Cover to Bat Lash #3 (Feb./Mar. 1969)
Art by Nick Cardy.
|First appearance||Showcase #76 (August, 1968)|
|Created by||Joe Orlando|
|Full name||Bartholomew Aloysius Lash|
|Team affiliations||Rough Bunch|
Black Lantern Corps
|Series publication information|
|Format||(vol. 1): Ongoing series|
(vol. 2): Limited series
|Publication date||(vol. 1)|
Oct./Nov. 1968 – Oct./Nov. 1969
Feb. – July 2008
|Number of issues||(vol. 1): 7|
(vol. 2): 6
|Main character(s)||Bat Lash|
|Creative team as of 1968–1969|
|Showcase Presents: Bat Lash||ISBN 1-4012-2295-1|
Bartholomew "Bat" Aloysius Lash is a fictional Western superhero character in the DC Universe. A self-professed pacifist, self-professed ladies' man, and gambler, Bat Lash's adventures have been published by DC Comics since 1968.
In 1968, Carmine Infantino, newly installed editorial director of DC Comics, and his editor, Joe Orlando, came up with the name and basic premise of the loner whose family had been wiped out by murderous thugs, and then brought in Sheldon Mayer (former DC editor and creator of Sugar and Spike) and Sergio Aragonés to further flesh out the concept.
Mayer wrote the first appearance (Showcase #76, August 1968). Infantino claimed to have greatly rewritten it. The assignment was then handed to Aragonés, with Denny O'Neil doing the dialog over Aragonés' plots, and Nick Cardy providing the art. Issues were produced in a variation of the full script method. First, Aragonés would create a plot in thumbnail sketch form, then O'Neil would write the dialog, and last came Cardy's finished art.
Bat Lash first appeared in 1968, in a house ad running in Superman DC Comics. It featured a gangly figure, in silhouette, stalking toward the reader, with the tagline, "Bat Lash. Will he save the West, or ruin it?".
The character's first published story appeared in Showcase #76. It featured a devil-may-care character, a peaceful, violence hating man who attracts trouble wherever he goes. Dialoguer Denny O'Neil summarized that, "He was a charming anti-hero, or as close to a charming anti-hero as comics ever came—at least as we did him. In subsequent handlings Bat Lash became a churlish anti-hero. Sergio [Aragonés] and I tried to make him in the tradition of the charming rogue. Bat had a conscience represented by the flower in his hat which he inevitably threw away whenever he was doing something ratty." [emphasis in original]
Bat Lash's own series only lasted seven issues. Even though editorial director Carmine Infantino claimed it sold well in Europe, sales in the States were not enough to sustain a run of the title. O'Neil has questioned this, remarking that low sales was "always" the reason given for cancellation in those days, and that he had reason to believe that this was not the case with Bat Lash. The character and the series bearing his name have been recognized in the industry, including the 1968 and 1969 Alley Awards for Best Western Titles.
Bat Lash made several other appearances after his cancellation in issues of Weird Western Tales and other titles. He had a story in DC Special Series #16 and a brief backup series in Jonah Hex #49 & 51-52 in 1981. He appears in an alternate time-line in Justice League Europe Annual #2, written in 1991. An older Crimson Fox, through a time travel accident, appears in the middle of a card game, allowing Bat Lash the opportunity to save himself (and her) from Bat's own cheating. During the chase, Bat encounters one 'Miss Sally', who is sad that she has not seen Bat in months.
In 2006, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray wrote Lash into Jonah Hex #3. For Halloween 2007 Bat Lash rides with Jonah Hex to save Lazarus Lane the host Body of El Diablo in Jonah Hex #24. He also appears in Jonah Hex #70.
In 2008, Bat Lash appeared in a self-titled, six issue mini-series from DC, written by Aragones, with dialog by acclaimed western novelist Peter Brandvold, art by John Severin and covers by Walt Simonson. It was reprinted in trade paperback as Bat Lash: Guns and Roses in 2008.
Bat Lash is one of six DC heroes featured in Walt Simonson's 2012 graphic novel, "The Judas Coin".
In other media
- Bat Lash has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing" voiced by Ben Browder. He teamed up with Pow Wow Smith, El Diablo, Jonah Hex, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Green Lantern (John Stewart) to stop Tobias Manning. He is portrayed as easy-going and good-mannered, though still maintaining a mischievous streak. In this incarnation, Lash's dialogue is sprinkled liberally with sage quotes from his father ("My pappy always said...") which, along with his gambling skills and laid-back attitude, refer directly to Maverick, the light-hearted Western series which, like Justice League Unlimited, was produced by Warner Bros.
- During a segment on Conan, Conan O'Brien discussed with Peter Girardi (Creative Director of Warner Bros. Animation) about characters from DC that "sucked". One of the characters discussed was Bat Lash.
- In Westerner, a 2012 song by electro-rock band Judge Rock, Bat Lash appears along with Jonah Hex and other characters from Crisis on Infinite Earths. He is depicted as a "Dandy womanizer, a crack shot, gentleman loner" attending the coming of the aliens, as in issue three of the comic book.
- Wells, John (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-1969. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 209. ISBN 978-1605490557.
- Markstein, Don. "Bat Lash". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Bat Lash", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 37, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (August 1986). "Denny O'Neil". Comics Interview (35). Fictioneer Books. pp. 22–37.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Hanerfield, Mark. "1968 Alley Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Hanerfield, Mark. "1969 Alley Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Interview: Sergio Aragonés, Comic Book Artist #1
- Carmine Infantino, Amazing World of Carmine Infantino