Year Nineteen

1957

 

–REFERENCE: Early January 1957. Bruce and Selina conceive a child (as referenced in DC Super Stars #17). Infinity Inc #7 incorrectly gives Helena Wayne’s birth date as September 7, 1959. DC Super Stars #17 says she was born “two years after her parents’ wedding,” meaning right here in 1957. The Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1 confirms the year of Helena’s birth (and conception) as 1957. Helena’s conception jibes really well here in early January 1957, especially since Bruce would be taking a month-and-a-half injury break following his fight with Sparkles Grady, giving him plenty of downtime to get reacquainted with Selina in the bedroom.

–FLASHBACK: Late January 1957. The date is conjectural. In December’s Batman #104, Part 2, Batman partially broke is ankle, which would have sidelined him for around a month-and-a-half. Late January is the earliest he could be back in action for this event, which is seen in Detective Comics #238. Checkmate returns and pulls a successful heist on Batman and Robin, escaping by hiding in a radioactive waste container. As a result of hiding in the waste container, Checkmate becomes fatally ill with radioactive poisoning, with only a month or two to live.

[1]

–Batman #105, Part 2
After a fight with gangster Gorilla Hardy, Batman and Robin return back to the Batcave. However, once they arrive, Robin unmasks to reveal that he isn’t Dick Grayson, but star teenage athlete Freddy Lloyd! Lloyd explains that he switched places with an injured Robin during the confrontation with Hardy. When a news bulletin places the gun-toting Hardy at Gotham Fun Park, Batman takes his substitute Robin and goes hunting for the crook. At the park, the new Robin kicks ass and easily busts Hardy. Back at the Batcave, Lloyd removes his human-face-mask to reveal none other than Dick! Dick exclaims that he fooled both Batman and Alfred. But the joke is on Dick; Batman and Alfred had seen through the disguise from the beginning but only played along to humor silly ol’ Dickie.

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin tackle some pigeon jewel thieves, who steal successfully steal jewels by tying them to the legs of carrier pigeons (as referenced in Batman #109, Part 3).

–FLASHBACK: Joker escapes from jail and captures Batman and Robin in a large cage (as seen in World’s Finest Comics #105). Superman rescues the Dynamic Duo and puts Joker back in jail. Afterward, Batman collects a giant Joker head complete with over-sized jester cap as a trophy (as referenced in Wonder Woman #283, Part 2).

–NOTE: Early March 1957. Unbelievably, Joker escapes from jail yet again (as referenced in Batman #110, Part 1).

–Batman #106, Part 1
When Jim Varrel breaks jail, Batman fears for the safety of the unknown person that helped the Dark Knight bring Varrel to justice. Desperate to find out who the mystery person is, Batman sets up a special TV mini-series where each night he will pay tribute to folks that have assisted him in the past. The first episode honors the locksmith James Wilkins. The next night’s episode features deep-sea diver Bill Seton. Episode three features the baby that helped them nab an art thief and Dr. Walter Thorne. On the fourth and final episode, Batman puts a dummy behind a curtain and claims that it is the mystery man that helped him bust Jim Varrel. The lure works and Jim Varrel shows up to axe the dude, allowing the Dynamic Duo to recapture him. Jim’s bro Fred then arrives and reveals that he is the mystery man, only wanting to prevent his bro from committing murder.

–Batman #106, Part 2
Hurricane Hunter strikes Gotham. Batman and Robin chart the storm’s path on behalf of the National Weather Bureau and then tackle some storm-hit problems, such as pulling in a ship with a tugboat, preventing the TV mast on the top of the Monarch State Building from toppling, helping motorists, and assisting electricians while they do repairs. Batman and Robin end their rainy, windy night by hauling in Keene Harner and his men, who were attempting to rob a bank using a tank.

–Batman #106, Part 3
Bruce and Dick read an article about the supposed invention of a mind-control device that has gone missing following the suspicious death of its creator. A few days later, Batman attends the circus as a special guest and winds up playing the trumpet, performing a high dive into shallow water, and entering a lion cage, all acts done completely against his will. Knowing that some criminal somewhere is testing the mind-control device on him, Batman worries what they will make him do next. Later, at an art gallery, Batman is forced to paint a picture of himself unmasked, which Robin destroys before the Caped Crusader can finish. An examination of the painting’s style reveals that art forger Victor Vonn had to have been the man controlling Batman. After shaking down Vonn, the crook explains that crime-boss Guy Graney has been offering a big reward to anyone who can use the mind-control device to publicly humiliate Batman and reveal Batman’s secret ID. Alfred, pretending to be a master criminal, is granted an audience with Graney. Alfred pretends to use the device to force Batman to unmask on live TV, but instead actually destroys it the device. Meanwhile, Batman unmasks on TV, but is prepared with a false face underneath. Graney thinks he’s won, but the Dynamic Duo jumps him and puts him in jail. Afterward, the ruined mind-control headgear goes into the Hall of Trophies.

–FLASHBACK: A few weeks after the debut of the pigeon jewel thieves, Batman and Robin invent “human jet-power units,” jetpacks that attach to bat wing gliders, allowing them to fly around freely and get the jump on the baddies (as seen in Batman #109, Part 3).

–REFERENCE: Batman, Robin, and Superman track the elusive fugitive Rick Harben, but the crook gets away clean (as referenced in World’s Finest Comics #91).

–Detective Comics #238-239
Late February 1957—one month after Checkmate’s last heist. Checkmate has just died as a result of radiation poisoning, but his henchmen put his posthumous revenge plans into motion. They lure Batman and Robin to the old Batman exhibit amphitheater, which has been set up with multiple death traps that resemble exact death traps our heroes have faced before. After re-toiling through the traps of the Bowler, Harbor Pirate, and Wheelo, Batman and Robin go through the motions for a familiar Robot Master trap, seemingly entering a trailer to avoid being clawed by a giant mechanical bat. Checkmate’s henchmen play a recording of their deceased boss that claims victory—the trailer was filled with the same radioactive waste that cost him his life. But plan has failed. Batman and Robin hid in the sand outside of the trailer. The Dynamic Duo easily takes down Checkmate’s goons.

A famous scientist named Professor Carden makes a robot that can absorb the mind, memories, and compelte personality of any human being. For some inane reason, Batman decides to upload himself into the robot, creating the Batman Twin android. While Batman and Robin are distracted by a decoy runaway crane, the villainous Dr. Dall kidnaps the Batman Twin. Unable to get the Batman Twin to reveal Batman’s secret ID, Dall sends him home with the intention of following. However, the Batman Twin gets clear away and enters Wayne Manor. Batman winds up fighting the Batman Twin all over the mansion and the Batcave before eventually tricking his programming by shouting out his own ID, upsetting the robot and sending him running away. Shortly thereafter, Dall, controlling the Batman Twin, sics him on the real Dark Knight. During their round two encounter, Batman defeats his doppelganger by shocking him in a high voltage electrical grid. This shock also erases the robot, returning him to a blank unformatted state. Batman then busts Dall by dressing up as the Batman Twin and getting the surprising jump on the bad guy’s grew. Afterward, Carden gives Batman the blank robot for safekeeping. Thus, Batman puts the blank Robot Twin into the Hall of Trophies, right next to the lifeless Batman-Machine robot that he already has in there.

–Batman #107, Part 1
When Batman and Robin overhear young Danny Benson talking to a Batman statue in a park about how much he wants a bike, the Dynamic Duo builds him a dynamite cycle and deliver it to his home. The next day, Danny tells Batman and Robin how he encountered strange men outside of a laundromat. Batman investigates and chases the crooks to a button factory. With Danny’s help, the heroes bust the baddies, who are exposed as transportation token counterfeiters. A few days later, Danny excitedly tells Batman and Robin that his single mom is getting hitched to a GCPD cop.

–Detective Comics #242
When a mystery pilot offers thousand dollar prize scavenger hunts to the public, masses of people swarm areas related to certain riddle clues. The first two scavenger hunts clearly mask big robberies and prevent Batman from stopping the crook. When the third scavenger hunt riddle names the location of a thousand dollar bill in the golden glove of the Batcave, Batman is puzzled. Sure enough, the bill is there. Batman forces the pilot down from the sky and unmasks him as Brainy Walker! Walker is able to bluff the Dynamic Duo (making them think he knows who they are because of the thousand dollar bill, when in fact he put it in the glove before Batman took it as a trophy three-and-a-half years ago). Robin spills the beans and reveals the secret IDs of both he and Batman. The next day, Walker and his pals Trigger Turner and Rackets Reed visit the Batcave, but the Dark Knight is prepared with fake trophies and Alfred playing a recording of Bruce Wayne’s voice to make them doubt the validity of Walker’s claim. After a quick fight, the three bad guys go back to jail.

[2]

–REFERENCE: Early May. Batman and Robin build a brand new state-of-the-art super-computer known as the “crime calculator,” which goes into the crime lab in the Batcave (as referenced in Batman #109, Part 3).

–REFERENCE: The “Trapper of Gotham City” hunts Batman and snares him in a net (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 3). Despite being stuck in a net, Batman throws a Bat-bolo to nab the Trapper. Afterward, Batman puts the Trapper’s net in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 3).

–FLASHBACK: Batman and Robin defeat the Flash-Bandits, who attempt to blind the Dyanmic Duo using a giant camera (as seen in Batman #108, Part 3). Afterward, Batman puts the giant camera in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 3).

–FLASHBACK: Batman and Robin defeat the Charity Circus Thieves, who aptly try to rob the circus by activating a giant robot clown (as seen in Batman #108, Part 3). Afterward, Batman puts the giant robot clown in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 3).

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin debut two more brand new special type Batarangs, both of which are unspecified and linked to unknown cases, but go onto the Batarang board in the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Detective Comics #244). Batman also builds the top secret Batarang X, which stays in a sealed room in the Batcave.

–Detective Comics #243
Using the last of a rare element, famous scientist Dr. Greggson builds a maximizer and a minimizer, basically a shrink ray and an enlarging ray, only to have them immediately stolen by career crook Jay Vanney. Batman fights Vanney, gets zapped, and begins growing into a giant. Vanney absconds with the shrink ray. Eventually, Batman is thirty stories tall and requires multiple baskets of food for energy. The gigantic Batman responds to the Batsignal, but his massiveness causes lots of collateral damage, forcing Commissioner Gordon to exile the Dark Knight from the city. Vanney, eager to get the maximizer, crazily attacks the towering Batman using a jet fighter. Batman winds up turning Vanney into a thirty-story giant like himself and the monsters slug it out. Robin arrives, reacquires the minimizer, and shrinks the giants back down to size. Batman then easily KOs Vanney and takes the burnt-out maximizer and minimizer as trophies for the Hall of Trophies.

–Batman #110, Part 1 Intro
May 1957. Joker’s men rob a flower show of a rare orchid, right in front of an onlooking Bruce and Dick. Batman quickly learns that Joker is the mastermind behind the robbery, which is but a part of Joker’s “crime of the month club” heists. The Dynamic Duo plans to nab Joker in the act for his June strike.

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin defeat the “River Pirate” Diver Jones, who wears a rubber deep sea diving costume and a tiger mask (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 2). After Jones’ defeat, Batman keeps the garish costume as a trophy.

–Detective Comics #244
Super Batman fan and Batman memorabilia collector Elmer Mason is accosted in his home by two crooks, who steal a bunch of Batarang-related newsreel films of Batman and Robin. Batman soon links the crooks to Jay Garris, who has gotten out of jail a few months ago. When Batman locates Garris’ secret hideout on a deserted island off the Gotham Bay shoreline, he decides to implement Batarang X for the first time. Batarang X is a human-sized Batarang that launches via a catapult, allowing Batman to quietly glide onto the heavily guarded island unnoticed, before returning back to the catapult from which it came. On the island, Batman discovers that Garris has built a bunch of Bomb Batarangs. After a quick fight, Garris and his hoods go down hard.

–REFERENCE: Batman goes on an unspecified case and earns a giant wooden or stone horse prop that appears to be crafted in an ancient Greek or Roman style (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 2). The horse goes into the crowded Hall of Trophies.

–Batman #110, Part 1 Conclusion
June 1957. Batman and Robin foil Joker’s “crime of the month club” robbery at the Van Dirk wedding. Looking to save face, Joker tries to rob a movie opening as a June heist backup, but the Dynamic Duo defeats him and puts him back in jail.

–World’s Finest Comics #91
Batman, Robin, and Superman track Rick Harben to Stony Mountain, a peak along what appears to be the Rockies. There, Harben unleashes a trap consisting of Kryptonite and a mysterious gas of possible magickal or alien origin. The gas puts the trio of heroes into suspended animation while stopping their aging in its tracks. With Harben’s own oxygen supply running low, he causes a rockslide that traps the sleeping heroes inside the mountain cave. Batman, Robin, and Superman are then awakened by strange scientists and once fully revived, are shocked to learn that a thousand years have passed! It’s the year 2957! Batman tells Superman to use his time-traveling powers to go home, but Superman refuses to leave the Dynamic Duo. Thankfully, the future scientists have a time-traveling apparatus. But unfortunately, when they go to get it out of lockup, it has vanished. The number one suspect is super-criminal Rothul, distant relative of Lex Luthor! The heroes of 1957 are honored by the multiple inhabited planets of the Solar System, but attacked by Rothul several times. Eventually, Rothul kidnaps one of the scientists, Lora, and takes her to his HQ on the moon. The heroes defeat Rothul and rescue Lora. Back on Earth, Lora admits that she hid the time-machine because she wanted dreamboat Superman to stay in 2957. The three heroes hop in the time-machine, which beams them to a minute before they were ambushed by Harben in 1957, allowing them to get the jump on the bewildered villain. The implication is that the time-ray beams them back into their own bodies, but with all knowledge and memory of the future remaining—thus the reason why Batman, Robin, and Superman don’t run into themselves. A few things about this WFC #91: It’s a very neat and ambitious tale told by Edmond Hamilton, dare-I-say-it one of the most ambitious Batman stories written in the entire decade. But the time paradox is evident. I think? The world surely would have took a drastic turn for the worse without its greatest heroes around—but going back would have altered the timeline so that things got on the correct track again. Thus, we don’t really know what the world of 2957 is definitively like because time was altered at the end of the story. In other words, the world of 2957 that we see in WFC #91 is a world where Batman, Robin, and Superman disappeared in 1957 never to be heard from again. Thus, their return to the present must have a butterfly effect that changes a significant portion of that world as we’ve seen it in WFC #91. However, we do know, however, that the world of 2957 exists in some form because Superman keeps a souvenir from that era. So, to recap: Batman, Robin, and Superman spend 1,000 years in suspended animation (from right now in 1957 until 2957) only to then get zapped back to a few minutes before going into suspended animation, thus allowing them to continue the normal timeline unscathed! Joe Kelly (writer of JLA: Obsidian Age) sure owes a ton to Edmond Hamilton!

–REFERENCE: Batman goes on an unspecified case and takes a mini locomotive engine as a prize for the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 3).

–REFERENCE: Batman goes on an unspecified case and nets a giant ABC block as a trophy (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 3).

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin install time-lock gates on all the entrances and exits to the Batcave, which are powered by portable generators (as referenced in Batman #108, Part 2).

–Batman #108, Part 1
Batman spends a few nights in a row appearing on the popular TV show The Big Quiz, where Batman-historian Frank Davis is asked questions about the Dark Knight and Batman verifies if the answers are correct or not. Davis enters the gaming booth to write down the answer to the $125,000 question: “What is Batman’s secret identity?” Much to Batman’s shock, the expert Davis writes down “Bruce Wayne” on his index card, but immediately drops dead, with poison gas having filled the booth. Batman scrambles to find the “Bruce Wayne” card, but only blank cards remain. When Batman learns that ex-con Garth had been in the studio to be interviewed for a different show, he worries that Garth killed Davis and took the secret ID expose card. But it’s not long before Batman senses something is off and then discovers Garth gagged-and-bound elsewhere in the studio. Someone had taken advantage of the fact that Garth was in the studio in an attempt to frame the convict and learn Batman’s secret ID from Davis. That someone turns out to be Joe Harmon, host of the TV show. Harmon is quickly busted and Batman reveals that the poison gas bleached out the secret ID card, thus keeping his identity safe and sound.

–Batman #108, Part 2
Batman and Robin set out to prove the innocence of John Roddy, who is set to be executed at midnight for a crime he didn’t commit. After gathering files and evidence from the now mustachioed DA Robert J. Pierce (who is in his eighth year as DA!), Batman and Robin head to the Batcave crime lab to study the details. As bad luck would have it, the generator fails and the new time locks on the exits seal up, locking our heroes inside. Suddenly, a mail package that the duo had picked up earlier explodes—an incendiary bomb sent by the real killer. Batman puts out the flames with a giant bust of Two-Face, but all of the Batcave’s communications devices are destroyed. Batman and Robin perform their investigation from within the crime lab and discover that Len Paul, not Roddy, was the real crook. With time running out, Batman puts on Diver Jones’ old rubber costume and connects live electric wires into the generator, popping open the exit gates. Paul is busted and Roddy is saved at the last minute.

–Batman #108, Part 3
Batman and Robin respond to a burglary case involving a stolen statue, but are shocked when a now eleven-going-on-twelve-year-old Batman Jones shows up in a mini Batman costume. Jones, now old enough to bike away from mom and dad on his own, wants to be partners with the Dynamic Duo. After Jones threatens to go after the thief on his own, Batman reluctantly takes the boy along. Jones proves to be quite the detective and actually finds the stolen statue hidden in a storm drain. Batman covers himself in white aluminum powder to look like the statue and get the jump on the hapless thief. The next day, hoping to discourage the reckless Jones, Batman invites him into the Batcave for some intensive training. But Batman is dumbfounded when Jones not only passes all the tests with ease, but even gets the better of both Batman and Robin! With no other option left, Batman narcs on Jones and tells his mom. Jones is grounded immediately. The next day, Bruce and Dick head to the hobby show when they get word of a possible heist. Jones also deduces there will be a strike upon the hobby show and goes as well. There, Batman, Robin, and a costumed Jones defeat a bunch of thieves. Batman visits Jones the next day to scold him and beg him not to keep endangering himself, but is shocked once again—although in a good way this time. The capricious Jones has given up costumed adventuring for stamp collecting!

–Detective Comics #245
When a gang of smugglers run rampant over Gotham, a frustrated Mayor Alan Dent orders Commissioner Gordon to turn the case over to Batman and Robin. Batman and Robin meet with Gordon, who reveals that he was about to break the case. Not wanting to defy the mayor’s orders but also not wanting to keep Gordon out of the loop, Batman suggests that Gordon suit up in a specially made superhero costume and join them on the hunt. Vicki Vale trails Batman, Robin, and new Mysteryman as they bust smuggler after smuggler, one by one. Vicki tries in vain to figure out Mysteryman’s identity, incorrectly fingering him as the Batman-Machine robot and then incorrectly fingering him as Superman. Eventually, all the smugglers are busted, but the case isn’t over as the Dark Knight has one more trick up his sleeve. He allows Vicki to track him to Commissioner Gordon’s house, where he drops off Mysteryman. The next day, Mayor Dent congratulates Batman, Robin, and Mysteryman while shaming Gordon. Luckily, Vicki is on hand to reveal that Mysteryman was Gordon in disguise. Mayor Dent approves and everyone goes home happy.

–Batman #109, Part 1
Batman and Robin look on and can do nothing as crime boss Bagley, piloting a dragonfly-shaped flying machine, uses electromagnets to steal busts of the Dynamic Duo from the museum and then a replica Bat-Submarine from the aquarium. When Bagley steals the Batsignal, Batman decides to make a move in advance, hiding the Batman-Machine Robot inside a fake Batman statue that replaces the real statue in the park. Sure enough, Bagley nabs the statue. Out pops the remote-controlled Batman-Machine robot, which snatches all of Bagley’s gang’s weapons and sends out a homing beacon to its master. Batman and Robin are soon on the scene to bust Bagley and company.

–Batman #109, Part 2
Batman lectures at Henry Larabee’s School for Private Detectives and then heads out to respond to a police call. En route, the Batmobile is barreled over a cliff by a semi—part of a plan to take out Batman and replace him with a gangland impostor. Thankfully, Batman is OK following the accident and manages to KO his would-be replacement. With Robin sidelined in the hospital, Batman, impersonating himself, heads towards the Atom Show science exhibit to meet with the gangsters. On his way, Batman is confronted by Henry Larabee and his students, who are convinced that the crooked replacement plan worked and that Batman is a fake. Batman shakes off the Larabee pursuit and surprises the gangsters by punching them out and putting them in jail.

–Batman #109, Part 3
Batman and Robin use the Flying Eye to learn that a crook is planning on using one of Dynamic Duo’s own crime-fighting inventions against them. The Dynamic Duo realizes that their old foe Curt Mathis has built his own Flying Eye and quickly busts him. Afterward, Batman puts Mathis’ Flying Eye in the Batcave crime lab next to the original.

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin attend the annual Batman Day festivities (as referenced in Batman #103, Part 1).

–Detective Comics #246
Batman and Robin are invited to the eccentric Barham castle, which sits on an island upriver from Gotham. A murder mystery whodunnit is afoot and only Batman can solve the murder of gun manufacturer James Barham. To make a long story short, after a lot of near death experiences, red herrings, and wanderings through secret passages, Batman outs Robert Cray, vice president of the Barham Gun Company, as the killer.

–Batman #110, Part 2
While Batman and Robin go after criminal Dan Marly. Alfred sees a man he hasn’t seen in fifteen years inside the Batcave. It’s Noyes, the crook who tried to bribe him about info regarding Bruce and Dick shortly after he was first hired by them. Panicked, Alfred fears that he is somehow responsible for exposing his masters’ secrets. In tears he leaves a resignation note in Wayne Manor. Just as Alfred is about to leave, Noyes shows up again! But this time, Noyes unmasks revealing himself to be Bruce! Bruce explains that he used the Noyes disguise to test his loyalty fifteen years ago and has just reused the Noyes disguise to bust Dan Marly.

[3]

–World’s Finest Comics #92
Batman, Robin, and Superman perform in a Metropolis air show before responding to a crashing spaceship in the distance. Out of the rubble comes a young boy sans memory but with the exact powers of Superman. Superman names him Skyboy. When a mysterious alien force attacks a major power plant to steal its copper, blacking out all of Metropolis in the process, Batman, Robin, Superman, and his new sidekick Skyboy, are on the scene. Batman matches fingerprints at the crime scene to Skyboy but doesn’t have the heart to tell Superman. Later, Batman tangles with an alien spacecraft over Central City, which has just suffered a massive copper robbery as well. Superman is then able to jog Skyboy’s memory by basically torturing him. Skyboy reveals that he is Tharn from the planet Kormo, son of a famous lawman sent to warn Earth about villains from his world coming to steal copper. However, before arriving, he was blasted by a knockout ray, crashed into a meteor, and plummeted into the ground below. Tharn also reveals that all of his race have the exact same fingerprints. Soon, Batman, Robin, Superman, and Skyboy take down the evil aliens from Kormo. Skyboy says goodbye and takes the villains back home in their ship.

–Batman #111, Part 1
August 1957—clearly late summer due to the lush vegetation that is central to this tale. We’ve seen it at least a dozen times by now, but here goes again. Batman and Robin join the prestigious Gotham Safari Club and get involved in a whodunnit at the palatial hunting grounds of Gothamite Alec Judson. When one of the members, Ed Yancey, gets killed, Batman must sniff out the killer amidst death traps and wild animals from various continents. Eventually, Batman finds out that Judson impersonated the top suspect, a Brit named Markham, and killed Yancey in an attempt to cover up his involvement in an international criminal cartel. After Batman busts Judson, the Club gives him a silver-plated safari hat plaque that he hangs in the Hall of Trophies.

[4]

–Batman #111, Part 3
When some crooks steal some dangerous radioactive fuel from the Gotham Scientific Foundation, Batman fears that the public will go into a panic knowing the stuff is out there somewhere. Thus, he comes up with a plan. Dressing up as a gangster named “Blair Graeme,” the Dark Knight announces that he’s “coming after Batman” at the dedication ceremony for Batman’s entry into the Gotham Hall of Fame. Batman pretends Graeme is an old foe so deadly that it requires them to wear medieval suits of armor. The armor hides their radioactive wetsuits underneath, so as not to alarm the public. After handling a few quick cases in their multi-layered costumes (while Vicki Vale chases after them the whole time), Batman and Robin find the crooks, beat them up, and reclaim the fuel.

–Detective Comics #247
Professor Achilles Milo makes his one and only Golden Age appearance. Milo shines a phobia ray onto Batman while he is giving a speech at a charity event. The ray causes Batman to have a terrible fear of bats! For the next four days, Batman bumbles and stumbles and nearly gets himself killed, preoccupied with his new fear. With no other choice, Batman announces his public retirement. The next day, Commissioner Gordon shines a Star-signal into the sky and a giant star-shaped ship answers the call. Batman has become the new Starman, complete with a garish yellow and red costume. Following a successful skirmish with some underworld thugs, Robin still can’t deal with the crazy change. He straps Bruce to a chair and makes him watch newsreel footage of some of his most famous cases Clockwork Orange-style. Bruce is able to overcome his phobia! Still as Starman, Bruce goes with Robin to confront Milo and his henchmen, who are convinced that Starman is Batman. Despite their best use of bat-themed attacks, the Dark Knight no longer is scared and easily sends them all to jail.

–REFERENCE: Batman befriends movie producer/director Cory Blane (as referenced in Detective Comics #252).

–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin fight crime boss Burns and his ex-con cronies Burton and Hegan (as referenced in Detective Comics #254). Burns winds up behind bars, but Burton and Hegan walk.

–FLASHBACK: Batman #123, Part 1 is a flashback that occurs now where Batman and Robin help elderly Seminole Indian Joe Osceola fight some crooks in the Everglades. However, the entire flashback tale is narrated by a very unreliable narrator (Joe’s cousin), who does have some incorrect information, notably stating that Ponce de Leon never discovered the Fountain of Youth. As we know, on Earth 2, Ponce de Leon definitely did find the Fountain of Youth. Of course, it is highly possible that the Seminole narrator is unaware of this information. In any case, here’s what goes down. Bruce and Dick take a short vacation in the Everglades. While there, they suit up as Batman and Robin to assist Joe Osceola fight off some thugs. Later, Batman learns that alligator hunter/leather trader Mike Briggs had something to do with the assault on Osceola. Batman and Robin confront Briggs and his men, but wind up captured and tied to logs. Thankfully, Osceola has followed them and makes the rescue, allowing our heroes to bust Briggs. Afterward, everyone learns that Osceola had unknowingly carved a canoe out of a piece of lumber that Briggs had found. The lumber was special because it was a marker left behind by Ponce de Leon marking the spot of buried Spanish treasure.

–REFERENCE: Batman defeats the science genius Doc Cranium and takes his bizarre machine of unknown purpose as a trophy for his collection (as referenced in Batman #127, Part 1).

–REFERENCE: Batman defeats the debuting Spinner, who uses giant tops as weapons (as referenced in The Brave & The Bold #182). Batman #129, Part 1 originally debuted The Spinner in February 1960 (two years from now). However, that part of Batman #129 is non-canon because it features Batwoman (who will still be retired at the time). Therefore, since The Brave & The Bold #182 tells us that Earth 2 Batman definitively fought the Spinner and yet Batman #129, Part 1 is non-canon, this means that the B&B #182 reference is a retroactive nod to this invented notation here and now.[/ref]

–FLASHBACK: Lex Luthor wears a Kryptonite helmet and attacks Superman (as seen in World’s Finest Comics #105). Superman, from a safe distance lowers Batman and Robin down via ropes so they can fight and defeat Luthor.

–Detective Comics #265
This issue was originally made non-canon by 70s and 80s retcons and moved to the Silver Age—(it violated Batman’s upcoming semi-retirement). However, its narrative revolves heavily around Slugsy Kyle’s return and it contains references that only make sense on the Golden Age timeline, hence its inclusion right here. Onto a synopsis. A new iteration of The Clock makes his presence felt at a Batman statue dedication. It’s not long before Batman realizes that this new Clock is none other than his original foe, Slugsy Kyle. After several fights, Batman defeats the Clock and returns him to jail.

–FLASHBACK: September 1957. Helena Wayne, daughter of Bruce and Selina, is born (as referenced in The Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1 and shown in DC Super Stars #17). Once Helena is born, we are told that Batman immediately “took a back seat to a new figure in Gotham—and Bruce Wayne turned from socialite to social activist.” What does this mean exactly? The accompanying image shows Bruce heading toward city hall with briefcase in hand—clearly showing him taking an active and philanthropic role in government. We know without a shadow of a doubt (from references in both DC Super Stars #17 and Justice League of America #55) that Bruce goes into semi-retirement now, but will still continue to work “special cases.” This means, definitely no more daily patrolling or any patrolling at all for Batman going forward. “Special cases” are any cases that Batman is summoned for by Commissioner Gordon or other close friends. Thus, any references to Bruce being a “socialite” or to him patrolling in any following comics is a retcon violation moving forward. We must place all of these issues onto the Earth 1 timeline instead of our Earth 2 timeline. What will Batman’s semi-retirement look like? Just to give you an idea: Batman will solve a mere TWO cases over the course of the next three months (i.e. the remainder of this Bat Year).

–REFERENCE: In DC Super-Stars #17, Wonder Woman #281, Part 2, and Wonder Woman #284, Part 2. Bruce and Selina ask Lois Lane-Kent, Clark Kent, and Sergeant Miles O’Hara to act as the “aunt” and “uncles,” respectively, of baby Helena. They basically become godparents to Helena. Likewise, Dick becomes a on-again-off-again babysitter and official “big brother” to baby Helena.

–REFERENCE: In Wonder Woman #295, Part 2. Alfred, obviously, will help raise baby Helena as well. Bruce proudly tells Alfred all his hopes and dreams that he has for his baby girl’s life.

–Batman #112, Part 1
Wannabe gangster Phil Cobb spots the Batsignal in the night sky and is inspired to become the garishly costumed Signalman. We don’t know why Commissioner Gordon is shining the Batsignal, but this must be Batman’s first official response to it after going into semi-retirement. Two days later, Gordon summons Batman yet again. Signalman has issued his first challenge. Two nights in a row, the signal-and-sign-themed villain defeats Batman. But on the third night, Batman gets the better of Signalman in Gotham Bay, beating him and sending him to jail.

–Batman #112, Part 2
Carter Nichols, who hasn’t time-traveled himself since 1948 because of the extreme danger, has finally perfected a new technology that will supposedly allow him to safely time-travel alone. (The Nichols’ method has always been one of avatar-based astral-projection. This new method actually sends the physical body through time). Carter explains to his pals Bruce and Dick that he will be visiting Ancient Rome for ten days. Bruce and Dick see off Nichols. Ten days later, when Nichols fails to return, Batman and Robin enter Nichols’ newest time device and follow his trail back to Rome, circa 285 BCE. Upon arrival in Rome, Batman is instantly recognized from his prior trip to the era (way back in 1942) where he was hailed as the hero “Batmanus.” After proving he really is Batmanus, the Dark Knight boards a galley headed for the isle of Rhodes, where Nichols is supposedly held by a tyrant king named Phorbus. Phorbus tells Batman that he will exchange Nichols for future technology. Batman agrees to build Phorbus a weapon but actually builds a getaway hot air balloon. Days later, Batman, Robin, and Nichols phase back to the present. We can presume that, due to the danger and malfunction of the new time-travel machine, Nichols returns to the old, safer method.

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #105, Part 1 originally took place here, but since it acts as a follow-up to the non-canon Detective Comics #233, it cannot be canon on Earth 2, only canon on Earth 1. Batwoman, at this point, would already be permanently retired and living a quiet family life.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: World’s Finest Comics #88-90 originally opened May 1957, but the first two issues are both non-canon on Earth-2 since they disregard the late 70s/early 80s retcons that Clark and Lois are married. Issue #90 involves a Batwoman tale that violates the retcon that Batwoman would already have retired by this point. These three issues are canon on Earth-1.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #110, Part 3 originally took place here but it ignores Bruce’s marriage to Selina, calling him a “playboy,” and is therefore non-canon. This issue, however, is canon on Earth 1.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #111, Part 2 is non-canon because it refers to Bruce as a playboy. It is, however, canon on the Silver Age Earth 1 timeline.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #112, Part 3 is a tough nut to crack. It could swing either way, but it’s my belief that it violates the Selina marriage retcon and the Helena birth retcon and therefore must be non-canon on Earth 2. In this tale, Achilles Milo returns and drugs Batman, causing him to become listless, depressed, and suicidal. Robin must show Batman that he has a reason to live for, thus concocting an elaborate scheme where Batman must solve a wild made-up case where he has lost his own identity. Since DC Super Stars #17 makes it very clear that Bruce’s family is his top priority at this point, I think the lack of their mention in regard to “something to live for” is something we cannot ignore.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics #250-251, which originally took place here, are non-canon on Earth 2 because they both refer to Bruce as a socialite. Bruce gave up the life of a socialite when he turned to political activism after the birth of his daughter Helena. Detective Comics #250-251, of course, are canon on Earth 1.

3 Responses to Year Nineteen

  1. Angus Livingstone says:

    Hey Collin–there’s a note about the Joker’s breakout in early March that’s listed before some February dates in the timeline here. Skimming over the next few entries, I see no issue with just moving the mark down the timeline, as Joker’s breakout doesn’t conflict with any other cases Bruce would have worked between the two points listed.

    The one thing that does raise a question is that in the current list above, Joker breaks out, and then when he next appears in this timeline, he’s breaking out of prison again. Would it be the same break-out retold in two different issues, or would Joker would have just been caught and arrested again before another break-out?

    Just thought I’d give you a heads-up. And as I am coming to a close here in my Golden Age read-through (only a few years left!), I thank you very much for this website–it’s so cool that all of this information was compiled. I can’t wait to get to the Silver Age!

    • Ooh, good spot, as usual. This is why I need an editor! The Joker flashback from WFC #105 must actually go before his breakout reference in Early March from Batman #110. (Batman #110 tells us that Joker is loose for three months straight.)

      Thank YOU for reading (and for helping out!) I’m still working on the Silver Age myself, slowly trudging along. You’ll likely catch up to me as I am currently only at 1965 (publication date). Twenty more years of stuff to go! Also, the end of the Golden Age syncs up with the Silver/Bronze Age, so I haven’t technically completed it yet—I still have Bruce’s retirement years, time as commissioner, and death to add into the Golden Age.

      Take care, Angus!

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