Year Three

1941

 

–Detective Comics #47, Part 2
Two months have passed since the end of the first part of ‘tec #47. Things have only gotten worse for the Midas family. The gambling-addicted Roger has become an alcoholic bum who hangs out with the wrong crowd. Batman accosts Roger one night, which causes the inebriated man to accidentally run over a newsboy with his car, permanently crippling the poor child. Roger’s gambling “buddies” then blackmail Roger’s father, saying they will tell the cops about the hit-and-run unless he pays up. Meanwhile, Diane leaves her loveless arranged marriage with Count Alexis, prompting him to reveal his true colors. The crooked Count hires some hoodlums to help him attempt a robbery at the Midas mansion. The Dynamic Duo stop Alexis and his partners. Batman and Robin are also able to take down the blackmailers, but Roger takes a bullet in the process. Batman rushes Roger to the hospital and the doctors are able to save him.

–Detective Comics #50
Batman and Robin take on the full-fledged super-villain team known as The Three Devils (aka The Three Daredevils). The Devils, three crooks wearing devil costumes, use their talents as former acrobats to steal things. In their first encounter with the Dynamic Duo, the Devils easily defeat them and get away. Over the course of the next three weeks, the Devils go on a successful crime spree. Batman and Robin finally catch up with the Devils at a fencing operation. While Batman fights off the fence and his thugs, Robin—using his debuting Rocket Rollerskates—tails the Devils to their hideout, but gets clobbered and left on subway tracks to die. Robin survives a brush with a train and reports back to the Dark Knight. The Dynamic Duo then returns to fight the Devils. Eventually, the scuffle winds its way up to the top of a tall clock-tower, where all three Devils are defeated. Originally, the Batman and Robin callously allowed the Devils to drop to their grisly deaths. However, in Batman #107, Part 3, Bill Finger retcons his own story to make it so that the Devils are not killed, likely in an effort to erase some of the murderous early history of the Dynamic Duo.

–Detective Comics #47 Conclusion
A month has passed since Roger Midas was shot. Roger finally stands trial for the drunk driving hit-and-run crippling of the newsboy that also occurred about a month ago. The newsboy’s parents drop all charges against Roger because the Midas family has given the newsboy’s father a good job, paid for the boy’s operations, and given the boy a trust fund. Who says money can’t buy freedom? Bruce visits the Midas family later in the day to discover that their domestic troubles are over and they all live in harmony now.

–REFERENCE: Batman officially retires his scarlet Cord Model 812 roadster version of the Batmobile (as referenced in the upcoming Batman #5, Part 1 and in Detective Comics #188). While the underground garages beneath Wayne Manor contain plenty of room for vehicles of all kinds, the 812 goes into the Hall of Trophies.

–Batman #5, Part 1
Two months have passed since Joker was last seen. Little does Batman know that Joker, with his new team known as the Four Cards, has been operating a floating casino that has been robbing its habitués. Bruce decides to pay the suspicious casino a visit. While sprucing up for the night, Bruce accidentally cuts himself shaving. At the casino, Bruce flirts with hostess Queenie (actually Joker’s partner, the Black Queen). Queenie takes a strong liking to Bruce. While going out to smoke a cig, Bruce spies on Queenie who meets with a disguised Joker and Clubsy (King of Clubs). Bruce approaches the villains and they toss him overboard. After swimming to shore and reuniting with Dick, the Dynamic Duo races to the ship–now docked–in the brand new Batmobile! This is the first incarnation of a Bat-themed, stylized, streamlined Batmobile–complete with bat wing-shaped fin, bat-faced emblem on the front grill, high-tech visible engine, and black in color. While Robin fights three Cards aboard the ship and winds up getting captured, Batman chases the fourth card, Joker, in a high speed car chase. The new Batmobile must be hard to handle because Batman veers off the road and wrecks it, allowing Joker to escape and return back to his team. Once Batman finally catches up with Joker, they engage in a game of poker with Robin’s life on the line! Eventually, the poker game turns into a fight and the ship catches fire. In the ensuing chaos, Jack of Diamonds tries to kill Batman, but it himself murdered by Queenie, who has realized that Bruce and Batman are one and the same after noticing his shaving cut on his face. Queenie, who has also taken a bullet, reveals that she has fallen in love with Bruce. They kiss and she dies in his arms. Eventually, the Dynamic Duo chases Joker to the top of a lighthouse where, naturally, Joker falls to his “watery grave.” Of course, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Joker.

Batman #7, Part 1
While this story doesn’t explicitly state that it takes place here, it begins with Bruce and Dick questioning the fate of the Joker following their encounter with him in Batman #5. Therefore, it seems appropriate that Part 1 of Batman #7 take place immediately following Part 1 of Batman #5. In this tale Joker, using his “Rekoj” alias hires several “practical jokers” and blackmails them into writing crime gags for him. Over the course of the next few days, Joker and his writing team commit various acts of villainy, some small–prank phone calls, switching shower knobs, distributing counterfeit money, etc—and some big–causing car accidents, derailing trains, and poisoning hospital patients. Joker then taunts the law enforcement and Batman by publicly announcing his responsibility for the crimes. Joker also lures the Dynamic Duo into a battle with a bunch of fake Jokers while the real deal steals a precious gem across town. After serving up a dumb riddle to the Dynamic Duo, our heroes chase the thieving Joker, who has now stolen $10,000, by car and then on top of a moving train. This dangerous high speed pursuit ends, of course, with Joker falling off the train and into the river below. After this case is wrapped up, Batman puts one of the fake Joker masks into his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #20, Part 4).

Batman #5, Part 2
The Dynamic Duo meets Professor Anderson, a mad scientist who has created a technology that allows one to literally into any work of fiction. Unfortunately, the Professor’s daughter Enid ventured into an anthology of fairy tales and never returned. Batman and Robin strap themselves into the machine and enter the world of the book where they meet Father Time, Simple Simon, and Humpty Dumpty, and quickly learn that the Black Witch has kidnapped Enid. Our heroes then fight an ice demon, a fire demon, a dragon, a cyclops, a giant, numerous monsters and ogres, and the shapeshifting Black Witch before saving Enid and escaping the “fictional” universe. This is the first interdimensional adventure for the Dynamic Duo and it’s a strange one. The rules of this alternate world, of course, are never fleshed out or reexamined. The idea that every fiction written exists as a tangible world could reflect a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen concept. However, it is heavily implied, if not stated, that each work of fiction holds its own unique other dimensional world. This is a bogus idea and a bogus story. Let’s move on, shall we?

Batman #5, Part 3
Batman meets Joe Sands, who has been framed for a crime by Matty Link, hired goon in the Smiley Sikes gang. Batman meets with Sikes and demands info about Link. Sikes doesn’t cooperate and Batman roughs up his men. Later that night, Sikes orders a hit on Link for bringing Batman’s attention to the gang. Link is executed that night. The next day, Batman sends Robin to look for evidence connecting Sikes or Link to Sands at Link’s apartment. Unfortunately, Sikes’ men are already there and they beat Robin within and inch of his life. When Batman discovers Robin, he rushes him to a doctor and heads off to get revenge. A pissed-off Dark Knight storms into Sikes’ HQ and wails on the entire gang like a man possessed. The Caped Crusader takes three bullets, but keeps on fighting until he gets his hands on Sikes. Forcing him to write a full confession, Batman drags the criminal to the police department and stumbles back to the doctor’s house. A bloody and battered Batman collapses. Later, a bandaged and bruised Batman and Robin–still masked thanks to the discretion of the doctor–make their recoveries in hospital beds. I should mention that despite having recently wrecked the Batmobile, Batman is seen here driving the awesome black dragster. We must assume that Batman has more than one Batmobile, or that enough time has passed since it was totaled for it to be fully repaired.

Batman #5, Part 4
After recovering from their injuries, the Dynamic Duo is back on the streets. Batman and Robin try to nab some masked bank robbers, but they get away–although the Dark Knight is able to unmask one of them. The next day Bruce examines the neighborhood near the crime scene and runs into an old friend and former-socialite-turned-nurse, Linda Page. Linda points out the troubled Grogan family to Bruce, who immediately recognizes young Tommy as the burglar from the night before. Later that afternoon the Grogans rob another bank and make a getaway, but this time it ain’t so clean. Tommy takes a slug. Tommy’s older brother, Mike, rushes him back to the neighborhood and kidnaps Linda, hoping to use her medical abilities to help Tommy. Batman goes to visit Linda to get more info about the Grogans and learns of her abduction by reading a help note she had scrawled in lipstick. After donning a gangster disguise and fighting thugs in a poolroom, Batman joins Robin and they tail a bad guy to the Grogan’s HQ. Inside, Linda has stabilized Tommy. The Dynamic Duo busts in and kicks ass until the cops show up and kill Mike. A few days later Bruce begins dating Linda. Thanks to the magic of thought balloons, we learn that Linda isn’t that into the idle Bruce; she’s just wild about Batman though! Catching that drift, Bruce thinks to himself, “Ho-ho! It looks very much like the Batman will be seeing more of Linda Page in the future. I’ll see to that!” Linda will be Bruce’s love interest for the next few years!

–World’s Best Comics #1
Bruce accompanies Commissioner Gordon on the murder case of writer Erik Dorne, who has been killed by someone dressed up as a witch. The witch also stole a manuscript from Dorne. There are several suspects including Dorne’s wife, members of his estranged family, a fellow author, and his publisher. After violently exploring all the angles, Batman and Robin lure the witch back to the crime scene and then chase the Halloween-costumed villain to a secret printing lab where subversive pro-Nazi pamphlets are being printed. After kicking some ass, the Dynamic Duo unmasks the witch to reveal Dorne’s publisher. Dorne had found out his publisher’s Nazi ties and was going to expose him via the manuscript.

–FLASHBACK: The origin of Starman (Ted Knight) as chronicled in a flashback from All-Star Squadron #41. Spring, 1941. New York City playboy/scientist Ted Knight visits Gotham and witnesses the Dynamic Duo prevent some robbers from burglarizing a crowded restaurant. Jealous of the attention Batman gets from the fairer sex, Ted decides to become a superhero! After being introduced to a top secret “gravity rod” military weapon by his scientist cousin, Ted is able to infuse cosmic energy into the rod and with the mighty weapon become the all-powerful Starman.[1]

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin bust Duke Wilton for the first time (as referenced in Detective Comics #219). Wilton isn’t mentioned by name, but he appears in the issue, so we can assume it is he that is being referenced.

–Batman #10, Part 1
It’s Robin’s tenth birthday so Bruce gives him a rude awakening by spanking him on the bottom ten times. Bruce actually hits him eight times and then a ninth time, saying “One for good measure,” followed by a tenth, saying “And one to grow!” Normally this would imply that this is Dick’s eighth b-day. However, that just isn’t the case. After the casual birthday spanking, Bruce gives Dick a cake and his present: a mini-version of the Batplane! Robin tests out his new wings over the Atlantic with Batman as a passenger, but a storm grounds the Dynamic Duo on an unknown island. On the island, Batman and Robin are surprised to discover a T-rex, sabre-toothed tigers, cavemen, and other oddly behaving characters. After battling with most of this motley crew, getting captured, and nearly getting killed left and right, our heroes learn they’ve been a part of a fabulous movie shoot. Yes, the danger was real, but it was all in the name of art! The T-rex was a robot controlled by a man on the inside, the cavemen and others were all actors, and the sabre-tooth tiger was a regular tiger made-up to look like one. In the end, Batman and Robin, despite all that has happened, seem thrilled to have been apart of a movie shoot. Sheesh.

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin decide to be cute and extensively study the winged mammals of the order Chiroptera, simply better known as bats (as referenced in Batman #88, Part 1). I guess if Bruce is going to dress like a bat, he feels he should know a lot about the habits and biology of the creature.

–Detective Comics #51-52
Bruce and Dick visit a traveling carnival run by Bruce’s friend Colonel Dawes. Unfortunately, the carnival has been taken over by Mindy and his mobsters. The Dynamic Duo initially gets captured by Mindy’s gang, but escapes to defeat the villains and restore rightful ownership of the carnival back to Dawes.

When an acquaintance of Bruce is murdered, Batman is on the case. A hidden clue at the crime scene–evidence that something has been pilfered from an Oriental jade box–leads the Dark Knight into battle against Chinatown’s roughest underworld. A few days later Batman meets with the new “Mayor of Chinatown,” Loo Chung. They discuss the death of the previous mayor, Batman’s pal Wong, and the stolen evidence: a ring that belonged to Gengis Khan. Whoever holds possession of the ring is paid tribute to as the leader of Chinatown. Chung quickly reveals that he has stolen the ring and tries to dispose of Batman by dumping him down a trapdoor into a room containing a wild dog. Batman beats up the dog, uses acid to melt a lock, and beats up some more Chinese thugs with Robin’s help. The Caped Crusader then destroys the ring, thus freeing Chinatown from totalitarian rule.

–FLASHBACK: Pete Rafferty gets out of prison with a vote of confidence from Warden Higgins, but rejoins his bad news brothers, Steve Rafferty and Mike Rafferty. Against his will, Pete gets involved in their old schemes of murder and mayhem (as seen through flashback in Batman #12). Batman and Robin fight the Rafferty Brothers and their gang in a junkyard. Steve Rafferty dons a metal bulletproof vest, but it leads to his death when he gets stuck to a giant magnet on a crane, which drops him from a great height into a scrap bin. Later, Mike Rafferty dies after fighting Batman and Robin on a boat. Again, the metal vest plays a role in his demise as Mike falls into the water and sinks like a stone. Afterward, Pete quits the gang, much to the chagrin of his fellow gangsters. Bob Kane and Bill Finger screw up and list this flashback as May 11, 1939 and the following Batman and Robin altercation with Pete as happening in June 1939. However, this must be incorrect since Robin wouldn’t have been in costume yet. Plus, in the second flashback, the Dynamic Duo uses the updated version of the Batmobile. Therefore, these flashbacks must both take place in May 1941 and June 1941, instead of 1939.

–World’s Finest Comics #2
For the past two months a brutal gang war has been going on in Gotham between rival mobs from the East and West Sides. Adding fuel to the fire, political boss and gangster Tim Bannon controls Gotham’s corrupt DA, who has done nothing to end the chaos. When the governor sends in a special prosecutor, Bruce’s friend William Kendrick, to clean up the mess, the cocky Kendrick quickly earns the ire of all the mobsters. Batman tries to protect Kendrick from the shadows, but fails in his task. During a meeting with citizen’s committee leader Ambrose Taylor, Kendrick is shot to death during a melee involving both East Siders and West Siders. Taylor is conked on the head, but Batman delivers him to Linda Page for treatment. At Linda’s apartment, Batman questions Taylor about who killed Kendrick, but Taylor has been stricken with amnesia and can’t remember. Batman, Robin, Linda, and Taylor all take a ride in the Batmobile to the location of Kendrick’s “little black book” that contains the names and crimes of all members of the East and West Side gangs. This ride demonstrates the power of the reinforced steel battering ram on the front of the car as Batman tears through normal cars in his path like butter. Batman and Robin fight a bunch of bad guys over the “black book” and Taylor regains his memory only to realize that he is the secret leader of the West Side Mob, and he killed Kendrick! Batman then gets to use his awesome night vision goggles and the Dynamic Duo prevails, ending the gang war.

–FLASHBACK: It’s now June 1941. Pete Rafferty’s old gang is trying to bump him off for deserting them a few weeks ago. A paranoid Rafferty dons the metal bulletproof vest, gets in an altercation with the old gang and the Dynamic Duo, but escapes (as seen in Batman #12). After taking off his vest later on, Rafferty gets shot in the back by one of his old partners. Batman is on hand to witness the end for the unlucky man. Afterward, Batman keeps the metal bulletproof vest and places it in the Hall of Trophies. Bob Kane and Bill Finger screw up and list this as happening in June 1939. However, this must be incorrect since Robin wouldn’t have been in costume yet. Plus, in this flashback, the Dynamic Duo uses the updated version of the Batmobile. Therefore, this flashback must occur in June 1941, not June 1939.

–Detective Comics #53-54
Batman saves Viola Vane, who has jumped into the Gotham River in a suicide attempt. Viola is upset because she came to Gotham from a small town to become a famous theater star, but has failed, having only been an understudy thus far. With her parents coming to visit her soon, she decided she just couldn’t face them especially since she told them she was a big star. Don’t worry Viola! Batman has an insane plan to help you. The Dark Knight addresses a large audience at a nightclub and explains Viola’s situation. He implores the people to pretend that Viola is a star when her parents arrive in the city Batman then spreads the word about Viola at every club, convinces radio execs to advertise her as the lead in a play, convinces the newspapers to do the same, strongarms crooked tabloids to promote her, and even talks the lead actress in the play to let Viola take her place for a night. Bruce then, under “orders from Batman,” personally purchases Viola an expensive wardrobe and jewelry and agrees to accompany her as her date while her folks are in town. Of course, this elaborate ruse easily fools Mr. and Mrs. Vane. However, all of the newfound attention brought Viola’s way also attracts thieves who steal the wardrobe and furs. The Dynamic Duo retrieves he stolen goods and in the end, Viola turns out to be a great actress and earns her fame after all.

While on a date with his girlfriend Linda Page, Bruce learns about a gang of harbor pirates that have been stealing shipments out of Gotham Bay. Batman’s investigation leads him to interrogate importer Mr. Conroy. During the interview, Batman is jumped by the pirates and their hook-handed brawler boss, Hook Morgan. After escaping a freezer and radioing Robin using a secret transmitter hidden in his boot heel, the Dynamic Duo flies/speeds into Gotham Bay via the Batplane/transformed Batboat. Batman is pretty evenly matched with Hook, but is able to defeat him.

–Batman #6
A gangster known only as The Boss controls the parole board of Gotham State Prison. The Boss’ inside man, lifer inmate Slink Daniels, offers his cellmates the opportunity to be free if they devote their criminal talents to the Boss on the outside. Hood Chick Miller accepts the offer in order to get out of jail, but refuses to pay up to the Boss on the outside. The Boss’ gang marches Miller to the wharf to execute him, but luckily the Dynamic Duo is on patrol and they save Miller. However, Miller is wounded and passes out. After saving the comatose Miller from the Boss’ gang yet again, this time at the hospital, Batman decides to go undercover in prison as Daniels’ cellmate. To do this, Batman sleeping gas bombs the prison, kidnaps Daniels’ cellmate and switches places with him. Eventually the undercover Batman is offered the Daniels deal, is paroled–we must assume he is in jail for at least a couple weeks–and released. Batman finally gets to meet the Boss and when he does, he unmasks and attacks. However, Batman gets his ass kicked by the gang and Robin winds up getting kidnapped! By the time the Dark Knight regains his wits, Robin is stuck in the middle of a gunfight between the Boss’ thugs and the GCPD. The Caped Crusader charges into the fray, saves Robin, and sees the Boss plummet down an open elevator shaft to his death.

Bruce attends a shareholders meeting for a clock company that he has stock in.[2] After the meeting, Bruce and a few of the other shareholders—Keating, Atkins, and Henry Decker—visit the eccentric clockmaker Mr. Brock, called Father Time because of his insane love of clocks, bizarre clothes, and desire to see all those who “kill time” dead and buried. When two of the stockholders are mysteriously murdered in their homes, Bruce and Commissioner Gordon investigate. Bruce discovers that clocks have been placed in their homes–one that emitted a fatal gas and another that shot a poison dart. Bruce immediately rushes home just in time to snatch a clock that has been mailed to Wayne Manor out of Dick’s hands. Bruce tosses it out the window and it explodes. Batman goes to confront the obvious suspect, Mr. Brock, only to learn that the crazed old man has been manipulated into becoming the murderous supervillain known as The Clock Maker by Atkins, hoping to eliminate his fellow shareholders to take over the company. Atkins actually manages to beat up Batman and tie him up. However, the Clock Maker, upset that he has been used as a pawn, kills Atkins with a scythe. Invigorated by all the homicides, the Clock Maker decides to blow up half of Gotham with a cache of nitro glycerine and TNT. Robin is able to free Batman, and the Dynamic Duo stops the bomb from detonating and causes the Clock Maker to fall to his death from the top of a skyscraper clock tower.

When Linda Page’s father, the Texas oil tycoon Tom Page, is threatened by his partner, Graham Masters, Bruce and Dick take a long drive down to Texas. Bruce (as Bruce) shows up and starts beating up Masters’ goon squad. While Bruce is wailing on the gang, Masters kidnaps Tom and Linda, who has just arrived from Gotham. Batman and Robin suit up and chase down Masters and his henchmen. While Batman fights off the thugs and saves the Pages, Robin struggles with Masters, who winds up shooting himself to death accidentally. Afterward, Linda refuses a ride home with Bruce, who claims he was sleeping during the whole affair. Linda exclaims her wish that Bruce be more like Batman for a change.

When three GCPD cops are killed by gangster Fancy Dan, including veteran Officer Kelly, Kelly’s rookie cop son decides to walk the beat in Dan’s territory in order to get revenge. On Officer Jimmy Kelly‘s first day on the job, he is assisted in saving a young girl from being hit by a drunk driver who happens to be a member of Dan’s gang. Much to surprise of Batman and Jimmy, the drunk driver is set free by a local alderman named Judge Skigg. The Dark Knight quickly learns that Skigg is on Dan’s payroll. Batman, Robin, and Jimmy beat up some of Dan’s men and learn that Dan and Skigg have put the fix on the heavyweight boxing title fight that is to occur later that night. Batman goes to the arena, knocks out the champ–who was going to take a dive–and replaces him in the fight. A bare-chested Dark Knight enters the ring and asks the crowd if they want to see him substitute. The crowd roars in approval and the Caped Crusader TKOs the crooked challenger in the first round. When Dan and his gang steal the gate receipts from the arena, Batman and Robin chase after him, but Batman is captured and left to die in a burning apartment building. While Batman frees himself, recovers the money, and saves a baby, Robin and Jimmy fight Dan and his henchmen. Jimmy winds up getting his revenge by shooting them all and Skigg goes to jail.

–Detective Comics #55
Nazi agent Doctor Deker, along with his thugs, kidnap Professor Jon Henry and steal his “brain machine,” a device that forces people to tell the truth when asked a question. After kidnapping several more of the US government’s top scientists, Deker and company use the machine to pillage vital secrets from their victims’ minds. Among these secrets is a type of mind-control using radio waves and an implant surgically inserted at the base of the brain. Bruce, while on a date with Linda Page at her uncle’s aviation plant, comes across several of these mind-controlled brutes, who try to sabotage a new US Army bomber. After posing as a scientist, Batman is “kidnapped” and taken to Deker’s lair. The Caped Crusader drops the scientist disguise, kicks ass, and frees the abducted men. The Dynamic Duo then intercepts and blows up an incoming Nazi zeppelin transporting reinforcements to aid Deker.

–Batman #7, Part 2
The day after chasing off a murderer and his two seven foot-tall Hindu bodyguards, Bruce visits his friend Carl Dwyer. During the visit the murderer from the night before shows up, harasses Dwyer, and abruptly leaves. That night Batman learns that the killer has been blackmailing several rich men, including Dwyer, on behalf of his boss, the hypnotist known as Granda the Mystic. Granda has used his hypnotic powers to learn the dirty secrets of his blackmail victims. When Batman begins poking around Granda’s place of business, the villain orders his men to kidnap Linda Page, who has now garnered paparazzi publicity for being linked to several high profile Batman cases. Batman prevents Linda’s kidnapping and decides to dress up as the kidnapper with Linda in tow in order to catch Granda by surprise. Meanwhile, Robin has called the police who are set to ambush Granda at the same time, but Commissioner Gordon and Officer Jimmy Kelly get in a random head-on collision car crash on the way to the scene, delaying their arrival. Without the GCPD to back them up, the Dynamic Duo has to do it alone, which is no problem. Batman and Robin kick Granda’s henchmen to the curb with ease–although Jimmy does show up and blast one of the gangsters to death. A quick chase sequence later and Granda is put behind bars.

–World’s Finest Comics #3
Enter Professor Jonathan Crane, better known as The Scarecrow!  Disgruntled psychology professor Jonathan Crane becomes the supervillain called the Scarecrow and offers his criminal services to those who don’t even want it.  After making a bunch of illegal money and getting fired from his teaching job, the Scarecrow’s criminal resolve is solidified and he is able to defeat the Dynamic Duo in a fight!  In a rematch, however, the Scarecrow is beaten and sent to jail.  I should mention that Scarecrow doesn’t even use Fear Gas or any kind of psychological terror methods in his debut.  He simply runs around in his scarecrow costume wielding handguns, grenades, smoke bombs, and baseball bats.

–FLASHBACK:  One of Bruce’s enemies, Ed Kollum, is released from prison and decides to enact revenge upon Bruce (as seen through flashback in Batman #57, Part 1).  Kollum sneaks to Wayne Manor with the intention of killing Bruce, but when he sees Bruce interacting with Dick, the villain decides it would be better to frame-up the millionaire playboy in an effort to make him look like an unfit parent.

–FLASHBACK: June 5, 1941. Bruce, while frequenting a night club, is inexplicably assaulted by a bouncer (as seen via flashback in Batman #57, Part 1). Unknown to Bruce, this is the beginning of a frame-up orchestrated by his rival Ed Kollum, who wants to make Bruce look bad so that he will lose custody of Dick. The bouncer is really hired thug William “Hippo” Grimes.

–All-Star Comics #7
June 1941. The JSA vows to raise $1 million for WWII orphans. However, since the current lineup lacks the funds to do so, they basically steal the money from crooks who are stealing the money. Not very heroic, but hey, it’s for the kids, right? Batman, Flash, and Superman make surprise appearances and donate money as well. This tale is also shown through a flashback from All-Star Squadron Annual #3.

–FLASHBACK: The flashback from All-Star Squadron Annual #3 that details the events of All-Star Comics #7 now continues the story and picks up immediately following the end of the latter issue. Dr. Fate and Green Lantern deliver the $1 million charity money directly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the White House, Dr. Fate and Green Lantern arrive just in time to save FDR from shadow-assassins sent by the supervillain Ian Karkull.  The shadow-assassins are defeated and leave behind a note detailing Karkull’s plan.  Karkull has hired various supervillains–The Cat, Dr. Doog, Wotan, Sieur Satan, Alexander the Great, The Lightning Master, and The Tarantula–to commit several assassinations.  The targets?  The mystical Karkull has learned the names of several future US Presidents and wishes to eliminate them in their young age or eliminate them by killing their parents.  Superman, Johnny Thunder, and Yz the Thunderbolt defeat the Lightning Master.  Hawkman and his fiancée Hawkgirl (Sheira Sanders) defeat Alexander the Great.  The Spectre defeats Zor.  The Atom and Sandman defeat Tarantula.  Flash defeats Sieur Satan.  Green Lantern defeats Wotan.  Hourman defeats Dr. Doog with help from Starman.  And last but not least Batman and Robin defeat the Cat, who decides she’s no murderer and betrays Karkull at the last moment.  In the end, all the heroes unite to defeat Karkull.  In his death throes, Karkull emits a wave of energy that pervades the collective heroes, including Lois Lane and Flash’s girlfriend Joan Williams, who are both present.  The wave of energy will prolong the lifespan and youthful vitality of all who bathed in its glory, thus giving us the reason why these characters look much younger than they should come the 60s and 70s, and also giving us the reason why they are able to remain active as superheroes for so long.  Following the traumatic battle with Karkull, Green Lantern changes his JSA membership to “honorary” status and steps down as leader of the team. Hawkman becomes the new team leader. Furthermore, Hourman takes a “leave of absence” and Starman replaces him.

–NOTE: The Cat escapes from prison and begins masquerading as a wealthy socialite named “Marguerite Tone” (as referenced in Batman #10, Part 3).

–All-Star Comics #8
Dr. Mid-Nite (Charles McNider) joins the JSA (as seen in All-Star Comics #8). His pet owl Hooty becomes the team’s first official mascot. In the prose section of this issue, entitled “Sky Cutups,” the entire JSA–including Batman–attends a public stunt demonstration of a daredevil calling himself Super Duper Man. Super Duper Man is actually Tank Tinker, the headstrong sidekick of fighter pilot Hop Harrigan. (Harrigan will later become the superhero known as The Guardian Angel). Tank nearly gets himself killed several times during the event, but each time is saved by the JSA.

–Detective Comics #56
Bruce and Dick take a vacation across the continental US and stop in the Southwestern town of Ghost Gulch City. A 2000-year-old giant stone idol on a hilltop above the mining town has been the inspiration for various ominous tall tales and dark superstitious legends for generations. The very night of Bruce and Dick’s visit, a violent storm uproots the idol and causes it to slide down the hill. In the morning a blinding flash erupts and the idol comes to life to terrorize the townsfolk. Batman and Robin battle the living idol and his minions, a group of oddball circus freaks, but in a flash they all disappear without a trace. Later that night, the living idol reappears, kidnaps Robin, and disappears in the same fashion. Batman soon discovers that the idol has slid over the entrance to a mineshaft. Upon entering the mineshaft Batman learns that local psycho Mad Mack had struck a silver vein deep within the mine and was trying to scare off the Ghost Gulch residents by hiring a circus troop goon-squad to intimidate his peers–the living idol is actually a strongman painted up to look like the stone golem. In the end, Batman saves Robin and they send the circus gang packing. Mad Mack dies when the mineshaft collapses.

Batman #7, Part 3
Bruce learns of the murder of a lumber company owner who happens to be the uncle of his good friend Nora Powell. Nora’s cousin Jack Clayton–adopted son of her murdered uncle–is accused of the crime, but released due to lack of evidence. Bruce accompanies Nora to the North Woods to investigate. Dick comes along separately, disguised as a young runaway looking for work. At the lumberyard, Clayton acts brusquely. Batman and Robin fight off thugs who attempt to sabotage the site. Bruce and Nora then meet rival lumber company owner Mr. Asher, who also seems dubious. After foiling several attempts by hired goons to assassinate Nora, the Dynamic Duo learns that Asher killed Nora’s uncle and was not only trying to pin the blame on Clayton, but was also responsible for trying to kill Nora in hopes of taking control of the entire North Woods lumber operation. With Clayton’s aid, Batman and Robin bring Asher to justice.

Batman #7, Part 4
While on patrol Batman discovers that a man named Horatio Delmar is the head of a large racketeering operation. That night, one of Delmar’s capos, Freddie Hill, decides that he is going to off Delmar and take control of the gang. Hill orders stooge Weasel Venner to kill Delmar the next day and to pin the murder on someone else. The next day Bruce sets up a business meeting with Delmar in order to investigate him further. Unfortunately, Venner shows up, executes Delmar, and frames Bruce for the crime. Bruce is arrested and jailed! That night Robin meets with Bruce in jail and tries to shake down Venner on his own. However, Venner is attacked by a double-crossing Hill and winds up in a coma in the hospital. Hill then sends a fake Batman to try to finish off Venner in the hospital, but his fake Dark Knight fails. Now both Bruce and Batman are wanted for separate crimes! After several weeks pass, a fed up Robin breaks Bruce out of prison the night before he is scheduled to go to trial. The Dynamic Duo tackles the Hill gang head on, but Batman must be a little rusty because he gets his ass kicked and gets tossed into the river. Luckily, Batman makes a quick recovery and is able to apprehend Hill. Across town, Venner wakes up from his coma, discovers that Hill has double-crossed him, and escapes from the hospital. When the police go to escort Bruce to his trial they are shocked to find his cell empty. At the courthouse, the prosecution, judge, and jury are informed that Bruce is a fugitive. All are ready to condemn him as guilty when Batman drags Hill into the courtroom. The DA tries to accuse Batman of aiding and abetting the criminal Bruce, but Commissioner Gordon steps in and delivers a lengthy filibuster declaring that Batman is a hero and that from this point on, the GCPD will support his every action. Just as Gordon makes Batman and Robin “honorary members of the GCPD,” Venner bursts into the courtroom and spills the beans. Both Bruce and Batman are declared innocent.

–FLASHBACK: Ed Kollum, in his continued quest to make Bruce look bad so the state will take Dick away from him, secretly messes with Bruce’s steering column in his car causing Bruce to get in an accident (as seen through flashback in Batman #57, Part 1). Bruce switches into Batman gear and makes sure no one is hurt, but it looks as if Bruce was recklessly driving.

–Batman #10, Part 2
This story takes place shortly before winter and on the first of the month. Therefore we must assume that it is probably December 1, 1941. Tommy Trent is a young delinquent schoolboy that runs away from home and is kidnapped by gangsters that have not only just eluded Batman and Robin but have blown-up a Gotham storefront with a bomb. As the gangsters flee in a bakery truck, Tommy leaves a literal trail of bread crumbs by dropping loaves of bread out of the back of the rig. The Dynamic Duo follows the trail and confronts the gangsters, led by the charismatic Milo. Naturally, Batman and Robin are captured, but they escape by heating up a potted fern plant, causing it to violently eject its seeds into the face of their guard. Batman learned this fern trick by reading the encyclopedia–I’m not joking. Robin then takes down Milo’s thugs at a barber shop while Batman brings them down at a penny arcade. Later, at a department store, Batman and Robin defeat Milo for good, with the aid of little Tommy and the Gotham City Fire Department.

–Detective Comics #57
Jasper Sneed is poisoned with a serum that will kill him in exactly 24 hours. The crazed Jasper then goes on a rampage, killing his closest acquaintances and hiring mobsters to attempt to murder his relatives. Bruce learns about the case from one of Linda Page’s friends, who happens to be Jasper’s sister. Batman and Robin eventually catch up with Jasper, but the 24th hour strikes and the villain drops dead. But who poisoned Jasper in the first place? Why, the butler did it! That is, the butler, who reveals himself as Jasper’s twin brother Richard that went to jail in his sibling’s place for a hit-and-run. Richard had learned that his brother was a bad dude, broke out of jail, and poisoned him. With everything explained, Batman attempts to bring Richard in to the authorities, but he drops dead, having ingested the poison 24 hours before as well.

–NOTE: Commissioner Gordon installs the Bat-Signal on top of police headquarters (as referenced in Detective Comics #60). The Bat-Signal will be used to summon Batman and Robin to police HQ when they are needed. Detective Comics #236 tells us that sometimes the operator of the Bat-Signal will point the light in the direction of the crime or emergency.

–REFERENCE: Since Batman and Robin can’t see the Bat-Signal from their underground HQ, they install a transmitter in the bunker that switches on a red light alarm whenever the signal is activated at police HQ (as seen via flashback in Detective Comics #205). Batman mistakenly refers to the Bat-Bunker as the Batcave in his flashback narration. The bunker won’t be expanded into its Batcave form for another three years.

–FLASHBACK: Big-time crook Killer Craig breaks out of prison (as seen via flashback in Detective Comics #164). Since most of the surrounding law enforcement jurisdictions do not have a proper description of Craig, Batman makes a slide photo of his profile and projects it into the sky using the Bat-Signal. Surely there was an easier way of sending out an APB on this guy, complete with picture. Anyway, we learn here that the Bat-Signal has a range of several hundred miles!

–All-Star Squadron #0
This issue is also known as Special All-Star Squadron Prevue and was a pullout insert special featured in Justice League of America #193.  December 6, 1941. Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) are captured by Solomon Grundy. In Gotham, Batman, Robin, and Superman are captured by Professor Zobar Zodiak. In Massachusetts, Dr. Fate and The Spectre are captured by Wotan. In NYC, Starman, Sandman, Johnny Thunder, and Yz are captured by Sky Pirate. Hawkman, Atom, and Dr. Mid-Nite are also attacked in Washington, DC by Monster (Jason L. Rogers), but they defeat their opponent.

–NOTE: Hawkman returns to the JSA HQ, immediately following the events of All-Star Squadron #0, to find FBI Agent/superhero Plastic Man (Eel O’Brian) waiting for him (as seen in All-Star Squadron #1-2). Plastic man delivers the bad news on behalf of FDR, J. Edgar, and Harry Hopkins; most of America’s mystery men have been captured in a coordinated attack by debuting supervillains. Hawkman and Plastic Man are then attacked by King Bee en route to meet with the President, but they easily defeat him. Meanwhile, Danette Reilly—who will later become the superhero known as Firebrand—and Shining Knight (Sir Justin Arthur)—of the superhero team known as Law’s Legionnaires—stumble across the secret Pacific island lair of Per Degaton, the man responsible for kidnapping all the heroes. Degaton captures Danette and Shining Knight and reveals that he and his comrades have traveled back to the present from 1947 in an attempt to take over the world by altering the events of WWII. The next day—December 7, 1941—the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, thrusting the US into WWII. FDR, panicked by the fact that most of the JSA has gone missing in such a dire time of need, meets with a collection of replacement heroes at the White House. These heroes—Hawkman, Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Plastic Man, Johnny Quick (Johnny Chambers), Liberty Belle (Libby Lawrence), and Robotman (Robert Crane)—form the new team known as The All-Star Squadron!  In case you were wondering, every member of the JSA is made an honorary All-Star Squadron member.  So are Robin and Hawkgirl, too!

–All-Star Squadron #3-4
Per Degaton and his group of supervillains from 1947 are attempting to assist the Japanese Air Force in a land attack upon the US. The newly formed All-Star Squadron attacks Degaton and company on his island HQ. The All-Star Squadron, with help from Shining Knight and Danette Reilly, are then able to free all the kidnapped heroes. The overwhelming number of hero-power turns the tide. The heroes defeat Degaton’s gang send them back to the future, thus halting the Japanese assault. Degaton, before returning to 1947, is able to make all of the heroes permanently forget that he was apart of this plot to destroy America via magic. Unfortunately for Degaton, he forgets that he is a supervillain as well and becomes a lowly, humble lab assistant upon returning to his own time. The next day—December 8, 1941—all of the superheroes that aren’t familiar with one another meet and greet each other. Everyone then travels to check out the damage at Pearl Harbor. Angered by what they see, the heroes decide to strike back at Japan. Superman leads a slumgullion of JSAers and All-Star Squadron members into Japan where they fight Japanese troops, planes, and the Japanese supervillain known as The Dragon King. I should note that Batman and Robin do not travel to Japan with the rest of the heroes, and instead return to Gotham.

–NOTE: December 9, 1941. Hawkman addresses the rest of the JSA—minus honorary members Batman, Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern—and declares that the team is temporarily disbanding until WWII is over (as seen in both All-Star Comics #11, Part 1 and  All-Star Squadron #5). Hawkman encourages his teammates to enlist in the armed forces, as he as done, or to join up with FDR’s All-Star Squadron.  Most of the JSA members do indeed enlist and enter basic training in their civilian roles.

–REFERENCE: Bruce meets with an unnamed, unspecified number of elite US government officials and reveals his secret identity as Batman (as referenced in Chapter 5 of the 1943 Batman film serial, entitled “The Living Corpse”). This allows Bruce to avoid the draft and continue crime-fighting in Gotham. Batman will now become eligible for specific government-sponsored missions as well.

–REFERENCE: Batman, as of now, adopts the credo to “never use guns” (as referenced in the upcoming flashback from World’s Finest Comics #27, which takes place in December 1941). Likewise, we can assume that Batman also finally vows “never to kill” as well since it would go hand-in-hand with the anti-gun mentality. Batman and Robin have definitely used lethal force in the past (usually in self-defense, but sometimes quite coldly and even maliciously), but they won’t anymore. For anyone wondering, the first actual mentions of the Dynamic Duo’s anti-killing code of honor will be in Detective Comics #108 (in Bat Year Eight) and in The Brave and the Bold #146 (published much later, but chronologically in Bat Year Six). By Years Six and Seven, criminals are well aware of the Dynamic Duo’s non-lethal code, so it is safe to assume that the Dark Knight begins publicly practicing it as early as now.

–FLASHBACK: December 1941. Batman and Robin shut down Wheels Mitchum‘s auto chop shop operation, but the latter shoots Batman in the shoulder and gets away. Mitchum then has plastic surgery done to his face in order to disguise himself (as seen through flashback in World’s Finest Comics #27). Batman won’t cross paths with Mitchum again for several years.

–FLASHBACK: Due to the government mandate of wartime blackouts, Commissioner Gordon is unable to use the Bat-Signal at all times (as seen through flashback in Detective Comics #164). Batman makes a special adjustment to the Bat-Signal that will allow the Signal to be used with an infra-red light that the Dynamic Duo can see in pitch darkness. From this point on, during the remainder of WWII, when necessary, Gordon will use the infra-red light to summon our heroes.

–Detective Comics #58
The Penguin debuts! Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot III—still unnamed in this story but going by the alias “Boniface”—becomes a valuable asset to a large racketeering operation due to his criminal genius. Eventually, Penguin kills the head of the mob with a machine gun umbrella and takes over. With a new criminal empire at his hands, Penguin’s stealing spree escalates. In his first confrontation with Batman, Penguin doses the Caped Crusader with gas from a trick umbrella, frames the Dark Knight as a thief causing the public to think he is a crook, and serves him over to the police. Penguin’s goons then kidnap Batman from the police, but Robin is able to rescue his partner. Eventually, the Dynamic Duo is able to recover some of the stolen goods and prove Batman’s innocence, but the Penguin gets away clean! This is the first time in Batman’s career that a villain has made a clean escape—not including all of Joker’s many falls into water. Afterward, Batman keeps one of Penguin’s gas umbrellas and puts it in his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #12). For some reason, Batman also winds up with an over-sized penguin statue that was on display in the art museum at the beginning of this story. He also puts it into the Hall of Trophies. Bruce also places one of Penguin’s machine gun umbrellas into the Hall of Trophies as well (as referenced in Batman #20, Part 4). Each time Penguin debuts a new trick umbrella, Batman will add it into the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #48).

–Batman #9, Part 4
It’s Christmas Eve in Gotham, but poor Tim Cratchit—yes, Bill Finger actually used the same names from Dickens—is sad because his father, Bob Cratchit, has spent the last year in prison for a murder he was framed for by gangster Hal Fink. When Batman and Robin learn of the tragic story, they set out to right a wrong. After fighting Fink and his gang, which includes a man dressed up as Santa Claus, the Dynamic Duo gets captured, gets put into a death-trap-esque situation, escapes, and then busts the bad guys. If you haven’t noticed by now, this is the standard formulaic Finger/Kane narrative flow. Batman then dresses up as the Ghost of Christmas Past, or rather, the ghost of the man Fink murdered a year ago. Fink freaks out and confesses. Tiny Tim is reunited with his dad. Batman and Robin then celebrate X-Mas with Commissioner Gordon and Linda Page at Gordon’s house.

–World’s Finest Comics #4
Bill Finger really writes some inane weird shit sometimes, and this story definitely falls in that category. Bruce and Dick take yet another vacation out West and run across the Ghost Gang, a traveling band of cowboy throwbacks that dress like Jesse James, ride horses, and carry six-shooters. Batman, sensing that a fight against the Ghost Gang might be too dangerous for Robin, knocks him out and hides him behind a rock in the desert for his own safety! Batman then narrowly avoids getting lynched by angry townsfolk who initially mistake him for a member of the Ghosts. After reuniting with Robin, the Dynamic Duo accepts the offer of a hotel room in an old-fashioned ranch town, where they go to sleep for the night dressed in full costume! In the middle of the night, the Ghosts slip a deadly rattlesnake into their room, but Robin wakes up and calms the serpent with a harmonica! The next day Batman fights a bunch of rednecks, tames a wild bronco, and discovers that the Ghosts travel around so easily by using a giant autogyro. That night, Batman and Robin secretly remove all the horseshoes from the Ghost Gang’s horses. When the Ghosts try to out-ride the law, they are unable to.

 

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  1. [1]SEAN GREEN: This All-Star Squadron #41 flashback to Starman’s debut is almost identical to Starman’s original Golden Age debut except for the retcon addition of Batman and Robin to the mix.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that, moving ahead on our timeline, Bruce, as the head of Wayne Enterprises, will have a near constant engagement with the company’s business, finance, and tech dealings. This will be done mostly to keep up appearances, but will still take up a lot of Bruce’s time in-between Batman cases. We won’t see much of this activity on the timeline below, but, suffice to say, we should imagine it occurring invisibly as we move forward. Because of Bruce’s leadership of Wayne Enterprises, he will, by default, have stock in many companies and sit on boards for various other businesses and financial institutions as well. We will see specific evidence of this throughout the Golden Age Timeline.

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