JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Golden Age Batman
Chronology, Part 1: Origins
By Aaron Severson
Reference the Creator Credit Abbreviations
Sequence of Events
Pre-History: Journeys in Time
c. 50,000 B.C.: A time-traveling Batman and Robin meet Stone Age hero Tiger Man, who may have been Earth-Two's first crimefighter. EH/DS/CP
Batman #93  (Aug. 1955)
c. 580 B.C.: Batman and Robin meet King
Lanak, see the legendary Hanging Gardens
of Babylon, and learn of an ancient Babylonian hero called Zorn,
who looked strikingly similar to Batman. BF/DS/CP
NOTES: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, were located near the Euphrates river, about 50 kilometers south of modern Baghdad, Iraq. Greek historians believed the Gardens were created by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (604–562 B.C.), although modern archaeologists are uncertain if the Gardens even existed at all.
Batman #102  (Sept. 1956)
c. 500 B.C.: Batman and Robin visit the ancient Greek
city of Athens, where they witness the Olympic Games and battle
a Persian villain called Byrus. EH/JM/RB
NOTES: The first Olympic Games were held in Olympia, a town in the western part of the Peloponnesus peninsula, in 776 B.C. They were held every four years through 393 A.D.
Batman #38  (Dec. 1946/Jan. 1947)
336 B.C.: Batman and Robin visit ancient Macedonia and
meet Alexander the Great. BF/DS/SM
NOTES: Alexander the Great of Macedonia, one of the greatest conquerors of the ancient world, was born in 356 B.C. He ascended to the throne in 336 B.C. after the murder of his father, Philip of Macedonia, and died in 323 B.C. at the age of 33. The Justice Society of America (without Batman) met Earth-Two's Alexander five years later when they traveled back in time to prevent Per Degaton from interfering with the outcome of the Battle of Arbela in 331 B.C., as shown in All-Star Comics #35 (June/July 1947).
World's Finest #107 (Feb. 1960)
c. 260 B.C.: Batman and Robin visit ancient Rome and then
travel to the island of Rhodes, where they see the legendary Colossus
of Rhodes and rescue Professor Carter Nichols, who has been
captured and forced to construct modern weapons for King Phorbus. EH/DS/CP
NOTES: The precise date of these events is not specified in the story, but the Colossus of Rhodes, an enormous statue of the sun-god Helios, was erected in Mandraki harbor around 280 B.C. and toppled by earthquake in 226 B.C.
Batman #112  (Dec. 1957)
Batman and Robin visit ancient Rome, where they help an aging
charioteer win his last race and defeat a Roman gangster called Publius
Malchio with the help of The Jester, a
good-natured harlequin who looks startlingly like the Joker. JS/DS
NOTES: The Jester's harlequin costume (and even the term harlequin) is thoroughly anachronistic, but the story leaves deliberately ambiguous the question of whether these events are real or simply a dream or hallucination induced by Carter Nichols' time-hypnosis technique.
Batman #24  (Aug./Sept. 1944)
c. 40 B.C.: Batman and Robin visit ancient Egypt, where
they become the bodyguards of Queen Cleopatra. BF/DS/CP
NOTES: The precise year of these events is not specified in the story, but the historical reign of Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt and later the wife of Julius Caesar and lover of Marc Anthony, was from 53 B.C. to her suicide in 30 B.C.
Detective #167 (Jan. 1951)
c. 530 A.D.: Batman and Robin visit medieval Britain,
where they meet King Arthur. Dubbed "Sir
Hardi Le Noir," Batman joins the Round Table and helps Arthur
and his knights thwart a conspiracy by Mordred and Morgan Le Fay — who
looks remarkably like the Catwoman. BF/BK/RB
NOTES: The approximate date of these events is based on references in the Annales Cambriæ (Welsh Easter Annals) to a figure who may have been the historical basis of King Arthur. One of those references, dated 537, refers to the death of Arthur and "Medraut" (Mordred) during the Strife of Camlann. Given that Batman and Robin make this trip through time via hypnosis, it is possible that Morgan Le Fay's apparent resemblance to Selina Kyle may reflect Batman's own subconscious preoccupations rather than the Earth-Two Morgan Le Fay's actual appearance.
Batman #36  (Aug./Sept. 1946)
c. 700: A time-traveling Batman and Robin help a Middle Eastern tribe called the Zotos defend their valley from a race of giants. BF/FM/CP
Batman #115  (April 1958)
c. 900: Batman and Robin visit the city of Baghdad, where they encounter the evil Crier, a villain who looks exactly like the Joker except that he cries rather than laughs. During their time in Baghdad, the Dynamic Duo converts an ordinary rug into a serviceable glider, an event they believe may inspire later legends of flying carpets. ?/LS/CP
Batman #49  (Oct./Nov. 1948)
c. 950: Batman, Robin, and Superman again visit ancient
Baghdad, where they meet Aladdin and help him
perform seemingly magical feats. EH/DS/SK
NOTES: Aladdin is one of the most famous characters from A Thousand and One Nights (Alf Laylah Wa Laylah), a collection of Arabic and Oriental myths and stories of various (and in some cases uncertain) origins.
World's Finest #79 (Nov./Dec. 1955)
990: Batman and Robin visit ancient Norway, where they rescue Olaf Erickson — a Viking warrior who looks uncannily like Bruce Wayne — from a Byzantine prison, help him overcome accusations of cowardice, and accompany him on a voyage from Norway to what is now America. BF?/LS/CP
Batman #52  (April/May 1949)
c. 1200: Batman and Robin travel back in time to medieval
England, where they visit Sherwood Forest, clash with the vile Sheriff
of Nottingham, and meet Robin Hood and
his band. DC/WM
NOTES: This story does not specify the exact date of this adventure, except that it takes place some time in the 13th century, prior to the signing of the Magna Carta (which was in 1215). The story's version of Robin Hood is clearly based on the account of Sir Walter Scott (and the 1938 Warner Bros. feature film The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn), which was in turn based on historical accounts of the early 16th century describing Robin Hood as a historical figure from the era of Richard the Lion-Hearted and King John (1189–1216). However, Scottish historians of the 14th century considered Robin Hood to be a historical figure of the late 13th century, decades after John's death.
Detective #116 (Oct. 1946)
1255: English scientist Roger Bacon uses
a technique similar to Carter Nichols' time-hypnosis to send two
of Bacon's students, Marcus and Guy Tiller, forward in time to
the year 1955 to assess whether or not "the future world [will]
be worth working for." BF/DS/CP
NOTES: Roger Bacon (1214–1294) was a philosopher and scholar later celebrated as an early advocate of the scientific method.
Detective #220 (June 1955)
1275: Batman and Robin visit 13th-century China, where
they meet Kubla Khan and explorer Marco
NOTES: Marco Polo (1254–1324) was a famous Italian merchant and explorer who spent about 17 years in China in the late 13th century. Polo and his family first journeyed to Asia in 1271, reaching China around 1275. Until about 1292, Polo was a guest of China's emperor Kubla (or Kublai) Khan (1215–1294). According to Rustichello da Pisa's early 14th-century book The Travels of Marco Polo, purportedly based on Polo's firsthand account, Polo served as the mayor of Yangzhou for three years in the 1280s — not in 1275, as the text of this story asserts.
World's Finest #42 (Sept./Oct. 1949)
1435: In the Italian city of Venice, a man named Dante Leonardo hires an alchemist named Galio to create an "elixir of life" that will make Leonardo immortal. After receiving the elixir, Dante kills Galio and embarks on a life of crime and treachery that takes him to France, Russia, India, England, China, and eventually America. ?/JM
Star Spangled Comics #116 (May 1951)
1499: Batman and Robin travel back in time to Milan, Italy,
where they meet artist and inventor Leonardo Da
Vinci. DC/DS/Gene McDonald
NOTES: Italian artist, sculptor, and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519) is perhaps the most famous figure of the European Renaissance. In 1499, he was in the final months of his role as official painter and engineer of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, who was overthrown later that year. Batman co-creator Bob Kane often cited Da Vinci's plans for a flying machine, the wings of which resembled those of a bat, as one of the inspirations for the creation of Batman.
Batman #46  (April/May 1948)
Early 17th century: Batman and Robin travel back in time
to Venice, Italy, to authenticate a painting by the artist Verillo. BF/SM/CP
NOTES: Unlike other historical figures encountered by Batman and Robin on their trips through time, Verillo was apparently an invention of this story's author.
Batman #125  (Aug. 1959)
c. 1628: Batman and Robin visit Paris, France, where they
meet D'Artagnan, Aramis, Athos, and Porthos, the Three
Musketeers. The Caped Crusaders help the Musketeers defend
Queen Anne from a plot by Cardinal Richelieu and his agent, Milady
De Winter. DC/DS
NOTES: Although D'Artagnan and his three comrades were based on real people (as were Anne and Richelieu) the characters depicted in this story are clearly the fictionalized versions made famous by Alexandre Dumas' romances, beginning with his 1844 novel The Three Musketeers. This story probably takes place prior to the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham midway through the novel; historically, the Duke was assassinated on Aug. 22, 1628.
Batman #32  (Dec. 1945/Jan. 1946)
c. 1654: Batman and Robin travel back in time to the area that will later become Gotham City. There, they discover that the cave that will become the Batcave is being used by colonial scout Jeremy Coe as a base from which to spy on local Indian activity. BF/SM/CP
Detective #205 (March 1954)
April 16, 1667: A time-traveling Batman and Robin battle
the infamous pirate Henry Morgan. ?/DS/CP
NOTES: Earth-Prime's Henry Morgan (1635–1688) was an English privateer, knighted in 1674 by King Charles II and appointed acting governor of Jamaica the following year. Later accounts painting Morgan as a bloodthirsty pirate probably stem from a 1683 book by a former acquaintance that depicted Morgan much as this story does. Despite Morgan's successful libel suit against the book's publishers, that characterization persisted well after his death.
Detective #136 (June 1948)
1696: A time-traveling Batman, Robin, and Superman visit
17th-century France and fill in as the Three Musketeers to help
D'Artagnan free the Man in the Iron Mask, who
is actually a nobleman named Count Ferney, unjustly imprisoned
by Bourdet, an unscrupulous chancellor of King Louis XIV. EH/DS/SK
NOTES: Although this story was undoubtedly inspired by Alexandre Dumas' 1850 novel The Man in the Iron Mask, the events of that novel actually take place in 1661, when the Musketeers are already middle-aged men (the historical inspiration for D'Artagnan, whose death is described in the novel's epilogue, perished in 1673). The plot of this story, including the identity of the man in the mask, bears little resemblance to either the fanciful Dumas novel or historical fact. There was indeed a Man in the Iron Mask, whose true identity remains the subject of great speculation. Prison records indicate that he was arrested in 1669, was transferred to the Bastille in 1698 (not 1696, as stated in this story), and died in 1703. It is noteworthy that D'Artagnan does not recognize Batman and Robin from their earlier encounter in Batman #32 (Dec. 1945/Jan. 1946), which suggests that this story (like most of the Superman/Batman team-ups from World's Finest Comics) more properly belongs to Earth-One continuity.
World's Finest #82 (May/June 1956)
1753: Batman and Robin travel back in time to pre-revolutionary
America, where they learn that the infamous Captain
Lightfoot is secretly Abel Adams, a citizen of the town that
will later become Gotham City, who is working to prevent a war
between Gotham's settlers and the local Native American tribes. BF/LS/CP
NOTES: The real Captain Lightfoot was an Irish-born highwayman named Michael Martin, who was active in New England from 1818 until his hanging in 1822. He was not born until 1775, 22 years after the events of this story.
Batman #79  (Oct./Nov. 1953)
1787: Batman and Robin travel back in time to Philadelphia, where they make the acquaintance of scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) and acquit Bruce Wayne's ancestor, silversmith Silas Wayne, of charges that he is secretly a notorious highwayman. BF/JM
Batman #44  (Dec. 1947/Jan. 1948)
c. 1816: Batman, Robin, and Professor Carter Nichols travel
back in time to 19th-century Europe, where they meet Baron
Victor Frankenstein and witness the events that inspired writer Mary
Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel Frankenstein. EH/LS/CP
NOTES: This story does not indicate the precise date of these events other than that they were took place about 150 years before Batman's time. Historically, Mary Shelley (1797–1851) conceived the novel, entitled Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, in the summer of 1816. The book was completed in May of 1817 and first published in 1818. The plot of this story bears little resemblance to the novel's and is considerably more mundane than the well-known 1931 Universal Studios film version (directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff as the monster); the "monster" in this story is not an undead creature fashioned from corpses, but Frankenstein's mentally incapacitated assistant. Other DC versions of Frankenstein have taken a more literal approach to the original story. For example, in 1988, the novel's version of the monster made a brief appearance in Young All-Stars, set in mid-1942.
Detective #135 (May 1948)
1854: Batman and Robin visit California in the time of
the Gold Rush and battle the bandit Joaquín Murrieta. BF/DS/CP
NOTES: Joaquín Murrieta was a legendary Mexican bandit in California in the 1850s, although on Earth-Prime, he was shot and killed in 1853, a year before the events of this story. Much of Murrieta's notoriety stems from a sensationalized 1854 biography that claimed Murrieta had turned to banditry to avenge himself on Yankees who raped Murrieta's young wife and had his brother hanged for a crime that he didn't commit. The veracity of that account is at best questionable, but it inspired numerous subsequent accounts and several feature films, including MGM's The Robin Hood of El Dorado (1936), based on a 1932 biography by Walter Noble Burns and starring Warner Baxter as Murrieta. Murrieta may also have been one of the inspirations for Johnston McCulley's bandit hero, Zorro.
Batman #58  (April/May 1950)
Later in 1854, Batman and Robin visit the Mississippi Valley, where they meet river boat captain John Gordon, an ancestor of Commissioner Gordon, and clear him of charges that he is secretly a bandit. BF/DS/CP
Batman #89  (Feb. 1955)
1880: Batman and Robin visit the Old West and meet legendary
lawman Bat Masterson. EH/SM/CP
NOTES: Bartholomew "Bat" Masterson (1853–1921) spent most of the period from 1876 to 1886 in Dodge City, Kansas. Although he served as deputy sheriff of Ford County from 1877–1879 and briefly as a U.S. marshal, by 1880, Masterson had become a saloonkeeper and gambler.
Batman #99  (April 1956)
The 20th Century
Jan. 5, 1900: Birth of James W. Gordon, who will later
become police commissioner of Gotham City. ?/DS
NOTES: Gordon's name may have been inspired by the pulp hero Commissioner James W. "Wildcat" Gordon, a police official who also fought crime outside the law as a vigilante called the Whisperer. That Jim Gordon, who was created by Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro, first appeared in his own pulp magazine in Oct. 1936.
(World's Finest #53, Aug./Sept. 1951)
Later in 1900, a time-traveling Batman and Robin meet famed author Jules
Verne, who briefly returns with them to the 1950s. AD/DS/CP
NOTES: French author Jules Verne (1828–1905), who created such works as Le Voyage au centre de la Terre (1864; A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, 1872), De la Terre à la Lune (1865; From the Earth to the Moon, 1873), Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1870; Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, 1873), and L'Île mystérieuse (1874; The Mysterious Island, 1875) is considered one of the chief architects of modern science fiction. By 1900 he was residing in Amiens, where he stayed until his death. Since Batman and Robin arrive in Verne's era via hypnosis, it is unclear exactly how they are able to take him back to Gotham with them, although since Verne later returns via time-hypnosis, it is presumably some extension of the same method.
Batman #98  (March 1956)
April 7, 1915: Bruce Wayne is born in Gotham City to Thomas
and Martha Wayne. BF/JM (World's Finest Comics)
/ ?/JM (Star-Spangled Comics) / RT/RK/AA (America vs.
the Justice Society)
NOTES: The year of Bruce Wayne's birth is shown on his tombstone in America vs. the Justice Society #1. World's Finest Comics #33 states that Bruce's birthstone is diamond, which is traditionally associated with the month of April. The Robin story in Star-Spangled Comics #91, which carries an April cover date, says that Bruce's birthday is on "the 7th of this month." According to Jim Steranko's Steranko History of Comics Vol. 1 (1971), Batman's secret identity was devised by Bill Finger. The character was named for Scottish patriot Robert the Bruce (later Robert I of Scotland, 1274–1329) and American Revolutionary War General "Mad Anthony" Wayne (1745–1796).
(World's Finest #33, March/April 1948), (Star-Spangled Comics #91, April 1949), (America vs. the JSA #1, Jan. 1985)
c. 1916: The distant planet Krypton explodes. Moments
before its destruction, the Kryptonian scientist Jor-L and his
wife Lora send their only son, Kal-L, rocketing to Earth, where
he is found and adopted by John and Mary Kent. The Kents name the
baby Clark Kent. Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster (Superman
newspaper and Action #1) / RT/Wayne Boring/JO (Showcase)
NOTES: The precise date of Krypton-Two's destruction was never established; the origin of Power Girl in Showcase #97 (q.v.) indicates that Krypton was destroyed approximately 60 years before her 1976 debut. Superman's parents and homeworld were not named until the first episode of the Superman newspaper comic strip in Jan. 1939. The first names of his foster parents, not revealed in the early stories, were given as Eben and Sarah in George Lowther's 1942 prose novel The Adventures of Superman and in the Adventures of Superman radio series, and as John and Mary in Superman #53 (July/Aug. 1948), which Who's Who in the DC Universe later confirmed as the canonical names of the Earth-Two Superman's foster parents. It is worth noting that unlike the Earth-One Superman and other survivors of Krypton-One, who were essentially normal humans in their native environment, early versions of Superman's origins (and the retelling of the story in Secret Origins #1) make clear that on Earth-Two, Kryptonians possessed superhuman powers even on their homeworld; those powers were enhanced, not created, by the terrestrial environment.
(Action #1, June 1938)
(Secret Origins #1, April 1986)
Zor-L, Jor-L's brother and a resident of the Kryptonian city
of Kandor, launches his infant daughter Kara Zor-L to Earth aboard
a quasi-sentient "Symbioship." Kara spends the voyage
in suspended animation, aging at a greatly reduced rate as the
Symbioship fills her mind with hallucinatory visions of a childhood
and adolescence spent on Krypton. When she arrives on Earth, she
is biologically 20 years old. PL/JSt/DG
NOTES: Kara Zor-L (a.k.a. Power Girl) first appeared in All-Star Comics #58 (Jan./Feb. 1976), although her origins are mentioned only in passing in that story. Her Earth-One counterpart, Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) was born in Argo City, not Kandor. Krypton-One's Kandor was stolen by Brainiac years before Krypton's destruction, as shown in Action Comics #242 (July 1958); this story states that those events had no equivalent on Earth-Two.
(Showcase #97, Feb. 1978)
c. 1917: Thomas Wayne becomes a surgeon in the American
Expeditionary Forces during the first World War, eventually attaining
the rank of colonel. BF/SM/CP
NOTES: Although World War I began in Europe in the summer of 1914, the United States did not formally enter the conflict until April 1917.
(Batman #120 , Dec. 1958)
Some time after Thomas Wayne's return from the Army, Englishman
Jarvis Beagle becomes the Waynes' butler. His son, Alfred Beagle,
will later follow in Jarvis's footsteps as the butler to Bruce
NOTES: Alfred's last name is not mentioned in any of his earliest appearances. Detective Comics #96 (Feb. 1945) gives him the surname "Beagle," which Superman Family #211 (Oct. 1981) later confirmed as the name of Earth-Two's Alfred. Batman #216 (Nov. 1969) established the name of Alfred's Earth-One counterpart as Pennyworth, which is also true of Alfred's post-Crisis counterpart.
(Batman #16 , April/May 1943)
c. 1918?: Still wearing a "bat-man" costume
from a masquerade ball, Thomas Wayne helps capture bank robber
Lew Moxon, who had attempted to force Wayne to treat wounds Moxon
had sustained in an earlier battle with police. At his trial, Moxon
swears vengeance on Wayne. Wayne's costume, which fascinates his
young son, will later inspire the design of the costume Bruce wears
as Batman. BF/SM/SK
NOTES: The placement of this story in Earth-Two continuity is problematic. The story shows Bruce as a young boy of perhaps 3 or 4 at the time of the masquerade party and indicates that Moxon spent 10 years in prison before ordering Wayne's murder, which is not consistent with the established dates of Bruce's birth or his parents' murders. Although published during the Golden Age, this story more properly belongs to Earth-One continuity; these events are described in Untold Legend of the Batman #1 (July 1980), the definitive origin of the Earth-One Batman.
(Detective #235, Sept. 1956)
c. 1920: Birth of Selina Kyle. AB/JSt/GF
NOTES: The date is highly speculative. In Brave and the Bold #197, Selina says that she was 30 years old when she claimed to have become Catwoman while suffering from amnesia. That story (Batman #62 ) took place in late 1950, which would mean that she would have been born around 1920 — and thus was only about 20 years old when she first encountered Batman in 1940.
(Brave & Bold #197, April 1983)
Circus acrobat Hugo Marmon, calling himself "Bat
Man," performs in a costume similar to that eventually worn
by Batman. ?/DS/CP
NOTES: The chronology of Marmon's career is conjecture. The story itself specifies only that his career preceded that of Bruce Wayne's and that Marmon did not perform in Gotham City until sometime after May 1939.
(Detective #195, May 1953)
c. 1923: Alfred Beagle's niece, Valerie, is born in Australia.
Although Alfred maintains a correspondence with Valerie for many
years, she does not come to England until after Alfred has already
left for the United States; as late as 1945, the two had still
never actually met. BF/JB/CP
NOTES: Earth-One's Alfred, Alfred Pennyworth, also had a niece, Daphne Pennyworth, the daughter of Alfred's older brother, Wilfred; Daphne and Wilfred first appeared in Batman #216 (Nov. 1969).
(Batman Sunday, Feb./March 1945)
June 6, 1924: James Gordon graduates from law school and joins the Gotham Police Department. ?/DS
(World's Finest #53, Aug./Sept. 1951)
June 26, 1924: While walking home from a movie with his
wife and young son, Thomas Wayne is shot and killed by Joe Chill.
Seeing Thomas shot causes his wife Martha to suffer a fatal heart
attack, leaving their son Bruce an orphan. Young Bruce is left
in the care of his uncle, Dr. Philip Wayne. Bruce vows to devote
his life to avenging his parents' deaths. BF/BK/SM
(Detective #33) / RT/MR/TA (Secret Origins #6)
NOTES: The precise date of the Waynes' murders was established in Secret Origins #6. While early accounts of these events indicate that both Thomas and Martha Wayne were both shot to death, Batman #47  (June/July 1948) states that Martha Wayne actually died of a heart attack after witnessing the shooting of her husband, an explanation repeated in most published version of Batman's origin until the early 1970s. According to Detective Comics #235 (Sept. 1956) (and most accounts of the Earth-One Batman's origins), Joe Chill was not a mugger, but a hitman hired by Lex Moxon. As mentioned above, the placement of the latter story in Earth-Two continuity is troublesome; it was never definitively established if Lew Moxon was responsible for the deaths of the Waynes on Earth-Two. The guardianship of Bruce's uncle Philip was first mentioned (in connection with the Earth-One Batman) in Batman #208 (Feb. 1969). Philip Wayne's role in Earth-Two continuity was established by Secret Origins #6. According to Secret Origins #6, the Waynes were murdered after seeing a movie starring Rudolph Valentino. Historically, the only two Valentino films in theatres during 1924, Monsieur Beaucaire and A Sainted Devil, were not released until later in the year, after these events.
Detective #33 (Nov. 1939),
Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
Oct. 11, 1926: James Gordon marries a young woman named
NOTES: Gordon's wife is not named in this story and her first name was never revealed in any Golden Age story, but according to Superman Family #211 (Oct. 1981), her name was Barbara. On Earth-One, the name of Gordon's wife was Thelma.
(World's Finest #53, Aug./Sept. 1951)
c. 1927: James Gordon and his wife have a son, Tony Gordon. ?/DS
NOTES: Tony Gordon had a counterpart on Earth-One: the older brother of Barbara (Babs) Gordon (Batgirl). Earth-One's Tony Gordon first appeared as an adult in Batman Family #12 (July/Aug. 1977). (Babs Gordon apparently had no direct counterpart on Earth-Two.) Tony Gordon did not exist in post-Crisis continuity, but James and Barbara Gordon did have a son, James Gordon, Jr., born shortly after the Gordons arrived in Gotham City; see Batman #404–407 (Feb.–May 1987).
(World's Finest #53, Aug./Sept. 1951)
1928: Richard (Dick) Grayson is born to John and Mary
NOTES: The year is that shown on Dick's tombstone. An episode of the Adventures of Superman radio series (aired Sept. 25, 1946) gave Dick's mother's name as Yvonne and indicated that she was of French extraction. Neither point was ever reflected in the comic books.
(Last Days of the JSA, 1986)
c. 1931: James Gordon is promoted to the rank of lieutenant in the Gotham Police Department. ?/DS
(World's Finest #53, Aug./Sept. 1951)
c. 1933: Disguising his identity with a mask and a red,
yellow, and green costume (very similar to the uniform later used
by Robin), Bruce Wayne studies with gifted police detective Harvey
Harris — who, not knowing Bruce's real name, dubs the
young man "Robin." EH/DS/CP
NOTES: The placement of these events in Earth-Two continuity is speculative, as they are not mentioned in Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986). However, Bruce's training with Harvey Harris definitely took place on Earth-One, as first established in Batman #213 (July 1969). In post-Crisis continuity, Bruce Wayne studied with Harris, but not in costume; see Detective Comics Annual #2 (1988).
(Detective #226, Dec. 1955)
Fall 1935: Bruce Wayne enrolls in Gotham University. RT/MR/TA
NOTES: World's Finest Comics #59 (July/Aug. 1952) states that Bruce Wayne attended Gotham University (sometimes called Gotham College). That point was confirmed by Secret Origins #6, which also established the date.
(World's Finest #59, July/Aug. 1952), Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
c. 1937: James Gordon becomes Gotham City's police chief and later its police commissioner. DV/DS/CP
(Batman #71 , June/July 1952)
Selina Kyle marries a wealthy man who proves to be physically
and emotionally abusive. Selina sues for divorce, but her ex-husband
retaliates by trying to destroy her reputation and ruin her financially.
To strike back, she burglarizes his estate, stealing jewels he
had ostensibly bought for her. Afterwards, she takes up a full-time
criminal career, becoming a notorious jewel thief called the Cat. AB/JSt/GF
NOTES: The dates of Selina's marriage and divorce were never established, although she says the marriage ended "more than two years" before her first encounter with Batman in 1940. The name of Selina's first husband is not revealed, although because Selina's brother was named Karl Kyle, Kyle presumably was her maiden name.
(Brave & Bold #197, April 1983)
June 1938: Clark Kent becomes a reporter for the Metropolis Daily
Star, meets Lois Lane, and begins
his heroic career as Superman. JSi/JSh
NOTES: The name of the newspaper that employed Clark Kent and Lois Lane was changed from Daily Star to Daily Planet in the Dec. 2, 1939 installment of the Superman Sunday newspaper strip. That change was reflected in the comic book in Superman #4 (Spring 40) and Action Comics #23 (April 1940). As established in Justice League of America #91 (Aug. 1971), however, the Earth-Two Clark Kent continued to work for the Daily Star throughout his career, eventually becoming the paper's editor-in-chief. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Action #1 (June 1938)
Fall 1938: While attending Gotham University, Bruce Wayne
meets Julie Madison while acting in a production of Hamlet in
which Bruce plays the part of Polonius and Julie that of Ophelia.
They soon fall in love. RT/MR/TA
NOTES: This is the earliest chronological appearance of Earth-Two's Julie Madison, but her first textual appearance was in Detective Comics #31 (Sept. 1939).
Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
Bruce's jealous classmate Joe Danton deliberately removes the safety cap from his fencing foil during a match, leaving a scar on Bruce's wrist that later enables Danton to recognize that Bruce is secretly Batman. BF/SM/CP
(Batman #96, Dec. 1955)
Spring 1939: Bruce Wayne and Julie Madison graduate from Gotham University. Julie moves to New York to pursue an acting career on Broadway while Bruce remains in Gotham, still obsessed with the idea of somehow fighting crime. RT/MR/TA
Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
A bat flying into the open window of Bruce Wayne's study inspires
him to create a new identity for his war against crime: the Batman. BF/BK
(Detective #27) / RT/MR/TA (Secret Origins)
NOTES: This scene, conceived by Batman co-creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane, may have been inspired by a very similar scene in the debut adventure of the Bat, a pulp adventurer who appeared in Popular Detective magazine in Nov. 1934. The Bat's adventures, credited to Better Publications house name C.K.M. Scanlon, may have been written by Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro.
(Detective #33, Nov. 1939), Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
In his first outing, Batman apprehends a thief named "Slugsy" Kyle
at the Gotham Glassworks and leaves Kyle bound and unconscious
for the police. BF/SM/CP (Detective#265)
/ RT/MR/TA (Secret Origins)
NOTES: This story was originally recounted in flashback in Detective Comics #265 and retold in Secret Origins #6.
(Detective #265, March 1959), Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
Bruce Wayne meets and ingratiates himself with his uncle's old friend, Commissioner James Gordon. BF/BK (Detective #27)/
RT/MR/TA (Secret Origins)
NOTES: Philip Wayne's connection to Gordon was revealed in Secret Origins #6. The relationship between Bruce Wayne and Gordon in this first Batman story was almost certainly inspired by the relationship between the Shadow's playboy alter ego, Lamont Cranston, and New York City's (fictional) Police Commissioner Weston. The Shadow, an obvious influence on the creation of Batman, first appeared in July 1930 as the narrator of Street & Smith's weekly Detective Story Hour radio series and made his pulp debut in April 1931's The Living Shadow, subsequently appearing in 324 more pulp novels (most written by Walter B. Gibson under the Street & Smith house name Maxwell Grant), a variety of comic books and comic strips, four movie serials, and several films, as well as a highly popular radio series that aired from 1937 to 1954. There is no evidence to suggest that the Shadow (whose comic book adventures were published by DC Comics in the 1970s and 1980s) had a counterpart on Earth-Two, but he did exist on Earth-One; he met Earth-One's Batman in Batman #253 (Nov. 1973). In that story, written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Irv Novick and Dick Giordano, Batman admits that his costumed career and identity as Batman were directly influenced by the Shadow's exploits.
Detective #27 (May 1939), Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
The Batman defeats chemical magnate Alfred
Stryker, who has murdered several of his business partners
in an attempt to gain control of Apex Chemicals. BF/BK
(Detective Comics #27) / RT/MR/TA (Secret Origins)
NOTES: This six-page tale, entitled "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate," drawn by Bob Kane and scripted by Bill Finger (who later admitted that it was closely based on an adventure of the Shadow), was the first published appearance of Batman, although the text clearly indicates that it is not Batman's first adventure — he is already wanted by the police. Bruce Wayne smokes a pipe in this story, as he does in numerous comic book stories through the mid-forties. As Batman, he drives a red coupe, which he also used in several other early adventures prior to the debut of the more flamboyant Batmobile in 1941.
Detective #27 (May 1939),
Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
Bruce Wayne becomes engaged to Julie Madison. RT/MR/TA
Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
Batman kills one of jewel thief Frenchy Blake's
henchmen by throwing the man off a roof, then captures Blake and
threatens to drop him out a window unless he signs a confession. BF/BK
NOTES: Batman's second appearance includes the first use of the bat-line, initially carried in a coil hanging from his utility belt. Curiously, Batman does not wear gloves in this story.
Detective #28 (June 1939)
Bruce Wayne buys Wayne Manor and discovers the vast caves that
lie beneath it. He will later outfit the cavern as his crimefighting
headquarters: the Batcave. BF/SM/CP
NOTES: The name "Batcave" was apparently conceived by the writers of the 1943 Batman serial: Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker, and Harry L. Fraser. The cave as it is known today did not appear in the comic book series until Batman #12 (Aug./Sept. 1942) and was not called the Batcave until Detective Comics #83 (Jan. 1944), published after the release of the serial. In post-Crisis continuity, Wayne Manor was owned by the Wayne family well before the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, although there are various conflicting accounts of its origins.
(Detective #205, March 1954)
Batman confronts the vile Karl Hellfern, better known as Dr.
Death. After Batman kills the doctor's Indian henchman Jabah,
Hellfern apparently perishes after accidentally immolating himself
with an incendiary chemical called "the fiery death." GF/BK
NOTES: With this issue, the length of the Batman feature in Detective Comics increased from six pages to 10. This story, written by Gardner Fox rather than Batman co-creator Bill Finger, contains a number of significant firsts: the first gadgets from Batman's utility belt (a glass vial of "choking gas" and a set of suction cups he uses to scale the side of a building); the first time Batman was wounded in action; and the first time Batman used a gun (he holds two of Dr. Death's henchmen at bay with a captured automatic). Batman kills Jabah by breaking the henchman's neck with the bat-rope, the first of three occasions on which Batman used the bat-rope in that fashion.
Detective #29 (July 1939)
A few days after his last confrontation with Dr. Death, Batman
discovers that the villain is still alive, albeit now hideously
scarred. After killing another of the doctor's underlings, a Cossack
called Mikhail, Batman captures Dr. Death and turns the fiend over
to police. GF/BK/SM
NOTES: Dr. Death was the first Batman foe to appear more than once. This was his final appearance, but an Earth-One counterpart appeared in Batman #344 (Feb. 1982) and Detective Comics #512 (March 1982).
Detective #30 (Aug. 1939)
Noted industrial designer Norman Lowell designs a distinctive
auto-gyro for Batman's use: the Bat-gyro. Batman later saves Lowell
from being kidnapped by a Nazi agent. Archie
NOTES: The placement of this story in Earth-Two continuity is conjecture, but seems appropriate, given the setting and subject. This story won a 1997 Eisner award for Best Short Story.
(Batman Black and White #4, Sept. 1996)
Batman meets Australian circus performer Lee Collins, who teaches Batman to use the boomerang as a weapon and creates the first batarang as a gift for the Caped Crusader. BF/SM/CP
(Detective #244, June 1957)
Bruce Wayne's fiancée Julie Madison falls
under the thrall of the sinister Monk and his
accomplice Dala, who try to hypnotically force
Julie to murder one of their enemies. Bruce sends Julie on an ocean
cruise to recuperate while, as Batman, he follows her in his Bat-gyro.
In Paris, he narrowly escapes a death-trap set by the Monk and
again rescues Julie from the villain's clutches. GF/BK/SM
NOTES: The Bat-gyro (also called the "bat-plane"), which debuted in this story, was the forerunner of the Batplane, inspired by a similar aircraft used by the Shadow in his pulp adventures. This story was also the first appearance of the batarang (spelled "baterang" in the text) and the first time Batman wore gauntlets rather than wrist-length gloves. The text of this story describes Batman's home city as New York, the first time the setting of his adventures was explicitly named. Batman's home town was first called Gotham City in Detective Comics #48 (Feb. 1941).
Detective #31 (Sept. 1939)
In Paris, Batman captures the Monk's accomplice Dala and forces
her to lead him to the Monk's stronghold in Hungary, where the
Caped Crusader learns that the villains — who are both vampires
and werewolves — intend to make Julie Madison one of them.
Batman eventually kills both monsters with a pistol loaded with
homemade silver bullets and frees Julie, who soon recovers. GF/BK/SM
NOTES: This story was the first time Batman killed with a gun. Earth-One counterparts of the Monk and Dala, whose history was quite different, were introduced in 1982, Dala in Detective Comics #511 (Feb. 1982), the Monk in Detective #515 (June 1982). Their final appearance was in Detective Comics #518 (Sept. 1982), but post-Crisis versions of both characters appeared in the 2006–2007 miniseries Batman and the Mad Monk, written and drawn by Matt Wagner. The latter story is positioned as a direct sequel to Wagner's 2004 Batman and the Monster Men, although that series is a modern version of the slightly later Golden Age story from Batman #1. (See below for details.)
Detective #32 (Oct. 1939)
After his harrowing adventure in Hungary, Batman returns to Paris,
where he puts Julie Madison on a ship bound for America. Shortly
afterward, he aids Charles Maire and Maire's sister Karel against
the malevolent Duc D'Orterre, who has burned
away Charles' face with a deadly ray. GF/BK
NOTES: The text suggests that this story takes place immediately following the events of issue #32 and probably before those of #33. The faceless features of the unfortunate Charles Maire strongly resemble those of a memorable Dick Tracy villain, the Blank, who first appeared in the Tracy strip on Oct. 21, 1937. This was the final issue of Detective Comics that did not prominently feature Batman on its cover.
Detective #34 (Dec. 1939)
Arming himself with an automatic pistol and donning a bulletproof
vest, Batman goes to war with the villainous Scarlet
Horde and its leader, self-styled world conqueror Carl
Kruger, who is terrorizing the city in a scarlet airship
armed with a death ray of Kruger's own invention. GF?/BK/SM
NOTES: Batman carries a pistol in a holster on his utility belt throughout this story, the only occasion (other than the non-diegetic splash page of Detective Comics #34 and some DC house ads) on which he did so in any Golden Age story. This story includes the first references to Batman's hidden laboratory and workshop, which contain newspaper clippings and scientific equipment, although there is no mention of the Batcave per se; these facilities are implied to be hidden somewhere in the Wayne house. This issue of Detective Comics also includes a separate two-page feature containing the first published account of Batman's origin, written by Bill Finger and drawn by Bob Kane.
Detective #33 (Nov. 1939)
With the help of his friend Wong, the unofficial
mayor of Chinatown and a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, Batman
defeats Sheldon Lenox BF/BK/SM
NOTES: In this and several subsequent stories, Batman drives a dark blue roadster, rather than a red coupe. The new car bears a broad resemblance to a 1938 or 1939 Lincoln Zephyr convertible coupe, customized with external exhaust pipes and a bat-shaped hood ornament.
Detective #35 (Jan. 1940)
Jan. 26, 1940: Famous detective Dana Drye records in his diary that he has accumulated "indisputable proof" that Bruce Wayne is Batman, although Drye chooses not to publicly reveal that knowledge. JSa/JR
(Batman #14 , Dec. 1942/Jan. 1943)
Batman takes on the malevolent Professor Hugo
NOTES: This story was the first appearance of the distinctive fins on Batman's gauntlets, the final major detail of his costume to be added prior to 1964's "New Look."
Detective #36 (Feb. 1940)
Batman battles an international spy ring led by Count
NOTES: This was the last pre-Robin story in Detective Comics. The final panel announces that the next issue will feature Hugo Strange and his man-monsters, but the origin of Robin displaced that story to Batman #1 (Spring 1940).
Detective #37 (March 1940)
Batman has a second encounter with Professor Hugo Strange, who
has used a special glandular growth formula to transform inmates
kidnapped from a local insane asylum into feral, 10-foot-tall "man
monsters." Batman is captured by Strange's men and injected
with the monster serum, but the Caped Crusader manages to concoct
an antidote in time to save himself. He subsequently kills a number
of Stranger's henchmen and man-monsters with machine gun fire from
the Batplane, hangs another monster with the bat-rope, and uses
tear gas pellets to cause the last monster to fall to its death
from a downtown skyscraper. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: This story depicts the Batplane not as an auto-gyro, but as a fixed-wing aircraft, armed with a water-cooled machine gun. The confrontation between Batman and the final monster atop the skyscraper was clearly inspired by the final scenes of RKO's 1933 film King Kong. The violence of this story reportedly prompted an edict from new Batman editor Whitney Ellsworth (who began his tenure with this issue, replacing original Batman editor Vin Sullivan) that Batman should never kill his opponents. According to Detective Comics #471 (Aug. 1977), similar events occurred some years later on Earth-One. A post-Crisis version of this story appeared in the 2004 mini-series Batman and the Monster Men, written and drawn by Matt Wagner.
Batman #1  (Spring 1940)
Circus acrobat Dick Grayson's parents, John
and Mary Grayson, are murdered by henchmen of gang leader Anthony "Boss" Zucco.
Dick is taken in by Batman, who shares the secret of his true identity
and agrees to train Dick as his partner: Robin,
the Boy Wonder. Dick Grayson becomes Bruce Wayne's legal ward.
Together, they apprehend Zucco and his gang. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: This was the first appearance of Robin. The character's origins are disputed; he was apparently suggested by Bob Kane, but designed in large part by Kane's assistant, Jerry Robinson, who also came up with the character's name, said to have been inspired by Robin Hood. In any event, Robin was the first costumed kid sidekick in superhero comics and was widely imitated, both by DC and its competitors. The character's most obvious fictional antecedents were Dick Tracy's adopted son, Junior, who first appeared in Chester Gould's seminal detective strip on Sept. 8, 1932, and Terry Lee, the titular hero of Milt Caniff's great adventure strip Terry and the Pirates, which debuted on Oct. 22, 1934. Robin is armed with a slingshot in this story (also used in many subsequent stories in this period) and apparently kills at least three of Zucco's henchmen by throwing or kicking them off an unfinished skyscraper during the story's climactic battle, a detail omitted from subsequent accounts of these events. Boss Zucco, the man responsible for the deaths of Dick Grayson's parents, was (like many early Batman gangsters) clearly modeled on actor Edward G. Robinson, who starred in many Warner Bros. gangster films of the 1930s and 1940s. The ending of this story implies that Zucco will be sent to the electric chair for his crimes, but Infinity, Inc. #6 (Sept. 1984) shows him as a very old man in a prison hospital, suggesting that he received a life sentence instead. That story also revealed Zucco's first name, not mentioned in the original tale.
Detective #38 (April 1940)
Following the apprehension of Boss Zucco, Bruce Wayne tries to
force Dick Grayson to retire as Robin, but Dick eventually convinces
Bruce that Robin should remain Batman's permanent crimefighting
NOTES: This story indicates that Batman only allowed Dick to become Robin in order to apprehend the killer of Dick's parents, a point that is hard to reconcile with the scene in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) in which Dick and Batman swear "an undying oath" that they "will fight together against crime and corruption and never … swerve from the path of righteousness."
(Batman #32 ) (Dec. 1945/Jan. 1946)
A laboratory worker becomes a masked thief called the Red
Hood in order to rob various Gotham City businesses. Pursued
by Batman, the Red Hood escapes by leaping to his apparent death
in the waste chemical catch basin of the Monarch Playing Card
Company. Unbeknownst to Batman, the Red Hood survives, but the
chemical wastes turns his hair green, bleaches his skin white,
and dyes his lips red. He later becomes Batman's deadliest
foe: the Joker. BF/LS/GR
NOTES: The Earth-Two Joker's real name was never revealed. These events, recounted in flashback, were his first chronological appearance, although the story describes this incident as taking place "10 years ago" (i.e., in late 1940 or early 1941), while the Joker's debut in Batman #1 implies that the Joker had already assumed his familiar green-haired, white-skinned form by the spring of 1940. In any case, this remains the most commonly repeated version of the Joker's origin, although modern stories typically describe his lips as white, attributing any other coloration to the use of lipstick.
(Detective #168, Feb. 1951)
Batman's friend and ally Wong, the unofficial mayor of Chinatown,
enlists Batman and Robin's help to stop the murderous Green
Dragon tong, which has been terrorizing Chinatown and has kidnapped
several prominent socialites to hold them for ransom. Wong is subsequently
murdered, but the Caped Crusaders ultimately defeat the entire
tong, capture its leader, and free the tong's hostages. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: During this story's climactic battle, Batman deliberately pushes the tong's gigantic Green Dragon idol off its dais, crushing to death at least half a dozen of the tong's soldiers. This was one of the last times Batman intentionally killed or attempted to kill his opponents in any Golden Age story.
Detective #39 (Feb. 1940)
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson visit the New York World's Fair,
where, as Batman and Robin, they defeat the evil Professor
Hugo Vreekill, a mad scientist armed with a steel-destroying
ray weapon. BF/BK
NOTES: This issue was the first time Batman and Superman appeared in the same comic book, although they appear together only on the cover (drawn by Jack Burnley); inside, the characters are featured in separate stories. The New York World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadow, Queens, New York. It opened on April 30, 1939, closed for the winter on Oct. 31, and reopened on May 11, 1940. It closed for good on Oct. 30, 1940, although on Earth-Two, its Trylon and Perisphere later became the headquarters of the wartime All-Star Squadron, of which Batman and Robin were members. National/DC published two issues of New York World's Fair Comics, released to coincide with the Fair's opening; they were 100 pages, initially priced at 25 cents (later reduced to 15 cents). Batman did not appear in the first issue, although it did feature Superman.
New York World's Fair #2 (1940)
Batman and Robin have their first encounter with the man who
will become their arch-foe: The Joker, who
has publicly announced his intention to murder several innocent
people. The Harlequin of Hate makes good on several of those threats
using a lethal poison that leaves its victims with a ghastly grin,
but he is finally apprehended by the Dynamic Duo. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: This story makes no mention of the Joker's real name or the reasons for his peculiar appearance, but indicates that he previously spent time in prison (although it is not clear whether that was as the Joker or in his previous identity); one of his victims is the judge who had sentenced him. The authorship of the Joker has been much debated, with Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson each claiming credit for the character. Robinson said the Joker was inspired by an image on a playing card, Finger by the 1927 silent film The Man Who Laughs (dir. Paul Leni, Universal Pictures), based on the 1869 Victor Hugo story (L'Homme qui rit) and starring actor Conrad Veidt as Gwynnplaine, a young Rromani whose face is cut into a permanent grin. The Joker's appearance also bears a notable resemblance to the leering face at the entrance of the Steeplechase Pavilion of Fun at the Coney Island amusement park, which Finger's son later described as one of his father's inspirations for the character. This story has been retold several times, most extensively in the 2005 special Batman: The Man Who Laughs, by Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke.
Batman #1  (Spring 1940)
Two days after his capture by Batman and Robin, the Joker escapes
jail and begins a new reign of terror that ends when he accidentally
stabs himself while trying to kill Batman. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: As originally written, this second appearance of the Joker ended with his death. However, editor Whitney Ellsworth decided the Joker was too good a villain to lose and ordered the addition of a final panel showing the Joker being taken away by ambulance with dialogue indicating that he would survive his wounds.
Batman #1  (Spring 1940)
Batman and Robin meet a cunning jewel thief called the Cat, later
known as the Catwoman. The Caped Crusaders
prevent her from stealing an emerald necklace, but Batman, smitten
by the attractive thief, allows her to escape. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: The Catwoman is described only as "the Cat" in this story; her real name is not revealed. She does not appear in costume, although she does spend much of the story in disguise. The text indicates that the Cat is already renowned as a successful thief by this time, so while this story is her first encounter with Batman, it is clearly not her first outing. (In Brave and the Bold #197 (April 1983), the Catwoman says she had been the Cat for over two years by that time.) In his 1989 autobiography Batman and Me, Bob Kane claimed credit for Catwoman's creation, although most other accounts indicate that she was the brainchild of Bill Finger.
Batman #1  (Spring 1940)
Bruce Wayne's fiancée Julie Madison begins a new career as a
film actress with a small part in the Argus Pictures horror film Dread
Castle. She and the rest of the cast are threatened by the
murderous Clayface, who is ultimately unmasked
as former horror star Basil Karlo. BF/BK/JR
NOTES: Basil Karlo was clearly inspired by legendary horror star Boris Karloff (1887–1969). In a career spanning over 40 years and more than 100 films, Karloff starred as such villains as the Frankenstein monster, the Mummy, and Sax Rohmer's sinister Dr. Fu Manchu. Unlike Basil Karlo, Karloff off-screen was by most accounts a kind, gentle, generous man.
Detective #40 (June 1940)
Learning that the Joker is still alive, Batman and Robin attempt
to kidnap him and take him to "a famous brain specialist" for
an operation that will make the Joker "a valuable citizen." They
find the Joker has already been freed from the hospital by a gang
of crooks who hope he will help them steal the priceless Pharaoh
Gems. While searching for the Joker, Batman again encounters the
Catwoman and allows her to escape in exchange for information on
the Joker's whereabouts. The Catwoman later trades the Pharaoh
Gems to the Joker for Robin's life and then escapes
capture by leaping from the Batplane. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: The Catwoman is called "Cat-Woman" in this story, although she still does not appear in costume. The reference to a "famous brain specialist" in this story may have been an allusion to pulp hero Doc Savage, who sometimes performed such operations at a secret clinic in upstate New York. Doc Savage, the creation of author Lester Dent (writing as Kenneth Robeson), was a major influence on both Superman and Batman. Savage first appeared in the pulp novel Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze in March 1933 and went on to appear in 181 novels from Street& Smith publications between 1933 and 1949.
Batman #2  (Summer 1940)
Aug. 1940: Batman and Robin meet painter Pierre
Antal, who achieves unwelcome notoriety after his deranged
society patron murders several of Antal's past portrait subjects.
Batman and Robin later recall this as their "first
really big case." BF/BK/JR
NOTES: Batman and Robin recount the events of this case in a story in Batman #38 (Dec. 1946/Jan. 1947), also written by Bill Finger. That story also established that these events took place in Aug. 1940, the cover date of the issue in which the story appeared.
Detective #42 (Aug. 1940)
Gotham City is terrorized by the so-called Ugly
Horde, a mob of hideous-looking men deformed by a thyroid-modifying
chemical created by their leader, a man named Carlson, who was
disfigured by a similar formula while in college. Batman and
Robin finally defeat Carlson, whose victims are restored to normal
by a plastic surgeon called Dr. Ekhart. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: The formula used by Carlson in this story appears similar to the one Hugo Strange used to create his "man monsters," although that connection is not made in the text. The Dr. Ekhart mentioned in this story is presumably the same Dr. Ekhart who later operates on Harvey Kent, a.k.a. Two-Face, although that connection was never made in any published stories.
Batman #3  (Fall 1940)
Batman and Robin once again battle the Catwoman, and once again
Batman allows her to escape capture, obviously smitten. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: The Catwoman (who is alternately called the Cat and the Cat-Woman in this story) wears a dark blue cat-head mask in this adventure, the first time she was depicted with a cat-like costume.
Batman #3  (Fall 1940)
Batman approaches Commissioner Gordon in his office late one
night. The Caped Crusader explains that although he works outside
the law, his goal is to fight crime and aid the police. Although
Gordon is skeptical, the two men eventually come to a private agreement. EH/SM/CP
NOTES: These events, revealed in flashback in this 1956 story, more properly belong to Earth-One continuity, as shown in Untold Legends of the Batman #1 (July 1980), the definitive origin of the Earth-One Batman. However, Gordon's role in helping Sir William Stephenson recruit Batman for a special mission in Nov. 1940 (as shown in DC Special #29 (Aug./Sept. 1977) and several occasions on which Gordon publicly praises Batman despite the latter's official status as an outlaw suggest that on Earth-Two, Gordon and Batman may have reached some sort of truce prior to Gordon's dramatic public deputization of Batman in Batman #7 (Oct./Nov. 1941) roughly a year later.
(Detective #234, Aug. 1956)
Nov. 16-17, 1940: At the behest of President Roosevelt and British intelligence, Commissioner Gordon recruits Batman to join the Flash
and Green Lantern on a covert mission to investigate rumors that German agents outside Glasgow, Scotland, are preparing for a Nazi invasion of the British Isles. After being overcome by the Nazi agents' experimental robot, the three heroes are transported to Berlin, where Dr. Fate and Hourman narrowly rescue them from execution at the hands of Adolf Hitler himself. The heroes, subsequently
joined by the Atom, Hawkman, the Sandman, the Spectre, and Superman,
manage to defeat the Nazi invasion force, prevent an attack on
Washington, D.C. by an experimental German long-range bomber, and
thwart the assassination of President Roosevelt. At the president's
suggestion, the assembled heroes decide to form a team, with a
name suggested by Superman: the Justice Society of America. PL/JSt/BL
NOTES: This was the first account of the origin of the Justice Society, which was not explained in their first appearance in All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940) nor in any Golden Age story. This story shows Commissioner Gordon using the Bat-Signal to summon Batman in the fall of 1940, nearly a year before Gordon officially deputized Batman in a dramatic courtroom speech (Batman #7  (Oct./Nov. 1941); this may be an error or may indicate that Gordon arranged a private accommodation with Batman sometime prior to that story. The Flash was created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert in Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940); Green Lantern by Martin Nodell (with scripts by Batman co-creator Bill Finger) in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940); Dr. Fate by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940); the Hawkman by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff in Flash #1 (Jan. 1940); Hourman in Adventure Comics #48 (March 1940); the Sandman by Gardner Fox and Bernard Christman in Adventure Comics #40 (July 1939) (although his appearance in New York World's Fair Comics #1 was published slightly earlier); and the Spectre by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey in More Fun Comics #52–53 (Feb.-March 1940).
DC Special #29 (Aug./Sept. 1977)
Batman and Robin clash once more with Professor Hugo Strange.
In their final battle, Strange is sent hurtling off a cliff to
his apparently certain doom. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: This was the final Golden Age appearance of Hugo Strange. Earth-Two's Strange survived this fall, but was left paralyzed; his next appearance was in Brave and the Bold #182 (Jan. 1982). The Earth-One Hugo Strange, whose early history was similar to that of his Earth-Two counterpart, escaped relatively unscathed from a similar plunge and fled to Europe for many years, returning to Gotham in Detective Comics #471 (Aug. 1977).
Detective #46 (Dec. 1940)
Although still engaged to Julie Madison, Bruce Wayne flirts with
beautiful actress Linda Lewis, whose millionaire father has become
entangled in a plot to rob the gold reserves of Ford Stox. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: "Fort Stox" is clearly intended to represent the U.S. Army's Fort Knox; Fort Knox, located in northern Kentucky, is the location of the U.S. Depository containing the majority of America's gold reserves. This story was the first to use the term "Batmobile," albeit using it to describe the red (sometimes blue) roadster used by Batman and Robin throughout 1940 and early 1941, rather than the vehicle introduced in Batman #5 (Spring 1941). This was also the first comic book story to refer to Batman's home city as Gotham City rather than New York. According to Jim Steranko's 1971 book The Steranko History of Comics Vol. 1, Bill Finger's choice of that name was inspired by a local jewelry store called Gotham Jewelers. "Gotham," of course, is a well-known nickname for New York City, first popularized by author Washington Irving in the early 19th century. In the 1940s, Gotham City was also home to Green Lantern and the Justice Society of America, although that connection was rarely acknowledged in the text. During this period, both Gotham and Metropolis were both obviously intended to represent New York City and it was extremely unclear whether or not they were supposed to be the same city. (The Adventures of Superman radio series strongly suggested that Batman and Superman both lived in Metropolis.) By 1952, the comics (e.g., Superman #76) had firmly established that Gotham and Metropolis were distinct entities. Since the late 1960s, numerous stories have indicated that New York, Gotham, and Metropolis coexist separately in the DC Universe (at least on Earth-One and Earth-Two).
Detective #48 (Feb. 1941)
Batman and Robin have a rematch with the Joker, who has survived
his apparent demise in their previous encounter. The Joker
eventually escapes, once again appearing to have perished. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: This story (and the second and third stories in this issue) identifies Batman's home city as New York, but the fourth and final story identifies it as Gotham City, the first time that name appeared in the Batman series.
Batman #4  (Winter 1940)
Batman and Robin clash with racketeer Jimmy McCoy,
who is ultimately gunned down by rival gangsters on the steps of
the city courthouse. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: Jimmy McCoy is drawn to resemble actor James Cagney (1899–1986), who played similar gangster parts in a variety of Warner Bros. motion pictures in the 1930s and 1940s. This adventure is essentially a pastiche of several of those films, notably Public Enemy (1931, dir. William Wellman) and The Roaring Twenties (1939, dir. Raoul Walsh). This story once again explicitly identifies Batman's home city as New York.
Batman #4  (Winter 1940)
Nov. 22, 1940: At the first formal meeting of the Justice
Society of America, Batman is named an honorary member in
absentia. GF/E.E. Hibbard/et al
NOTES: The Justice Society of America was published by All-American Comics, a publisher partly owned by National Publications during the mid-1940s. All-American's books, including All-American Comics and Sensation Comics, carried the DC logo (except for a brief period in 1945), but were created through separate editorial offices. The JSA was intended to provide additional exposure for All-American's superhero characters, and membership was originally limited to heroes without their own comic books. Although Superman and Batman were acknowledged as existing in the same reality as the JSA, they were only occasionally mentioned, presumably to avoid overshadowing All-American's own characters. By early 1946, National had acquired all rights to All-American, ending this distinction.
All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940)
Thanks to the success of her first film, Dread Castle,
Julie Madison decides to continue her film career under the stage
name Portia Storme. Frustrated by Bruce Wayne's apparent lack of
ambition, Julie reluctantly breaks off their engagement. As Batman,
Bruce defends Julie from a new attack by Clayface, but makes no
attempt to change her mind about their engagement. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: Julie Madison's stage name was probably an homage to Bill Finger's girlfriend and first wife, who was named Portia. (Another Portia Storme, with no apparent relationship to Julie Madison, had already appeared in the third story in Batman #2 (Summer 1940) a few months earlier.) This was the final Golden Age appearance of both Julie Madison and Clayface. The subsequent fate of Earth-Two's Julie Madison was never revealed, but Batman #208 (Feb. 1969) established that there was also an Earth-One Julie Madison, whose early history and relationship with Bruce Wayne were similar. According to World's Finest Comics #248 (Dec. 1977/Jan. 1978), Earth-One's Julie later married the monarch of the European nation of Moldavia and became Princess Portia, a marriage clearly modeled on the much-publicized 1956 marriage of actress Grace Kelly (1929–1982) and Prince Rainer of Monaco. An Earth-One counterpart of Basil Karlo appeared in Detective Comics #496 (Oct. 1980), while his post-Crisis origin was recounted by Mike W. Barr, Keith Giffen, and Al Gordon in Secret Origins #44 (Sep. 1989).
Detective #49 (March 1941)
Two months after being rescued from Gotham harbor following his
last encounter with Batman and Robin, the Joker opens a gambling
ship operating just outside the three-mile limit (and thus outside
police jurisdiction). When Batman investigates, the Joker's beautiful
accomplice Queenie accidentally discovers the Caped Crusader's
secret identity after noticing a shaving cut on his chin.
Queenie falls in love with Batman and is subsequently shot to death
while saving him from one of her accomplices. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: Bruce Wayne smokes a cigarette in this story, as he did in a number of stories in the early and mid-1940s, although he generally preferred a pipe to cigarettes. This was the last quarterly issue of Batman, which subsequently became bi-monthly until 1954, and the first to introduce the distinctive Batmobile that Batman used throughout the 1940s. The 1940s Batmobile was usually depicted as a streamlined two-door sedan or club coupe with bulbous fenders extending back into the front doors, along with an enormous bat-shaped ram on the nose, external exhaust pipes protruding through the hood, and a scalloped dorsal fin extending from the trailing edge of the roof through the tail. Although the Batmobile was usually colored dark blue, it was often described in the text as black, generally with red trim. Few details were ever given about its powertrain, but it was described as having a powerful supercharged engine. This version of the Batmobile remained in use through Detective Comics #156 (Feb. 1950).
Batman #5  (Spring 1941)
While helping Batman investigate racketeer "Smiley" Sikes,
Robin is nearly beaten to death by two of the gangster's henchmen.
After discovering the badly injured Boy Wonder, Batman leaves him
in the care of a surgeon, invades Sikes's hide-out and, despite
being shot three times, beats a confession out of the now thoroughly
terrified Sikes. After depositing the defeated criminal with the
police, Batman returns to the surgeon's home before collapsing.
Fortunately, the surgeon is able to save the lives of both Caped
Crusaders and opts not to remove their masks while they are unconscious,
thereby preserving their secret identities. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: A caption box in this story notes that Batman has "permanently discarded his bulletproof vest because it hampered freedom of movement." A very similar Earth-One story — involving a different villain, but directly quoting some of the action and dialogue of the earlier tale — appeared in Detective Comics #374 (April 1968), written by Gardner Fox with art by Gil Kane and Sid Greene.
Batman #5  (Spring 1941)
Bruce Wayne renews his acquaintance with socialite and nurse Linda
Page, whom he will date throughout the war years. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: Although this was Linda Page's first appearance, the text clearly indicates that she and Bruce have already known each other for some time.
Batman #5  (Spring 1941)
Batman and Robin investigate the murder of author Eric
Dorne, ultimately learning that the killer was a fifth columnist
whose activities Dorne had discovered. BF/BK/GR
NOTES: The appearance in this story of fifth columnists supporting an unnamed "Fatherland" is one of the earliest references in the Batman series to the war in Europe. Before America's entry into the war, many publishers —and most of the Hollywood studios — were very reluctant to make any explicit reference to Nazi Germany or Japan, although the creators (many of whom were Jewish) were often staunchly anti-fascist. This was the first issue of a new 96-page quarterly anthology, selling for 15 cents when most comics were 10 cents. It was renamed World's Finest Comics with the second issue.
World's Best Comics #1 (Spring 1941)
March 1941: Batman and Robin apprehend a gang of criminals
in a Gotham City nightclub with a little help from playboy Ted
Knight. Inspired by the caped crusaders, Knight soon begins his
own costumed career as Starman. RT/Put/AJ
Note: The Golden Age Starman first appeared in Adventure Comics #61 (April 1941). His debut story was drawn by Jack Burnley, although the scripter remains unknown. Starman never had an origin prior to this flashback story.
(All-Star Squadron #41, Jan. 1985)
Batman and Robin defeat extortionist Loo Chung, the new unofficial mayor of Chinatown, and recover the jade ring formerly owned by Batman's murdered friend Wong, which once belonged to Wong's ancestor, Genghis Khan. BF/BK/JR/GR
Detective #52 (June 1941)
Batman and Robin battle Hook Morgan and his harbor pirates. While pursuing the pirates, Batman lands the Batplane on the water and activates a feature that folds back the wings, transforming the aircraft into a speedboat. BF/BK/JR/GR
Detective #53 (July 1941)
Wounded while attempting to apprehend the killer of a murdered
Gotham City district attorney, Batman seeks medical aid from Linda
Page, who has recently become a nurse. BF/BK/GR
Note: This was the first issue of World's Finest Comics, renamed after the publication of an inaugural issue under the title World's Best Comics.
World's Finest #2 (Summer 1941)
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson take a short vacation to Texas so that, as Batman and Robin, they can aid Linda Page's father, oilman Tom Page, whose business is being threatened by extortionists. BF/BK/JR/GR
Batman #6  (Aug./Sept. 1941)
College psychology professor Jonathan Crane, stung by constant
criticism of his shabby wardrobe and eccentric habits, begins a
new career as a costumed extortionist, the sinister Scarecrow.
Batman ultimately discovers the Scarecrow's true identity and brings
Crane to justice. BF/JR/GR
NOTES: Although some later retellings of the Scarecrow's origin suggest that he began his criminal career after being dismissed by the university for firing a pistol in class (an incident first depicted here), this story clearly indicates that Crane had already become the Scarecrow before losing his job. The text of this story again identifies Batman's home city as New York rather than Gotham.
World's Finest #3 (Fall 1941)
June 28, 1941: Batman, Robin, and Superman make a surprise
appearance at a JSA meeting to help the JSA's mission to raise
$1,000,000 for war orphans in Europe.
NOTES: This tale, written by Gardner Fox, was the first time Batman and Superman appeared together in the same story. Their guest appearance at the end of the story was drawn by Everett Hibbard. The date of these events was established in the recounting of this scene in All-Star Squadron Annual #3.
All-Star Comics #7 (Oct./Nov. 1941),
(All-Star Squadron Annual #3, 1984)
Immediately following the conclusion of their JSA meeting, Batman
and Robin aid the JSA against the villainous Ian Karkull, who has
gathered a group of super-villains — including the Catwoman — to
assassinate eight men who, unbeknownst to the heroes, are destined
to become future U.S. presidents. Although Catwoman is assigned
to kill Ronald Reagan, then filming the movie Kings Row for
Warner Bros. in Hollywood, she has a change of heart and is wounded
saving Batman and Robin from another of Karkull's henchmen. Karkull
himself is apparently destroyed by Dr. Fate, releasing a burst
of "temporal energy" that energy will later enhance the
longevity of everyone present, allowing them to remain healthy
and active even at an advanced age. RT/RHob/JO/RiB/CI/DN/GP/KG
NOTES: The villainous Ian Karkull first appeared in the Dr. Fate story in More Fun Comics #69 (July 1941), which was written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Howard Sherman.
(All-Star Squadron Annual #3, 1984)
Bruce Wayne is framed for murder by crime boss Freddie Hill,
who then attempts to implicate Batman in the attempted murder of
the real killer, Weasel Venner, one of Hill's henchmen. Bruce is
exonerated after Venner, who was double-crossed and left for dead by Hill,
publicly confesses in court, but the prosecuting attorney demands
Batman's immediate arrest. Commissioner Gordon responds with
a dramatic speech praising Batman's selfless heroism and announcing
that the Caped Crusader is now an honorary officer of the Gotham
Police Department, officially ending Batman and Robin's days as
outlaws in Gotham City. BF/BK/GR
NOTES: As previously noted, the events of DC Special #29 (Aug./Sept. 1977), the origin of the Justice Society of America, suggest that Batman and Gordon may have made a private deal some time before these events.
Batman #7  (Oct./Nov. 1941)
Batman and Robin encounter a dapper but ruthless villain called the
NOTES: In his autobiography, Bob Kane claimed to have created the Penguin based on the cartoon penguin that appeared on Kool cigarette packs in the 1940s, but others involved insist that the Penguin was Bill Finger's invention. Finger's son said in a 1986 interview that it was his mother, Finger's girlfriend and later wife, Portia, who actually suggested the idea for the character. It should also be noted that the Penguin's appearance, including his trademark cigarette holder, bowler hat, and monocle, bears a striking resemblance that of the early Dick Tracy villain Broadway Bates (who made his newspaper strip debut on Feb. 26, 1939). Both villains could also be seen as caricatures of actor Edward G. Robinson (1893–1973).
Detective #58 (Dec. 1941)
Batman joins Superman and other current and honorary members
of the Justice Society at an air show exhibition, where they meets
aviator Hop Harrigan.
NOTES: This story, a one-page text feature, was Batman's second published appearance with the JSA. Such text stories were included in most Golden Age comics in order to meet a United States Post Office requirement for second-class mail. The author of the story is unknown. Hop Harrigan first appeared in All-American Comics #1 (April 1939).
All-Star Comics #8 (Dec. 1941/Jan. 1942)
To prove that his new radium serum is capable of reviving the
dead, Professor Henry Ross commits suicide and is revived using
his own invention. Tragically, the serum leaves his entire body
so radioactive that his touch is instantly deadly to any living
thing. After accidentally killing both his lab partner and his
fiancée, Ross goes mad and, calling himself Professor
Radium, carries out a series of robberies to obtain the rare
chemicals he hopes will cure his strange condition. He ultimately
falls to his apparent death during a clash with Batman and Robin. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: This was Professor Radium's only comic book appearance, but this story was retold in somewhat different form in the final continuity of the Batman daily newspaper strip (Sept. 23 to Nov. 2, 1946). In that version of the story, Professor Radium's real name was Professor Zachary Knell.
Batman #8  (Dec. 1941/Jan. 1942)
Batman and Robin are invited to Washington, D.C., where they
are publicly honored by the president and the director of the FBI,
who is subsequently wounded by the Joker during an attempt on Batman's
NOTES: This story identifies the FBI chief as "G. Henry Mover," but modern accounts have established that Earth-Two's FBI director at this time was J. Edgar Hoover (1895–1972), just as on Earth-Prime.
Batman #8  (Dec. 1941/Jan. 1942)
The Gotham Police Department erects the Bat-Signal atop
police headquarters. The signal becomes the police department's
primary means of contacting Batman. JSch/BK/GR
NOTES: The term "Bat-Signal" is not used in this story and in fact was not coined until late 1945. According to Bob Kane, the Bat-Signal was inspired by the 1930 film The Bat Whispers, itself based on The Bat (1917-1920), a stage adaptation by Mary Roberts Rinehart of several of her mystery stories. In the film, the killer, who disguises himself with a bat-like mask, uses a silhouetted bat symbol to announce his crimes. The signal's role in the Batman feature may also have been inspired by the skyscraper-mounted red signal used to summon the Phantom Detective, a pulp hero created by D.L. Champion who appeared in his own magazine from Thrilling Publications beginning in 1933. This story was the first Batman adventure written by Jack Schiff, who subsequently became Batman editor from 1943 through the spring of 1964.
Detective #60 (Feb. 1942)
After learning that he has been omitted from a list of "the
nation's five favorite comedians" — named as potential
inheritors of the estate of the late Happy Hanson — the
Joker attempts to murder all five comedians (Freddie
Banter, Claude S. Tilley, Denny
Jackson, Ted Allenby, and Buster
Parks) in hopes of claiming Hanson's fortune for himself. At
one point during the ensuing chase with Batman and Robin, the Clown
Prince of Crime passes up the opportunity to unmask Batman, reluctant
to end their frequent battles of wits. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: Each of the comedians in this story is clearly modeled on a real-life comedian of the period. Happy Hanson was based on silent movie master Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977), Freddy Kanter on comedian Eddie Cantor (1892–1964), Claude S. Tilley on W.C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield, 1880–1846), and Buster Parks on Buster Keaton (Joseph Frank Keaton VI, 1895–1966). Denny Jackson was modeled on popular radio personality Jack Benny (1894–1974) while Ted Allenby was based on Benny's radio rival, Fred Allen (1894–1956).
Detective #62 (April 1942)
Batman meets charming gentleman thief Michael
NOTES: This story was the sole appearance of Michael Baffle, who was clearly modeled on A.J. Raffles, the "Amateur Cracksman," who first appeared in Cassell's Magazine in 1898. Raffles, a creation of E.W. Hornung (brother-in-law of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), is often cited as an inspiration for Leslie Charteris' famous gentleman rogue The Saint as well as Ian Fleming's James Bond. In this story, Baffle is drawn to resemble Ronald Colman (1891–1958), the distinguished British actor who portrayed Raffles in the excellent 1930 film adaptation.
Detective #63 (May 1942)
Dec. 6–7, 1941: While appearing at a USO benefit rally
with Superman, Batman and Robin are captured by agents of the time-traveling
Per Degaton and, with the help of Degaton's ally Wotan, imprisoned
in a magical force field on an island off the coast of Northern
California. As a result, Superman, the Dynamic Duo, and most of
the Justice Society are missing in action when Japanese aircraft
attack the Pearl Harbor naval base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu
on the morning of Dec. 7. RT/RiB/JO
NOTES: The events of this date, not explained in any Golden Age story, were described in the 1980s All-Star Squadron series, beginning with a 16-page preview of that series in Justice League of America #193 and continuing in All-Star Squadron #1 the following month. The meeting between Batman, Robin, and Superman was inspired by their appearances together on the covers of World's Finest Comics during the war, in which they often promoted the sale of war bonds and performed other patriotic activities. The three heroes did not team up in the stories within those issues until World's Finest Comics #71 (July/Aug. 1954). Per Degaton's first appearance in print was in All-Star Comics #35 (July 1947) while Wotan, an enemy of Dr. Fate, first appeared in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940).
(Justice League of America #193, Aug. 1981), All-Star Squadron #1 (Sept. 1981)
Batman, Robin, Superman, and their colleagues are freed from Degaton by the Shining Knight and his friend Danette Reilly. Degaton is defeated and returned to his native era, the year 1947. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt makes a radio speech announcing the formation of the All-Star Squadron, an organization of costumed heroes that will report directly to President Roosevelt. RT/RiB/JO
All-Star Squadron #3 (Nov. 1981)
Dec. 8, 1941: The heroes of the newly formed All-Star
Squadron — including Batman and Robin — attempt to
mount an all-out assault on the Imperial Japanese fleet, but are
thwarted by a mystic energy field created by the Japanese sorcerer
called the Dragon King. This "Sphere of
Influence," created by the Dragon King's machinery using the
power of the Spear of Destiny and the Holy Grail, causes the most
powerful American heroes to fall under Hitler's mental domination
if they enter Axis-occupied territory. The assembled heroes realize
that they will be confined to Allied territory for most of the
NOTES: Hitler's possession of the Spear of Destiny in DC history was first revealed in Weird War Tales #50 (Feb. 1977) and DC Special #29 (Aug./Sept. 1977). Its use here was an effort by writer Roy Thomas to explain why heroes like Superman, the Spectre, Green Lantern, and Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt did not use their vast powers to end World War II immediately. (It should be noted, however, that the Sphere of Influence only affected heroes whose powers were based on or otherwise susceptible to magic, not ones like the Flash or Robotman, whose abilities were scientifically created or technologically based. For complete information on the Spear's role in DC continuity, see the Spear of Destiny page.) This story includes the first chronological reference to Dr. Daka, the villain of the 1943 Batman serial from Columbia Pictures, although Daka himself did not appear in the All-Star Squadron series until All-Star Squadron #42–43 (Feb./March 1985).
All-Star Squadron #4 (Dec. 1981)
Batman and Robin track a quartet of crooks responsible for the
murder of the fortune teller Jaffeer on a live
radio broadcast. Before the criminals can be apprehended, each
of the four perishes in the manner prophesied by the dying Jaffeer. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: This story was later rewritten for the Batman Sunday newspaper strip, where it ran from Aug. 25 to Oct. 13, 1946. The plots of both versions are substantially the same, although in the newspaper version the fortune teller's name is Jandor, rather than Jaffeer. Both stories were written by Bill Finger; the Sunday strip was drawn by Jack Burnley and Charles Paris. A similar story, entitled "Four Killers Against Fate," appeared in World's Finest Comics #40 (May/June 1949). The writer of that story is unknown, but it was apparently drawn by Jim Mooney.
Batman #9  (Feb./March 1942)
Dec. 24, 1941: Batman and Robin reunite a young boy named
Timmy with his father, Bob Cratchit, who was wrongfully convicted
of murder. BF/BK/JR/GR
NOTES: This was the first Batman Christmas story. Bob and Tim Cratchit, of course, are the names of characters from Charles Dickens' famous 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.
Batman #9  (Feb./March 1942)
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