TITLE: The Brave and the Bold issue #81
YEAR: December 1968 – January 1969
COMPANY: Superman-DC/National Comics
Back in 1955, Superman-DC/National Comics released “The Brave and the Bold”, a bi-monthly anthology series that would focus on the Silent Knight, the Viking Prince, the Golden Gladiator and Robin Hood.
By issue #25, the series then featured the Suicide Squad (not the version with Harley Quinn) and also issues featuring Hawkman and the Justice League of America.
By issue #50, the series became a team-up series and would showcases Batman (thanks in part to the TV series) and with the popularity of the character, from issue #74 through #200 (1983), the series would be a Batman team-up title and the series would be revived in 1991 as a six-issue mini-series featuring the Green Arrow, the Question an the Butcher, another mini-series in 1999-2000 with Flash and Green Lantern and in 2007, an ongoing series that would feature random team-ups.
For me, “The Brave and the Bold” was always a Batman team-up issue when I was reading it and it was a series that I would often find used. Such as this issue #81.
In this issue, you have Batman and the Flash teaming up as a meathead named Bork has come to Gotham. After being fired from a job on the docks for trying to steal cargo, Bork is then hit by a truck and Carl Bork realizes that not only is he alive, there is no sign of injury on his body.
Wanting to test this, he robs a diner and as the police open fire on him, he is not hurt at all.
Immediately, Bork proclaims himself in charge of the region and telling mob bosses that they will take his orders from here on in. And sure enough, as the gangs try to fight him, they learn quite quickly that he is invulnerable.
The gangs then choose to follow Bork and as Batman shows up to fight him, Batman is beaten up by Bork before getting help from by Barry Allen and as the police try to fight Bork, he beats them all.
Now Bork threatens to take over the city and everyone in Gotham show their allegiance to him.
Batman knows that to beat Bork, they need to find out how he became invulnerable and leaves it up to the Flash to visit all the places he has traveled and find out how he survived and he learns that Bork was shipwrecked in desolation island and the natives were impressed that they made a life-sized carving of him and Flash must find a way to be destroy the carving which happens to be just as invulnerable.
Meanwhile, chaos continues to ravage Gotham thanks to Bork. Can Batman and Flash stop him in time?
Overall, the storyline has that silver age feel. Happy endings, farfetched antagonists but it’s what made those times special with comic books of that era. Comics that can tell an entertaining story without the violence and profanity and wonderful artwork of the time.
I wish I could tell you the staff of who wrote and who created the artwork for this issue but there are no credits. Which was quite common for comic books at the time,
But one thing that I loved about “The Brave and the Bold” is how the writers managed to convey the feel of that era, including its approach to war and other topics for that era.
So, if you have a chance to obtain older back issues of the series, definitely give this issue and other issues after that, a try!