"The Man Who Knew Batman's Secret!": Batman and Robin nab a pair of John Varden's hoods using a bazooka to loot a bank. The captured criminals refuse to rat on their elusive boss, but let slip the fact that Varden plans a big operation
Batman #104 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 1956.
Synopsis for "The Man Who Knew Batman's Secret!"
Batman and Robin nab a pair of John Varden's hoods using a bazooka to loot a bank. The captured criminals refuse to rat on their elusive boss, but let slip the fact that Varden plans a big operation soon. To trap the gang leader, Batman and Robin hatch a plan and the next day, Batman and Robin patrol the rooftops of Gotham City in plain sight, drawing the attention of a crowd of reporters, among which is Thaddeus Crane, a detective from upstate who has come to study Batman's and Robin's crimefighting methods. Crane climbs to a roof top to interview the dynamic duo, and catches Batman with his cowl off, in the process of changing to Bruce Wayne.
Thaddeus Crane announces to the reporters that he knows Batman's secret identity, and Batman and Robin admit they will have to guard him to keep it secret. Crane is hired by the chairman of a camera show featuring a huge camera as an exhibit to protect the exhibit, and a movie company president to guard his bejeweled star Laura Lee. Though Varden's mob strikes in both places, Batman and Robin thwart their efforts and make it seem as if Thaddeus Crane overcame the crooks. John Varden's mob eventually cons Crane into their clutches, and he meets with the mobster, though he steadfastly refuses to reveal Batman's identity. But Batman and Robin, who have used Crane (with his permission) as bait for their trap, break in and defeat Varden and his gang. Crane later announces he is leaving Gotham, and disappears forever. But, in the Batcave, it is revealed that Crane was in fact Alfred, Batman's butler, whose middle names are Thaddeus Crane and they planned everything from the beginning in order to capture the crooks.
Appearing in "The Man Who Knew Batman's Secret!"
- John Varden (Single appearance)
- President of the Mammoth Movie Company
- Laura Lee (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Robin's 50 Batman Partners"
Batman breaks his ankle during a fracas with the Sparkles Grady mob, and Robin has to take his place as representative at the Batman Exposition. The Exposition, covered on TV, features fifty images of Batman in various forms--as a colossal robot, a giant statue, a mechanical figure on a great clock, and so forth. Grady, watching the program, notes that Robin still holds the pouch of diamonds recovered from their heist, and goes along with his gang to the exposition after hours where only they and Robin, who is taking photographs of the exhibits, are present. Robin is outnumbered, and endangered when the gang chief orders the Batman-robot to "get" him, but uses the many Batman exhibits (including the mechanical clock figure, who smashes the robot with a stroke of his hammer) to even the odds. Finally, exhausted, Robin tries out a mystery exhibit. It proves to be a giant fireworks display forming a great head of Batman, and its brilliance momentarily blinds the thugs. He nets Grady and his gang with the cape from the giant Batman statue and summons the police to haul them away. Later, at Wayne Manor, Bruce expresses regret that he could not have helped Robin, but Robin replies that he was with him all the time.
Appearing in "Robin's 50 Batman Partners"
- Sparkles Grady (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms"
Batman and Robin, as honorary members of the 50 Fathoms Club, a group of underwater specialists, attend a meeting at which deep-sea diver Devoe presents photos of Babonga, a giant saurian monster which appears periodically at a Pacific island Devoe visited. The members vote unanimously to put up the money to bring Babonga back to Gotham to exhibit the creature. With all of them together (including Batman and Robin) on the island Babgonga shows up as promised and the club members take aim with rifles loaded with harpoons tipped with a paralyzing agent --except that a first shot goes awry and blasts a section of ship's rail out. Batman, realizing their bullets have been switched, has the hunting party hold their fire and repels the beast with a brilliant flash from a camera flashbulb. One of the party, he says, wishes to kill Babonga rather than bring it back alive.
Batman foils an attempt upon on his own life and lures Babonga out of danger when he senses their gas bombs have been filled with poisonous acid instead, but the culprit remains beyond his grasp. Then when the dynamic duo go down in a bathysphere, their connecting chain to the ship is cut--as they had expected. The pair go out in diving suits they had in the bathysphere and battle Bobanga in its lair, drugging it with paralyzer serum. The two heroes surface with the evidence to condemn the guilty party--Babonga's egg. Devoe, the malefactor, confesses that he had intended to kill Bobanga so that the egg which he owned would the only living member of its species, thus enabling him to make a fortune himself from the exhibitions. Batman replies that he knew his identity after the assault, since the deep grooves on his wrists, caused by his diving suit's sleeves, were a dead giveaway. Bobanga is taken back to Gotham alive for exhibition and study. Batman remarks later that the egg will take a century to hatch, anyway, and when it does, it will hatch in the trophy room of the Batcave.
Appearing in "The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms"
- Prof. John Briggs (Single appearance)
- Fergus (Single appearance)
- Sloan (Single appearance)
- Devoe (Single appearance)
- On the second story, there is a reference to the White Whale from Batman #9.