10 Insane Illustrations from Batman Storybook ‘The Cheetah Caper’
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the format, Whitman’s Big Little Books were small but thick storybooks for kids that featured a full-page black-and-white illustration for every (short) page of text. The line kicked off in 1933 with a wildly successful Dick Tracy book and over the next forty years, Whitman’s strange format tackled stories with almost every major comic book super-hero, including one that I finally got my hands on over the weekend: Batman, in The Cheetah Caper!
Released in 1969, The Cheetah Caper reads like a script for the ’60s TV series that was rejected for being too crazy, especially if — like me — you’re too busy to actually read the story and just try to piece together a narrative by looking at the pictures. Each one tells an interesting story all on its own, which is why today, I’ve pulled out ten of my favorites.#1. Just a hot tip for anyone out there working at DC, I would love to write and/or pay good money to buy an entire book of pages where Batman just points out things that are or are not common wrestling moves:
#2. Bruce Wayne seems unreasonably angry in this panel — and Dick Grayson looks absolutely terrified — until you read the caption and realize that he’s just angrily voicing his opinion on the debate that shut down the Source’s comments:
#3. Believe it or not, this is not a metaphor.
#4. Neither is this one, although it’s worth noting that the story page that goes along with the illustration features the line “He held the eight-foot monster up for all to see,” which… You know, it’s probably best if I don’t get into it.
#5. “Come on, Batman! You’ll have time to mack on that MILF later!”
#6. The modern interpretation of Gotham City has always been that it’s overcome with a level of crime that no ordinary police force could contain. Back in the ’60s, though, the crimes were actually more disturbing than they are today. I mean, mass clown murder is pretty scary, but there’s really only one reason you’d find an empty jar of peanut butter at the zoo.
#7. And here’s a little something… for the ladies.
#8. Look, cubs. Batman understands what it’s like to be young, and he knows that when you’re out with the pride, sometimes the pressure’s a little too much and you want to have a few drinks. And if you do, he wants you to call him, no matter how late, so that he can push you home in a bizarre feat of strength.
#9. No caption for this one is necessary, as the one that’s provided pretty much covers it. Incidentally, that’s the Cheetah (not to be confused with the Cheetah), dressed as an orangutan.
#10. And finally, we have this one. I know I said that the pictures alone were insane and I think that holds true here, but the accompanying story page makes it even crazier.
Batman’s greatest weapon is fear, but shouting “OPEN THE DOOR, COLLEGE BOY. I NEED TO PUT THESE LIONS IN YOUR CAR.” and then he slowly starts smashing the car window is an entirely new kind of frightening.