YEAR ONE

Welcome to the start of Batman’s “Year One Era”—an over-arching term that describes his first ten years in action. Year One gives us the first eleven major 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!

 

1989[1][2][3]

the real batman chronology project modern age year one

 

1A. “Shaman Part 1” by Denny O’Neil/E. Hannigan (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1) November 1989[4]
Twenty-five-year-old multimillionaire Bruce Wayne has spent the last twelve years of his life training to fight crime. His goal is to avenge the murders of his parents by taking down all evildoers using non-lethal force.[5] 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.

2A. “Batman Year One” by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #404) February 1987
January 4-February 26.[6] Bruce arrives back in his hometown of Gotham City 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. (Bruce’s exact body training regiment from February 20 through February 26 is given to us via a reference in The Batman Files. As is an example of Alfred’s delicious and nutritious food menu, which begins Alfred’s daily practice of delivering three solid meals befit for a well-oiled and fully-effective crime-fighter. The Batman Files also tells us that Bruce, at this juncture, begins learning how to pick locks and begins studying maps of the city, something he will continually do for the rest of his superhero career.)[7] 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.[8]

–REFERENCE: In JLA #119 and The Batman Files. Ever since he was a teenager, Bruce has kept a personal journal/diary. Batman now begins the added practice of keeping a scrapbook. As we have already done in regard to his nearly constant journaling, we must imagine—sprinkled invisibly on our timeline below—Batman obtaining old photos, new photos, flat historical artifacts, dossiers, schematics, blueprints, and clippings, all of which get inserted into the scrapbook. Besides Batman-related materials, much of Bruce’s scrapbook ephemera is found among the remnants of his parents’ old stuff at Wayne Manor, which Bruce presumably combs through at this juncture. A significant portion of the scrapbook ephemera is also newspaper articles, magazine articles, flyers, police documents, psyche profiles, and hospital papers, which Bruce presumably seeks out and obtains at this juncture as well. (Bruce will continuously get items of this nature, adding them to his collection, throughout his entire career.) Note that the Dark Knight will show special affection for Catwoman, dedicating a section of his scrapbook solely to images of her. Also note that this scrapbook is not “The Batman Files,” which Batman will make much later in his career—although, this scrapbook will be merged into “The Batman Files” upon the latter’s creation. Last but not least, in addition to scrapbooking, Batman will also constantly compile copious notes into a casebook/crime-log for the duration of his career. He will also research everyone that crosses either his path or the paths of any Bat-Family members, making detailed (and constantly updated) dossiers about them. (The term “Bat-Family,” an umbrella term used to describe the Caped Crusader and his closest working associates, won’t be used until Bat Year Six, when Robin joins Batman and Alfred.) In addition, Batman will also keep detailed records of his training regiment, at least in the beginning of his crime-fighting career.

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 sex worker/martial-arts expert Selina Kyle,[9] 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, an injured bat crashes through the window and lands on a bust, inspiring him to become a costumed vigilante. The scene of the bat crashing through the window is also shown via flashback from Batman #561 and Batman: The Return #1, with the latter adding a little extra story detailing how the bat came upon Wayne Manor as it did on this fateful night. Also note that The Batman Files makes a nod to the Batman ’66 TV series by remaking the bust upon which the bat lands into a Shakespeare bust. This is a cute reference, but it must be ignored. The bust is definitely not of Shakespeare in the Modern Age.

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. During this time, Bruce and Alfred design and tailor a Batman costume. Note that Bruce tailors several cowls, each of which have different ear lengths (as referenced in Adventures of Superman #643 and The Batman Files). Amazingly, when artists decide to draw whatever Bat-ear lengths they desire (as we will so often see in the comics), it’s not simply an artist’s rendition—it’s canon that Batman specifically wears different cowls on different cases! The implication is that each set of ears has a unique function. For example, one might have better head protection whereas another might have a better built-in communication device. Bruce also adds a quick-release button to his costume that can detach his cape from his cowl, in case of emergency (as referenced in The Batman Files). During this time period, Bruce discusses with Alfred the idea of tricking WayneTech to create night vision cowl lenses for him (as referenced in The Batman Files). Also during this time period, Bruce creates his utility belt, which will be stocked with various crime-fighting accoutrements. (While we won’t see him doing it on our timeline, Bruce will constantly replenish his utility belt stock and upgrade his utility belt capability/design, moving forward.) For a few weeks, Bruce takes extra special care while finalizing his costume. Only after this period of intense focus will Bruce be ready to have another go at crime-fighting again.[10]

–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #85, Batman Confidential #1-6, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #73, and The Batman Files. 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 immediately uses to begin creating secret Bat-technology and weaponry, including special boomerangs called “Batarangs.” Bruce will secretly use WayneTech mechanical parts in this way—to make Bat-gear, various Batarang types, and other wonderful toys—for decades to come. (Obsessed with his motif, Bruce will add a “Bat” prefix to the name of just about every item or vehicle he uses in his crime-fighting mission.) 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. Bruce also goes ahead with his plan and tricks WayneTech’s R&D Division into starting development on night vision/infrared lenses “for a private security firm.” These lenses will be fully developed in a couple years, at which point Batman will incorporate them into his cowl. Furthermore, Bruce—via WayneTech—funds research into ballistics, bombs, poisons, and assassination techniques. Notably, Bruce also orders all Wayne-owned properties in the city to be renovated, sparing no expense, to make them earthquake-proof and wheelchair accessible. The same standards, thanks to Bruce’s mandate, will be applied to all future Wayne-run constructions projects. 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, real estate, 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.

–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.

–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2—and also referenced in The Batman Files. March. Bruce examines the entrance to the caverns beneath Wayne Manor, which he had fallen into as a child. He also finds a map of the caves in the Wayne Manor library. Bruce decides to use the network of natural tunnels as his headquarters, which will be called “The 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. Bruce and Alfred perform a speleological study underneath Wayne Manor as they prepare for construction of the Batcave. (Note that this scene originally occurred a little bit later on our chronology, not as a flashback, but seemingly interwoven into the ongoing narrative of Legends of the Dark Knight #2, which doesn’t happen until late December. However, since the Batcave will be seen in-use in many of the stories coming up in Year One, I have retconned this scene to appear as a flashback at this point on our timeline.) We must assume that Bruce and Alfred begin work on the Batcave right now and will continue to do so throughout the year until its full completion. Note that Batman will continuously update and add-onto the Batcave over the course of his entire crime-fighting career.[11]

–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2—and also referenced in The Batman Files. March. Bruce and Alfred haul monitors, vehicles, weapons, and other equipment into the Batcave, which is now under construction. Bruce and Alfred will eventually fill the Batcave with a very wide variety of vehicles and weaponry. (Designs, construction, and upgrading to vehicles and weaponry will happen often, moving forward on our timeline, changing dramatically over the years. Although, note that most of the design process, building, upgrading, and testing won’t be physically listed on our chronology.) The Batcave will also contain a fully-operational crime lab, state-of-the-art training gym, industrial design studio, medical bay, and garage. Bruce and Alfred now begin construction on the whole shebang.

–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. (Note that Hurt has never actually interacted with the demon Barbatos. His obsession with Barbatos comes from having confused the Hyper-Adapter for Barbatos. More on that much later.) 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, Thomas and Martha have Hurt (who they referred to as “Thomas Wayne Jr”) committed to Willowwood Asylum. Hurt will stay at Willowwood for a little bit before checking-out and going off the grid. 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 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.) Batman will be referred to by various nicknames, including “The Dark Knight,” “The Caped Crusader,” “Dark Detective,” and “The World’s Greatest Detective.”

2C. “Batman Year One” by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #405) 1987
April 5-6.[12] 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 by a pregnant woman. (She is a member of the evil Cult of Chubala.) This is Dr. Thompkins’ first encounter with Batman on his very first night out.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. April 6. Batman steals and then wipes surveillance footage of himself from Leslie Thompkins’ clinic. While we won’t physically see it on our timeline moving forward, Batman will consistently steal video and photographs of himself—during or after cases and patrols—to paste into his scrapbook. He will also erase as much video and photographic evidence as he can in an effort to help keep his secret ID safe and to keep a low profile.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1-4. April 7. Bruce arranges to meet unscrupulous Gotham University anthropologist Dr. Madison Spurlock, who is studying Alaskan Native American culture. At their face-to-face, Bruce tells him about the Native American bat myth that was told to him while he was in Alaska. Spurlock begins researching the myth and other similar folktales. Bruce offers to fund Spurlock’s research and to sponsor a Native American bat folklore exhibit at the Gotham Arms Hotel (scheduled for the end of the calendar year). Spurlock accepts. He also pays for Spurlock to visit and live with the Otter Ridge Tribe in Alaska for the next several months.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #3. Batman and Alfred set up the Batcave’s Bat-computer, which is partly designed and programmed by WayneTech employees, who have been tricked by Bruce into thinking they are working on a top secret government-contracted project. It is one of the most sophisticated computer systems on the planet, linked to satellite surveillance systems, state-of-the-art portable spy equipment, and every classified information database in the world.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #1 and Detective Comics #575. Batman breaks into the cold case section of the GCPD evidence depository 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. After running tests on the firearm, Batman locks it away inside a Wayne Manor drawer. (This gun-stealing note supposedly goes a year prior to “Rules of Engagement” aka Batman Confidential #1-6. Since Batman Confidential #1-6 occurs in Bat Year Three on our timeline, one would assume the gun-stealing should go in Bat Year Two. However, Batman Confidential #1-6 was originally written as a “Year Two” tale, hence placement here. It also just makes way more sense that Batman would steal his parents’ murder weapon right out of the gate.)

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?[13] 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.[14]

–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. Bruce adapts this grappling gun tech into a device he will routinely carry around, allowing him to ascend to great heights and swing from building to building while on patrol.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman: Streets of Gotham #20—originally told in Detective Comics #29-30 and Detective Comics #33. Late April. Bruce, despite having sworn off sexual relationships only weeks ago, starts dating actress/social activist Julie Madison. Bruce also starts telling his high society peers that he has a college degree (as a cover for his time abroad). When the sun sets, Batman deals with mad scientist Dr. Death. The Dark Knight’s crusade against crime hasn’t been going on long yet, but already Batman has become laser-focused and barely sleeps anymore (having begun a regimen of “micro-sleeps” instead of full night rests). Dr. Death’s debut only exacerbates this obsessive-compulsive behavior. Alfred tells Bruce that he can’t neglect his new responsibilities to both Wayne Enterprises 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.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3, Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 Part 1, and The Batman Files.[15] [16]) Late April. Actor turned psycho killer Basil Karlo debuts as the masked villain known as Clayface, attacking a movie set where Julie Madison is working. Batman defeats Clayface and puts him behind bars, where he will remain for the next twelve years! After Batman’s skirmish with Clayface, Bruce keeps Karlo’s mask, which will later go on display in the Batcave in a few years. We know this because it will be seen in a later issue. If anyone can help out and remind me which issue, that would be great!

4. “One Night in Gotham City” by John Byrne (The Man of Steel #3)
May. Batman chases after deadly newcomer, Magpie. When Batman gets wind that Superman (Kal-El/Clark Kent) might be coming to Gotham to work the case, the Dark Knight preps for the Man of Steel’s possible arrival. Sure enough, Superman shows up and meets Batman for the first time, bearing strong disapproval of the outlaw vigilante. However, Superman reluctantly teams-up with Batman to defeat Magpie. (As detailed through a flashback from Superman #710, Bruce met Clark in their civilian identities while training in Bhutran, shortly before training in Alaska—in LOTDK #1—just over eight 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 “Man of Steel” Kal-El, even though much of the original Man of Steel series has since been retconned.[17]

–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.[18]) [19] [20]

–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.[21]) [22] 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 sex worker/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[23] 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.

[24]

–NOTE: In Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #2. August 8. One night after Selina’s debut as Catwoman, an angry Stan the Pimp kidnaps Selina’s sister Maggie Kyle. 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.[25]

–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 Martian Manhunter Vol. 2 #22. J’onn J’onzz aka Detective John Jones of the GCPD aka Martian Manhunter meets Batman. 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: From Batman #682. 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.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. This flashback is an homage to Detective Comics #27, depicting Bruce Wayne laughing-off the idea of the existence of Batman while in conversation with Lieutenant Gordon.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #589. This flashback is 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.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Killing Joke and Batman: The Man Who Laughs. The Red Hood Mob, a crime-gang led by a challenging new super-villain called The Red Hood, debuts in Gotham. The Red Hood pulls off a few scores, evading police capture. Eventually, unbeknown to the GCPD, Batman takes on the Red Hood Mob, but the bad guys still away. Unknown to both the cops and Batman, the gimmick here is that someone different wears the face-obscuring Red Hood helmet each time the gang pulls off a heist.

2F. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #407) 1987
September 2-October 12.[26] 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. As referenced in The Batman Files, Bruce reads about Catwoman and looks at the blurry silhouetted photo of the thief, which was originally printed in the papers following her second major heist.[27] Another reference in The Batman Files tells us that Catwoman is also known as “The Cat,” despite the fact that she isn’t called this in any Modern Age comic. This likely means that Catwoman is referred to simply as “The Cat” by some news media outlets.

–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 of 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.[28]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman: Gotham Knights #54, and Batman: The Man Who Laughs. November 4. At Ace Chemical (aka Gotham Chemical), Batman confronts the Red Hood Mob again. (As referenced in Batman: The Man Who Laughs, this is the first Red Hood altercation that features both Batman and cops present.) However, this time, a nervous patsy is wearing the Red Hood costume. With Batman encroaching, the scared Red Hood falls into a vat of chemicals. In an instant, the Joker is born. I should mention that Joker’s wife was murdered and originally it was made to look like she was accidentally electrocuted. GK #54 retcons Alan Moore’s original version of the story so that she was murdered and the crime was covered up by a boiler explosion. An apocryphal version of the Red Hood incident is also referenced in DC Universe Legacies #3 in the form of a third-hand account by someone who simply read about it in a newspaper. After the Red Hood incident ends, Batman steals the Red Hood’s helmet from police evidence (as referenced in Batman: The Man Who Laughs).

5. Batman & The Monster Men #1-6 by Matt Wagner
November 4-15.[29] Jim Gordon is promoted to captain. Gillian Loeb is put on trial, but is still technically commissioner, although the new acting (interim) 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 secret partnership with Hugo Strange, who creates experimental “monster men” out of mental patients. Batman learns of Strange’s connection to the crimes and has his first encounter with the lunatic. After finding a foolproof link between Strange and Maroni and discovering the location of Strange’s evil lair, the Dark Knight debuts the first of what will be many Batmobiles, driving it into battle. Batman defeats Strange and his “monster men” and then beats the stuffing out of Maroni. However, despite having seen the horrible Strange at his worst, the Dark Knight is unable to publicly link the villain to any wrongdoing—Strange burns down his lair (and all evidence within) before escaping scot-free. (This explains Strange’s clean record when we next see him in “Prey.”) Shortly thereafter, Bruce pays off a huge debt that Julie’s dad, Norman Madison, owed to Maroni. Norman is off the hook, but the experience has left him a shattered, broken wreck of a man.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Bruce and Julie Madison get engaged to be married. The Batman Files is the only reference for this item since there is no Modern Age comic that says Julie was ever Bruce’s fiancée.

6A. Batman & The Mad Monk #1-2 by Matt Wagner
November 15. Bruce stands up his fiancée 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.[30]

[31]

7A. “Prey” by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #11-12)
November 16-17.[32] 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.[33] [34]

6B. Batman & The Mad Monk #2-5 by Matt Wagner
November 17-18.[35] Having just captured the Fish (in “Prey”), Batman 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, equipped with silver Batarangs, then rescues Julie, who is about to be sacrificed by the Brotherhood. Batman then defeats the whole Brotherhood. Dala Vadim and the Monk are killed. 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.[36]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. November 20. Julie Madison tells Alfred that she is leaving for Los Angeles to pursue her 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: From Batman #589. November 20-22. Batman meets the criminal Matches Malone. 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.[37]

2H. “Batman Year One” (continued) by Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli (Batman #407) 1987
December 3. 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. 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, resulting 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 simply Gordon meeting with Batman. We should also note that The Batman Files tries very hard to squeeze Legends of the Dark Knight #50 into canon (including the debut of Joker’s cousin Melvin Reipan), placing it right after this item. But, for all the reasons listed above, notably the fact that the reservoir threat has been erased from “Year One,” this is impossible. Not to mention, LOTDK #50 is already non-canon, functioning only as a modernized re-imagining of Batman #1.

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 since the Red Hood Mob first came on the scene—and exactly one month since the Red Hood incident at Ace Chemical. Batman meets with Captain Gordon at the warehouse full of rictus grinning murder victims (the very same cadavers mentioned in the epilogue to Mad Monk #6). The next day, the publicly 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 (aka Joker Venom), 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 Chemical 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.[38][39] The epilogue to The Man Who Laughs takes place a few weeks later, and is listed below.

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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 reopened Arkham Asylum—he is patient number one, with Shancoe as patient number two.[41]) 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.

–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. December. Batman, having just returned to the Batcave from a routine patrol, walks away from the Batmobile. This could take place pretty much anywhere but works here.

11. “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. This part of “Shaman” begins with a series of strange deaths, which all link to the suicide that Batman witnessed on his very first night out at Leslie Thompkins’ clinic. Bruce then attends Dr. Spurlock’s Gotham Arms bat-myth exhibit with one-time date Theodora Hackley. (A reference in The Batman Files reveals that, following the visit to Gotham Arms, Dr. Spurlock gives a piece of the exhibit to Bruce as a keepsake.) After the assassination of Dr. Spurlock at the hands of Tom Woodley (who wears an ancient Native American bat mask to hide his face), Bruce returns to Alaska where he meets up with the shaman that once saved his life and the shaman’s granddaughter. The granddaughter tells Bruce that Dr. Spurlock visited their tribe and took their ancient bat mask. Back in Gotham, Batman begins an investigation that quickly links the strange cult suicide deaths to the Spurlock’s murder. Batman is also able to connect Carl Fisk and Woodley to the crimes. Later, on Christmas Eve, Woodley, having discovered that Bruce is Batman, kidnaps Alfred and ambushes Bruce at Wayne Manor. Bruce fights Woodley, who gets seriously wounded and flees into the snowy woods. Making sure Alfred is safe and sound, Batman then busts Fisk and his sinister Cult of Chubala. The Caped Crusader then delivers photo evidence of Fisk and his cult (which he secretly took while fighting them) to Jim Gordon in an effort to help make sure Fisk gets a maximum jail sentence. The next day, Batman finds Woodley, who gives him his ancient bat mask before dying. In order to give his friends from the Otter Ridge Tribe the privacy they deserve, Bruce tells the press that Spurlock’s entire exhibit was a sham. Bruce then travels to Alaska yet again—to visit the the Otter Ridge Tribe (specifically the shaman’s granddaughter) and to deliver them Woodley’s corpse. Bruce then returns home and hangs the ancient bat mask on a wall in Wayne Manor. 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).

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  1. [1]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.
  2. [2]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.
  3. [3]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.
  4. [4]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

    –Annual #2
    –Annual #4
    –Annual #6
    –LOTDK #28-30
    –LOTDK #35-36

    –LOTDK #41
    –LOTDK #46-50
    –LOTDK #55-57
    –LOTDK #71-73
    –LOTDK #86-90
    –LOTDK #94
    –LOTDK #100
    –LOTDK #101
    is canon, but does not feature Batman
    –LOTDK #109-111
    –LOTDK #127-131
    –LOTDK #162-163
    –LOTDK #192-196
    –LOTDK #214
    is meant to be canon, but has so many errors it really can’t be

  5. [5]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). Because the two Novembers are on the exact same date, 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 a mention of June 26 (in Batman #408, which is non-canon), The Batman Files‘ June 26 mention, and two mentions of Autumn. All in all, that means the Modern Age gives us two Junes (both specifically June 26) versus two Autumns. The Batman Files, merely a quasi-canonical source, seems to be getting its June 26 date straight from the Silver Age’s Batman Special #1. Because of this, it doesn’t hold much weight. Neither does the non-canon Batman #408 June 26 reference. In stark contrast, the final published mention of the death date comes from a canonical 2009 comic, and it is Autumn. This tells me that the Modern Age Wayne death date should be in Autumn. It could be at any point in Autumn, but it makes sense to make it November 25, just like in the Golden Age and Silver Age.

    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 Autumn (aka November) date was settled upon afterward. It’s up to you to decide your own headcanon, but I’m going with November 25.

  6. [6]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.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: It’s already been mentioned, but it is worth mentioning again: 2011’s The Batman Files, written by Matthew Manning and produced by DC Comics and Lionheart Books, exists in the physical form of a scrapbook that Batman makes shortly before the end of the Modern Age. It functions as a recap of the entire Modern Age from Batman’s perspective. The Batman Files is highly comprehensive to the point of being encyclopedic, but because it contains images from various comics throughout the Modern Age (re-imagined as photos) and has some things out-of-order, it must be viewed as a quasi-canonical publication, meaning that not everything inside is necessarily 100% canon. Many photos, clippings, and other scrapbooking ephemera—ranging from Bruce’s birth in 1963 until 2011—will eventually go into this scrapbook. This means that someone snaps a lot of pictures, which, after development, eventually make their way back into Bruce’s hands somehow. The Batman Files also tells us that many of these pictures are from Barbara Gordon’s files, taken via secret surveillance drone cams. Moving forward on our timeline, we won’t make specific reference to each photo being taken, but be aware that the pictures will be quite frequently taken, printed-out, collected, and stored—either by Batman, Barbara Gordon, or someone else.
  8. [8]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 Batman-related 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.

  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER: As far as Selina Kyle being a sex worker, 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 sex work.
  10. [10]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.
  11. [11]COLLIN COLSHER: A note about construction projects in the DCU. Bruce and Alfred will all but finish their massive Batcave undertaking in less than a year. On our timeline, we will see numerous instances of skyscrapers, superhero (and villain) headquarters, and entire cities being built to completion in a matter of months or even weeks or days. Battle damaged buildings, flooded natural disaster zones, and whole metropolitan infrastructures devastated by nuclear holocaust or alien attack will sometimes get fixed up in no time flat. Unlike in our reality—where One World Trade Center took over seven years to top-out—the DCU is a place of magick, metapower, and sci-fi technology. Put these things together and things get built quickly. We also cannot ignore retcon time-compression and trigger-happy writers, eager to add new toys to the sandbox or to get on with their stories. Simply put, be prepared to suspend your disbelief when it comes to the speed of building and reconstructing things in the DCU.
  12. [12]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.

  13. [13]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.) 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 expert 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.

  14. [14]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

  15. [15]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that the debut of Basil Karlo is a tricky item to place without errors galore. Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 Part 1, which functions as our in-canon reference to Clayface’s debut, problematically exists as a decidedly non-canon flashback detailing the villain’s debut. Why is it non-canon? First off, this flashback has a very unreliable narrator as it is told completely by the deranged Karlo himself. Second, it comes off like a straight-up Golden Age retelling way too much. Third, it involves Robin, who won’t debut for years. Therefore, the primary and ultimate reference for Clayface’s debut must be from Bat Year Six’s Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3, where we will see the first chronological appearance of Clayface II. Common sense dictates that Clayface I must debut before Clayface II. Technically, this could mean anywhere from Year One through Year Six. This is where the quasi-canonical Batman Files kicks-in, solidifying placement here in Year One with a modified Modern (Age)-ized version of Karlo’s original Golden Age origin, which includes Julie Madison but occurs long before Robin’s debut.
  16. [16]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 (late April, specifically 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 re-imagination of Hagen’s pre-Crisis origin story from the Silver Age (1961). Not to mention, Basil Karlo is the first Clayface, not Matt Hagen. (On our Modern Age timeline, the Basil Karlo version of Clayface debuts now instead of the Matt Hagen version, who will eventually debut in Bat Year Six.) Note that Matthew Manning’s The Batman Files ingloriously fanwanks Grant/Alcatena’s “Clay”—actually an altered mash-up version of it—into canon via reference. This Clayface II (Matt Hagen) origin, loosely based on “Clay,” occurs in Bat Year Six, in conjunction with a flashback origin from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 Part 2. See BY6 for details. (And don’t think that I’m dissing too harshly on fanwanking! For what am I, if not a glorified fanwanker? Some might even go so far as to label me the king of fanwakers!)

    VALHERU: Interestingly, though incontinuitous, the Hagen-Clayface “Clay” 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 is my impression that, according to mythos, Batman doesn’t really fight any metahuman or supernatural villains—besides the Monk’s vampires and Strange’s Monster Men—in his first year (prior to Joker). 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. Both Andrew and Valheru’s points do validate a Clayface appearing here and now on the timeline, which is partly why we have Basil Karlo showing up right where we do. (Don’t forget, Basil Karlo doesn’t become a metahuman until Bat Year 13.

  17. [17]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.

  18. [18]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.
  19. [19]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.
  20. [20]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.

  21. [21]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.

    -Wilson Klass
    -Mayor Gill (assassinated)
    -Hamilton Hill
    -George Skowcroft
    -an unnamed person (assassinated)
    -Julius Lieberman (assassinated)
    -Armand Krol
    -Marion Grange (assassinated)
    -Daniel Dickerson (assassinated)
    -David Hull
    -an unnamed female
    -Sebastian Hady (Mayor Hady survives until the New 52/New Age, but, you guessed it, his fate is eventually sealed with an assassination as well

  22. [22]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.

  23. [23]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.
  24. [24]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.
  25. [25]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.

  26. [26]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?
  27. [27]VALHERU / COLLIN COLSHER: The “four daring cat-burglaries” mentioned in Miller’s “Year One” are as follows: Catwoman Annual #2 places Cat-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). The Batman Files tells us that Cat-burglary #2 is the robbery of Dr. Michael Vale’s penthouse, after which Catwoman is briefly presumed dead, having been grazed by gunfire and fallen into the river. Cat-burglary #3 is a simple random act of thievery that takes place off-panel. Burglary #4 is the theft of Commissioner Loeb’s pop-memorabilia collection.
  28. [28]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.
  29. [29]VALHERU / COLLIN COLSHER: Monster Men, which goes definitively immediately after the Red Hood incident at Ace Chemical, has to go after the November 2-3 portion of Batman #407 and November 3 portion of Her Sister’s Keeper #3-4. It must also go before Mad Monk, which overlaps with the November tale “Prey.” Thus, Monster Men has to go distinctly in November. Because of this, the opening scene of Monster Men must be addressed. Julie and her dad Norman are shown dining on their rooftop patio and Julie is wearing a sleeveless shirt. Since it is November, we must assume they have heat lamps or that it’s unseasonably warm.
  30. [30]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).
  31. [31]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.
  32. [32]Credit to VALHERU for the dates of “Prey.”
  33. [33]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.
  34. [34]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.
  35. [35]COLLIN COLSHER / MARK LILLEHAGEN: In Mad Monk #3, Julie Madison tells the Monk that her father has been a broken man for “several months,” insinuating that several months have passed since the conclusion of Monster Men. However, our timeline shows that mere weeks have transpired since then. As stated above, Monster Men has to go after the November 2-3 portion of Batman #407 and November 3 portion of Her Sister’s Keeper #3-4. Furthermore, Mad Monk, which follows Monster Men, has to overlap with “Prey,” which occurs in November. This places BOTH Monster Men and Mad Monk distinctly in November. Wagner’s intention was to place the two tales several months apart (hence Julie’s comment), but this simply cannot be the case.
  36. [36]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 to 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.
  37. [37]STEVE WHEELER: The Batmobile appears in “Guardian.” Hence, its placement here and not earlier.
  38. [38]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.
  39. [39]COLLIN COLSHER: 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). The contaminated h2o is a direct catalyst for the creation of so many of Gotham’s insane villains that we will meet all throughout the “Year One Era.” Furthermore, as revealed in the Shadowpact series, hundreds of years ago, an evil warlock was buried in a underground tomb in what would later become Gotham City. The demonic spirit of the so-called “Doctor Gotham” would influence generations of Gothamites, acting as yet another catalyst for the city’s strange and dark inhabitants. Talk about a double-whammy of bad-juju. Drugs in the water supply combined with the influence of a ghastly ghoul sure explains a heck of a lot about Gotham.
  40. [40]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.” While this is not outside the realm of possibility, it doesn’t reflect anything else in canon. What truly is silly is the reveal that 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 at that.) 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.
  41. [41]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.
  42. [42]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.

36 Responses to YEAR ONE

  1. Imran says:

    First of all, a big thank you for this website; this is the fourth such website detailing the Dark Knight’s timeline and I have found it to be the most accurate and superior to the others. It is a herculean effort and you ought to be congratulated.

    I’ve recently been interested in the brilliant Halloween trilogy by Loeb and Sale. I’m interested to know your thoughts about them within this project. Acknowledging that the trilogy is not canon, I still wonder where you would put them around Year Two(?)

    Thanks in advance, and thanks again for the website, it really is invaluable.

  2. Collin Colsher says:

    Thanks for your support, Imran.

    Actually, the first Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale Halloween tale (“Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1”) is indeed canon and takes place on Halloween of Batman’s second year.

    The Madness: Halloween Special is non-canon for a few reasons. First, because Leslie Thompkins doesn’t know Bruce is Batman in the story–she would have known his identity by this point. Second, James Junior is still a baby when he should be around four or five years old. And third, if this tale was canon, it would take place early in Bat-Year Five (in April or May, not at Halloween) right after Babs is adopted by Jim.

    The Ghosts: Halloween Special is also non-canon mainly for one reason. It tells the story of how Bruce decides to establish the charitable Wayne Foundation. In Ghosts, Bruce is visited by the “ghosts of Halloween’s past,” a nightmarish and eye-opening experience that convinces him to create the Foundation. However, this story was rendered non-canon when it was replaced by Batman Confidential #6, where Bruce decides to start the Wayne Foundation after meeting Lex Luthor. If Ghosts was canon, it would take place during the exact same Halloween weekend as Choices (the first Halloween Special by Loeb/Sale). It is a safe assumption that Bruce reconnects with Lucius Fox on Halloween of Bat-Year Two and hires him.

  3. Andy says:

    This is awesome. I’m just getting into the world of reading comics, always been a fan of the Batman TAS, the movies and games and figured it was about time to go straight to the source. I’m reading through the trade editions to speed me up, and came across this awesome site. Is this just the chronological order, or does it also work for the best order to read them in?

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Thanks for your support, Andy! This is indeed THE chronological order, and in my humble opinion functions as the best order in which to read Batman as well. Of course, omissions can be made here and there (and more often than you’d think actually). There is a footnote somewhere on this site that contains a list that details my suggested trade reading order. Take care, and happy reading!

  4. darkpollo says:

    Hi!

    Great work!
    This is really amazing.
    I was looking for a more simple guide to read Batman and i found this.
    The bad thing is that i have my comics ordered by small collections, and your list split those and put an order by comic, what is great, but it will take ages to reorder my comics to fit with this.

    *By collections i mean small histories. Example: Shaman is a collection, and you split the chronology on part1 and part2.
    I will read it complete, doesnt matter if it is not perfect for reading, i am sure i will understand the history.

    Is there any read order list grouped by “collections*” somewhere?
    Thanks!

  5. Collin Colsher says:

    Thank YOU, darkpolio.

    I’ve made some lists in the footnotes of one of the sections lost somewhere on this site, but there’s no perfect “collections” list as far as I am aware of. Try http://www.tradereadingorder.com/home/. Ian has a good listing of trades in order, which would be a good place to start.

    Again, thanks for your support and keep reading!

  6. Vince says:

    Have you ever read “The Killing Peck” by Alan Grant and Sam Keith? It’s a pretty good Penguin origin story from Secret Origins Special #1 (1989). Penguin captures a mob guy named Sharkey who he went to school with as a child. Sharkey teased Cobblepot because of his protruding gut and long nose, calling him ‘Penguin’, and years later he adopted the name and persona as a villain. Batman is in it too, pursuing the Penguin as he tortures Sharkey (which, by the way, he does by feeding him fish through a funnel..). Don’t see why it couldn’t be canon, what’s your opinion?

    There’s also a really cool Riddler origin by Neil Gaiman(!) and BEM(Bernie Mireault!!) in the same book where Riddler tells his own origin to reporters that could be canon as well. There’s an equally good Two-Face origin story by Mark Verheiden too but it doesn’t line up with Long Halloween, so it should probably be excluded.

    The whole thing is sandwiched by a framing story by Neil Gaiman as well, so you should probably just get it. You could probably find it pretty cheap through some long box searching.

    http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Secret_Origins_Special_Vol_2_1

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Secret Origins Special is a wonderful book, and yes I am quite familiar with it. The Penguin story is great and by itself could easily be canon. However, I didn’t include it because it is part of the rest of the narrative of this issue, which is decidedly non-canon. The Two-Face bits, as you’ve acknowledged, definitely are non-canon for a ton of reasons. And while the Riddler tale is one of the finest comics I’ve ever perused both in its prose and for its aesthetic value, Gaiman has a bit of non-canon fun with it and treats it as a meta-commentary about how the comic industry morphed from camp (in the 60s) into the “dark age” of the 80s. Gaiman cleverly throws in lots of direct references to non-canon camp villains from the Adam West TV show. Even the dramatic oversize props that litter the mise-en-scène harken back to a different Golden era—an epoch that registers more clearly with a different past continuity. However, I think I will add in a note about the Penguin tale, and I will definitely add a footnote about this issue. Thanks for the comments.

      Best,

      Collin C

  7. Speaking about the different versions of the Joker’s origins:
    On the famous website “Mike’s Amazing World Of Comics”, “The Man Who Laughs” is referenced as an adventure of the Batman Post-Crisis, while “Lovers and Madmen” (Batman Confidential 7-12) feature the Batman from “New Earth”, which means the Earth-1 after the crossover “Infinite Crisis” and the restauration of the Multiverse. As we know, the time lines are changed when a crisis occurs: so, it seems that, according to Mike, “Lovers and Madmen” is the last version of the Joker’s origin, conformed with the reality rebuilt by Superboy-Prime in “Infinite Crisis”.
    In a most general way, my advice is to consider the time-lime when some issue “doesn’t fit”.
    PS: I apologize for my English, I’m a French internaut.
    So long – JP

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Hi Jean-Pierre! Here’s the problem with “Lovers and Madmen” being canon for the New Earth Universe; it contradicts several canonical minor stories and some major ones including Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, which definitively is a part of the post-Infinite Crisis New Earth DCU (i.e. the one created by Superboy-Prime’s reality punches). Thus, in strict consideration of the latest main Modern Age timeline, “Lovers and Madmen” absolutely does not fit. To reiterate: If we are taking the world after Infinite Crisis—the one created by Superboy-Prime—as holy gospel, then “Lovers and Madmen” is right-out. Mike Voiles has been a huge inspiration for my project, and when he says: “‘Lovers and Madmen’ is the last version of the Joker’s origin,” I agree wholeheartedly. 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 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. Hope that makes sense! Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you again!

      –Collin Colsher

  8. Darkmaster006 says:

    Hello, I’m very glad and excited with this website as the point that before meeting this web I was doing my chronology, so this helps A LOT. Well, I’m here to say, first, English is not my native language so if I had errors sorry xD. And, where do you place “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel”, in this tale, Batman suppose to first met Superman and fight with him, read it and you will know, so it has to be before ““One Night in Gotham City” by John Byrne (The Man of Steel #3)”, considering that in that tale is not the first met, maybe the second. And, we have to put “Batman Confidential #1 to #6” that shows the first meeting of Bruce with Lex Luthor, considering that in “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel” is not the first meeting of these two the “Batman Confidential #1 to #&” has to be before “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel”. So:

    “Batman Confidential: Rules of Engagement (#1 to #6)” First meeting of Batman and Lex.
    “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel” Bruce and Lex are “friends” so they have to met before, as saw in Confidential #1 to #6 and well, behind the scenes too, for be “friends”. And here is the first met of Batman and Superman, they don’t team-up, contrary they fight so they have to met and make friends in “One Night in Gotham City”
    ““One Night in Gotham City” by John Byrne (The Man of Steel #3)” Then comes this, ’cause of my not-reading this I don’t know how this tale is supposed to be so I read it and get back here. But without reading it, I can say that this can be the seconde meeting of Superman/Batman, because they met in “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel”, and they fight, so they team-up here they won’t fight if this is the first meeting and in “Lex Luther: Man of Steel” is the second meeting, geting it?

    Well, to end this, I have to say that where is “Batman: Trinity” where first met Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. There Batman and Superman known each other so this takes place after “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel” and “One Night in Gotham City”, right?

    Well, waiting your responses and argues :D.

    • Lex Luthor: Man of Steel is unfortunately 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.” I’ve always agreed with that, as have many others. Also, because this story does contradict Man of Steel #3 and Batman Confidential, which have been canonically referenced in the Modern Age, 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.

      Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity is also non-canon for several reasons, including the fact that the primary villain, Ra’s Al Ghul wouldn’t have made his presence that early. Furthermore, a cursory internet search of the story will show that Trinity contradicts a few other post Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis continuity changes, including the fact that the Big Three first meet fighting the Appelaxians and then form the JLA. So, for these reasons and more Trinity is impossible to place and therefore, non-canon.

  9. Damon says:

    Hi,

    First, it’s an amazing Job you’ve done on this site!
    I’ve been wanting to read Batman’s story’s in chronological order for a long time, so i will follow your work, because it’s the most complete and “correct” order i’ve seen..

    Now, my first question..
    I have both ” Catwoman Her sister’s keeper, and “Catwoman Annual #2..”..
    I’d like to read them both, even if it is a mess in the continuity.
    So how do i proceed?
    Should i read:
    1-Batman Year one
    2-Catwoman Her sister’s keeper
    3-Catwoman Annual #2
    in that order?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Most of the YEAR ONE stories on my list overlap with Frank Miller’s “Year One.” But for the sake of simplicity, I’d read them in that order, yes. However, for real continuity buffs, longtime site contributor Valheru has assembled an amazing breakdown of events (which are posted as footnotes, but I have transcribed them below).

      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 6, the night before 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.”

      The “four daring cat-burglaries” mentioned in Miller’s “Year One” (before Catwoman burgles Carmine Falcone) are as follows: Burglary #4 is the theft of Loeb’s pop-memorabilia collection, and Catwoman Annual #2 places Burglary #1 at the Peterson Pier Mall. HSK #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 4). The other middle two cat-burglaries were simply random acts of thievery which take place off-panel.

      By the time Miller’s “Year One” gets to November/December the timeline goes like this: Bat/Cat encounter (from Miller’s “Year One”) at Falcone’s on November 2; Gordon Family Rescue (from Miller’s “Year One”) on the 3rd; Monster Men from the 4th to the 15th; Mad Monk (until Julie is rescued) from the 16th to the 20th; “Prey” running concurrently from the 16th to the 29th; and The Man Who Laughs from the 29th to December 3rd. This timeline forces the climax of Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #3 to November 21st (before their fourth encounter in “Prey” featured in LOTDK #13 on the 22nd)—with Mad Monk over, it is the only “light” night Batman has in November to do it. The climax of Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #3 occurs between the last two panels of Mad Monk #6, which means Maggie’s been missing for almost 4 months. Meanwhile, Catwoman Annual #2‘s climax (Catwoman vs. Hellhound) is on December 2, the night Joker attacks Bruce Wayne and Judge Lake in The Man Who Laughs. Her Sister’s Keeper #4‘s coda (“three weeks” after Maggie is rescued) at Maggie Kyle’s mission happens around December 12th-20th.

      Don’t forget: This is definitely NOT a perfect science. Catwoman Annual #2 is supposed to be the ultimate canon Catwoman story, but HSK is often canonically referenced. So basically parts of both are canon. I’d say HSK#1 and HSK#2 are mostly non-canon, except for the fact that Catwoman does train with Wildcat and Maggie is kidnapped. After that, most of HSK#3 and HSK#4 meshes with Catwoman Annual #2 and Miller’s “Year One.” Of course, Bullock wouldn’t be around in Catwoman Annual #2, so that must be ignored. One could assume that Catwoman Annual #2 is non-canon, but specific parts are canonized such as Selina’s underground kung-fu training and battles with Hellhound.

      Whew! There ya have it!

  10. tiptupjr94 says:

    (In response to all of your replies) You’re welcome! Great site here. I’m in the very early planning stages of starting a Batman site with a chronology possibly focused on the entire Bat-family (a hefty, but not impossible task.) I was considering a kind of calendar-based approach but Year One having such concrete dates for *everything* is certainly the exception rather than the rule.

    Also, I’m not sure I’ve seen this mentioned here: In Catwoman: When in Rome #4, Selina says she specifically remembers November 2nd of Year One being a Thursday. Yep, that’s 1989 alright! I suppose folks who favor a highly compressed timeline (as I once did) could try to argue it being 1995, but in the interest of keeping Long Halloween and Dark Victory canon, I’d say it was definitely ’89.

    I’m surprised DC never introduced “The Age Master” in a 67-issue crossover as a plot device to keep everyone at an editorially-approved age. Bruce gets… hella old.

  11. tiptupjr94 says:

    Hey. Sorry I didn’t comment back hella days ago in the New 52 section (although commenting on Year Six still seems to be closed.) Anyway, I wanted your take on something:

    In Batman #405, on May 15, Jim says that Batman operates consistently between midnight and four A.M. Yet The Batman Chronicles #19 depicts Bruce operating as Batman before midnight on “Batman Night 6,” although this could have been a special case of him getting his Batman duties out of the way so he could make his midnight date with Vivy. He was also operating before midnight in Batman #405, in a scene labeled June 6, since Batman #406 continues the scene directly but then claims it is June 7.

    But, if Batman mostly DOES operate between midnight and 4 A.M. prior to May 15, does that mean his April 6 debut is actually on the night of April 5, but after midnight? And does that make The Batman Chronicles #19’s “Batman Night 4” the night of April 8 or 9?

    Also in The Batman Chronicles #19 on “Night 4” (April 8/9) it is stated that six nights prior, Bruce told himself he was ready, but THEN seemingly first realizes that he would need a disguise, and THEN “the night sent its answer.” This is very strange in relation to the narrative of Batman #404/405, and at any rate it doesn’t seem logical that the suit would be conceptualized, built from scratch, and ready for field deployment in less than 48 hours.

    • tiptupjr94 says:

      …Although, while pg. 2 of Batman #406 switches to June 7, Selina claims it is “five in the morning,” but five entire hours sure as hell haven’t passed since the events of pg. 1 of this issue and the end of Batman #405. Hmmm.

      • Hey tiptup,

        I’m glad you encouraged me to retake a closer look at this. The problem is really in the semantics of labeling things “DAYS” or “NIGHTS.” A “Day” for Batman is clearly sunset to sunrise, although, as you mention, he usually operates between midnight and 4:00 am. Again, semantics are involved. The key word there is “USUALLY.” Gordon’s statement is mostly true, but not 100% of the time. 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 and 4—hence Gordon’s comment. But back to the “NIGHTS” and “DAYS.” You’ve made me realize that Batman’s first night out is likely April 5 into April 6. We are simply shown an image from the sixth.

        And there is definitely a few week period before the “I shall become a bat scene” on March 11 and Batman suiting up for the first time. Batman Chronicles gets this dead wrong and so does LOTDK as well. Very strange, especially since the dates are starting you dead in the face in Miller’s “Year One” and there clearly is a few week gap between bat-crashing-through-window and debut-costumed-rooftop-hopping. The few week gap allows for Bruce to heal up from his nearly fatal wounds and to design and develop the costume.

  12. Eric Agner says:

    Hey Collin, I recently read about the DC version Timeline. Which consists of only 15 years instead of 23 years. I like the 23 years personally more then all that combined but. With Zatara training Bruce. It said “2o years ago”. Now correct me if I am wrong. If they go by the 15 year timeline. 21 BY would be 13 DCY according to you. So if that would true. Wouldn’t that mean Zatara trained him before Batman. Since 20 years ago is before 13 years ago. By doing the math. DCY 1/BY1 he was 26. Subtract by 1 to get to a year “zero”. Add 13 (DCY). Subtract 20. He was trained at 18 years old. Just a theory.

    • If we were to go by a fifteen-year-long Modern Age timeline then, yes, Bruce would likely have to start his training immediately after high school at age 18 or even age 17. Giovanni Zatara would then function as one of Bruce’s first trainers. Being that the Zataras have always long been friends of the Waynes in any version of history, this doesn’t seem that farfetched. A fine theory, Eric.

      • Eric Agner says:

        The thing I’m really asking is. If your changing the time between events (expanding). Wouldn’t that mean when it says 20 years it would expand that and not be taken literal?

        • Ah, so sorry, Eric. I see what you are saying now. That is actually a great question.

          If a comic book says Bruce’s parents died 25 years ago, but things on my chronology make it clear that Bruce’s parents really died 35 years ago, I make a note of it and label what I term a “continuity error.” Of course, the idea that DC Comics might simply be using a shorter timeline and therefore might have a different mindset does exist. Logic follows, based upon the example above, that I would expand year labels for other things to match as well. However, everything is case-by-case.

          Let’s look at the question of John Zatara training Bruce. If we are thinking of a shorter 15 year-long “DC timeline,” then 20 years means definitely BEFORE. But if we are still living on my timeline, which is longer, then 20 years means definitely AFTER. For this specific item, we don’t 100% know whether this happened before or after Bruce became Batman. There simply isn’t enough information to tell us in the comics. That is what set this apart from other questionable items.

          The KEY here (and in any instance) is that, no matter what, I try very hard NOT to alter any text of time notation from within the comics UNLESS I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO. Sure, “20 years ago” could (or even should) be altered, but since it CAN work either way why change it? Only when the item in question leads to an distinct impossibility will I usually make a change or annotated caveat.

          Hope that makes sense.

        • Are you saying that the “twenty years ago” line from Detective Comics #827 is meant to definitively imply a training session that occurs before Bruce becomes Batman? I’m not fully convinced that it does (even if other media have shown Bruce training with Zatara before he wears the cape and cowl). But if you really think so, I’d be willing to believe. Reason being, I understand where you are coming from. If I really believe that DC was operating with a shorter timeline, then the “twenty years” comment likely has to mean BEFORE Bruce became Batman, right? Which means that “twenty years” would need to be a bit longer on MY timeline, right?

          If Year 21 story ‘tec #827 showed a flashback of pre-Batman Bruce Wayne training with Zatara with a tagline of “twenty years ago” THEN I would call bullshit, mark it as an error, and expand/alter “twenty” to at least “twenty one” post-haste. But it doesn’t show that, and therein lies the confusion/vagueness AND my hesitation to make the change.

          Let me be clear, I never ever change time between events just to make things fit; I go with literally what I’m given in the stories themselves. This is why my timeline (IMO) is better than any opposing timeline that compresses things and retcons things or simply ignores passage of time. The idea of building “DC’s version of events” was simply to show the mindset of opposition chronologies—to show what a timeline would look like if the architect just willy-nilly expanded, shrunk, or changed things to solve continuity conundrums. If DC really was operating with a shorter timeline, then IMO they were operating incorrectly. I try not to let my chronology be driven or affected by what DC might have had on their minds at the time (or my own perception of what DC might have had on their minds at the time). It is driven by information (“facts”) taken directly from the stories themselves.

          Sorry to ramble on for so long! But in a nutshell: Maybe Paul Dini was implying that the Zatara training occurs before Bruce became Batman because it was the implication in other Batman media. If we believe this to be the case, then “twenty years” SHOULD be amended. But if we don’t buy that implication, then we shouldn’t amend. I’d be cool going either way since I honestly feel that neither way is wrong (nor right)! Does THAT make sense? And what do YOU think I should do? 🙂

  13. Andrew says:

    Stemming from your footnote about Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, Joker, and Batman: Noel, where would you place Lex Luthor and Joker if they were canon? I skimmed a synopsis for Noel and saw that Tim is in it, so that obviously doesn’t take place until later on.

    • Andrew says:

      Oh, and Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2. You reference it a lot, but I haven’t found it on the list.

      • Are you going by the download list? If so, that needs a serious update. I HOPEFULLY will upload a new one that is current soon.

        • The lovely Dave Gibbons part from Christmas With the Superheroes #2 only contains flashbacks and references. Therefore, it doesn’t appear as a physical item on our chronology anywhere, but simply registers as flashbacks and references accordingly, showing snippets of Christmases in the Batcave over the course of Batman’s first ten years in costume.

    • Lex Luthor‘s narrative is very vague. Here’s what we know. 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 fight then occurs, and the heroes go 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 very hard to place. 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).

      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 due part to a picture of Bermejo’s Joker in a newspaper in Lex Luthor. Impossible to place definitively, we know it takes place after Lex Luthor, but likely sometime before Tim becomes Robin.

      And Noel is similar. All we know is that it occurs sometime after Tim is Robin, after Lex Luthor and Joker.

  14. Kordarus says:

    My head hurt reading this, but great work dude!

  15. David Booy says:

    Hey!

    I’m a big fan of the site, and just had a couple of things to say:
    1) Why don’t you include page/panel numbers, as it really would help me (and others) to stay on track whilst reading.
    2) Is there a list of LoDK tales you haven’t included and why? If so, could you link it?
    3) Awesome! Keep up the good work!

    Many Thanks,

    David

    • Hi, David! Thanks for the support!

      It would take a team of interns to add in page/panel numbers at this point. Honestly, it’s something that I’ve never really considered. I don’t even have issue titles, publication dates, or writer/artist credits on here, and I’d sooner add that stuff before page/panel numbers. So I wouldn’t hold my breath. You never know, though. I’m always concerned with readability and accessibility on my site, so I will take it under consideration.

      I don’t have a list of tLoDK tales that I haven’t included. Why? Again, mostly time, really. Although, there are foot-notations about most of the missing ones scattered throughout the site. I can probably pretty easily put a list together and post. Keep your eyes peeled for that one.

      And thanks again!!

      • David Booy says:

        Fair enough, thanks anyway!

        • David Booy says:

          Also, another quick question: I know it’s not canon, but where would you place Year Two. I ask because, although it’s not canon, it is canon until Zero Hour, so I just thought it would be interesting to know.

          Thanks Again!

          • DC Retroactive: Batman – The 80s #1, which is canon, actually references “Batman: Year Two,” so it is still canon albeit in an altered form. At the time of its release, “Batman: Year Two” was literally Batman’s Year Two, following up on Miller’s “Year One.” However, post Zero Hour (and Long Halloween and a few others), the altered version of “Batman: Year Two” (which would better suit us renamed “Batman: The Reaper”) occurs in Year Five.

  16. Sataniel says:

    In Shaman Bruce mentions that there were two years between his visits to Alaska, you have one. Any special reason for that aside from his jacket?

    • Not sure what you are referring to. In LOTDK #4, Batman discovers that Fisk visited Santa Prisca to study Chubala myths “two years ago” (aka “two years prior to the conclusion of the “Shaman” arc), but the whole arc seems to take place over the course of one calendar year. Let me know if I’m missing something, though!

      In a related note, I realized that my synopsis for “Shaman” was worded quite confusingly (and actually contained some plot errors), so I made some edits.

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