The 1966 Batman TV series was a Big Thing, and rightly so – a heady mix of cartoonish action, knowing satire and vivid colour, it was very much a comic book brought to life. It spawned a plethora of merchandise – including a series of paperback books published in the US by Signet and in the UK by Four Square – part of New English Library.
Three of the books were comic strip reprints, mostly from the early 1950s – when the Batman comic book was possibly as its most juvenile, making it a good fit for the camp antics of the TV show. There was the original generic collection, followed by volumes devoted to the Joker and the Penguin (with the latter also squeezing in a Catwoman story).
More interesting were the two Batman novels by Winston Lyon – in reality comic book writer William Woolfolk. Batman vs The Fearsome Foursome was a fairly faithful adaptation of the 1966 Batman movie, with the odd alteration, new scene and change of emphasis. Batman vs 3 Villains of Doom, in which the Joker, the Penguin and Catwoman all vie for the underworld’s once-a-decade Tommy Award, where a gold-plated tommy gun is handed to whoever has done the most for crime in that decade. In this case, the award will go to whoever can bump off Batman and Robin. Lyon / Woolfolk successfully captures the feel of the TV series in this surprisingly fun story.
Below are the original 1966 Four Square editions.