Batman Meets “The Monsters”

“The Monsters” was published in the April 1934 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. It featured a renegade scientist who had used an experimental formula to enlarge humans. The basic roots of the story come from the H. G. Wells’ 1904 story, “The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth.” In the Doc Savage story, the giant humans are tools of a criminal gang that want to use them to rob, pillage, and extort cities into paying “protection” money.

Batman #1 features a remarkably similar story.  Human beings are injected with a compound that speeds up their growth glands. The end results are “giants” who are as tall as fifteen feet. These massive creatures are limited in intellect are used for simply robberies albeit on a large scale.

In the Doc Savage story, the giants are protected by armor they wear.  In the Batman story, they wear bulletproof clothing.

The criminal gang in Batman #1 plan to use their giants similarly as depicted in the Doc Savage story. They will rob banks.

The giants in “The Monsters” are incapable of speech.  There is no dialog for any of the giants in the Batman story.

Going through the Batman comic series I spied another oddity that does not belong to Doc Savage but is closely related to another Street & Smith character, The Shadow.  “The Crime Master” first appeared in the July 1, 1934, issue of The Shadow Magazine.

Interestingly, Batman #2, published July 19, 1940, features a story that uses a mystery novel titled “The Crime Master” as the center of the plot. In the Batman story, mild mannered Adam Lamb enters the story reading “The Crime Master.” Later that night, he falls, hitting his head, causing a severe injury.  While trying to regain his senses he gazes at the image of a bat.

Readers may wonder about this but in The Shadow’s story he is described as a batlike creature – “A squidgy sound occurred. It was made by concave rubber disks, attached to hands and feet. A batlike figure began its ascent straight up the precipitous bricks.”

When the clock chimes midnight Adam Lamb turns in a grotesque person closely resembling Mr. Hyde from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”  Lamb becomes a criminal set on reenacting the crimes he read about in his mystery novel.

The November 1, 1931 issue of The Shadow printed a story called “The Red Envoy.” In it, The Shadow uses a magician’s trick called the Devil’s Whisper to distract an enemy.  “The left hand of The Shadow made a movement; the thumb and third finger snapped together. There was a flash of flame, and a sharp explosion, like a pistol shot, directly in front of the Red Envoy’s eyes.”

The Batman uses a similar trick with a smoke pellet. Perhaps it is only a coincidence.

This is the end of this story but it is not the end of Street & Smith plots appearing in DC Comics.