Detective Comics #87


March 24, 1944

"The Man of a Thousand Umbrellas"


The Penguin's back! And with a title like this, I'm counting on they playing up the multi-nature aspects of the umbrellas.


I've never read Frederick Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, but I have to wonder if he was triggered by the full page of panels of Dick and Bruce "posing" on the beach as they discuss the lack of noise from the Penguin since his recent escape. Bruce comes up with an idea to draw him out. (Wouldn't a good lawyer be able to argue that as entrapment?)


They proceed to set up a traveling umbrella repair business in the hopes of getting his interest and while it doesn't appear to work, we quickly do cut to the Penguin who thinks dark glasses is a good disguise for him. He robs a jewelry store by knocking out the clerks, breaking into the safe with a blowtorch umbrella and then using it to store the loot. As he leaves though, he trips and falls, damaging the umbrella. He steps out into the street and sees Bruce and Dick's horse drawn repair cart.


He sends a kid with a note to have the two stop by his place the next day. When they do, they are greeted by a servant with a clear "prison" accent. Plus, they are set to repairing a large number of umbrellas. An examination of them reveal to them to be all tricked out. Bruce completes the repairs and asks the servant to meet the boss so he can get more regular employment, but the servant refuses to produce him. He plays Bruce and sends the two on their way.

They return that night as Batman and Robin and find Penguin. He drops a glass of thick glass between himself and the two. Penguin runs off, leaving the two to deal with his servants. They quickly take them out and Penguin has to leave behind his collection of umbrellas.



In the days that follow, Bruce and Dick note that more people are carrying umbrellas. A quick discussion with some of them reveals a new umbrella shop that is giving them away for free. And sure enough, the Penguin uses the store to also develop new umbrellas including one with a radio to speak with his gang from.


The two visit the Penguin's shop that night and are quickly captured as he drops two cages on them. he has them rigged to discharge a lethal dose of electricity at midnight as he leaves to test a new umbrella. Left alone, Batman works out a way to bend the bars with an umbrella he is able to snag with his utility belt.


Meanwhile, Penguin has robbed the Van Voort estate and is making his way back thanks to his new glider umbrella. Batman and Robin have a surprise as they open every single umbrella in the place.


He returns and tries to stop them with a few of his umbrellas, only to find them disarmed. He races out and uses his helicopter umbrella to lift him up, but Batman takes out the blades with a well thrown umbrella. Penguin races back inside the darkened store and trips over all the open umbrellas, getting caught up in the ribs.

The story ends with the Duo walking Penguin to jail in the rain without an umbrella. It's a funny little story and the art really stood out to me in this one. There are a number of full panels that cross the page and I featured them here because I liked them. Dick Sprang is the artist for this one.


And with that, we're back tomorrow with the next Sunday newspaper story! Stay tuned, Citizens!

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