Silver Salad Days

Before we start Year One of the Silver Age, here is everything in Earth-1 Bruce Wayne’s life (starting with his birth) that leads up to the moment he decides to don the cape and cowl of the Bat.[1]

 

PRELUDE: (1946-1966)

 

February 1946
Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne in Gotham City, USA.

Midsummer (August) 1949[2]
Flashback from World’s Finest Comics #146. A three-year-old Bruce summer vacations with his parents a few hours outside of Gotham, next door to their friend, scientist Dr. Thomas Ellison. Using a special telescope, Dr. Ellison had, years prior, discovered the planet Krypton. Using this same telescope, Dr. Ellison had been able to view Krypton at street level for years. This allowed him to learn the Kryptonian language and read lips to see what Kryptonians were talking about. The neglectful Wayne parents allow little to Bruce wander over to the doctor’s house where, over the course of several weeks, Dr. Ellison shows Bruce live feeds of Krypton, creepily dresses him in Kryptonian-styled clothes, and takes pictures of him flying on wires and bending plastic bars. (How Dr. Ellison would have known that a yellow sun would give Kryptonians super-powers is beyond me, but that’s probably my smallest gripe with this bonkers story.) Upon learning of Krypton’s imminent destruction, Dr. Ellison builds a neutralizing ray, which ultimately fails to prevent planetary collapse. Krypton explodes into oblivion and little baby Kal-El is secretly sent rocketing to Earth.

1950
Reference in and flashback from The Untold Legend of the Batman #1
. A roughly four-year-old Bruce Wayne is present at a masquerade party held by his parents at their Wayne Manor home. Thomas Wayne wears a bat costume. During the ball, Thomas is kidnapped by injured gangster Lew Moxon, who wants the gifted doctor to perform surgery on him. Rather than operate, Thomas beats up Moxon and delivers him to James Gordon, a new lieutenant with the Gotham City Police Department. Gordon is in his early twenties at this juncture.

1956
Reference in The Untold Legend of Batman #1
. Now onto the Wayne tragedy. The Untold Legend of Batman #1 tells us that Bruce is in pre-adolescence “one year” after the death of his parents. This means that Bruce is likely ten-years-old when they are killed, placing the double-murder on November 25, 1956. [3] The murders are committed by Joe Chill as a paid revenge hit ordered by Lew Moxon, who has latterly been granted an early release from prison. Dr. Leslie Thompkins initially cares for the orphaned Bruce before he goes into legal custody of his Uncle Philip Kane. Ironically, Joe Chill’s mother, Alice Chilton, becomes Bruce’s full-time nanny. From this point on, young Bruce will start training non-stop.[4] One more interesting thing to note before continuing. When it comes to Bruce’s non-stop training that begins now, the dedicated soldier won’t just focus on detective studies and the gym. In fact, the Silver/Bronze Age Bruce Wayne might be the nonpareil iteration of the character because he will be the only version to master the visual arts as well. As gleaned from a reference in Detective Comics #332 and a reference in Detective Comics #344, Bruce will become a professional-grade sketch artist and master wood carver.

1957
Flashback from The Untold Legend of the Batman #1. One year after his parents’ murder, Bruce wears a proto-Robin costume and spends a summer training with super-detective Harvey Harris.

1961
Flashback from World’s Finest Comics #84
. A roughly fifteen-year-old Bruce vacations near Smallville with his parents—meaning guardians Uncle Philip and Nanny Alice (as retconned and re-shown via flashback from World’s Finest Comics #271). There, young Bruce trails both crook Thad Linnis and the Kryptonian Boy of Steel known as Superboy (Clark Kent/Kal-El). Bruce discovers that Clark is Superboy, while keeping it secret from Linnis.

1962
Adventure Comics #253
, Adventure Comics #275, and a flashback from World’s Finest Comics #271. Robin (Dick Grayson), from 1969, goes back in time and meets Superboy.

1962
Adventure Comics #275
and re-shown via flashback from World’s Finest Comics #271. A few weeks have passed since the time-traveling Robin met Superboy. A roughly sixteen-year-old Bruce and his family—Uncle Philip and Nanny Alice—briefly move to Smallville (as told in the apocryphal and error-filled Adventure Comics #275, which was later retconned and re-shown via flashback in World’s Finest Comics #271). In Smallville, Bruce meets Lana Lang and becomes the costumed Flying Fox to fight alongside Superboy. After their team-up, Superman uses his wheel-hypnosis technique to erase Bruce’s knowledge of his secret ID. Superboy also uses the wheel-hypnosis on himself to erase knowledge that Bruce will grow up to become Batman, a fact that he knew both from viewing a device known as the Time Telescope and from recently meeting a time-traveling Robin.

1963
Superboy Spectacular #1
and later retconned and re-shown via flashback from World’s Finest Comics #271. A roughly seventeen-year-old Bruce then meets Pete Ross and helps Superboy solve a case during a baseball tournament in Gotham (as told in the slightly apocryphal Superboy Spectacular #1, which was later retconned and re-shown via flashback in World’s Finest Comics #271).

1964-1966
Flashback from Batman #208
and Batman #188, Part 1—and also referenced in Batman #165, Part 1, Batman #178, Part 1, Batman #208, Batman #165, Part 2, and Batman #188, Part 1. At age eighteen, Bruce enters Gotham College as a criminology major. He rooms with Andrew Warner, becoming friends with Warner and sharing a physics class with him (as referenced in Batman #165, Part 1). Bruce also befriends aerospace engineering major Hank Nelson (as referenced in Batman #178, Part 1). In his freshman year, Bruce begins wearing an aftershave that he will become fond enough of to wear for the rest of his life. Also early in his college career, Bruce has classes with poor student and general weirdo Lenny Fiasco. At a Winter Carnival, Bruce is crowned “Ice King” and rides in a sleigh with “Ice Queen” Celia Smith, whom Fiasco is madly in unrequited love with. (The cologne and Fiasco stuff are flashed-back-to from and referenced in Batman #188, Part 1.) Bruce later begins dating theater major Julie Madison (as seen via flashback/reference in Batman #208). He also joins a fraternity (as referenced in Batman #165, Part 2). During his college days, Bruce also befriends high-society gal Linda Page (as mentioned in Batman #208). Being a genius and a hard-worker, and presumably scheduling more-than-full-time classes round-the-clock, Bruce graduates at age twenty, after which time he becomes Batman. For more information about Bruce’s age and college era, see a footnote in Year One of the Silver Age section of this website.

 

<<< Intro to Silver Age Part 2 <<< | >>> Year One >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Some important rules before we actually get going. I’ve included flashbacks in a specific way. If a flashback is first revealed—let’s say in Year 15, hypothetically—the flashback may or may not be mentioned in Year 15, but the actual events that occur in said flashback will be placed one the timeline exactly when they originally occurred attached to bullets enumerated as “flashback.” Similarly, story references will be listed as 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.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Many different countries around the world have different definitions for what “midsummer” means. I’m using it to literally mean somewhere in the middle of summer i.e. August.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: How do we know the November 25th date of the Wayne murders? As cribbed from comic book scholar Chris J Miller:

    “[June 26 is mentioned in Batman Special #1 (1984). The 1976 DC Calendar says June 8. Superboy #182 (1972) and Detective Comics #500 (1981) both say Autumn, specifically November 25.]”

    I take this information to mean the following: 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, but only the Novembers are on the same date (the 25th). This leads me to believe that November 25 is the official Silver Age date of the Wayne deaths. Further backing for this is the Golden Age death of the Waynes, which was also November 25, as mentioned in Detective Comics #265 (1959). It’s up to you to decide your own headcanon, but I’m going with November 25.

  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that Superboy #182 showed a Superboy/Bruce Wayne team-up, but it was rendered 100% non-canon by World’s Finest Comics #271. In this non-canon story, Bruce became the masked “Executioner” and teamed-up with Superboy two months after his parents’ deaths. Superboy #182 also told us that the Waynes were killed on November 25, but we must take that date with a grain of salt due to the non-canon status of the issue.