Penicillin, Nuclear fission and space flight are all bums. When it comes to innovation, they may think they're Billy Big-Potatoes but we all know that the greatest invention of the 20th Century was the DC 100-page comic.
And the first 100 page comic I ever had was Batman #255.
As it turned out, it was no ordinary 100 page comic, for it contained both a werewolf and the work of the man Stan Lee once notoriously failed to dub, “Nefarious Neal Adams.”
Admittedly, the presence of a werewolf made a bigger impact on me as a child than did the presence of Adams. The truth is, as a youngster, I tended to see Batman artists of the era as interchangeable, with me somehow lacking any ability to distinguish between the likes of Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Dick Dillin, Irv Novick or anyone else who got to draw the cowled crusader. In fact, the only Batman artist who stood out as distinctive for me at the time was Jim Aparo.
Because there's a werewolf loose on the streets of Gotham.
Not being one to hang around, Bats soon leaps into action by getting witlessly knocked out before waking to find himself chained to a building site.
And he's not alone - because the werewolf's there.
And he's after blood.
Happily, Milo gets his comeuppance.
Not so happily, Batman almost gets his - until he's saved by the sort of luck that those of us who live in the real world never experience.
Obviously the first thing anyone's going to talk about with an issue like this is Neal Adams' art and it's ironic that it made no impression on me at the time because - his blink-and-you'll-miss-it stint on Killraven aside - it's now probably my favourite art-job I've seen by him.
If Adams' artwork's redoubtable, you do fear you can't say the same about our hero's detective skills. He's on the lookout for a werewolf but doesn't seem to draw a connection when he's invited to the home of a man called Lupus.
Another thing that strikes me is it's a full-length tale. One of the quirks of the 100 page comics is that their greater length meant the new tales at the beginning of each issue always felt shorter than they actually were, meaning you didn't necessarily appreciate them as much as you would've done if they'd been in a normal-length comic.
Then again, I didn't necessarily appreciate Neal Adams as much as I should've done either, so maybe I'm just naturally under-appreciative.
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
1 year ago