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Detective Comics #27 was published in May 1939. It serves as the debut of Batman in comics in a story titled "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate". The issue follows Batman's investigations in the murder of an industrialist and his partners. The story was written by Bill Finger and presumably drawn by Bob Kane.

"The Case of the Chemical Syndicate"


Whilst visiting Commissioner Gordon, Bruce Wayne learns that a chemical industrialist named Lambert has just been murdered. Able to convince the Police Commissioner to attend alongside him, he learns that circumstantial evidence has linked the man's son to the crime, but he confesses only to finding his father's body and hearing his dying words of a "contract". Becoming suspicious, Bruce decides to investigate as Batman and track down the true murderers.

Exploring Lambert's contacts, he discovers the names of his old business partners: Steven Crane, Paul Rogers and Alfred Stryker. Shortly thereafter, Crane is murdered at his home by two thugs, who steal a contract from his safe. However, Batman intercepts and subdues the group, taking the document with him. Using it, Batman learns that the four men were all bound in a partnership of the Apex Chemical Corporation and that each had agreed to pay a share.

The final partners, Paul Rogers and Alfred Stryker, contact each other and agree to meet at the latter's laboratory. However, Rogers is ambushed by Stryker's assistant Jenkins and locked within a gas chamber. As he floods it with deadly gas, Batman arrives and saves Rogers, blocking the vent with a handkerchief and smashing the chamber open with a wrench. He then subdues Jenkins as Stryker arrives on the scene.

Drawing a knife, Stryker attempts to finish off Rogers, but is quickly disarmed by Batman. During the confrontation, the vigilante reveals that Stryker is actually penniless and planned to murder the group to claim sole ownership without payment. He'd also planned to steal and dispose of the contracts to prevent their legal binding. Hoping to avoid punishment, Stryker tries to attack him but Batman knocks him backward, causing him to fall into a vat of acid. As Rogers thanks Batman, the vigilante quickly leaves the scene before the police arrive.

The following day, Bruce talks with Gordon about the case and Batman's involvement. As the Commissioner wonders about the vigilante's identity, Wayne returns home to change for another night on patrol...



  • Bruce Wayne/Batman (First Appearance)
  • Commissioner Gordon (First Appearance)
  • Alfred Stryker (Only appearance)
    • Jennings (Only appearance)
    • Stryker Hood in Pinstripe Suit (Only appearance)
    • Stryker Hood in Green Suit (Only appearance)
  • John Lambert (First appearance; Unnamed)
  • David Lambert (Only appearance; dies)
  • Paul Rogers (Only appearance)
  • Steven Crane (Only appearance; dies)


  • New York City (Original Intention) / Gotham City (Retconned Appearance)
    • Gordon Residence (First Appearance)
    • Lambert Residence (Only appearance)
    • Crane Residence (Only appearance)
    • Stryker's Laboritory (Only appearance)
    • Wayne Manor (First Appearance)
    • Apex Chemical Corporation (Mentioned only)


  • Batman's Costume (First Appearance)



  • This issue marked the first published appearance of Batman in any medium. It also features the first appearances of Commissioner Gordon, the Bat-Uniform and the belt that holds the Silken Cord lasso.
  • In the years following its debut, many comic historians have noted "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" is plagiarized almost entirely from Theodore Tinsley's 1936 story "Partners of Peril" starring the Shadow.
  • "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" was reprinted in Detective Comics #387, Batman from the 30s to 70s, Famous First Edition C-28, Batman Archives (Volume 1), Detective Comics #627, Millennium Edition: Detective Comics #27, Batman in the Forties, Batman Chronicles (Volume 1) and Batman: The Golden Age (Volume 1). The story has also been retold and expanded on in other comics, such as Secret Origins (Vol. 2) #6. Some have also entirely retconned to story within the modern continuities, Detective Comics (Vol. 2) #27.
  • Other stories in this issue include "The Killers of Kurdistan" (Speed Saunders, Ace Investigator), "Bullet Bluff" (Buck Marshall, Range Detective), an untitled Spy story, an untitled Crimson Avenger story, an untitled Bruce Nelson story, "The Mysterious Doctor Fu Manchu" (adapted from the novel The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu), an untitled Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise story, an untitled Plain Clothes Pete story and an untitled Slam Bradley story.
  • The date of this comic's issuing was mentioned as an easter egg during Batman's Agamemno Contingency protocol plans via password.

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