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BAT LASH'S INSPIRATION -- TV's MAVERICK!
Bat Lash owes a great deal to James Garner's character in Maverick, a 1957 TV series. In it, brothers Brett and Bart Maverick were well-dressed gamblers who went .from town to town looking for a good game of poker. Each show featured both Maverick brothers, alternating which was the central character from week to week.

Bret and Bart Maverick traveled across the West trying to stay out of trouble and make money. The Mavericks preferred playing cards rather than engaging in any sort of manual labor, and, if they got into in trouble, they'd usually leave town rather than stay and fight. The show lasted 124 episodes.

As Bret Maverick, James Garner perfected a character that would remain with him throughout his career: the lovable con-man with a soul of honor and a streak of larceny -- a perfect description of Bat Lash, as well. Also like Bat, Maverick's adventures put more emphasis on humor than on gunplay. Bret and his brother Bart (Jack Kelly) are seen below, on photo covers from Maverick's DELL comic book run.

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MAVERICK #9 MAVERICK #10 MAVERICK #12

TEASER AD FOR BAT LASH

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BAT LASH'S DEBUT: SHOWCASE #76 (AUG. 1968)
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Like Maverick, Bat Lash was also "a lovable con-man with a soul of honor and a streak of larceny." As seen in the ad above, DC hyped Bat's debut for months by asking readers over and over: "Will our new western hero save the west... or RUIN it?"

Bat Lash debuted in Showcase #76 (cover pictured right), DC's tryout title which featured a different star every few issues or so. Was Bat an instant hit, or did DC have plans to give him his own title immediately no matter what? Either way, Bat Lash was given his OWN title after just a single Showcase issue.

Below is a page from Bat's premiere appearance, August 1968. Created by Sergio Aragones, Denny O'Neil and Nick Cardy, here's the first story featuring one and only BAT LASH! Would Bat Lash save the west... or RUIN it? Take a look reader, and decide for yourself...

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BAT LASH #1 (NOV. 1968)

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Check out this amazing splash page from Bat Lash #1, by Nick Cardy...
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HOUSE AD FOR BAT LASH #2 (JAN. 1969)

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"Why was Bat Lash the most talked-about magazine at the 1968 comics fan convention?" Well, one reason might be this brilliant opening sequence by Nick Cardy, showing how Bat got out of a shotgun marriage by hiring some local kids to dump vermin on the ceremony! But did all this help save the west... or RUIN it?

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HOUSE AD FOR BAT LASH #3 (MARCH 1969)

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"Is he saving the west... or RUINING it?"

BAT LASH COVER GALLERY

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BAT LASH #4 BAT LASH #5 BAT LASH #6

BAT LASH #5 -- BAT MEETS SERGIO ARAGONES!
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BAT LASH #6 -- MIKE SEKOWSKY PENCILS, INKED BY NICK CARDY!

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BAT LASH #7 -- FINAL ISSUE!
BAT'S LONG-LOST BROTHER RETURNS... TO KILL BAT!

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Sergio Aragones did the original designs for Bat's brother, and DC decided to print his model sheet in the issue. Here it is, complete with Sergio's note to editor Joe Orlando and publisher Carmine Infantino, which indicates that Sergio didn't yet know this was to be Bat Lash's final issue:
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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BAT LASH?
.Bat Lash was last seen appearing on the Cartoon Network, in a Justice League Unlimited episode where the team goes back in time and encounters DC's western heroes. There's good old Bat, shown right, in a characteristic pose, with his hands up.

But in the end, did Bat Lash save the west... or RUIN it? One thing's for sure -- with Joe Orlando, Sergio Aragones, Denny O'Neil and Nick Cardy in his posse, he certainly didn't RUIN it! Therefore, in my opinion -- that's me, Robby Reed, the creator of this blog and author of this article -- ther e can be only one answer to the age-old question did Bat Lash save the west or RUIN it: He SAVED it!
THE END!

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