Was Brave and the Bold Once the Best-Selling Batman Title?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and sixty-eighth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week’s legends.

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COMIC LEGEND:

Brave and the Bold was once the best-selling Batman title.

STATUS:

Apparently True

I couple months ago, I did a legend about whether DC Comics canceled Brave and the Bold despite it being the best-selling Batman title at the time. I noted that that was not true. However, there was an interesting twist to it (one that my pal, Glen Cadigan, picked up as well when I posted that first legend).

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Team-up series were a popular kind of book back in the days when comic books were sold almost entirely on newsstands. Brave and the Bold was not originally a team-up book, but with Brave and the Bold #50, the book became a team-up series…


Around #67, in the midst of the mania from the Batman TV series, Batman became the permanent co-star of the book…


Neal Adams did his first Batman work for the series…


With #98, Jim Aparo joined the book…


Just in time for #100…


Aparo would remain the book’s regular artist for the rest of its run.

Bob Haney had been the regular writer, but after #150, a number of different writers wrote the book, with Mike W. Barr perhaps being the “most” regular of them (really, though, they were all over the place with writers)…


In Brave and Bold #200, the series ended.

Before comic books started being sold in comic book stores, the main approach for comics was to hook in people who weren’t necessarily at the newsstand to buy a comic book (while the direct market’s business model was that you were in a comic book store because you wanted a comic book). So stuff like “Two heroes for the price of one!” was once a major sales point.

And the covers sure stood out!




In his brilliant The Batcave COmpanion for TwoMorrows, Michael Eury interviewed Carmine Infantino and got a confirmation about this very topic:

Eury: When Aparo was drawing The Brave and the Bold, wasn’t it outselling Batman and Detective for a while?

Infantino: For a while, yes. You know why? Because of the multiple characters with Batman, you know what I mean? “Batman AND…” Murray Boltinoff would come in – he was very smart, he was a wonderful editors by the way, a really wonderful editor – and he and I would go through the DC books and we’d pick the last couple of things that sold very well. And whatever one was the strongest, we’d put in a team-up with Batman. And that’s how those things came about.”

As Infantino noted earlier in that same interview, the Batman sales fell a lot in the late 1960s, so I would imagine that that would be about the time period for Brave and the Bold outselling the main Batman titles. Batman was outselling Brave and the Bold in 1969, but Brave and the Bold was outselling Detective, so I guess some time in the early 1970s was the time that Brave and the Bold briefly outsold Batman? I really don’t know that specific answer.

Thanks to the great Michael Eury!

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In the latest TV Legends Revealed – Learn about the Watchmen inspiration that was too scary for some of ABC’s affiliates!

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OK, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don’t even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is [email protected] And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

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See you all next time!


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