Welcome to the start of Batman’s “Year One Era”—an over-arching term that describes his first ten years in action. These first ten years can also be said to comprise the “Modern Silver Age” and subsequent “Modern Bronze Age.” BUT since that terminology is insanely confusing, I’ve simply labeled this time period as the “Year One Era.” Year One gives us the first twelve Batman stories in numbered chronological order. Some of them overlap each other and, thus, I’ve split up a lot of the stories using sub-letters attached to the numbers. One final note: Frank Miller’s “Year One” is literally one year long, spanning January until December, although Batman doesn’t go out in-costume until April. After all of the editorial changes spawned from Zero Hour and subsequent “contemporary time-sliding” the correct calendar period for Bat Year One is 1989. Nuff said!
1A. “Shaman Part 1” by Denny O’Neil/E. Hannigan (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1) November 1989
Twenty-five-year-old multimillionaire Bruce Wayne has spent the last twelve years of his life training to fight crime on the streets of Gotham City to avenge the murders of his parents. Bruce has just spent the last days of 1988 training with bounty hunter Willy Doggett in Northern Alaska. Doggett was killed by criminal Tom Woodley, who also managed to injure and strand Bruce in the frozen wilderness. Bruce was taken in by some locals and nursed back to health. By the time January arrives, Bruce is well enough to travel back to Gotham. After twelve long years, Bruce is finally ready to go home—ready to go to war.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #404 and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #172. The cursive font used by Bruce/Batman in Frank Miller’s “Year One” is a strong indicator that he constantly writes about everything that happens to him in a journal. This isn’t a casebook or crime-log, but a personal journal or diary instead. The “Testament” arc (LOTDK #172-176) confirms that Bruce/Batman was indeed journaling for at least throughout his first year-plus of costumed adventuring. Therefore, we must imagine, sprinkled invisibly on our timeline below, Bruce/Batman pausing from time to time to make entries into this journal.
2A. “Batman Year One” by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #404) February 1987
January 4-February 26. Bruce arrives back in Gotham and reunites with his trusted friend and butler, Alfred Pennyworth, at Wayne Manor. (The arrival scene at Wayne Manor is also shown with more detail in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1.) Bruce, not yet ready to patrol the streets, continues training. Meanwhile, Lieutenant James Gordon and his pregnant wife Barbara Gordon arrive in Gotham on the same day. Jim has transferred back to the extremely corrupt Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) from the Chicago PD. The vile Commissioner Gillian Loeb pairs Gordon with the loathsome Detective Arnold Flass. It’s not long before the entire Gotham Force hates Gordon for doing honest police work. While not specifically mentioned, Bruce’s birthday, according to pre-original Crisis stories, was February 19, so if this still holds true then Bruce turns 26-years-old in February.
2B. “Batman Year One” by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #404) February 1987
March 11. Detective Arnold Flass and a few buddies, on orders from Commissioner Loeb, beat up Jim Gordon with baseball bats. On that very same night, Bruce ends his training and attempts his first act of vigilantism. In disguise as a scarred army vet, he takes to the worst streets of Gotham’s East End, getting in a fight with prostitute/martial-arts expert Selina Kyle, her young friend Holly Robinson, and the lowlife Stan the Pimp before getting shot by some bad cops. Bruce barely makes it home alive. (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1 shows a two-and-a-half-page recap of Bruce’s failed first night out.) As Bruce sits slumped over and bleeding out in Wayne Manor, a bat crashes through the window inspiring him to become a costumed vigilante. (The scene of the bat crashing through the window is also shown via flashback from Batman: The Return #1, with a little added story detailing how the bat came upon Wayne Manor as it did on this fateful night.)
1B. “Shaman Part 1” (continued) by Denny O’Neil/E. Hannigan (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1) November 1989
March 11. A bloody and battered Bruce rings his bell and Alfred comes to assist him. Bruce will spend the next few weeks healing-up, tailoring a Batman costume for himself, and setting-up his underground headquarters. Only after this few-week time period will Bruce be ready to have another go at crime-fighting again.
–REFERENCE: In The Batman Chronicles #19, Part 1 Intro. March. Still healing from the injuries suffered during his initial East End outing, Bruce begins dating socialite Viveca Beausoleil.
–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #85 and Batman Confidential #1-6. March. Bruce takes control of his family’s business, Wayne Enterprises—a publicly traded international conglomerate that has many subdivisions and subsidiaries, notably WayneTech, Wayne Industries, and the Wayne Foundation. (WayneTech deals in the research and development sector, Wayne Industries aptly deals in the industrial sector, and the Wayne Foundation deals with real estate, acquisitions, and the financial sector.) After assuming leadership of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce files for patents on thousands of individualized mechanical parts, which he will use over the following decades to create secret Bat-technology and weaponry. Bruce also begins pilfering tech from his own company. Because Wayne Enterprises is a publicly traded company, Bruce is technically committing a major string of felonies by defrauding his own stockholders! Oh well. Moving ahead on our timeline, be aware that 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.
–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. March. Bruce examines the entrance to the caverns beneath Wayne Manor, which he had fallen into as a child. Bruce decides to use it as his Batcave. Note that the Batcave includes a complicated series of connected underground rivers that run into Gotham Bay. This system surely must comprise some of the longest underground waterways in the world, so keeping it hidden will be no small task. We can assume that Batman will use various camouflaging means and use his computer resources to erase geological history records in order to keep his secret safe.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #2. March. This flashback wasn’t meant to be written as a flashback. It is a scene that occurs in Legends of the Dark Knight #2 that shows Bruce and Alfred examining the cave underneath Wayne Manor as they prepare for construction of the Batcave. However, since the Batcave can be seen in use in many of the stories in Year One, we must assume that Bruce and Alfred begin work on the cave right now and will continue to do so throughout the year until its full completion, thus treating this scene as a flashback to right now.
–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. March. Bruce and Alfred haul computers and other equipment into the Batcave, which is now under construction. Bruce and Alfred will eventually fill the Batcave with various vehicles and weaponry.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #701, Part 1. March. Bruce, while checking out the caverns on the opposite side of the currently-under-construction Batcave, discovers a room hidden deep beneath Wayne Manor. The room has a secret passageway that connects to Wayne Cemetery above. Inside the room is a cryptic note from Bruce’s parents that orders him to keep the room secret and safe. Bruce will abide by this. The room won’t come into play for over two decades. What is this room? It is Simon Hurt’s Barbatos-worshipping room, used by the Black Glove prior to Thomas and Martha living in the Manor. Shortly after Bruce’s birth, Hurt came into Thomas and Martha’s life. Unsure of whether he was truly family and/or insane, Martha took the wayward Hurt into their lives after hearing details of his life and believing him to have been unnaturally corrupted. Unable to help their ancient relative, Hurt (who Thomas and Martha referred to as “Thomas Wayne Jr”) was confined to Willowwood Asylum before disappearing. Not sure what to do next, the Waynes simply block-off the room and passageway and leave the note for Bruce, should he ever discover it. The details of Hurt’s interactions with Martha and Thomas Wayne are referenced in Batman & Robin #15-16 and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4-6.
1C. “Shaman Part 1” (continued) by Denny O’Neil/E. Hannigan (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1) November 1989
April 5. Bruce dons the costume that will strike terror into the hearts of evildoers, becoming the Dark Knight of Gotham, the vigilante superhero known as Batman. Suited-up for the first time, Batman prepares for his first patrol of the city. (The Zero Hour tie-in issue of Detective Comics #0 by Chuck Dixon/Graham Nolan also has a notable flashback to Batman’s preparations prior to heading out on this nervous first night.)
2C. “Batman Year One” by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #405) 1987
April 5-6. Bruce wears the Batman costume for the first time out in the world and traverses Gotham rooftops. In this single-panel we see Batman on his way to Leslie Thompkins’ clinic, which has been plagued by several recent break-ins. The image shown in Miller’s “Year One” is after midnight on April 6, but we can presume that Batman dons the costume before midnight, technically making his start on April 5.
1D. “Shaman Part 1” (continued) by Denny O’Neil/E. Hannigan (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1) November 1989
April 6. We pick up LOTDK #1 near its conclusion. Bruce has suited up as Batman for the first time and now visits Dr. Leslie Thompkins’ clinic, beats up some robbers, and witnesses a bizarre suicide. This is Dr. Thompkins’ first encounter with Batman on his very first night out.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #1 and Detective Comics #575. Batman breaks into the cold case section of the GCPD evidence room and steals the gun that was used to murder his parents. He doesn’t know that it belongs to Joe Chill and won’t find out for a few more years.
3A. “Got a Date With an Angel” by Steve Englehart/J. Pulido (The Batman Chronicles #19, Part 1 Intro) Winter 2000
April 8-9. Bruce goes out with his girlfriend Viveca Beausoleil during the evening. Around 12:15 am on April 9, Batman busts some criminals, including a bazooka-toting madman. (“Got a Date With an Angel” specifically details Bruce’s 4th through 7th days as Batman, so the rest of the tale will overlap with Batman #405.)
2D. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #405) 1987
April 9. Batman has just taken out the bazooka guy (from The Batman Chronicles #19, Part 1 Intro). Batman now takes out three teens trying to steal a TV on a fire escape, but nearly gets killed in the process. Clearly, he needs more practice. Across town, Lieutenant Gordon shares a strained exchange with his ever-distant pregnant wife Barbara. One of Gordon’s underlings, Officer Stan Merkel calls him at home with reports of a “giant bat” sighting. NOTE: You will have to completely ignore the coloring of Gordon’s hair in these first few years and chalk it up to artists’ liberties. Yes, Gordon has red hair, but sometimes it’s grey, and then it turns red again. We just have to assume that he dyes it every once in a while? Oh, and for clarification, Gordon is initially a police lieutenant, but near the end of Miller’s “Year One,” he will be promoted to captain.
3B. “Got a Date With an Angel” (continued) by Steve Englehart/J. Pulido (The Batman Chronicles #19, Part 1 Conclusion) Winter 2000
April 9-12. At around 11:55 pm on April 9 (a night after Batman’s encounter with the TV thieves), the Dark Knight takes-out a few hoods, including a crook with a jetpack. The next night (11:45 pm, April 10) it’s more of the same action as Batman takes down some random thugs. Fifteen minutes later, Bruce meets Viveca and they spend midnight until last call dancing at a club. In the morning, Bruce returns home only to learn that the random thugs he busted escaped and caused four deaths while he was partying the night away. Bruce realizes that he can’t continue to juggle a playboy’s social life and vigilantism. Duh. Brucie calls Viveca and breaks up with her. The next night (presumably in the wee hours of April 12), Batman recaptures the random thugs for good.
–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #86. Batman steals a new version of a high tech grappling gun from his own company and tests it in the field, saving six children from a burning building and stopping a shipment of nerve toxin headed for Gotham Bay.
4. “One Night in Gotham City” by John Byrne (The Man of Steel #3)
May. Superman (Kal-El/Clark Kent) meets the outlaw Batman for the first time and reluctantly teams up with him to defeat Magpie. (As detailed through flashback in Superman #710, Bruce met Clark in their civilian identities while training in Bhutran, shortly before training in Alaska—in LOTDK #1—six months ago, but this is the first meeting between Batman and Superman in costume.) “One Night in Gotham City” is the official canonical first meeting between Batman and the Kryptonian Kal-El, even though much of the original Man of Steel series has since been retconned.
–REFERENCE: In Superman #710—originally told in Superman #76. Superman, Batman, and intrepid young reporter Lois Lane track a diamond smuggler aboard the SS Varanian Princess cruise ship. When the smuggler blends in with the vacationers, Bruce and Clark assume their civilian identities to search the vessel. As fate would have it, Bruce and Clark wind up sharing a cabin and learn each others’ secret identities! The World’s Finest heroes dodge the snooping Lois and manage to nab the criminal. I should mention that Bruce might have already known that Clark was Superman, having witnessed Clark use superhuman strength while traveling abroad less than a year ago.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #406. Bruce commissions an “unofficial” invention that is created by Wayne Electronics: a sonar device that attracts swarms of bats. He begins testing the device and will continue to do so over the course of the next couple weeks (overlapping into the May nights of our upcoming ongoing “Batman Year One” narrative). Using various frequencies, Bruce will eventually find the one that gets the bats’ attention.
2E. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #405-406) 1987
May 14-August 7. Batman roughs up the corrupt Detective Arnold Flass, while the latter attempts a drug deal with Jefferson Skeevers. The next day Lieutenant Gordon and the fetching Detective Sarah Essen brief the GCPD officers about the supposed “Batman.” Gordon says that the mysterious Batman has been linked to seventy-eight acts of assault since his debut in early April. We must assume this number is either exaggerated (or under-exaggerated). Either way, we have to imagine a lot of crime-fighting in the past five weeks on the part of the Caped Crusader that isn’t specifically listed on our timeline. On May 19, Batman makes his presence known to Gotham’s underworld in dramatic fashion at a fancy dinner at Mayor Wilson Klass‘ home. The Dark Knight threatens Italian Mafia bosses Carmine “The Roman” Falcone and Sal Maroni and crooked GCPD Commissioner Loeb. The next day, having previously been treated as a joke by the cops, Batman is made Gotham’s most wanted. By the end of May, Batman has struck up a secret working relationship with Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent. On June 6, Gordon witnesses Batman save a pedestrian from a runaway truck, but the Dark Knight gets shot and cornered by the GCPD SWAT team (led by the nutso Lieutenant Branden and whacko Sergeant Frank Pratt) inside a vacant tenement building. The early morning of June 7 is rocked by a GCPD bombing of the building, which wakes up everyone within a mile radius, including prostitute/cat-burglar Selina Kyle and her young friend Holly Robinson. Selina and Holly join a large crowd of onlookers at the scene. Batman, although badly injured, escapes by using his sonar device, which attracts a swarm of bats. This dramatic escape scene is also shown in Catwoman Annual #2 and Catwoman #1 (also known as Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #1). A few days later, Gordon, suspecting that Bruce Wayne is Batman, tries to contact him. However, Bruce has gone to Switzerland to recover from his recent injuries, and cites a skiing injury to mask the true origin of his multiple gunshot wounds. On June 17, Selina and Holly leave Stan the Pimp, earning his ire. Meanwhile, Gordon begins an affair with Sarah Essen. On August 7, Selina debuts as Catwoman.
–NOTE: August 8. One night after Selina’s debut as Catwoman, an angry Stan the Pimp kidnaps Selina’s sister Maggie Kyle (as seen in Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #2). It is important to realize that Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #1-2 by Mindy Newell is only partly canon (we have to ignore most of the first two issues of this four-part series except for the important aspects—Maggie Kyle is indeed kidnapped by Stan the Pimp and Catwoman is indeed part-time trained by Wildcat Ted Grant, who also taught Bruce how to box back in the day). Early parts of this story overlap with Catwoman Annual #2 by Jordan Gorfinkel as well.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & The Mad Monk #1. Batman sends some protection racketeers to prison, earning the favor of Gotham’s police coroner Murray Fineman. This will grant him secret access to the police morgue whenever he wants.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman: Streets of Gotham #20—originally told in Detective Comics #29-30 and Detective Comics #33. Bruce starts dating Julie Madison. Batman deals with mad scientist Dr. Death. Only months into his crusade, Batman barely sleeps anymore and has become a bit obsessive-compulsive, especially when Dr. Death debuts. Alfred tells Bruce that he can’t neglect his new responsibilities to both Wayne Industries and Julie. After dispatching Dr. Death, Batman battles and defeats yet another mad scientist, Carl Kruger, who attacks Gotham in his “Dirigible of Doom.” We won’t see Kruger again, but Dr. Death will rear his evil head again years down the road as one of DC’s premier science-villains.
–FLASHBACK: J’onn J’onzz aka Detective John Jones of the GCPD aka Martian Manhunter meets Batman (as chronicled in Martian Manhunter Vol. 2 #22). J’onn, a Green Martian, has been living on Earth since the late 1950s. Originally, he lived in Denver, then Metropolis, then Denver again, before moving to Gotham (where he is present for this story). J’onn will soon move back to the city he loves the most and can never seem to leave behind for too long: Denver.
–FLASHBACK: Alfred stitches Bruce up after a particularly bloody night’s patrol. While he does so, Alfred tells Bruce of about all the possible different costumed vigilante themes he could have chosen besides that of a Bat (as seen through flashback in Batman #682).
–FLASHBACK: Batman #682 shows a flashback that is an homage to Detective Comics #27, depicting Bruce Wayne laughing-off the idea of the existence of Batman in conversation with Lieutenant Gordon.
–FLASHBACK: Batman #589 shows a montage (in random order) that depicts Batman attempting to use several other undercover aliases including; henchman-for-hire “Irving O’Neil,” a bearded biker guy, a leather-clad Mad Max type, and a rehash of the scarred army vet character from Miller’s “Year One.” Batman tests these undercover aliases now. Note that this montage also depicts Batman dressed up as a Black man (in blackface no less) during a confrontation with the Joker. This Joker confrontation takes place next year.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #827. Batman adds a few more colorful alter egos (complete with unique costumes) to use as undercover aliases when probing Gotham’s underworld from within. “Eddie Nickels,” “Brains Bronner,” and “Lefty Knox” are just a few of a handful of fake gangsters that Batman invents. We can assume that Batman uses these undercover aliases randomly over the course of the next twenty years, albeit invisibly on our timeline.
–FLASHBACK: Early September. The Red Hood incident at Ace Chemicals occurs. Batman confronts the Red Hood, who falls into a vat of chemicals. In an instant, the Joker is born (as detailed through flashbacks from Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke). There are also several significant flashbacks to the origin of the Joker in Batman: Gotham Knights #54. I should mention that Joker’s wife was murdered and originally it was made to look like she was accidentally electrocuted. GK #54 retcons Moore’s version of the story so that she was murdered and the crime was covered up by a boiler explosion. An apocryphal version of this incident is also shown (as told through a third-hand account by someone who simply read about it in a newspaper) in DC Universe Legacies #3. After the Red Hood incident ends, Batman keeps the Red Hood’s helmet (as referenced in Batman: The Man Who Laughs).
2F. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #407) 1987
September 2-October 12. Batman confronts Jefferson Skeevers and “convinces” him to cop a plea bargain with Harvey Dent, exposing Detective Arnold Flass as a criminal. Angered that his top man is going down due to the scheming of Dent and Gordon, Commissioner Loeb does a little threatening of his own and reveals that he knows about Gordon and Sarah Essen’s affair. On September 25, Gordon, still convinced that Bruce is Batman, visits Wayne Manor with his wife. Bruce plays the role of drunk playboy, complete with sexy foreign “girlfriend” to throw Gordon off the trail. Afterward, Gordon tells Barbara about Sarah. On October 12, Barbara gives birth to James Gordon, Jr. Also on the 12th, the news reports that Catwoman has completed a series of four high-profile burglaries.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & The Monster Men #5. Batman, in an effort to reach out, gives Jim Gordon a radio transmitter with which he can contact him at any time. Of course, Gordon won’t use it for weeks since the real Batman/Gordon partnership won’t develop until after Bruce saves Gordon’s son on November 3 (in Miller’s “Year One”).
2G. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #407) 1987
November 2-3. Batman spies on Carmine Falcone at his estate. Catwoman makes a surprise visit to Falcone as well and scratches his face. During the daytime hours of November 3, Commissioner Loeb, frustrated that Gordon won’t fall in line, orders an attack on his family. After a call to Falcone, the mobster’s hitmen go to work, assaulting Gordon at home and kidnapping his baby. Bruce, in street clothes, saves James Junior’s life when the tot gets tossed off of a bridge. Gordon thanks his son’s savior, knowing that he is Batman, but without his glasses he can’t see who his secret identity is.
–REFERENCE: In Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #3-4. November 3. These quasi-canonical Catwoman issues take place now because Batman mentions that he’s only seen Catwoman once before this. (The epilogue/coda from Her Sister’s Keeper #4 occurs three weeks later.) After pursuing a lead into the kidnapping of Maggie Kyle, Batman goes after Stan the Pimp. The Caped Crusader helps Catwoman save Maggie from Stan, who dies during the altercation.
5. Batman & The Monster Men #1-6 by Matt Wagner
November 4-15. Jim Gordon is promoted to captain. Gillian Loeb is put on trial, but is still technically commissioner, although the new acting-commissioner is Peter Edward “Jack” Grogan. Grogan won’t become official until December 4. Bruce’s first serious relationship with Julie Madison is highlighted and Batman deals with crime boss Sal Maroni’s experiments in conjunction with Hugo Strange to create “monster men” out of mental patients. Batman learns of Strange’s connection to the crimes and has his first encounter with the lunatic. However, the Dark Knight is unable to publicly link Strange to the crimes, thus allowing for his later appearance in “Prey.” It’s also worth noting that the first appearance of one of the many versions of the Batmobile occurs here. Also, Matt Wagner initially wrote “Monster Men” to take place immediately after the Red Hood incident in September. Thus, the following problems must be addressed: The opening scene where Julie and her dad are eating outside on their rooftop patio and she’s wearing a sleeveless shirt?—we’ll assume they have heat lamps or that it’s unseasonably warm. Also, in the very same scene, Julie’s dad (Norman Madison) is reading a newspaper with the top-story about the Red Hood incident. We should disregard this too or assume that he is reading an almost two-month old paper.
6A. Batman & The Mad Monk #1-2 by Matt Wagner
November 15. Bruce stands up his girlfriend Julie Madison while engaging in his third meeting with Catwoman, who robs a store. Batman fights Catwoman, and the latter scratches his chest and escapes. Batman is then called to GCPD HQ via radio signal to meet Jim Gordon. There, Gordon and coroner Murray Fineman show Batman a corpse in the morgue that appears to be the victim of a vampire attack. Across town, the evil vampire cult responsible, known as The Brotherhood, gathers to sacrifice another victim to their leaders, the vampire called The Monk (Niccolai Tepes) and his partner Dala Vadim. Bruce spends the night at Wayne Manor with Julie.
7A. “Prey” by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #11-12)
November 16-17. Batman busts some crooks, much to chagrin of GCPD Sgt. Maxwell Cort, who loathes Batman. Later, Bruce watches a TV program featuring Captain Gordon, Mayor Wilson Klass, and Hugo Strange. Strange disses Batman hard, angering Bruce. Bruce then works on the Batmobile, which has been completely stripped down, in an attempt to make it better and stronger. Later still, Batman fights both the The Fish and his gang along with Cort’s new anti-Batman “Vigilante Task Force.” Batman arrives home early on the morning of the 17th. A few hours later, Bruce has brunch with Mayor Klass, Strange, and Klass’ daughter Catherine Klass. In the evening, Batman meets with Gordon and captures the Fish.
6B. Batman & The Mad Monk #2-5 by Matt Wagner
November 17-18. After capturing The Fish (in “Prey”) Bruce meets with Harvey Dent. When another vampire body shows up, Batman investigates and roughs up some dudes that work for The Brotherhood. The next day Julie is duped into visiting Rallstone castle, home of the vampire cult. There, she gets bitten by The Monk and falls under his spell. That very night, while on a date, Bruce sees her neck bites. Later, Batman trails Julie to Rallstone Castle, where the Dark Knight gets chewed up by attack dogs and bludgeoned by spiked traps. A bloody Batman retreats and meets with Gordon, who decides to get rid of his Bat radio transmitter (saying he needs something bigger and better). After making sure Julie is back home safe and sound, Batman returns to Wayne Manor where Alfred stitches him up.
7B. “Prey” by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #12-13)
November 18-19. Gordon, having earlier in the night tossed away his Bat radio transmitter, drapes a cloth Batman symbol over the GCPD rooftop spotlight, making the first ever Batsignal! Batman responds and approves, but departs to beat up some random street punks. Meanwhile, Max Cort becomes a masked vigilante known as Night-Scourge. On the afternoon of the 19th, Bruce listens to a news report about Night-Scourge’s violent debut.
6C. Batman & The Mad Monk #5-6 by Matt Wagner
November 19. Still under the vampire spell of The Monk, Julie returns to Rallstone Castle and gives the Brotherhood access to her family’s vast wealth. Batman then rescues Julie, who is about to be sacrificed, and defeats the Brotherhood. Dala Vadim and The Monk are killed during the fight. Julie learns that Batman is Bruce and cannot deal with the fact that her boyfriend is a vigilante superhero. As revealed in Robin Vol. 2 #13, Batman keeps the tattered, lightning-scalded shroud of the Monk as a souvenir—(we’ll see it on display in the Batcave in a year’s time). The Dark Knight then escorts the weary Julie home. Meanwhile, across town Sal Maroni murders Julie’s father, Norman. With the combined weight of Bruce’s secret revealed and the death of her dad, Julie decides to immediately leave Gotham for good.
–FLASHBACK: November 20. Batman #682 shows Julie telling Alfred that she is leaving for Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. However, Matt Wagner (in Mad Monk #6) shows us that Julie winds up in the Peace Corps, so we must assume that Julie is either lying to Alfred or she changes her mind to join the Peace Corps.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #67. November 20. Batman saves Dr. Lynn Eagles from getting mugged and killed. Lynn will repay the favor in a couple years.
–FLASHBACK: November 20-22. Batman meets the criminal Matches Malone (as seen through flashback in Batman #589 by Brian K. Vaughan). After a confrontation with Batman, Malone fakes his own death and skips town. Believing him to be dead, Batman assumes his identity for future undercover use. Bear in mind, there is probably a surfeit of undercover work done by Batman—as Matches—to bolster the character’s underworld reputation that is never specifically mentioned in any comic book. However, we simply have to imagine most of this credibility-building as occurring randomly throughout the timeline from this point forward.
7C. “Prey” by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #13)
November 22. Batman helps Catwoman fight off Night-Scourge, but gets beaten up pretty badly in the process. Allied with Hugo Strange, Night-Scourge then kidnaps Catherine Klass and frames Batman for the crime.
–REFERENCE: In the epilogue to Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #4. November 24. The coda to the quasi-canonical Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper takes place now—three weeks after the rescue of Maggie Kyle—and features a very important moment: Batman’s first canonical kiss with Catwoman! Her Sister’s Keeper #4 may only be quasi-canonical, but this smooch definitely occurs!
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. November 25. Batman begins the tradition of placing two fresh roses at the Crime Alley site of his parents’ murders on the anniversary of their deaths.
7D. “Prey” by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #14-15)
November 25-29. Mayor Klass gives Captain Gordon five more days to apprehend Batman and find his daughter. On the night of the 25th Batman confronts Hugo Strange about Night-Scourge and the kidnapping. Strange drugs Batman with a powerful hallucinogen and Batman flees in a panic. The next afternoon, Batman is still tripping, but finally makes his way home. At Wayne Manor, Bruce is disturbed to discover that Strange has been in his home, and thus now knows his secret ID. Still under the effects of the drug, Bruce locks himself in the Batcave to recover. After three whole days quarantined in the cave, Batman emerges and unveils the new and improved Batmobile. Fully recovered, Batman publicly exposes Strange as criminal, helping Gordon rescue Catherine Klass in the process. Strange evades the cops, but falls into the Gotham River and is presumed dead. (We’ll see him again.) Later, Batman defeats Night-Scourge with help from Catwoman. Night-Scourge, revealed as Max Cort, is then shot dead by cops in a firefight.
8. “Guardian” by Alan Brennert/Jose Garcia-Lopez (Batman: Gotham Knights #10, Part 2/Batman: Black & White) Dec. 2000
Batman meets the semi-retired original Green Lantern Alan Scott in this Batman: Black & White tale. Alan Scott was not only the original defender of Gotham City from the 1940s into the 1970s, but also one of Bruce’s favorite childhood heroes.
2H. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #407) 1987
December 3. This single page of Frank Miller’s “Year One” originally referenced that an unknown person, simply calling himself “The Joker,” sent word to the GCPD that he was planning on poisoning the Gotham Reservoir, which resulted in a citywide panic. HOWEVER, Batman: The Man Who Laughs retconned Joker’s December 3rd threat to the reservoir as non-canon. As per The Man Who Laughs, Joker doesn’t make his presence known until December 5th (the day after Loeb officially resigns). Plus, Joker first targets high profile Gothamites before targeting the reservoir. And when Joker finally does strike at the reservoir it comes as a relative surprise without a public panic-inducing warning. Oddly enough, this is the only retcon to Miller’s generally untouchable “Year One” that exists. So, after all is said and done in the retcon world, all that happens in this December 3rd scene is that Gordon stands atop the GCPD HQ and waits to meet with Batman. We also learn that Sarah Essen has moved to New York and that Commissioner Loeb is set to resign at any moment.
6D. Batman & The Mad Monk #6, Epilogue by Matt Wagner
December 4. Bruce gets a letter from Julie, who is starting her service with the Peace Corps in Africa. In Gotham, Batman is alerted by Gordon about corpses in a warehouse that have rictus grins on their faces. Commissioner Loeb resigns on this date, making Grogan the official commissioner (as referenced in Batman: The Man Who Laughs). Mayor Klass, whose administration is in shambles, will resign sometime in December as well. Klass will be replaced by Mayor Gill (as referenced in LOTDK #169-170), who will remain Gotham’s top official until his assassination in Bat Year Six.
9A. Batman: The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker/Doug Manhke
December 4-8. It has been a little over three months after the Red Hood incident. Batman meets with Captain Gordon at the warehouse full of rictus grinning murder victims (the very same cadavers mentioned in the epilogue of Mad Monk #6). The next day, the debuting Joker interrupts a news report about the upcoming reopening of Arkham Asylum, and introduces himself to the public on live TV. Joker threatens to kill prominent Gothamite Henry Claridge at exactly midnight. Sure enough, despite massive police protection, Claridge keels over with a forced smile on his face, a victim of time-release Joker Toxin, which he had been dosed with earlier in the day. Across town, Joker kidnaps a bunch of mental patients and turns them into his henchmen. In the morning, Joker threatens to kill millionaire Jay Wilde. When night falls, Joker is much less subtle this time, attacking the GCPD and Batman head-on via helicopter and shooting Wilde dead with Joker Toxin-tipped bullets. The next day, after some chemical analysis, Batman learns that the man in the Red Hood costume that fell into the vat at Ace Chemicals three months ago is the Joker. Batman tracks the Joker and discovers that the madman has been looking at survey maps. Batman here seems unsure as to what Joker was searching for, mistakenly thinking it has something to do with the sewers. This feels like a continuity error on the part of Ed Brubaker—Batman surely would have realized Joker was finally ready to strike the reservoir since he’d already made that threat earlier in the week (on December 3 in Miller’s “Year One”). But since this is the definitive Joker origin, published in 2005, as I’ve stated above, the error becomes a retcon. Joker publicly threatening to contaminate the reservoir on December 3 simply never happened. Oh well. Batman spends the next two days creating an antidote to Joker’s Toxin. Joker then appears on TV again to threaten Judge Thomas Lake and Bruce Wayne! In order to free himself of police protection, Bruce fakes his own death at 11:30, injecting himself with Joker Toxin (and then having Alfred cure him in an ambulance down the road). Batman then realizes that Joker is going to attempt to poison the reservoir, battles Joker’s crazy henchmen, and prevents the Clown Prince of Crime from doing so. The epilogue to The Man Who Laughs takes place a few weeks later, and is listed below.
10A. “Do You Understand These Rights?” by Andrew Kreisberg/Scott McDaniel (Batman Confidential #22-25) December 2008 to March 2009
December 8-15. First of all, Kreisberg incorrectly refers to Gordon as Lieutenant throughout this arc. Ignore it. Our story picks up right after The Man Who Laughs ends. Batman hauls in Joker to jail and meets with Gordon. From jail, Joker uses his one phone call to phone GCPD Detective Geoff Shancoe’s wife Holly and, posing as her doctor, tells her she has a rare fatal blood disease. The unstable Holly commits suicide as a result! The next day, Batman and Gordon attend Holly Shancoe’s funeral. A day after that Joker nearly escapes on his way to his arraignment hearing, killing two guards in the process, but Batman makes sure he gets to court. At the hearing, Bruce watches from the crowd as ADA Harvey Dent asks for an “expedited trial” aka “rocket docket.” The fast-tracked trial is granted by the judge, who sets the trial to last for four weeks starting on December 13. However, before the judge can even bang his gavel, Joker, having learned of a serious allergy, kills the judge by flinging a peanut into his drinking water. If you haven’t already suspended all disbelief, do it now. The next day at trial, Joker manages to kill the court psychiatrist with a well-placed banana peel. That night, Batman gets purposefully arrested as Matches Malone in order to meets with Joker face-to-face in an attempt to get inside his head. Finding it impossible to do so, Batman bolts and frustratingly heads home. On the second day of the trial, a new judge halts the proceedings, citing that Joker is too “psychologically damaged to continue,” and sentences the insane criminal to Holly Springs Psychiatric Hospital. Angered at the decision, Geoff Shancoe snaps and shoots Gordon and another cop, cuts off Joker’s transport to Holly Springs, and puts a gun to the villain’s head. Batman arrives just in time to take down Shancoe, but a freed Joker puts the gun to Batman’s head. Gordon, safe and sound thanks to his bulletproof vest, arrives as well and takes down the Joker. On the 15th, Joker goes to newly opened Arkham Asylum—he is patient number one, with Shancoe as patient number two. Batman Confidential #25 has an epilogue involving the first capture of the Riddler, but that doesn’t take place until late March, so we’ll see it a bit later on our timeline.
9B. Batman: The Man Who Laughs Epilogue by Ed Brubaker/Doug Manhke
December 15. With Joker in Arkham, Batman meets with Gordon and they discuss this horrific new super-villain.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Annual #11 and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #167—originally told in Detective Comics #58. Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin makes his debut and meets Batman. There is no actual story in the Modern Age that specifically shows the original meeting between Batman and Penguin, but it must take place very early in his career, hence its placement here. Penguin definitely makes an appearance (or multiple appearances in a row) sometime in Year One. Despite debuting now, Penguin’s MO is to commit crimes with the façade of appearing like he is running a legitimate business, so he won’t really be on Batman’s true crime radar until a bit later. In Batman Annual #11 (which occurs in Bat Year Eleven) it is revealed that the Penguin has been in and out of prison for at least ten years prior to Batman’s debut. It can be assumed that Cobblepot’s outrageous nature (i.e. use of umbrellas and bird-themed crime) develops as a direct result of both the Batman’s presence and the ever-changing nature of super-villainy and “popcrime” in Gotham. Penguin would have been a notorious quasi-Gotham celebrity criminal/club-owner for nearly a decade before Batman’s first appearance. Also, worth noting: Batman will collect a ton of Penguin’s staple trick umbrellas over the course of the next two decades.
11A. “Irresistible” by Tom Peyer/Tony Harris (LOTDK #169, Introduction) September 2003
December. Batman busts some gun-toting jerks that try to carjack an old lady. Meanwhile, we (the reader) are introduced to Frank Sharp, a born loser who just happens to be a metahuman with the telepathic power of coercion. Despite his incredibly deformed face, he can order anyone to do just about anything simply by shaking their hand. Sharp will spend the next six months using his power to get whatever he wants, at which point Batman will be on him like white on rice. But we’ll get to that in six months.
–FLASHBACK: December. Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2 shows a scene of Batman, having just returned to the Batcave, walking away from the Batmobile. This could take place pretty much anywhere, but works here.
12. “Shaman Parts 2-5” by Denny O’Neil/E. Hannigan (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #2-5) Dec 1989 to March 1990
Late December. I could have labeled this story as “1D” since it continues the “Shaman” storyline. However, enough time has passed that this seems like it warrants its own number. LOTDK #2-5 concludes the Shaman investigation. Bruce says that six months have passed since the events of issue #1, but it is definitely late-December, which would make it more like eight months, so maybe his recollection is a bit shaky. The conclusion to “Shaman” starts with a series of deaths that link to the suicide that Batman witnessed on his very first night out at Leslie Thompkins’ clinic. An investigation into the deaths leads to criminals Carl Fisk and Tom Woodley. Batman and Alfred travel to Alaska to deal with Fisk and Woodley. “Shaman” ends on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget, the scene in LOTDK #2 which details the origin of the Batcave isn’t written as if it is a flashback, but Bruce has already been using the Batcave for some time now. Therefore, this scene must be considered a flashback to early in the year (which can be viewed above).
- COLLIN COLSHER: We shall address 1994’s Zero Hour and “contemporary time-sliding” more in-depth later, but here is a brief mini explanation for anyone confused as to why the original Crisis was in 1986, yet our Modern Age timeline starts in 1989. DC used Zero Hour and “time-sliding” to continuously keep its characters fresh and young for as long as possible. Therefore, the stories after the original Crisis (i.e. stories beginning after the Silver/Bronze Age ends in 1986) technically start in the Real Batman Chronology’s Year Eleven. When new post-Crisis stories started up in 1986 and became more fleshed out with Frank Miller’s “Year One” story in 1987, there was a roughly six to ten year gap that existed to give time for previous stories. (I went with the maximum ten years and named the period the “Year One Era”.) The same thing happened with the New 52 reboot in 2011. DC gave Batman a fresh start, but kept the skeletal framework of what had already occurred, but in a five to six year period instead of a ten year period. But back to the Modern Age; due to later time-sliding by DC editors, Batman’s “Year One” kept getting pushed later and later to make the stories more contemporary. Instead of his Year One being ten years prior to 1986-1987 (i.e. 1976), it eventually slid to being ten years prior to 1999 (i.e. 1989). This is why my Year One is 1989. If you are looking for stories published from 1986 onward (besides items that fit into the “Year One Era”) look no further than Year Eleven as a starting point. Confusing, I know. But I hope that makes sense.↩
- TIPTUP JR 94: In Catwoman: When in Rome #4, Selina Kyle says she specifically remembers November 2nd of Year One being a Thursday. Yep, that’s 1989 alright! (November 2 actually fell on a Thursday in 1989)! Some folks who favor a highly compressed timeline (as I once did) have tried to argue Year One as being 1995, but in the interest of keeping Long Halloween and Dark Victory canon, I’d say it is definitely ’89.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Some very important rules before we get going. (These rules were mentioned in the previous Modern Salad Days section, but bear repeating now.) I’ve included flashbacks in a specific way. If a flashback is first revealed—let’s say in Bat Year 15, hypothetically—the flashback may or may not be mentioned in Bat Year 15, but the actual events that occur in said flashback will be placed one the timeline exactly when they originally occurred through unnumbered notation i.e. bullets listed as “flashback.” Similarly, story references will be listed as unnumbered bullet “references.” And likewise, important narrative events that don’t include Batman will be listed as “notes.” Therefore, any “references,” “flashbacks,” or “notes” occur chronologically at the spot where they are situated on the timeline. Any character names (or group names) highlighted in red denote the first appearance of a reoccurring character (or group). Some of these red items may appear only once in the Bat-verse, but appear elsewhere throughout the DCU, and thus have been given the crimson treatment as well.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The long-running Legends of the Dark Knight series featured 215 issues, seven annuals, and a few specials. The entire idea behind the series was to tell stories that could either fall into the category of canon or non-canon. Originally, most of the stories filled the gaps of first five or first ten years of Batman’s career as a crime-fighter, but as the series went on, later stories and crossovers began to appear. There is no official document that says which LOTDK issues are canon and which are not. And lots of LOTDK issues are highly debatable. However, this is the list of issues that are NOT canon, according to the Real Batman Chronology Project.
–Madness: A LOTDK Halloween Special
–Ghosts: A LOTDK Halloween Special
–LOTDK #101 is canon, but does not feature Batman
–LOTDK #214 is meant to be canon, but has so many errors it really can’t be↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Bruce was eight-years-old when his parents died on November 25. How do we know the date? As cribbed from comic book scholar Chris J. Miller:
“[June 26 is mentioned in Batman Special #1 (1984) and Batman #408 (1987). The 1976 DC Calendar says June 8. However, Death & The Maidens #1 (2003) and Nightwing #153 (2009) both say they died in Autumn. Superboy #182 (1972) and Detective Comics #500 (1981) both say Autumn as well, specifically November 25.]” And, last but not least, the quasi-canonical Batman Files (2011) details the Modern Age and gives us another June 26 mention.
Here’s what I personally take away from all of this: In the Silver Age we have one mention of June 26, one mention of June 8, and two mentions of November 25. Tally it all up and you basically have two June mentions and two Novembers, both of which are on the same date (the 25th). This leads me to believe that November 25 is the official Silver Age date of the Wayne deaths. Further backing for this is the Golden Age death of the Waynes, which was also November 25, as mentioned in Detective Comics #265 (1959).
Onto the Modern Age. We have one mention of June 26, two mentions in Autumn, three mentions of November 25 (also Autumn), and the unofficial Batman Files‘ June 26 as well. All in all, that means the Modern Age gives us two Junes (both specifically June 26) and five Novembers. To add to our fact list, the final published mention of the death date is in a canonical 2009 comic, and it is Autumn. This tells me that the Modern Age Wayne death date, just like in the Golden Age and Silver Age, is on November 25.
It seems that somewhere right around original Crisis time—(both before and after 1985-1986)—DC editorial had the Wayne deaths marked as June 26. This might have even been the case prior to Zero Hour (1994). But it looks like the November date was settled upon afterward. It’s up to you to decide your own headcanon, but I’m going with November 25.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The January 4 through February 26 dates are given in Batman #404. Unfortunately, moving forward, some specific dates and months listed on this chronology won’t be taken from information given by writers and editors. Usually, if something has a specific month listed beside it and does not have a “reason why” listed along with it, it has to do with its chrono-spatial relationship with other stories (which may give much more detailed information). However, no matter what, there is always a reasoning behind an attachment of a precise month to a story. The process of timeline-building is very exhaustive. Obviously, topical references and editorial notes are taken into account, but so are in-story clues and dialog as well. Once I have a bunch of items placed relatively where I think they go, I cross-check each story with every other story on my timeline to make sure that they aren’t contradicting each other.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Depending on which chronology you subscribe to, the ages of DC’s characters will fluctuate and don’t hold fast to an exact mathematical science, especially since there are so many contradictory references and time gets retconned so much in the comics. Despite this, I’m confident in the birthdates listed within my chronology, and this includes Bruce Wayne’s birthdate. According to the Real Batman Chronology Project, the Modern Age birth-years of major players are as follows:
Bruce Wayne – born in 1963
Dick Grayson – born in 1981
Jason Todd – born in 1985
Cassandra Cain – born in 1987
Tim Drake – born in 1990
Damian Wayne – born in 1999
Discrepancies between the Real Batman Chronology Project and other chronologies not only stem from my own personal headcanon age-retcons, but also from continuity errors within the comics themselves. Let’s use Damian as an example. Batman & Robin #2, which takes place in the same year as Damian’s debut, tells us he is specifically ten-years-old. This means Damian is ten when he debuts in “Batman and Son.” Most sources, including mine, will list “Batman and Son” as occurring in 2009. Therefore, in order to be ten-years-old in 2009, Damian would’ve had to been born in 1999 (where I have his birth). Unfortunately, most sources (both external chronologies and in-comic references) tell us that Bruce lost his parents when he was around eight-years-old. In “Batman and Son,” Bruce says that he was “not much older than Damian when his own parents died,” which suggests the boy is eight at that point. A contradiction! See what I mean? These comic book ages are fairly fluid. With that being said, depending on what references you take as gospel, there is a slight range of birth-years that could be appropriate for Bat Family characters:
Bruce Wayne – born in 1963
Dick Grayson – born in 1979 to 1981 range
Jason Todd – born in 1985 to 1986 range
Cassandra Cain – born in 1987 to 1988 range
Tim Drake – born in 1989 to 1990 range
Damian Wayne – born in 1999 to 2000 range
To reiterate, character birthdates and ages depend solely on where you initially start and what you choose to take as gospel. Other chronologies might use different references. The Real Batman Chronology specifically retcons Tim, Jason, and Dick’s initial sidekick-starting ages to be a bit younger than most other chronologies, hence the differences there. Taking such liberties with the Robin boys might seem blasphemous, but it actually makes continuity work out better in the end.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: As far as Selina Kyle being a prostitute, she definitely was working the world’s oldest profession as a dominatrix for many years, but will later claim that the job was an undercover gig which allowed her to be at the heart of Gotham’s seedy underbelly, and thus aided in her training as a thief and a fighter. Either way, Catwoman’s official comic book origin begins with prostitution, like it or not.↩
- VALHERU / COLLIN COLSHER: Bruce’s first night out as Batman is definitely the night of April 5 into April 6. This not only makes it probable that Mazzucchelli’s “Year One” image of Batman on the rooftops in the wee hours of April 6 (an upcoming bullet-point on the timeline) is him on his way to Leslie Thompkins’ clinic. However, we should note that the passage of time in LOTDK #1 is odd, making it look like Bruce becomes Batman the day after “Year One”‘s botched March 11 adventure in the East End (and the “I shall become a bat” moment), but not only is that not plausible (it only took a day?), ‘tec #0 shows that he didn’t become Batman until several weeks afterwards as well. Batman Chronicles #19 also makes this same mistake, stating that the “I shall become a bat” moment occurs a mere three days after the March 11 botched adventure. Know for a fact that it takes weeks to heal-up, start-up the Batcave, and build a Bat-costume after March 11, not one day, not three days—it takes weeks.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Miller’s “Year One” uses the word “DAY” to time-stamp events whereas Batman Chronicles #19 confusingly uses both the word “DAY” and “NIGHT” to timestamp events. The easiest way to look at things is like this: A “NIGHT” is a literal night, meaning from sundown to sunrise. Batman’s first “day” (Day 1), for example, since he only goes out at night, is the night of April 5 into 6. Thus the following can be inferred:
–Batman Day 2 – April 6 into 7
–Batman Day 3 – April 7 into 8
–Batman Day 4 – April 8 into 9
–Batman Day 5 – April 9 into 10
–Batman Day 6 – April 10 into 11
–Batman Day 7 – April 11 into 12
…and so on and so on…
In Miller’s “Year One,” on May 15, Gordon states that Batman consistently operates between midnight and 4:00 am. However, while Gordon might be mostly correct in his assessment, this cannot be exact since we will see Batman go out before midnight on a couple instances prior to May 15. Batman is likely out there patrolling as soon as the sun goes down, but when does most of Gotham’s crime start to pick up? Between the hours of 12 midnight and 4 am—hence Gordon’s comment.↩
- RENAUD BATTAIL: While on the subject of Gordon’s ever-changing hair color in these early years… The only drawback, not induced by the Real Batman Chronology Project, but by the comic market itself, is characters’ designs changing each time a new story-arc begins. Sometimes Bruce looks like he’s thirty, Alfred’s hair switches from grey to black, and the Batmobile often looks like it’s been downgraded! I imagine that’s something we can’t help but to ignore. You just have to get used to it like any comics reader.
COLLIN COLSHER: The characters, especially in the early years, do constantly change stylistically, but this is the world of illustration, cartoons, comic book art, graphic art, and artist liberties/personal rendition in general. There are always going to be some jumps and leaps in style, color, inking, penciling, costuming, and basic character design. (This isn’t Batman the Animated Series after all). So, as you are reading the issues, if anything looks a bit funky, chalk it up to the artist placing his own carte blanche visualization upon the story. While on the subject of Gordon: As Chris J. Miller notes, Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns reveals that Gordon is fifteen years older than Bruce. I know Dark Knight Returns is a part of an alternate universe, but it still links to Miller’s Year One. Thus, the internal logic of this age differential probably can be applied to the Earth-0 Modern Age DCU. So, if Bruce is 25-26 in Batman: Year One, Gordon is probably around 40-years-old in that same story.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Since Batman Chronicles #19 annoyingly uses both the word “DAY” and “NIGHT” to timestamp events (instead of just labeling only “DAYS”), I’ve plugged in the happenings of this issue into a handy chart for anyone who is confused as to how things actually go down. Remember, “Got a Date With an Angel” covers Batman’s 4th through 7th days and overlaps with Batman’s fight against the trio of TV thieves from Miller’s “Year One.”
–Day 4 (April 8-9) –bazooka dude on April 9, 12:15 am
–Day 5 (April 9-10) –jetpack dude on April 9, 11:55 pm
————————-TV trio on April 10, 12:15 am
–Day 6 (April 10-11) –random thugs on April 10, 11:45 pm
————————–partying with Viv on April 11, 12:01 am to morning
————————–learns about murders on April 11, 8:00 am
————————–breaks up with Viv on April 11, 10:00 am
–Day 7 (April 11-12) –recapture random thugs on April 12, 12:30 am↩
- COLLIN COLSHER:The story entitled “Clay” by Alan Grant/Quique Alcatena from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #89-90 might have taken place here and now (April 27) if it were canon, but it isn’t. The story is about Batman’s first encounter with one of his famous rogues; Matt Hagen aka Clayface. However, “Clay” is definitely non-canon because this story is actually a pre-Crisis re-imagination of Hagen’s original origin story from the 1950s. Not to mention, Basil Karlo is the first Clayface, not Matt Hagen.
VALHERU: Interestingly, though incontinuitous, the Hagen-Clayface story in LOTDK #89-90 actually rationalizes the timeline. At the beginning of #89, the narration mentions Batman has been active for “three weeks”—meaning April 27 (21 days after his debut on April 6). That night, Batman is beaten up by Clayface so badly that, the next morning (April 28), Alfred says he’s going to cancel Bruce’s appointments for the day, but worries that the “Bruce is sick” excuse might be getting too suspicious. Fast-forward to June 9 in Miller’s “Year One,” where Gordon and Essen go to Wayne Manor and are told by Alfred that Bruce has been in Switzerland for “six weeks.” This six-week period would begin exactly on April 28th. So, Alfred didn’t go with “Bruce is sick” after all; he sent him to Europe! Too bad the story is about the wrong Clayface; this would have been a neat bit of synchronicity.
ANDREW: I think the “Clay” story arc from LODK can fit into continuity if you reason that the first Clayface, Basil Karlo, can still have claim as the first with the title since he is known by this nickname from his acting days, though he becomes a criminal later than Matt Hagen. This story could then easily fit into the Dark Knight’s third week as the Batman.
COLLIN COLSHER: I love Andrew’s idea, but feel that it hinges on technicality a bit too much. By Andrew’s reasoning, we must assume that Basil Karlo was the first Clayface but Matt Hagen is the first criminally active Clayface (and the first to meet Batman) i.e. Hagen is the second Clayface, but the first Clayface to encounter Batman. This is a simple concept to grasp, but I think, both for the ease of this chronology and to link up with the chronology DC publishers have always had in mind, the order of Clayface appearances (in any context) should be Basil Karlo and then Matt Hagen. Furthermore, it was my impression that Batman doesn’t really fight any metahuman or supernatural villains (besides the Mad Monk vampires and Strange’s Monster Men) in his first year. That being said, there is absolutely no reason that what Andrew presumes could not be the absolute truth. Andrew’s theory is just as valid as mine (and maybe even has more credibility). Like I always say, there is NO right answer to any of this.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, which (arguably) details the first meeting between Superman and Batman, is non-canon. For one thing, as the experts on the supermansupersite.com state: “Events in this series that contradict current comics, particularly Lex Luthor’s position as a legitimate businessman, make it difficult to place in context of recent continuity.” Lex Luthor‘s narrative is very vague. In the story, here is what we are told: Superman has been around for a decade; Luthor and Bruce Wayne know each other well, but Bruce doesn’t seem to regard him as a villain yet; Bruce seemingly accepts Luthor’s idea that Superman might be too powerful or possibly evil, takes Kryptonite from him, and then agrees to have Batman fight Superman on his behalf; the Batman-Superman fight then occurs with the heroes going right at it in an epic slug-fest that registers like an angry first meeting much more than a random fight. The fight is never sufficiently explained in the book. Because of the vagueness, one could argue either that this is a first meeting between Batman and Superman OR that it isn’t. This makes Lex Luthor impossible to place because it has to go about ten years in, but exist on a timeline where Luthor hasn’t been outed as a crook yet AND where Batman and Superman haven’t met (unless you view the narrative differently). Furthermore, because this Lex Luthor contradicts Man of Steel #3 and Batman Confidential, which have been canonically referenced in the Modern Age, we have another concrete reason why it cannot be canon.
Lex Luthor: Man of Steel better fits into the out-of-continuity “villains duology” that Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo did featuring, first, Luthor, and then Joker. Both of these character studies occur outside the realm of the DCU proper. Joker, which Azzarello, Bermejo, and Dan DiDio have specifically labeled as out-of-continuity themselves, links directly to Lex Luthor not only thematically and stylistically, but thanks in part due to a picture of Bermejo’s Joker in a newspaper in Lex Luthor.
Likewise, Bermejo’s solo Batman: Noël graphic novel probably occurs in this same alternate Azzarello/Bermejo-verse as well.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Everything in Superman #710 is canon, including this prior meeting between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne which happens a few weeks before Bruce becomes Batman in Bhutan (as mentioned above). The scene functions as the first “official” meeting between the two. In a slightly related note, there is a canon Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale story where a very young gloomy Bruce Wayne is driven through Smallville and sees very young happy-go-lucky Clark Kent out his limo window. THAT technically should be Clark and Bruce’s “first meeting” I guess! (Although, I don’t think they actually speak to each other, so maybe it shouldn’t count.)↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / RENAUD BATTAIL: In the original Golden Age Superman #76 story, Robin is present. Obviously, when Batman and Superman discover each others’ secret IDs in the Modern Age, Robin won’t be around yet. When Golden Age or Silver Age stories are made canonical through references in the Modern Age, you should never—let me repeat never—assume that the original stories are canon as they stand intact. These are indeed mere references. Therefore, the original tales simply form a limited narrative framework from which to glean information from. This will happen time and time again throughout the Modern Age. So to re-iterate, whenever you see the words “referenced in” on this chronology, we are talking about a Modern(Age)-ized version of the original story.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Superman/Batman Annual #1 is a Modern Age re-telling of the Varanian cruise case where Batman and Superman discover each other’s secret IDs. However, this annual is non-canon because Batman tells Superman that he already has a partner. This is obviously meant to a reference to Robin, who would have been around yet. I suppose there is a way around this if we assume that Batman is not referencing Robin, but Alfred instead. However, that would be a big stretch. The other thing making the annual non-canon is that it harbors the appearance of Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman (members of the Antimatter Earth’s Crime Syndicate). In the classic JLA Earth 2, our heroes will make zero reference to having met them before. I would LOVE if Superman/Batman Annual #1 was canon, especially since DEADPOOL (yes, Marvel’s Deadpool) is in it, but there are just too many snafus for me to feel comfortable including it on the Modern Age timeline. However, if you’d like to include it, then it simply goes right here (with small caveats).
Joe Kelly wrote Superman/Batman Annual #1 (and S/B Annual #2 as well) and was deliberately less concerned with continuity and more concerned with re-telling old Silver Age tales in the most fun way possible. Despite their dubious canonical status, Kelly’s Annuals are great! And I actually think they function better as stand-alones that exist outside of the main line.
Interestingly enough, S/B Annual #3 IS actually canon. Unlike Joe Kelly’s playing it fast-and-loose, author Len Wein seems to re-imagine an old tale for the Modern Age while making sure that it fits into continuity. Wein’s annual #3 takes place a bit on down the road.
And while we’re on topic, the fourth S/B Annual is non-canon because it takes place on the Batman Beyond world of Earth 12. S/B Annual #5 returns the title to canon status as it is a part of the “Reign of Doomsday” arc.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Gotham City Mayors in the Modern Age list, go! Wilson Klass is Gotham’s mayor during Miller’s “Year One.” Klass is ousted along at the end of “Year One,” followed by Mayor Gill (who is later assassinated in Gotham After Midnight), Hamilton Hill, George Skowcroft (as referenced in Year Eleven’s Swamp Thing #53), an unnamed mayor (assassinated in The Cult), Julius Lieberman (who is assassinated in Batman versus Predator), Armand Krol, Marion Grange (who is assassinated right before No Man’s Land), Daniel Dickerson (who is assassinated in Gotham Central), David Hull, an unnamed female (as referenced in 52), and Sebastian Hady (who is the final mayor of the Modern Age).
I should note that it is a tad odd that Mayor Gill is followed by Mayor Hill—with their names sounding so alike. Is it possible that writer Tom Peyer had a misspelling in the one and only issue in which Gill is named (LOTDK #170)? Further complicating matters is the fact that every other time Gotham’s mayor is shown, mentioned, or referenced in the “Year One Era,” he is never specifically named. Only Gill is named, and, again, only that one single time. Hamilton Hill, the final prominent mayor of the Silver Age (Bronze Age 1981-1985), is never even once seen or spoken of in the Modern Age, but is canon thanks to a mention in Harvey Bullock’s profile in Who’s Who Update ’88 #4. Any further connection to the Modern Age can only be found via hazy references in Year Nine’s “Dark Detective” by Steve Englehart—(originally Bronze Age Hill became the corrupt puppet of Rupert Thorne, who debuted in a few years prior).
Because Hill is definitely canon in the Modern Age, and since we know that there are two mayors in-between Klass and Skowcroft (because an unnamed mayor is assassinated in 2003’s Gotham After Midnight), it actually makes sense for both Gill and Hill to co-exist as back-to-back mayors of Gotham. However, unlike in the Bronze Age, Hill must debut prior to Rupert Thorne.
And one final note. The only other mayor shown in the Modern Age is Charles “Chubby” Chesterfield, who is only shown once in the Black & White second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #19, in which he dies. This second feature, however, is non-canon, as is Chubby’s reign as mayor.
Here’s the finalized list below, one more time, in a more easy to read format. Notice how many are killed in office. Yikes.
-Mayor Gill (assassinated)
-an unnamed person (assassinated)
-Julius Lieberman (assassinated)
-Marion Grange (assassinated)
-Daniel Dickerson (assassinated)
-an unnamed female
- TIPTUP JR 94: Both The Batman Files—an amazing book that brilliantly weaves Batman’s byzantine post-Crisis history into a semi-coherent narrative (though it does have some flaws)—and The Essential Batman Encyclopedia have a lot of worthwhile information about Gotham’s mayoral history. The latter Encyclopedia title has some weird errors but was apparently meant to be authoritative upon release in 2008. It invokes the pre-Crisis Earth-1 and Earth-2 dichotomy as well as the various reality changes and alternate worlds when details contradict each other, sometimes blending some of those things together. But the Encyclopedia has something interesting to say about Gotham’s mayor history. Here’s the Encyclopedia‘s version:
– Wilson Klass
– Hayes (first appearance in Batman #207)
– Hamilton Hill
– George P. Skowcroft (yes, I guess that’s his name — served as “acting mayor” in aftermath of Hill’s forced resignation)
– unnamed mayor who was killed by Deacon Blackfire’s followers
– “several briefly tenured mayors followed” after THAT (!!)
– Mayor Lieberman
– an unnamed man who abruptly replaced Lieberman after Run Riddler Run
– Armand Krol
– Marion Grange
– Daniel Danforth Dickerson III
– David Hull
– unnamed woman (prior to Sebastian Hady)
Missing is Mayor Gill and Chubby Chesterfield, but… yeah. Wow. I might put Hayes after Gill in my own headcanon as the general mayor for the early Dick-as-Robin era, but then that WOULD make Gill the one who dies in Gotham After Midnight. It’d be nice if some of the unnamed mayor slots lined up with both that guy and the one who appears in Huntress Year One, which would seemingly go after (?) the Hamilton Hill era! So that HAS TO BE either Hill or Skowcroft, I guess? …Man, I’m not sure who that Huntress Year One mayor should be.
Anyway, the deluge of unnamed mayors after Skowcroft is fascinating. And it doesn’t link most of them to specific stories because I suppose they wanted us to suffer.
COLLIN COLSHER: Weird that Silver Age Hayes gets included. I don’t think there was ever a reference to him in the Modern Age was there? And there really is no need for so many random unnamed mayors on the list. All in all, however, besides its addition of Hayes and all the unnamed people (and its omission of Gill), the Encyclopedia‘s list isn’t too far off from mine. But in direct comparison, with our combined notes above, I think the Real Batman Chronology Project’s list is the more correct version.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Catwoman Annual #2 is definitely canon, but Bullock’s appearance must be ignored in it. Many have argued that it is non-canon, but specific parts are definitively canonized such as Selina’s underground kung-fu training and later battles with Hellhound.↩
- VALHERU: “Waiting in the Wings” from Batman Annual #13 is out-of-continuity. This story has to be in late-June or early-July. All signs point to the Batman-vs-SWAT-team battle on June 6-7 in Miller’s “Year One” as Batman’s first televised appearance (not only for general narrative purposes, but also because people like Loeb, Gordon, and Falcone up until that point have no idea what Batman really looks like). “Waiting in the Wings” would contradict that if it took place any earlier, as it televised Batman clearly apprehending the gang holding the theater hostage, even getting his voice on the mike. Unfortunately, that would then mean that Batman had Bruce-voice for three months; therefore I think it’s best to just treat this as out-of-continuity, though the gist of the story—Alfred helps maintain Bruce’s alibis and Bruce changes his voice as Batman—is true.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Don’t forget, timeline-building, unlike chemistry or physics, is definitely NOT a perfect science. Catwoman Annual #2 is supposed to be the ultimate canonical Catwoman origin story, but it sometimes contradicts Her Sister’s Keeper. However, HSK is much more often canonically referenced. So basically parts of both are canon. It’s a sticky wicket, but whatcha gonna do?
VALHERU: Her Sister’s Keeper is a chronological mess to work through, but here’s the Cliff’s Notes:
The opening scenes in HSK #1 roughly intertwine with the first two pages of Catwoman Annual #2, which is somewhere before Frank Miller’s “Year One” even starts.
The first Catwoman Annual #2 scene in HSK, then, is the replay of Bruce’s first night out as Batman in the East End on March 11 in Miller’s “Year One.”
Maggie is kidnapped on August 8, the night after Catwoman’s official debut on August 7 (in Miller’s “Year One”).
HSK #2 shows Selina “soliciting” Jefferson Skeevers during his bail period—September 7-11 (Miller’s calendar is iffy here) according to Miller’s “Year One.”
HSK #3-4 take place a little later, and we’ll adress those issues below.
Anyway, the whole thing sort of works, though it’d be much easier to just ignore HSK entirely. Unfortunately, Brubaker (and others) drew from it, so even though HSK is partly out-of-continuity, we can’t be sure which parts. The good news is that HSK doesn’t throw anything in-continuity out of whack, so while it’s a tight and odd fit, it’s not anathema.
MiTT3NZ: It’s hard to figure out exactly how Catwoman Annual #2 and Her Sister’s Keeper can realistically co-exist. It seems as though one or the other can exist, but not both. There’s nothing that suggests HSK isn’t canon except for Catwoman Annual #2 and Catwoman Annual #2 alone (and vice versa). HSK is referenced in other stories, yet Catwoman Annual #2 isn’t (well, rarely). Could it just be a case of DC intending something to be canon, but it just couldn’t possibly fit (like the Batman & Robin Scarecrow Year One or Kevin Smith’s last couple of mini-series)? I think this is probably the case, so unless we know definitively how the two can co-exist, I’d suggest labeling Catwoman Annual #2 as non-canon and replacing it with HSK.
COLLIN COLSHER: It is a difficult circumstance indeed. But, I will repeat what I’ve said above. Catwoman Annual #2 is supposed to be the ultimate canonical Catwoman origin story, but the origin from HSK is more often canonically referenced. So basically parts of both are canon and that’s just how it is.↩
- VALHERU: Some of the dates in the “Batman Year One” TPB (6th Printing) are different than in the original issues (for example, while this scene doesn’t involve Batman, Gordon and Essen’s kiss on “September 7” in the TPB is on “September 5” in the issue). WTF, DC?↩
- VALHERU: The “four daring cat-burglaries” mentioned in Miller’s “Year One” are as follows: Catwoman Annual #2 places Burglary #1 at the Peterson Pier Mall. Her Sister’s Keeper #2 shows Selina and Holly after a robbery, but Selina pointedly mentions that there’s “not even one word on the tube or in the papers” about it (so it wouldn’t be included with the four). Cat-burglaries #2 and #3 are simply random acts of thievery which take place off-panel. Burglary #4 is the theft of Commissioner Loeb’s pop-memorabilia collection.↩
- VALHERU: Most of HSK#3 and HSK#4 meshes with the rest of Catwoman Annual #2 and Miller’s “Year One” now and from this point forward. Of course, Bullock wouldn’t be around in Catwoman Annual #2, so that must be ignored.↩
- Credit to VALHERU on the dates of Monster Men.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: There is a scene (in Monster Men #3) in which Batman discovers that Strange is in dealings with Sal Maroni; and the Caped Crusader even finds the hideout of Strange. Strange and Batman fight and Batman is almost killed after being lured into fighting with the monster men. So, to make a long story short, Batman (the ultimate detective) does indeed figure out Strange’s connection with the crime. However, he cannot prove anything (he even says this himself) since Strange gets away at the end and since Strange also burns down the facility that Batman has discovered—(there’s a great scene that depicts this as well). Also, Batman’s first official encounter with Strange in Monster Men leads nicely into a later scene where Bruce gets to hear Strange philosophize about Batman on live TV (which occurs later in “Prey”).↩
- SOFTVERRE: Mad Monk #1-2 takes place before the start of “Prey” for the following reasons: Gordon uses the hand held bat-transmitter. Also, Gordon mentions at the beginning of Mad Monk #1 that they can’t prove Dr. Strange’s guilt (but by the time “Prey” wraps they will have proven his guilt because Strange will kidnap the mayor’s daughter).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: A note about the Year One vampire tale from Legends of the Dark Knight #41. I’ve always considered LOTDK #41 to be out of continuity for a few reasons. One, this tale was written as if it takes place in Batman’s first few months of crusading. Mad Monk is typically always regarded as Batman’s first encounter with vampires, and if “Sunset” were legit than it would supersede the definitively canon Mad Monk. Two, “Sunset” takes about two-and-a-half weeks to wrap, and two of those weeks Batman is out-of-action due to being under a vampire mistress’ spell. There really isn’t a spot in Miller’s “Year One” to accommodate this absence. And three, “Sunset” was meant to highlight the creative team of Tom Joyner and Keith Wilson, who were set to debut a vampire series called Scarlett. I’ve always regarded “Sunset” as a non-canon way to get the average comic book fan (i.e. Batman fans) excited about Joyner/Wilson’s project.↩
- Credit to VALHERU for the dates of “Prey.”↩
- VALHERU: The only real continuity conundrum in “Prey” is that Hugo Strange’s personality and motive changes drastically from Monster Men, but that can’t be helped. Another interesting tidbit in “Prey” is where Gordon refers to the “acting commissioner” (emphasis his). A lot of the commissioner-confusion that pops up around this time can be fanwanked as Grogan acting as commissioner despite Loeb still holding onto the official position.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: In regard to a confusing part of LOTDK #11, on page 14: While Gordon is contemplating handing over his case files to Hugo Strange, the latter states via internal dialogue, “In a mere 5 years, no man could become what the Batman is.” This “5 years quote” should be understood as follows: Strange wants details of crimes in the past 5 years because he believes that something happened within the past 5 years to cause Batman to become a vigilante. Basically, as Gordon even says, Strange underestimates the amount of training time that Batman would have underwent. Gordon knows that Batman must have trained, not for a mere 5 years, but for a lifetime. Gordon says, “[Strange has] also underestimated the time (5 years) necessary to prepare. In a mere 5 years no man could become what Batman is.” So to re-iterate, the 5 years Gordon is talking about isn’t referring to how long Batman has been around; the 5 years refers to how long Strange thinks a man might possibly have trained to become the Dark Knight.↩
- VALHERU / COLLIN COLSHER: There is plenty of flexibility (i.e. room) for both Julie Madison’s departure from Gotham (after getting rescued in Mad Monk) and space afterward before the final panel epilogue of Mad Monk and the start of The Man Who Laughs. Not only does this leave room for additional upcoming material, but also confirms the consistency between Wagner, Brubaker, and Frank Miller’s timelines. Each of these writers also operates under the same presumption that the Batman/Gordon “partnership” doesn’t begin until after Bruce saves Barbara Sr. and James Jr. on November 3—another binding factor/common trait between their timelines during this era.↩
- STEVE WHEELER: The Batmobile appears in “Guardian.” Hence, its placement here and not earlier.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: This note has nothing to do with “Batman Year One” or The Man Who Laughs, but speaking of the Gotham reservoir, crazy CIA medical researcher Ted Galvin would have been dosing the city’s water supply with the experimental drug known as Neurotrol for the past thirty years (as referenced in LOTDK #206). This drug is a direct catalyst for creating so many of Gotham’s insane villains which we will meet all throughout the “Year One Era.”↩
- VALHERU: Catwoman Annual #2‘s climax (Catwoman vs. Hellhound) is on the same night Joker attacks Bruce Wayne, Judge Lake, and the reservoir in The Man Who Laughs.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: In regard to the Joker’s origin as told in Batman Confidential #7-12 by Michael Green: While I’m not personally a fan of the Confidential series, the majority of the story-arcs are canon. However, such is definitely not the case for “Lovers and Madmen.” Here’s why: First of all, the charitable Wayne Foundation would not have existed yet. (The original Wayne Foundation, started by Bruce’s father, would currently only deal with real estate, acquisitions, and high finance. Only later will Bruce re-christen the Wayne Foundation as a charitable organization dedicated to helping the destitute). Also, the story tells us that Batman already tried the yellow-oval costume and found it to be “silly.” Again, not true. What is silly is the reveal that The Joker pays for Harleen Quinnzell’s medical school tuition after meeting her at a bar. Furthermore, at one point Batman authorizes a mob-hit on The Joker. Huh? That sure doesn’t sound like the Batman I know. And finally, while I don’t think it is necessarily a bad idea to change Joker’s origin to a gangster, the Red Hood origin (from The Killing Joke) is without a shadow of a doubt still canon to this day. In fact, the Confidential story “Do You Understand These Rights?” clearly references the Red Hood origin and even shows the red-hooded pre-Joker falling into the vat of chemicals! I should also mention that Green’s storyline was written in conjunction with the release of the film The Dark Knight and it is obviously meant for an audience less familiar with the details of the comics. Basically, this tale is the offspring of Warner Bros synergy and designed to tie-in with the movie, which is yet another reason why it is non-canon. To reiterate, Confidential, like LOTDK, is a series that can and will contain some out-of-continuity Elseworlds-style stories. Comic book guru/scholar Mike Voiles has been a huge inspiration for my project, and I wholeheartedly agree when he says, on his website, that “‘Lovers and Madmen’ is the last version of the Joker’s origin.” But when Voiles says, “‘Lovers and Madmen’ [conforms] with the reality rebuilt by Superboy-Prime,” that is incorrect. (Maybe one could argue that Superboy’s punches—from Infinite Crisis—altered reality temporarily, making “Lovers and Madmen” Joker’s new origin for a short time until it reverted back to The Man Who Laughs, but that is the only argument one could conceivably make, and it’s an incredibly flimsy one). The Man Who Laughs is still the last Joker story that does not contradict other post-Infinite Crisis New Earth DCU canon tales, and therefore, it is the canonical Modern Age Joker origin.↩
- VALHERU: We must ignore the weird “Arkham Estates” private condo thing in Batman Confidential #25. (Arkham was already set to reopen as an asylum in The Man Who Laughs.)↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I originally had Batman: Tenses by Joe Casey/Cully Hammer placed right here, but I’ve gotten an overwhelming reader response that this tale just can’t be canon. Thus, I’ve removed this gory and fun little romp from the list. Here’s why. Tenses is out-of-continuity because the villain Ted Krosby murders hundreds of people in one single night (individually, face-to-face, not using a bomb or something), eats people, and skins his dad to wear his face Ed Gein style. Ted is never heard from again or even mentioned again. Also, the depictions of Bruce and the oddly absent Alfred don’t make much sense either.
VALHERU: Tenses takes somewhere around two weeks but no fewer than seven days, shortly after Christmas (Bruce attends a post-Christmas Christmas party in the first issue, and Gotham is just getting into blizzard season). So yeah, early- to mid-January. To be honest, I really think Tenses is out-of-continuity also. It’s a good story on its own merits, but its one of those tales that makes a mess of the mythos surrounding it. In addition to many implausibilities, it screws too much with the “Year One” narrative. Ted Krosby, not the Joker, commits the worst crime of the decade? Bruce Wayne is a corporate hardass instead of a clueless playboy? Alfred is nowhere to be seen? It reminds me of “Waiting in the Wings,” which similarly told an in-continuity idea in a way that couldn’t actually fit continuity. Is there a story about Bruce’s odd business decisions with Wayne Enterprises? Yes; but this cannot be that story.
MiTT3NZ: A counter-argument regarding the canonicity of Tenses. Bruce Wayne being a “corporate hardass” could be one of the changes he is going through spinning out of Journey into Knight #1-6, only to realize that it is a wrong decision to make (he says himself in Journey into Knight #6 that his new position at Wayne Enterprises is making his head spin, and that he is totally unqualified). This would definitely lead to him making some pretty shitty decisions. Of course, a small caveat: if this were the case then Tenses would have to go in February or March to properly link up with Journey Into Knight #1-6. As for Ted Krosby committing worse crimes than the Joker, I would have to agree with that at this point in Batman’s career. The Joker did some terrible things, yes, but his master plan failed. The crimes he committed in The Man Who Laughs and “Do You Understand These Rights?” come close to the crimes of Ted Krosby, yes. But to eat people? To wear your father’s face? That definitely would have been the worst crime thus far (and the public wouldn’t really know that “The Carrier” was purposely spreading the disease in Journey into Knight). So, all in all, I’d say that Tenses does fit.↩