Jason Bard
Created by Frank Robbins?

Another pipe-sucking shamus from the backpages of Detective Comics, playing second fiddle to Batman.

Gotham City private eye and ex-Marine JASON BARD is a young "resourceful, battle-scarred Viet-Nam vet, his only weapon a cane and a razor-sharp intelligence." In the straighter-than-thou world of DC of the seventies, Jason was positively mod-looking, what with sideburns and a fair mop of hair (albeit neatly-trimmed). He doesn't carry a gun, and he needs a cane to get around due to injuries he sustained to his right leg while in Vietnam. He also seems to be rather cocky, referring to himself in later years as Gotham's brightest, youngest private investigator.

The back story, according to Who's Who in the DC Universe, is that when Jason was a child, his father murdered his beloved mother, Rose, and he vowed to find him. The problem was that his mother had destroyed all her pictures of him, and so Jason had no idea what his father looked like.

Upon returning from Vietnam, Jason attended college on the G.I. bill, majoring in criminology, before becoming a P.I. in Gotham where, occasionally, even Batman used his services

He lives alone, although he went out with the daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon, Barbara Gordon, better known as Batgirl, for a while. Batgirl doesn't seem to pop up in costume in any of Jason's cases that I've read, although evidently, at some point, Babs and Jason were even engaged to be married.

The Batman connection actually runs even deeper, though.. Jason's creator, Frank Robbins, was also writer/artist at about the same time, and it is Robbins who seems to have scripted most of Jason's adventures. Bard made his debut in issue #392, and later appeared in a string of cases from #425 to at least #433, collectively plugged as "The Master Crime Files of Jason Bard." Bard also made an appearance, along with a slew of other DC gumshoes, including Slam Bradley and Roy Raymond, in a special story in the 500th issue of Detective Comics, not to mention popping up somewhere in the first two years of Batman and the Outsiders, whilst doing a background check on a former identity of one of the Outsiders. He also worked for a while for the New York City-based Childfind Agency.

And then, in 1998, Jason Bard reappeared in the debut issue of Birds of Prey, older, and maybe not quite so wise, shaken and stirred, travelling under another name, on a tropical hellhole of an island, consorting with local drug scum, much to the surprise of Barbara Gordon (now a sort of private eye, herself , going by the name of Oracle). Jason also seems to have lost his aversion to guns. Relax, though -- it turns out he was working undercover, and that he's still a P.I., still based in Gotham... and he still has a thing for Babs.

And the latest? A decidedly youngish Bard is "hired" by Batman to dig up info on Orca, a super-villain, who's otherwise tied up, in an eight-part story arc entitled "Face the Face" that ran in 2006 in Batman (#651-654) and Detective Comics (#817-820).




Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Dwight Williams and Anthony Durrant for their help with Jason's past.

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