Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let us take a minute to celebrate possibly the cutest character in comic books (well at least in the DC universe, Thing isn't so bad himself), Bat-Mite. Bat-Mite may be small, and he may somewhat resemble the Domino’s Noid in stature, but he has won over my heart. I can’t believe that I wasn’t aware of his existence until recently, when I started reading some old Batman stories.

The Bat-Mite is a character from another dimension who is always trying to help Batman, yet despite his good intentions, usually is in the way. Bat-Mite really looks up to Batman, considering the latter his hero.

While I have yet to collect all of the issues featuring the little impling (something to hunt for a the next comic book convention I go to) his cuteness is exemplified in Batman #144 (December 1961) in a story called “Bat-Mite Meets Bat-Girl.” In this story, Bat-Girl is trying to win the heart of the Boy Wonder, Robin while Batman and Batwoman are out of town. The two teens are in charge of watching over Gotham City. While on duty, Bat-Girl’s advances are shot down by Robin, and later, she confides her tale of woe to Bat-Mite. Bat-Mite decides to help out (with no apparent benefit to himself) and play Cupid. While fighting criminals, Bat-Mite follows along invisibly and gives Bat-Girl powers that will not only defeat the thugs, but will simultaneously impress Robin.

Unfortunately the plan goes awry during an effort to make Robin worry about Bat-Girl. Instead of being kidnapped by a gang of toys that Bat-Mite turned into human size, Bat-Girl is abducted by a real gang of criminals. Bat-Mite is so worried, that he eventually tells Robin what he did. Luckily Robin and Bat-Mite are able to track them down, and free the damsel in distress. Luckily, Batman steps in and reminds Robin that he is much too young for romance, though Bat-Girl kisses him despite the adult presence. Bat-Mite, with the cutest scrunched up nose declares that his work is done and that he must be leaving. The Bat-gang waves goodbye and bids adieu to the little "Cupid."

And so goes my introduction to the Bat-Mite. I hope to be seeing a lot more of him in the future!!!

Batman #144 (December 1961), “Bat-Mite Meets Bat-Girl.”
Script: Bill Finger
Pencils: Sheldon Moldoff
Inks: Charles Paris


jbleep said...

Thanks Jacque! Bat-mite stands as a testimont to the wacky and zany 1960’s American comic book. This becomes overly apparent, when put into contrast with Frank Miller’s “modern” Batman. It’s such a shame that the comic book has evolved into this new overbearing beast: the “graphic novel.” With it, we seem to have lost the entertainment and essence of the disposable “comic book.” The essence of that Bat-mite embodied. The essence of cute!

Jacque Nodell said...

Yeah, I really need to read more Batman from the '60s, because I think it changes throughout the decade due to Julius Schwartz's influence, i.e. becoming less zany and more serious.

I really wish I could have been alive to see the days when tons of kids were buying comic books with their disposable incomes, it really must have been something!

Thanks for reading!!!

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Independent scholar and museum professional specializing in 20th century American history and culture