And now I present the first complete comic book storyline I ever read (that didn’t involve mutated sentient turtles, that is). The previous issue of Detective Comics was my actual starting point, but it was a part three of three. These were my first parts one and two. If this storyline wasn’t any good, I might be blogging about basket weaving or something now.
While those Matt Wagner covers certainly didn’t hurt, Chuck Dixon’s story is what sold me. And that story is notable for more than my own personal reasons—it’s the introduction of Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. the Spoiler, who years later would become a Robin and then a Batgirl (an excellent Batgirl at that, for too short a time). Here, we meet her as the daughter of the Cluemaster, a second-rate costumed criminal who’s basically a poor man’s Riddler. Stephanie is not a fan.
The story also serves as a good showcase for then-newish Robin, Tim Drake. (I was initially very confused when Batman called him “Tim” instead of “Dick.” I was all like, “How does Batman make a mistake?”) Tim was a great Robin and generally a great character in the 90s, and he really began to soar in Dixon’s stories. He’s smart, resourceful, not above goofing up—relatable and a solid role model for kids.
I enjoyed these issues when I was nine, and I’m delighted to say they hold up just fine. (I had excellent taste as a child, clearly.) A great new character and, for me, the birth of a lifelong hobby…all in three unassuming issues at a mere $1.25 a pop (the good ol’ days!).
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciler: Tom Lyle
Inker: Scott Hanna
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology
Appropriate For: ages 9 and up