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ISSUE NO. 839
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After 839 issues, this is the first-ever "reprint" issue of DIal B for BLOG. Why? Because we're doing westerns, and you can't do western comics without mentioning Bat Lash. But we covered Bat Lash in a previous issue of Dial B, and I really have nothing to add to what was said in that issue. So, we're simply re-presenting it (with the new addition of Bat's beautiful DC Who's Who page, pictured above)!
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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 must have influenced the creation of Bat Lash, but far more influential was the personality of his creator, Sergio Aragones, famed for his MAD magazine cartoons. In the clip below, Sergio discusses how he created Bat Lash. Click PLAY to watch it!
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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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Check out this amazing splash page from Bat Lash #1, by Nick Cardy...

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In Bat Lash #5, Bat met his creator,
Sergio Aragones
, as depicted by Nick Cardy.
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Bat Lash #6 was pencilled by longtime Justice League of America
artist Mike Sekowsky, and inked by Nick Cardy.
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Aragones also created Bat's brother, and DC
printed his original sketches in the title's seventh issue...
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Here's Bat's brother, as drawn by Nick Cardy...
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We've heard from Sergio, now let's hear from Nick Cardy
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VIDEO CLIP: Nick Cardy (36 seconds).

.Bat Lash was last seen appearing 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 -- there can be only one answer to the age-old questionof did Bat Lash save the west or RUIN it: He SAVED it!

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TOMAHAWK!
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BELOW: The original ad used to make the DBB preview seen above!
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