(JANUARY 1983)


(16 pages)

Cover pencils - Jim Aparo
Cover inks -
Jim Aparo
Cover colouring - Anthony Tollin

Story - Gerry Conway
Art - Irv Novick
Inks - Pablo Marcos
Colours - Adrienne Roy
Lettering - Ben Oda
Editor - Len Wein (with Nicola Cuti)

Second feature - Green Arrow, "Automatic Pirate!" (7 pages)
Letters page - The Batcave (2 pages)
Preview Coming Comics for titles on sale 4
th November 1982 (1 page)



Whilst thumbing through a magazine in Vicki Vale's office Bruce Wayne happens to chance upon a most mysterious photograph - showing a man who should, to the best of Batman's knowledge, be dead. And yet Bruce is certain beyond a doubt that he is looking at Klaus Kristin, whose transmutent genes allowed him to change from his human form into a yeti - an abominable Snowman - at will.

The problem Bruce Wayne has in chancing upon this recent photograph is that - during a previous encounter - the Darknight Detective saw Kristin fall into a deep gorge as Snowman, and he has therefore believed him to be dead since.

In order to investigate how a man he saw falling to his death can now be alive and leading trekking groups in the Himalajas, the Darknight Detective travels to the remote icy slopes of Tibet.

Here he enlists the help of a local guide Chi, and after a lengthy search, leading him deep into the barren and blistering white landscape of the Tibetan mountains, Batman finally does indeed find Kristin - known to him as the Snowman. Realizing that he has been tracked down, he attacks the Batman in his human form and sends him into the waters of a lake, but then also saves him as the Darknight Detective is knocked out as his head crashes onto a submerged rock. Misunderstanding the scene, Chi fires a shot and wounds Kirstin, who then makes off by swimming out over the lake, as a reawakened Batman prevents his guide from firing any more shots at the fugitive.

Puzzled by Kirstin's motives and baffled by how he must have miraculously survived the fall the Darknight Detective had witnessed during their last encounter, the Batman and Chi venture even deeper into the mountains.
Suddenly, they are attacked by a huge Snowman who sends the Darknight Detective over the edge of a narrow path along a snowcapped cliff. Holding on to a protruding rock outcrop the Batman is rescued by Chi who throws him a rope and pulls him to safety (and muses to himself that this is a spectacular story to tell to his yet to be born grandchildren but one which they will never believe).

  Batman and Chi find Kristin in his human form in a nearby Buddhist shrine. Wounded and severly weakened from the gunshot, he tells them that he has retreated to the Himalajas after surviving his fall in order to find peace - and his father. And when all of a sudden a huge yeti appears from the shadows of the shrine, violently attacking Batman and Chi, they both know that it was not Kristin who attacked them earlier on, but always his father.

Holding the Yeti at bay with a flare gun, the Darknight Detective wants Kristin to stand for trial for the murders he committed previous to their first encounter, but not surprisingly, Kristin refuses, not the least because he is dying anyway. As he feels that justice is being served anyway, the Batman watches as a fading Kristin - the villain once known to the Darknight Detective as the Snowman - is carried away and off into the big white nothingness of the Tibetan mountains by his father...



Taking a break from the previous crossover stories between Detective Comics and Batman, this issue features a stand-alone story by all levels of definition. Firstly, Batman does it all alone, without Robin (whose offer to help the Darknight Detective - possibly even together with the Teen Titans - Batman declines with little more than a few words) or Alfred. Secondly, the story takes place in a setting which could hardly be more removed from the Batman's archetypal urban hunting ground - the snow capped mountains of Tibet.

Whether or not the Batman works outside of the concrete jungle as character and persona is, as many things, a matter of taste as well as the individual plot and story. In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, writers were rather fond of taking the Batman on travels which took him away from his usual haunts, be it within the US (e.g. Florida) or even abroad (e.g. Egypt).

In this case, the premise is strong and generates interest - the mystery of a man presumed dead but who appears to yet be amongst the living - but is gradually brought down to average level. Unless the reader has a pronounced interest in yetis, the Snowman proves himself to be almost like the snow of his Tibetan home: colourless. Not surprisingly, this appearance (his second overall) was to be his last ever in the Batman Universe.

The level of craftmanship in this issue is generally high, considering a setting which in many ways results in the Batman being somewhat out of his waters (with Gotham's dark shadows replaced by the Himalaja's blazingly white snow) and a villain who raises few, if any, eyebrows. The storytelling gains added interest from a lengthy flashback sequence (accentuated visually by rounded panel corners), and the artwork is engaging and flows with the unfolding mystery of Klaus Kristin.

VERDICT: CASUAL READING - An unusual Batman story in a rather alien setting for the Darknight Detective, but worth a read as a done-in-one which provides some momentum from both story and artwork.


"Snowblind" highlights the Batman's linguistic versatility as he freely converses with his guide in Chinese throughout the entire story (hence most of the dialogue being presented in <square brackets>).

This Batman feature has not been reprinted in a collected edition up until now, but at the time was translated and published in 1983 by German publishing house Egmont Ehapa as "Schneeblind" in Batman Sonderausgabe #3 (shortened by one page), and then in May 1984 in Super-Heróis #24 by the Agência Portuguesa de Revistas.

  The artwork was provided by at the time veteran Batman artist Irving Novick. Born 11 April 1916, he graduated from the National Academy of Design in New York City and, following a brief stunt at the illustrator's studio of Harry Chesler in 1939, went on to spend almost his entire career in the comic book industry.

Novick was first hired by MLJ (the predecessor of Archie Comics) where the first work credited to him was published in December 1939 in Blue Ribbon Comics #2. The next month Irv (as he was called) did the cover and lead story for Pep Comics #1 which featured the first adventure of The Shield - the very first "patriotic" super-hero who, scripted by Harry Shorten, worked along similar lines as the yet to be introduced Captain America would: by wearing a costume based on the American flag and its heraldic symbols. Novick quickly became MLJ's lead superhero artist, drawing all their major costumed characters until the genre was cut back in favour of the publisher's Archie titles as superheroes lost favours with comic book readers after World War Two.

Starting in 1946 Novick worked on two syndicated strips for five years (Cynthia and The Scarlet Avenger). Syndication was the road to fame and fortune for artists at the time, but neither of the two strips ever achieved wide circulation, and as his sporadic work in advertising wasn't proving reliable either Novick accepted an offer to work for DC Comics by editor Robert Kanigher (who had worked with Irv back in the days at MLJ). Being the DC war titles' editor, Kanigher had Novick draw mostly war stories, which fitted his style really well, and his work subsequently appeared in virtually all the DC combat titles.
In the mid-1960s Novick left the comic book industry after being offered a full-time position at the Johnstone-Cushing advertising agency, but the work didn't turn out to be what Irv had hoped for. DC Comics was unhappy about the situation too, and offered Novick an unprecedented freelance contract which guaranteed him the highest artist's rate plus a steady amount of work. In essence, this meant that as soon as he has finished a job he was to immediately receive another assignment, resulting in a substantial body of artwork by Irv Novick for DC over the years.

He was switched back to his superhero roots when Carmine Infantino took a seat amongst DC management in 1968 and thus became a full-time superhero penciller once again, eventually providing the artwork for most of DC's top titles of the genre, including numerous contributions to Batman and Detective Comics.

Irv Novick had a substantial part in shaping the visuals of Batman during the Bronze Age. Retaining his very own style, he together with a few other pencillers fleshed out the popular culture icon look which Neal Adams had created, and left a lasting contribution to the hallmark appearance and visuals of the Darkinght Detective which even though stemming from the 1970s and early 1980s still remain iconic to this day. His pencils had a classic touch in the best sense of the word, and his pictorial storytelling was fresh and dynamic and even made some of the lamer plots of the Bronze Age look interesting.

Irv Novick remained active as a comic book artist well into his late seventies and only slowed down when his eyesight began to restrict his pencilling abilities in the late 1990s. He passed away on 5 October 2004. Hopefully, DC Comics will eventually release a collected edition of his Batman work as they have done for other 1970s and 1980s artists - the legacy of Irv Novick's artwork would certainly merit a hardcover showcase.



"DETECTIVE 522, while not furthering the ongoing plotlines (...) was an enjoyable issue. (...) Much though I liked Klaus, I hope he won't be brought back." (Jeanne Powers, Bristol VA)

"Irv Novick and Pablo Marcos did such a good job on the art that I hope they will return some time in the future." (Dustin Leary, Morehead City, N.C.)





IDENTITY - Klaus Kristin

FIRST APPEARANCE - Batman #337 (July 1981)

CREATED BY - Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas & Jose-Garcia Lopez

CHARACTERIZATION - A marginal Batman villain based on the famous Yeti, the "Abominable Snowman", Klaus Kristin is the mutant son of a male yeti and a woman named Katrina Kristin



Katrina Kristin travels to the Himalajas as part of a United Nations expedition to study the regional flora. Separated from the group in a snowstorm, she is rescued by a stranger and kept from harm in a cave. She feels drawn to her rescuer and spends the night in his arms, only seeing his face the next morning. Two weeks later, Katrina Kristin is found by another group of mountaineers in a state of complete and irreversible hysteria and mental breakdown, claiming that she had been rescued by a yeti, an abominable snowman. She later gives birth to a son, Klaus Kristin, whose transmutent genes allow him to change from his human form into a yeti at will (Batman #337, July 1981).


Klaus Kristin's background is summarized by Gerry Conway and Irv Novick in Detective Comics #522 (January 1983)


Batman #337 (July 1981)



In Batman #337, the Snowman goes on a spree of robberies in Gotham using his power of command over ice and snow. Batman soon suspects Klaus Kristin and follows him to Austria where the Darknight Detective and the Snowman clash on a snow covered mountain side. Using a flare gun to blind Kristin - who is also an albino and thus has very sensitive eyes - the Snowman plunges to the depths down below... and presumably to his certain death.

However, Batman then discovers a picture of Klaus Kristin in a travel magazine showing him on a trekking tour in the Himalajas - and thus obviously still alive (Detective Comics #522, January 1983). Travelling to Tibet, the Batman finds Kristin but also encounters his Yeti father. This time, the outcome seems fatal for Kristin beyond a doubt as he is dying of a shotwound, although there is room for doubt as he is carried away and off into the big white nothingness of the Tibetan mountains by his very own father.

The second time around, death does, however, seem to have been final for Klaus Kristin aka the Snowman, as he has never appeared in a Batman book again since then.

He did, however, appear one more time outside the Batman Universe proper, in Justice League Adventures #12 (December 2002), where he was a member of a supervillain team known as the Cold Warriors, alongside Mr Freeze, Captain Cold, Killer Frost, Minister Blizzard, Icicle, Cryonic Man, and Polar Lord.


Possibly the most striking aspect of The Snowman, however, is the calm with which Batman witnesses the death of this villain - not once but twice, and essentially triggered and caused by the Darknight Detective.

  This is almost reminiscent of the earliest appearances of the Batman in Detective Comics, where a few gangsters thrown off rooftops here and there were nothing special and the Darknight Detective's bodycount rose to alarming figures over a very short period of time.

Curtailed in 1940, this typical pulp fiction attitude was still - if not even more so - banished in the early 1980s. It would thus seem that Conway considered a mutant who leaned more towards his non-human heritage outside of the "Batman does not kill, not even accidentally" rule - which in a way is a mismatch with the grains of humanistic philosophy which Conway weaves into the dialogue between Batman and his guide here and there.

Even though the two appearances of the Snowman were only 18 months apart, it would seem that Gerry Conway didn't quite remember his own earlier writing as the location of the Snowman's first presumed death was changed in a flashback in Detective Comics #522 to Switzerland, whereas it had been Austria in Batman #337.


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