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 (Late 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.

Reference in The Brave and The Bold #83
. Little Bruce meets his dad’s best friend, Professor Bruner, for the first time. Bruner, as Thomas’ best mate, will be around quite often. Bruce will have the utmost respect and admiration for the professor.

Flashback from The Untold Legend of the Batman #1
—and also referenced in 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.

Reference in World’s Finest Comics #196
. Bruce takes a liking to film, especially Westerns.

Flashback from Detective Comics #370
. Ten-year-old Bruce gets mercilessly beaten-up by an older school bully named Bart Lambert over the course of months. Skinny Bruce is unable to put up a fight or defend himself, so he decides to dedicate his life to exercise, fitness, and bulking up with weight training. Bruce continues taking a wallop from Lambert, but he begins working out. Eventually, Lambert moves to the other side of the country before Bruce is ever strong enough to confront him or get revenge. Bruce will have nightmares about Lambert for years to come.

Reference in The Brave and The Bold #83
. Thomas Wayne’s best friend Professor Bruner (along with an unknown partner) fathers a baby boy named Lance Bruner. Bruce meets the newborn.

Flashback from The Untold Legend of the Batman #1, Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder Sunday News Strip 7/30/1967, Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder Sunday News Strip 8/6/1967, Batman #200
, and Batman #208—and also referenced in The Untold Legend of the Batman #1. Now onto the Wayne tragedy. While walking home from a movie, the Waynes are mugged. Thomas is shot dead and Martha suffers a fatal heart attack during the assault. (In Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder Sunday News Strip 7/30/1967, Robin says that the Waynes were killed when Bruce was twelve-years-old. This is iffy. However, the much more canon-reference-worthy 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 secret paid revenge hit ordered by Lew Moxon, who has latterly been granted an early release from prison. After a sad funeral, Bruce’s parents’ wills are read—as referenced in Detective Comics #367-368 in The Brave and The Bold #89. Bruce is given the entire Wayne family fortune (including a ton of real estate) and made heir to its business enterprises. Bruce is also left his father’s prize possessions, the priceless Rajah Ruby and some original Modigliani paintings. (The Modiglianis immediately get hung up in Wayne Manor. The Rajah Ruby goes into a Wayne Manor safe, where it will stay until Bruce’s adulthood.) Bruce collapses to his knees before the graves of his parents and vows to avenge them. Dr. Leslie Thompkins initially cares for the orphaned Bruce before he goes into legal custody of his dad’s brother, Uncle Philip Wayne. Ironically, Joe Chill’s mother, Alice Chilton, becomes Bruce’s full-time nanny. Bruce will call her “Mom Chilton.” She will teach him honesty and integrity, becoming a something of a surrogate mother to him. 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, noetic matters, 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 multiple visual arts media 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.

Reference in The Untold Legend of the Batman #1
. Bruce, as the only witness to his parents’ deaths, testifies before a court that they were attacked by a crazed mugger. Unable to provide more information, the killer (Joe Chill) is never caught and remains free. Likewise, no investigation into Lew Moxon ever takes place, which allows him to remain untouched by the law, despite the fact that he secretly put the hit on the Waynes.

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.

Reference in The Brave and The Bold #77
. Bruce shows a strong aptitude and affinity for chemistry in high school.

Flashback from World’s Finest Comics #84
. A roughly fifteen-year-old Bruce vacations near Smallville with his parents—meaning guardians Uncle Philip and Mom Chilton (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.

Flashback from Batman #224
. Bruce gets into jazz music and begins collecting old records. One of his favorite musicians is Blind Buddy (Charles Holden). Bruce will listen-to and enjoy jazz for the rest of his life.

Flashback from Detective Comics #370
. Teenage Bruce, who has constantly worked out for years, hits a growth spurt and takes notice of how strong he has become. He is reminded of the trauma Bert Lambert caused him and how it convinced him to begin exercising in the first place. Bruce would love to stick it to Lambert, but the old bully is long out of his life, so Bruce does his best to block the memory of the jerk from his mind.

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.

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. Bruce is now sixteen-years-old (and presumably has gotten his driver’s license and learned to drive a car). Bruce and his family—Uncle Philip and Mom Chilton—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.

Reference in Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 11/1/1968
. Bruce becomes very active in track and field sports, competing and training in all events. Bruce’s hope is to compete in the upcoming Olympics, focusing on hammer throw as his main sport. Bruce will focus in hammer throwing for the next two years straight.

Reference in The Brave and The Bold #88
. Bruce picks up fencing, in which—you guessed it—he will eventually become an expert.

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).

Reference in Detective Comics #367
. Bruce learns first aid and CPR from the American Red Cross Handbook.

Reference in Detective Comics #385
. Postal carrier Herbert Small begins working the mail route that delivers to Wayne Manor. He’ll drop off mail six days a week, but Bruce won’t ever pay him any attention.

Reference in The Brave and The Bold #89
. Bruce learns about a dark part of Gotham’s history involving the religious sect known as the Hellerites. In the early 19th century, the ascetic Hellerites settled in Gotham, but were immediately ostracized for their strange customs. After their settlement was burned to the ground, the Hellerites departed for the West, but not before their leader Josiah Heller put a curse—the Hellerite Prophecy—on the city, vowing to one day return.

Reference in Detective Comics #404
. Bruce begins learning to speak Spanish. He will eventually become fluent.

Reference in Detective Comics #359
, The Brave and The Bold #79, and Batman #216. Bruce begins collecting rare books, a hobby he will continue long into adulthood. Bruce’s omnium-gatherum of literature will constantly grow, although we won’t see any of the actual collection process on our timeline moving forward. Not only is Bruce an avid collector, he truly loves reading and will become well-versed in poetry and literature as well. The pride-and-joy of his collection will be rare and original Shakespeare editions, stage-play handbills, and a bust of the Bard himself, which covers a hidden safe.

Reference in Detective Comics #360
and Detective Comics #405. Bruce reads all about Harry Houdini and begins training in escape artistry.

Reference in Detective Comics #392
. Bruce begins learning the art of safe-cracking. He also begins practicing sleight-of-hand techniques.

Flashback from Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder Sunday News Strip 8/6/1967
and Batman #200—and also referenced in Batman #133 Part 2, The Brave and The Bold #71, Batman #191 Part 1, Detective Comics #370, Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 11/6/1968, The Brave and The Bold #80, Batman #209, Detective Comics #388 Part 1 Epilogue, Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #100, Batman #222, Detective Comics #405, The Brave and The Bold #93, and Batman #227. Bruce begins privately studying multiple sciences, including chemistry, physics, electronics, engineering, entomology, ecology, zoology, geology, geography, astronomy, acoustics, auto mechanics, medicine, demonology, and world mythology. He also begins learning animal, marine, and human anatomy/biology. Additionally, he begins dabbling in aerospace, mechanical, and explosives engineering. (Note that the polymathic Bruce, beyond these items listed above, will study nearly everything imaginable, becoming a master in almost everything he touches.) Bruce also begins training in various physical activities, including horseback riding, boomerang throwing, trapeze, Native American wrestling, judo, karate, acrobatics, gymnastics, savate, boxing, and Sumatran pencak silat (aka silek). (While training in silek, Bruce notes how it seems like the most dangerous of the martial-arts, and he’ll move forward hoping never to face anyone who has mastered the technique.) Already active in fencing and Olympic track-and-field training, Bruce continues focusing on hammer throwing, but also begins extra work on perfecting his archery and javelin throwing ability. He also learns all he can about survivalism, hunting, and trapping. (Bruce will continue training in all of these things for the rest of his life.)

Reference in Detective Comics #372
, The Brave and The Bold #77, Detective Comics #384, and Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 4/23/1971. Already world-cultured and highly knowledgable in current affairs, Bruce begins privately studying military history, American history, world history, world religions, global politics, and journalism in an effort to become an expert in all fields. He will continue to keep abreast of world news, moving forward through his entire career, becoming quite the scholar indeed.

Reference in World’s Finest Comics #94
, World’s Finest Comics #271, and Batman #191 Part 1. Bruce begins privately studying acting, the art of makeup, and disguise techniques. He will eventually become a bonafide master of disguise, able to replicate anyone to perfection.

Reference in Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 9/15/1968
. Bruce learns Morse code.

Reference in Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 12/12/1968
. Bruce becomes interested in opera and begins attending operas semi-regularly, becoming a big fan of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Reference in Batman #215
. Bruce begins collecting cars. For years to follow, he will fill the Wayne Manor garage with a variety of brand new and antique roadsters. Bruce will also drive most of them.

Reference in Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 5/6/1969
. Bruce learns how to read lips.

Reference in Detective Comics #397
. Bruce begins practicing yoga and yogic meditation, which he will continue to do for the rest of his life. He also begins to study Eastern yoga techniques that involve lowering one’s blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and bodily responses to go into a death-like trance. He won’t master this technique for over a decade, but he will practice it quite often, moving forward.

Reference in Detective Comics #404
. Bruce begins taking lying lessons, practicing with an old stunt pilot in antique planes.

1964-1966 (College Years)
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, Batman #188 Part 1, Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 11/1/1968, and Justice League of America #66. 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 qualifies for the 1964 Summer Olympics and competes at the October-held games in Tokyo where he wins a gold medal in hammer throw (as referenced in Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 11/1/1968)! Also in his freshman year, Bruce begins wearing an aftershave that he will become fond enough of to wear for the rest of his life. This may seem trivial, but it will come into play later one. Early in his collegiate career, Bruce also has classes with failing 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. (Both 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). Note that Bruce, as a criminology major, will study forensic science, handwriting analysis, law, jurisprudence, methods of policing, and hoplology (as referenced in Batman #201 and Justice League of America #66). Being a genius and a hard-worker, and presumably scheduling more-than-full-time classes round-the-clock, Bruce graduates with honors at age twenty, celebrating his graduation with his proud Uncle Philip and Mom Chilton. 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.

    One more thing. As stated elsewhere on the website, just about everyone eats, shits, sleeps, brushes their teeth, watches TV, and goes to the office. Believe it or not, Batman does all these things too. He’s human just like you and me! However, this kind of mundane everyday stuff won’t be on our timeline. Usually, anyway.

  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. Late 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.

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