Detective Comics 469, May 1977, cover
©DC Comics Inc.
Penciler: Jim Aparo
Inker: Jim Aparo
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Assistant Editor: Bob Rozakis
"...By Death's Eerie Light!"
"The Origin of Dr. Phosphorus"
Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Walt Simonson
Inker: Al Milgrom
Colorist: Jerry Serpe
Letterer: John Workman and unknown
This issue introduces Dr. Phosphorus, one of Batman's most colorful villains. Dr. Sartorius (intentionally the same name as the producer of electronic
balances well-known to chemists) is a wealthy physician and member of the Tobacconists' Club of Gotham City. He is advised by fellow member and City Council President Rupert Thorne to invest in a nuclear power plant which the
citizens force to be built offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Running over budget, corners are cut and one night as backer Sartorius is inspecting the plant, the reactor core cracks open. Sartorius dives behind a pile of sand
bags, and as the reactor explodes, "five million slivers of red-hot sand were driven through [his] body!... Radioactive sand.. blasted upward one level on the chemical scale! Atomic number fifteen -- Silicon -- became
atomic number sixteen-- Phosphorus! Phosphorus -- which must forever burn!" Fortunately for the Comics Code Authority, he was wearing asbestos trousers that day! Dr. Phosphorus vows revenge on the City Council and the
citizens of Gotham City, and poisons the city's drinking water by soaking in it. Batman tracks down Dr. Phosphorus, and during their battle has the wits to force him underwater and stop the burning. The battle is continued in
Detective 470. Walt Simonson's artwork in this issue is typical of the best of the 1970's Batman. Although the writers used the pyrophoric nature of yellow phosphorus to good effect, the issue is riddled with other errors. The
misspelling of Phosphorus on the cover is glaring, but fortunately it is spelled correctly throughout the stories. The atomic numbers in the origin story are incorrect. Silicon is element 14, and Phosphorus is element 15.
Perhaps we should have been reading about the menace of Dr. Sulfur!