Duo, and he's confident that he has worked hard on it to make it fool-proof. Two days pass, and then... the moment has arrived! In Gotham City, Batman and Robin have spotted the helicopter used by criminals to rob penthouses, and in their Batmobile, The Boy Wonder wishes that they were in The Batplane so they could see which rooftop they landed on. The Caped Crusader smiles, for they don't need The Batplane... they need Invention #4!

Batman removes the device from its carton, and Robin sees that it resembles a folded-up umbrella, but when a small button is pressed, it opens, and expands into -- A Bat-Kite! The Masked Manhunter attaches a small camera to The Bat-Kite, which will be used for aerial photography! Soon, the timer on the camera clicks the shutter from above, and when it is brought down, The Dynamic Duo now know which rooftop the helicopter is on! Approaching the building, they see that it is all boarded up, and Batman knows that if they try to break it, the gang will get away on their helicopter, but he has an idea. In minutes, The Boy Wonder flies The Bat-Kite, making it drop a hooked lasso to a coping...

After that, Batman scales the side of the building, but as he reaches the rooftop, he is spotted by the hoods! Quickly, The Masked Manhunter uses his belt-radio to have The Boy Wonder perform Batplane Manuever Two, and Robin knows that this mean a right wing over, then a dive! He has The Bat-Kite perform "Batplane Manuever Number Two, " with the crooks being knocked to the ground by its sudden appearance! Soon, The Bat-Kite is doing Manuever Number Six, which keeps the crooks off-balance while The Caped Crusader finishes with them! With The Helicopter Gang in custody, Jeff Keating receives The Batman Scholarship, his invention had served as a stand-in for The Batplane, and aided in the capture of dangerous crooks! In the skies of Gotham City, its citizens see the newest addtion to The Caped Crusader's crime-fighting arsenal -- The Bat-Kite!

Just imagine... being given a chance to invent a crime-fighting device to aid The Dynamic Duo in their patrol of Gotham City! Such is the stuff of this Silver Age story!

Jeff Keating is really something. He wants the scholarship so that he can learn how to fight crime, rather than spend his time reading comics and meeting girls. Wotta guy!

Holy Encyclopedia Brown, Batman! That handy reference Criminology flashlight only can be of use in the dark, and no doubt just the ice-breaker needed for those nocturnal encounters with the likes of Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

A Batmobile Cannon was used in The Filmation Batman Cartoons of the Sixties, but it was more of a catapult which ejected The Dynamic Duo from their seats in the Batmobile.

Nice to see that Batman worked with the harbor police in the apprhension of Stilts Morgan, and didn't shun their aid when it came time to be freed from the side of the lighthouse.

In the Sixties, folks would be able to see Batman and Robin on TV, on the ABC series, and the Filmation cartoon, as well.

Only Batman can make such a thing as flying a kite seem so dramatic and cool.

One of Batman's Silver Age foes is The Kite-Man, whose exploits in the '80s were chronicled by our own Tony Isabella. One wonders how Charles Brown would have fared against The Bat-Kite?

This Review Is Dedicated To Tony Isabella and Bob Rozakis

Steve Chung
"The Great Batman Review!"