Greetings, Bat-Fans! This is Batm- I mean, BatJamags. I assume most of you know the drill by now, but if you don’t, then you’re in luck! For today’s reading selection, we’re going back to the beginning…s. Specifically, we’re going on a tour of DC continuity to meet every version of Batman as they were introduced to readers… sort of. I’ll admit that ‘Tec 27 is the only one I didn’t fudge here, but I’ll explain why I had to fudge in the section for each book.
Our selections for today are:
Detective Comics #627 (Including a reprint of Batman’s first appearance in 'Tec #27)
Superman (1939) #76
Detective Comics #567
Detective Comics (’11) #1
1: DETECTIVE COMICS #627
The big one. The one that started it all. All six pages of it. And, since it is so short, three remakes!
1A: Is this a worthy introduction for the World’s Greatest Detective?
1B: Which of the four versions of the story is your favorite? Did Friedrich, Wolfman, and Grant do a good job of expanding it, or do you prefer Finger’s original?
2: SUPERMAN (1939) #76
OK, so pop quiz: Does anyone know when Earth-One Batman first appeared?
Trick question. The answer is no: no one knows. The official line is that it was Detective Comics #327 from 1964 with the introduction of the “new look” costume with the yellow oval, but that’s perfectly absurd because that costume postdates the introduction of the Justice League of America and Batman’s membership thereon by four years (and also came far after the earliest JLA/JSA crossovers, in which Batman participated), and there was never a JLA on Earth-Two. The other leading suggestion is this Superman issue from 1952, so that’s what I’m going with even though I’m pretty sure there are earlier issues that were considered part of the Earth-One Batman’s timeline (e.g. the Riddler’s first appearance).
So, yeah. Anyway, questions:
2A: What did you think of how the World’s Finest learned one another’s identities?
2B: We’re cooler than those World of Superman nerds. That wasn’t a question, by the way, just a fact.
3: DETECTIVE COMICS #567
It’s not clear whether this one is actually Post-Crisis Batman’s first appearance. Given that Legends was meant to kick off the new timeline, and the Legends tie-ins for ‘Tec and Batman came out the month following this issue, you’d think this was the end of Pre-Crisis Batman. However, since it was published concurrently with Batman #400, which was a much more dramatic sendoff for Earth-One Bats, DC Database counts this as Post-Crisis Batman’s first appearance… and I’m going with it because this is really much more interesting than the Legends tie-ins.
3A: This issue is written by classic speculative fiction author Harlan Ellison (evidently to deliver on a promise to editor Julius Schwartz made about a decade prior). Have you read any of Ellison’s other work? If so, what do you think of him?
3B: While the issue is obviously just meant to be silly, do you think there’s something insightful in Batman’s frustration at the night’s events (such as they are)?
Alright, so technically Prime Earth Batman first appeared at the end of Flashpoint, but only in a cameo. And technically, there were like a million Bat-titles published in November of 2011, but this is a oneshot rather than part of a longer story, so it’s what I’m going with.
4A: What do you think of the Joker’s portrayal in this issue? Is it true to the character?
4B: Are the renewed hostilities between the GCPD and Batman interesting, or a backslide?