The Ominous Octopus

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Poison Ivy Meets The Spider Lady

BATMAN #181 introduced the character of "Poison Ivy", who claimed to be World greatest criminal mastermind.

 But in order to prove herself number one, she had to beat World Public Enemy 1, World Public Enemy #2, and World Public Enemy #3.

 Poison Ivy accomplishes this by writing the others "poison pen" letters, daring them to show up at the mansion of millionaire Bruce Wayne at a specific time on a certain date. The other girls all arrive early in order to get a jump on each other and begin fighting under the mistaken impression that the others are the authors of the letters they have received.
Batman arrives and starts rounding up all their henchmen, after which the three villainesses try to escape. Poison Ivy offers a crown to whichever of them can prove herself the greatest, after which they all try to grab it and are paralyzed by an electric shock.
But Batman also catches Poison Ivy, and the tale ends with her in a cell, insisting that Batman will never be able to escape her fatal charms.
Poison Ivy would return next issue, but several years would go by before she would meet Batman again, possibly because creator Robert Kanigher simply didn't write more stories for BATMAN in this period.
World Public Enemy #2 appears to be very similar to some characters we've talked about here before.

Carol Forman had played "The Black Widow"
and "The Spider Lady" in the serials,

but while the BLACK WIDOW serial was run on television in this period, the SUPERMAN serial was not. It was withheld from circulation for years, to eventually be released to home video.
It's not clear whether the character of the "Silken Spider" was influenced by the characters played by Carole Forman in the serials, but they're all close enough that you could consider them to all be the same character. Incidentally, Poison Ivy was originally similar to the Spider Lady, being the leader of a gang of henchmen who take orders from her. Later on, DC comics seems to have lost track of what the character was supposed to be like. It was only the beginning of a long process of devolution that would eventually see the character become green and hideous instead of beautiful.

 BATMAN #181:

DC Comics Poison Ivy Chronology:

Robert Kanigher:


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