Batman 181 – Poison Ivy First Appearance!
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Penciler: Sheldon Moldoff
Inker: Joe Giella
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Cover: Carmine Infantino
I love the character Poison Ivy. I enjoy her in Gotham, I feel she was played right by both actresses. I tolerated her in the Batman Movie she was in. I was always happy to see her in Batman books, and real happy that she is used with one of my other favorite characters, Harley Quinn.
So this book has been in my sights since I started collecting again. Often times, it was either priced outrageously, or I had to make a decision of getting this book,and nothing else, or buying a few books, and just holding it and whispering “some day my pretty” (creeped out the people around me, but screw them)
Always a hot button, I don’t think I’ve gone more than three days not searching it on eBay, or on a few other sites, just in case somebody slipped up and let one go reasonably. Finally they did.
In June, 1966, this little book was released, and it not only introduced us to Poison Ivy, but also to 3 other villainess’, Dragonfly, Silken Spider, and Tiger Moth. In fact, at the time, they were the Top 3 female villains in Gotham City.
The story goes that an art gallery had a showing of their portraits, naming them the top 3. Poison Ivy took offense to being left out, so she decided to become number one.
As usual, all sorts of chicanery happens, henchmen watch Batman and Robin while the Top 3 go to meet the up and comer Poison Ivy, there’s an escape, and an arrest.
To read it, you would think that both Batman and Robin were falling for her, but in reality, only Batman. Robin had to reign him in, because he was falling for the modern, beautiful Poison Ivy.
Why am I doing a quick review of this book. Because I was lucky enough to finally get my hands on one, and not have to give it back. That’s right kids, I finally have me one. It was a solid #2 on my personal grail list for the year (Behind Batman Adventures #12), I threw a bid out on Ebay, and voila, it showed up at the office on Thursday.
My fear was that the pictures wouldn’t do it justice. Or that the book wouldn’t present as well in person. Or, the centerfold (Batman and Robin) wasn’t in it, or loose. This makes the value plummet. (My friend got his a few years back for $30, no centerfold)
The book looked exactly like the pictures, but more importantly, the staples were solid, the cover attached like new, and the centerfold was perfect.
The story was hokey. A relic from a different era, but to me, that just makes it perfect. Growing up on Adam West’s Batman, the ultra real Batman that is out today in the books, it just doesn’t always hold my interest. The artwork is good, the covers amazing, but…the writing is mediocre a majority of the time as well. Not lack of talent, there are too many stories to coordinate, different universes bore me, etc.
I am a big mark for Poison Ivy though as a character. She’s fun, smart, and her plants always give her an advantage over others, at least for a bit. Today she’s teamed up with Harley Quinn quite a bit, and I am fine with that, as I enjoy that character too.
A fun read if you like nostalgia, an origin of one super villain and 3 Who? Villains, I’d look for the facsimile and give it a read. Or if you have the means, go fourth on eBay and look for your own.
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