The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Doctor Mid-Nite
Times Past, 1953
Bring Me Myra Mason
When Myra Mason is abducted by a lovestruck Gorilla Boss of Gotham City and forced into an impromptu wedding, Doctor Mid-Nite seeks out the help of Batman and Robin, the dynamic duo, to help the blind hero rescue his nurse!
The year: 1953. The place: A penthouse in New York City.
The gruff, brutal voice seemed oddly out of place next to the luxurious surroundings. The men listening were equally ill-suited to the elegant furnishings. Their clothes, their speech, and their very body language marked them as criminals, men outside of the law and in direct opposition to society’s laws. They were mobsters, and they lived by a more primitive set of rules like those of the jungle beasts. Appropriately enough, their leader was a jungle beast.
A large, furry, black gorilla sat at a fifteenth-century French desk, barking orders to his followers. “Now see here, you mugs, I told youse where to find the dame. I got ya the super-weapons from the egghead. Now, bring me Myra Mason! She’ll be my bride tonight, or I’m not the Gorilla Boss of Gotham!”
Myra Mason, a very pretty, demure young woman of thirty-four, made a beautiful nurse. Her long blonde hair, delicate features, and trim figure seemed equally appropriate for a model. Her caring nature and sympathetic voice endeared her to all of her patients. Unfortunately, that would soon be her problem. Her employer, Dr. Charles McNider, was all too aware of her good traits.
Dr. Charles McNider was bored. His research work had been rewarding, as had his medical consulting fees. However, nothing seemed quite so pleasing to the spirit as his mystery-man career as the crime-fighting hero called Doctor Mid-Nite. He seldom now ventured out in the famous red and black costume. Since the Justice Society of America disbanded in 1951, he’d only been in costume a couple of times out of necessity.
His nurse Myra had been faithful and supportive to his every deed as a doctor. In fact, when he finally told her about his secret life, he was shocked to learn that the same woman who had followed him east during his brief military work had already discovered his double identity years before.
“I’m a trained nurse. I know your unique body language, in that mask or out of it,” she had replied.
McNider often wondered about Myra’s feelings for him. She had a crush on him, at the very least, but he had never felt comfortable about involving her in his private life, since he could never shake an element of doubt about whether she loved him or merely retained some protective instinct or even hero worship toward him. In any case, she was his best friend, except for Hooty the owl.
Myra’s loud scream brought the nearly dozing McNider to his feet and into the outer office quickly. He wasn’t prepared for what he found inside. His special lens allowed him to see clearly, but he could scarcely believe the sight before him.
She was being carried out over the shoulder of a large gorilla in a 1930s-style gangster’s pinstripe suit. Gunmen of a more human variety aimed futuristic weapons at him when he stepped out. “Don’t youse move, sawbones, and nobody gets hurt,” grunted the gorilla.
Myra kicked and flailed desperately as he leaped off with her tucked beneath one massive arm. McNider knew he could handle the gunmen, but he couldn’t do anything without risking his identity. Blind men did not fight crooks. He watched helplessly as they made good their escape. As soon as they cleared out, he decided his next move.
Soon, Myra Mason found herself a prisoner in the palatial penthouse used as the base for the Gorilla Boss and his gang. She was as horrified as anyone would be, but her years of participating in adventures with Doctor Mid-Nite when he faced foes like the madness plague of Doctor Elba or the murders of the Crime Surgeon had left her with a bit of an immunity to shock at the bizarre. Still, she had never seen anything like the monstrous and passionate talking gorilla who held her on his lap and caressed her tenderly after securing the door.
“Myra, honey, don’t you know me? Look at my eyes. I’m George Dyke, from Gotham. You nursed me at the old prison years ago.”
She shuddered, since this bizarre man-ape did retain that cold stare that marked “Boss” Dyke as a killer and a danger even during his time at Gotham Penitentiary. “I… remember you, but not like this, not like you are now,” she stammered.
“I ended up really bad off after my escape from jail,” he grunted. “I got a sawbones to put my mind in this here gorilla body. It saved my life and made me the strongest kingpin around. I was almost done for again by the Batman, but I survived, and I’ve come back for you, lover!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Gorilla Boss of Gotham City,” Batman #75 (March, 1953).]
“I was just your nurse,” Myra replied. “I could not love a brutal thug like you, even before you were a gorilla. You were just a patient.”
The Gorilla Boss roared his disapproval. “You’ll see things different, sister, when I rule this city,” growled Dyke. “I got Flash Gordon-style weapons from another real costumed type, and I’ll keep you here until you agree to be mine.”
Myra shuddered and silently prayed that Charles would track her down soon, before she became a bride to the Gorilla Boss of Gotham.
“Bruce, I need your help. Myra was abducted by some ape-man who talked and wore clothes,” Doctor Mid-Nite explained over the phone to his friend, Bruce Wayne, alias Batman. “His gang included Jake Frizzel from Gotham. I recognized him from Doctor Light’s old gang. In fact, they had special guns that could have been Light’s, too.”
“Forget Frizzel,” said Batman. “I can tell you who or what that gorilla was. He used to be a strong-arm type in the local mobs. His name is George Dyke, and his mind ended up in a gorilla’s body earlier this year after he took sanctuary with a doctor for the mob after a jailbreak. Robin and I stopped his rampage, and we were sure he was dead after he fell from a tall building. Guess they all come back sooner or later, though. It’s possible that his men paid off the doctor who examined him, so he could fake his death. I can trace Dyke and Frizzel through a combination of sources. I know you’ll want to be part of this, so meet me at the JSA’s old Gotham base.”
Doctor Mid-Nite felt better now. He knew Batman could handle any danger and solve any mystery. Medical mysteries were his own specialty, but the caped crusader seemed able to resolve any enigma. Poor Myra; if only they would get there in time.
Soon, on a dark brownstone building, the two night-stalkers met. Somehow Batman’s sudden appearance out of the dark managed to escape even Doctor Mid-Nite’s keen night vision.
“I’m here, Mid-Nite,” he said. “Don’t worry, I’ve traced the property deeds to a penthouse rented by another old associate of George Dyke. Robin has the place staked out now, and from what he can tell from long-range observation, they do have a gorilla-like figure inside. Now, let’s go get your girl.”
Doctor Mid-Nite smiled. Bruce Wayne was always so supportive and friendly to his costumed allies, or indeed anyone in trouble. Only criminals found him to be a grim avenger. Batman, who had never retired like the members of the JSA, was a smiling guardian to anyone on the right side of the law. He could not imagine a cold and distant Batman. It seemed so out of character for the warm-hearted hero.
Myra Mason reached into the pocket of her crisp white nurse’s uniform. She had nothing to defend herself with if that monster Dyke came back in to “romance” her again. She’d had convicts fall for her before — it happened to prison nurses all the time — but she could hardly imagine such a mockery of mankind wanting to make her his bride.
“Make you my bride” was the exact phrase Dyke had used to her as he whispered in her ear. He literally expected to force her into marrying him. He even had a corrupt minister at his beck and call.
Before Myra could collect her thoughts, she was roughly ordered to slip on an ornate wedding gown. She put the gown on reluctantly as she desperately sought some way to escape.
“Bring out my bride, and get ready, padre,” said the Gorilla Boss as his men lined up to witness this weird ceremony. Myra stumbled out to stand shivering beside the now-formally-attired gorilla.
At that moment, a voice yelled, “I object on the grounds that you’re a big ugly ape!” And a colorful, laughing daredevil crashed through the patio window. It was Robin, the now-grown-up Boy Wonder, and before the thugs could react, he had snatched the startled Myra and swung back over the deck to the floor below, with the beautiful blonde bride in his arm.
“After him! That punk is due to get a beating for the last time we met!” said the now-enraged Gorilla Boss.
“Lights out!” yelled Doctor Mid-Nite as he entered from the outside hallway. The second that the thug named Frizzel had opened the door to chase after Myra and Robin, a sphere-shaped object had sailed inside the room and plunged the penthouse into total darkness. It was one of Mid-Nite’s patented blackout bombs, and they truly lived up to their creator’s name.
The inky blackness filled the room and blocked out the lights from the neighboring skyscrapers. The gang could not see to aim their odd guns, but they fired anyway. Intensely packed beams of solid light pulsed out around the room. The rays did damage to the furnishings, but not to Mid-Nite, who dodged effortlessly and event had time to confirm his earlier guess that the weapons came from Hourman’s old enemy, Doctor Light.
“This is for Myra,” said the grim crime-buster as his skilled combat prowess made short work of Frizzel and the gang. Doctor Mid-Nite delivered devastating blows and never missed his foes. With his special goggles, the room seemed brightly lit, and the frightening thugs and their deadly guns were moving in futile slow motion.
Myra clung to Robin as he swung her to safety. “Going down, furniture, hardware, mafia bosses-turned-gorillas above you, safety and your hero below,” he quipped. It was lame, but it served to reassure the frightened woman, and public service was always first. That was the rule Batman lived by, and his partner never let his ideals down.
While Doctor Mid-Nite disarmed and subdued the gang, Batman stood on the roof above the penthouse. As he suspected, Gorilla Boss reverted to more basic instincts and climbed out on the patio to follow Robin and Myra in animalistic style.
Before Boss Dyke could even reach the next floor, Batman dropped quickly and confidently down on his rope and deliberately attracted his attention. “Your ‘wedding’ is over. You are going back to jail, or the zoo where you belong.”
Dyke looked up as his foe appeared and quickly found a precarious perch on the deck bannister. “You’ll never take me alive!” he roared in his best impression of James Cagney.
“I’ve seen that movie, and I gave it a bad review. Crime should never be glorified.” Batman landed on the rail, and the two began a nearly lethal struggle above the city. Batman knew he couldn’t overpower the gorilla, but he could outthink anyone. “That whole Beauty and the Beast cliché doesn’t work in real life. Remember, you’re more Kong than Cagney!”
The remark had the desired effect, and Dyke lost his temper, forgetting everything, and dived at Batman. Quickly, Batman turned and let the momentum of the Gorilla Boss work to his advantage. Dyke sailed off the rail into midair before Batman snared him with his rope. “Oh, no you don’t! Can’t let you fall to your ‘death’ a second time!” At that, he delivered a judo blow to his neck that sent the former George Dyke into a stunned stupor.
Robin gave a welcome thumbs-up sign from below as Doctor Mid-Nite embraced Myra. “It’s all right! I’m here,” he whispered.
Batman smiled appreciatively and made a mental note to consult his one-time All-Star Squadron ally Robotman on how Dyke could be returned to a more normal condition someday.
“Thank you for everything,” Doctor Mid-Nite said to his friend.
Batman glanced at a now-soothed Myra and replied, “That’s what we’re here for, you know. Not just to shed darkness over evil, but to bring light to their victims, too.”