There are in-jokes that everyone goes 'aaaaaa'.
Then there are in-jokes that need a bit of explaining.
Alan Grant was into his last year of his great Batman run... The entire Gotham universe needs shaking up before the millenium. Let's have a bit of fun. Time for an Easter Egg, people!
So here was the forth page of Shadow of the Bat #73, panel one. Bats is talking to Oracle about the dangers of a wanted man. To illustrate the danger of this bloke, we get a graphic of Billy Wildman. However it's his 'Known Associates' we want to discuss...
American fans probably won't have got this, although I'm sure when they saw it the first time they must've felt something was afoot. This is a very British (and more accurately Scottish) comic in-joke. So allow me to explain it with this...
The three Known Associates are the grown-up Wilfred, Fatty and Plug of The Bash Street Kids fame.
So this is what happens when you continue a path of mischief, you move to Gotham and end up on Batman's shitlist!
As all British comic fans ought to know The Bash Street Kids are iconic characters in British comics that appear in Dundee-based D.C. Thomson & Co's 'The Beano' comic.
Since I noted this in-joke, it has filled me with a wave of nostalgia. What introduced me to comics was that when I was about five years old my mum would buy me weekly copies of The Beano, in order to shut me up, I think. And to say that 'The Beano' has left a lasting impression over 25 years later is an understatement (I still can't believe I kept those Library editions for over twenty years in the attic!).... The Beano probably is the first reason I can think of as to why I read and adore comics as a medium. Seriously, I'm not alone in this nostalgia, for a lot of Brits from my generation and those older, the characters of The Beano are as important and closely loved than Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny is to American fans.