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Batman #22 - Story 2

February 9, 1944

"Dick Grayson, Telegraph Boy"

Now, one other aspect of the Batman world of the 1940s is the eventual Robin solo stories we will get in 1947 in Star Spangled Comics. Alfred had his stories in recent issues which all lead up to the Alfred story we will see in our next blog installment, but it seems a ways off to start testing the waters with Robin on his own, right? It's cute though as the editor of the book steps in with a dictated telegram that should be sent with "Dick Grayson, Telegraph Boy".

The story opens with Batman trying to stop a gang from stealing gems. He is knocked out and we cut to later in Gordon's office. This "ghost gang" manages to steal from places that have the tightest security and knows when gems are being transferred. But more concerning for Batman is the fact that Robin has been incommunicado for a while.

And as for Dick, well, he seems to have taken a job as a telegraph boy! Why? It's not immediately explained. But it's not a pleasant experience as his boss has him doing jobs outside his listing. He mows lawns or he acts as a caddy. And then one day he is given a telegram to deliver to an observatory atop a mountain he needs a gondola to reach. He is met by the assistant to the head of the observatory and notes that he has seen the guy before.

He returns home and checks the files in the Batcave and is surprised by Bruce who thinks someone broke into the Batcave. Dick says he can't explain the job when he gets an allowance from Bruce and has enough to do with homework and crimefighting, but he shows him what he discovered, a criminal named Optik.

The two head up to the observatory as Batman and Robin. There, they are captured by Optik and his men and tied to a railing. Optik explains what is a pretty cool scheme. He uses the telescope to train on Gotham City. It is so exact, that one lip reader in the gang is able to see when the bankers and jewelers are planning to move money. He then removes the sun shields from the telescope and sets it to rotate. The telescope has now become a giant magnifying lens and will burn the two along with the real head of the observatory if they don't escape.

Batman stops the motor by using a nearby deflector to send the beam to the mechanics that drive the telescope. Batman then uses Optik's method by reading their lips as they descend on the gondola. Batman arrives at the bank, but the gang, save one, got away from Gordon and his men. (How very 66.).

And who is that one person? A character called Egghead! (Yeah, not our Egghead.). He refuses to talk and so he is turned over to the head of the observatory. He is made to think he has driven a long way until he finally can see he is on board a space ship. The professor will not let him go until he tells him where the gang's hideout is.

But before they can head out to the hideout, Optik surprises them with his gang. But Batman turns the tables by throwing the lights and engaging the optical display the observatory uses for guests. It confuses the gang and makes it easy for Batman and Robin to round them up.

The story ends with Dick promising to quit his job after one more day. It turns out he took the job as he spent all his allowance on war bonds and was left with no money to buy Bruce a birthday present - a telescope. Clearly, this isn't a Robin solo story, but we can definitely put this one up as a potential Batman 66 story. I could see the final fight in the observatory playing out and the ending with Alfred and Aunt Harriet wondering why Bruce isn't so happy to see his gift.

And that takes us to our third story of the issue tomorrow - Alfred's first short, Citizens!

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