The Berlin Batman



Artifact: Human Action Comics

By Brian Doherty

Ideas may run the world. But no idea stalled in the world of professional intellectuals can run far. F.A. Hayek wrote that, to thrive, ideas must be spread by such “second-hand dealers in ideas” as journalists and teachers.

But what about a venue as purportedly third-rate as popular comics? At left, Hayek’s mentor, the economist and philosopher Ludwig Von Mises, (1881-1973) is the surprising offstage hero in a recent issue of the DC comic Batman Chronicles, which uses the Batman concept in unusual settings. In a tale set in 1939, the “Berlin Batman” (by day the wealthy painter “Baruch Wane”) tries to foil the Nazis’ theft of Mises’s papers. That theft really happened; the papers fell into Soviet hands after World War II and were thought lost until a Mises biographer found them in 1996.

Written and drawn by Paul Pope, the highly stylized comic is resolutely ideological in Mises’s support. A postscript in the voice of the Berlin Batman’s ward, Robin (here a young woman), describes how “Von Mises’ anti-authoritarian ideas were first a threat to the Nazis, then the Soviets, and to all increasingly regulatory governments in our own times. He was against socialism in all its many forms. He was an advocate of individual liberty, free speech, and free thinking…and so, should I add, was the Berlin Batman.”

Wait a minute … you mean my two greatest heroes — Ludwig von Mises and The Batman — actually share a comic book? An official, DC-issued comic book?


So, my contact at LvMI says they have it and can scan it … but I ain’t seen no scans!

And my contact at the JLS says he has it somewhere, but can’t find it — must be in storage, etc.

(I’m making certain gestures right now that communicate unambiguously if we’re in the same room and you aren’t blind, but they don’t work so well in electronic text format.)


4 Responses to The Berlin Batman

  1. freeman says:

    Neato… I had no idea that such a comic book had been written. I’ll have to look into maybe finding a copy of it somewhere one day, along with some the comics with that Anarky character that Roderick Long has a page devoted to on his praxeology website. I hope they aren’t too expensive, since I know how valuable many comics can be.

  2. - caj says:

    Dude … let me get this straight. You’ve had some difficulty getting your hands on a comic book … and you didn’t immediately come to me? What the hell is up with that?

    I’ve ordered it. I’ll get it. When I get it, I’ll give it to you.

  3. Interestingly, I do have spider-like agility and the proportional speed and strength of a spider. And my palms are all sticky.

  4. Pingback: Austro-Libertarian Book Finds No. 4 | The Libertarian Liquidationist

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