"The Legend of the Batman - Who He is, and How he Came to Be": Fifteen years ago, Bruce Wayne is walking home from a movie with his father Thomas Wayne and his mother. They are approached by a [[Joe Chill (Eart
- If they're going to play with the Joker, they'd better be prepared to deal from the bottom of the deck!
Appearing in "The Legend of the Batman - Who He is, and How he Came to Be"
- Joe Chill (Flashback only)
- Pearl necklace
Synopsis for "The Legend of the Batman - Who He is, and How he Came to Be"
Fifteen years ago, Bruce Wayne is walking home from a movie with his father Thomas Wayne and his mother. They are approached by a mugger who tries to grab his mother's necklace. Thomas Wayne shouts for the mugger to leave her alone, and menaces him. The mugger shoots Thomas Wayne dead, saying that he asked for it. Bruce's mother is horrified and calls for the police. The mugger shoots and kills her also so she'll stop screaming. The young Bruce is horrified. Several days later, he kneels next to his bed by candlelight and makes a solemn vow. He swears by the spirit of his parents to avenge their deaths, by spending the rest of his life warring on all criminals. Years pass and Bruce Wayne prepares for this career. He becomes a master scientist, and trains his body to physical perfection. Finally, one night he is sitting in his father's mansion thinking about his future. His father's estate left him wealthy, but he needs a disguise. He knows that criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot, so his disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. He must become a black, terrible, creature of the night. Just then a huge bat flies through the open window, like an answer to his question. Bruce Wayne declares that this is an omen, and he shall become a bat. Thus was born this weird figure of the dark... this avenger of evil... The Batman.
Appearing in "The Joker"
- Henry Claridge
- Jay Wylde
- Judge Drake
- Otto Drexel
- Henry (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Joker"
The Joker announces on the radio that he will kill Henry Claridge and steal the Claridge diamond at midnight. A cordon of cops guard Claridge's home, but he dies anyway, at midnight with a grotesque smile on his face. (He's been dosed, much earlier, with a delayed-action treatment of Joker Venom.) The police then discover that the diamond was already stolen, and that it was replaced with a glass one, and the Joker has left behind his calling card, a Joker.
Later the Joker goes on radio and announces that he will kill Jay Wilde and steal the Ronkers Ruby. Once again a cordon of police fails to safeguard the victim, who is killed at exactly midnight, with a poison dart, by the Joker, hiding in a suit of armor. The Joker deploys a paralyzing gas against the police, and departs with his loot.
But a mobster named Brute Nelson, who is enraged that the Joker is pulling off all these jobs that he had planned to do, sends word out that he thinks that the Joker is a coward. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson hear about this and suspect a trap. Batman goes to the mobster's house. The Joker is also there, and he shoots and kills Nelson, but he is pursued by Batman. However, the Joker gets the upper hand by knocking Batman off a bridge.
Luckily Batman survives. The Joker then resumes his work by announcing that he will kill Judge Drake. The Joker impersonates the police chief, and kills the judge with Joker Venom, and leaves. Robin has been stationed outside, to follow whoever comes out, and he trails the killer to an abandoned house, where the Joker turns the tables on him and captures Robin.
The soles of Robin's shoes have been painted with an special chemical, and Batman used infra-red goggles to follow his trail, arriving just in time to save him from an injection of Joker Venom, and there's a big fight. The Joker sprays Batman with the same paralyzing gas that had taken out a whole squad of cops, but Batman just shakes it off, grabs Robin, and escapes. The Joker also manages to escape. Robin then tells Batman that the Joker was saying that he was going after the Cleopatra Necklace, owned by Otto Drexel. Batman and Robin arrive while the robbery is still in progress; the Joker uses all his ammunition shooting Batman in the chest; Batman has on a bullet-proof vest; Joker loses and is sent to the State Penitentiary.
Appearing in "The Giants of Hugo Strange"
Synopsis for "The Giants of Hugo Strange"
Professor Hugo Strange returns with a growth formula that changes asylum inmates into 10-foot tall "man-monsters" that wreak havoc on Gotham City. Batman is captured and injected with the serum, but manages to escape and create an antidote. Batman then punches Strange out the window into the murky waters below. Batman then pilots the Batplane and kills many of Strange's henchman, and some of the monsters, with machine-gun fire. He also manages to hang one of the monsters with his Batrope. He finally kills the last monster by throwing tear gas pellets while it is atop a skyscraper, causing it to fall to its death.
Appearing in "The Cat"
- The Cat (First appearance)
- Martha Travers
- Denny Travers
- Doctor Wallace
- Luxury cruise ship
Synopsis for "The Cat"
An elderly socialite, Mrs. Travers, is going on a yacht trip with several select friends and a $500,000 emerald necklace. Suspecting that some crook or other will try to steal it, Dick Grayson gets a job as a steward, as Batman has other business elsewhere. Soon, Dick has some suspects: Denny, Mrs. Travers' favourite nephew, who has borrowed lots of money from his aunt in the past (and brought an elderly guest, Miss Peggs, with him), Wallace, Mrs. Travers' doctor (who frequently borrows money to pay off gambling debts), and Mrs. Travers' brother Roger (who wants money to cover stock market losses).
Denny throws a piece of paper over the side of the yacht, but the wind blows it back to Dick. The letter is from The Cat, asking Denny to keep Mrs. Travers away from her room. Suspecting the theft is about to take place, Dick hurries to the cabin, but Mrs. Travers has already discovered the theft. A boat claiming to be the Coast Guard approaches, but it is actually full of mobsters, after the necklace. The mobsters content themselves with stealing everything else, but when they go to shoot someone for protecting his wife, Dick barrels into them and gets knocked into the sea. He takes this chance to turn into Robin.
Meanwhile, the mobsters leave, satisfied with their takings. They race away, but Batman appears and knocks them around. Robin has surfaced and joins in, with an object lesson. consisting of him versus four unarmed mobsters. The crooks quit (to stop Robin from hitting them any more), and Batman proves that, without their guns, crooks are cowards through and through.
They return to the yacht and Batman crashes a fancy dress party, to be awarded with the first prize. He returns the stolen loot and Robin sets off the fire alarm. This is a trap to persuade the Cat to reveal him/herself. Mrs. Peggs races off surprisingly well for someone with a bad ankle, but the Dynamic Duo still catch her. Batman pulls off her wig and removes her make-up to reveal a pretty girl. The necklace is hidden under her bandage. Denny tries to take the necklace, but Batman knocks him out. The Cat tries to persuade Batman to join her as King of Crime, but he refuses.
Then, despite leaving Denny on the yacht, Batman takes the Cat to the police himself. However, the Cat jumps over the side and Batman lets her escape. He's clearly smitten.
Appearing in "The Joker Returns"
- Edgar Martin
Synopsis for "The Joker Returns"
Two days after the Joker is captured, he manages to escape using explosive chemicals hidden in some false teeth, and begins to cause more trouble. At home, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson hear the news on the radio and Bruce speculates that Joker is probably after vengeance. The Joker enters his secret laboratory through a hidden entrance in the graveyard, and starts plotting. He threatens Chief of Police Chalmers, and kills him a dart, released with a phone call.
The next day, a painting is stolen, and the owner of a stolen gem is found dead, grinning. Then the Joker threatens to steal the Cleopatra necklace. Bruce Wayne, hearing it on the radio, promises to stop him. That night, in the museum, the Joker emerges from a sarcophagus, and uses his poison to incapacitate the guards. Batman appears and disarms him. The Joker seizes an axe and knocks out Batman. The Police arrive, and find the unconscious Batman AND the missing necklace. Before the cops can remove Batman's cowl, he snaps awake and escapes out the window.
A reformer, Edgar Martin calls for the capture of the Joker, and is marked for death. That night, Martin is under guard and plays cards to calm down. But the pack is all jokers, and poison-laced, killing Martin.
The next day Bruce Wayne suggests a trap for the Joker to his friend Commissioner Gordon. The press prints a series of articles on the Fire Ruby, and despite suspecting a trap, the Joker goes for it. When he arrives, the police surround him, and he shoots, making for the roof. Robin, waiting for him, follows. Joker knocks him off the roof, but Robin grabs a flagpole to save himself. Running down to see if Robin has died, the Joker takes aim and is intercepted by Batman. Robin falls down and lands on the Joker. Batman and Joker fight, and Joker stabs himself in the chest. Batman and Robin flee, leaving the Police to find out that the Joker is still alive.
- Published by Detective Comics, Inc.
- Cover date was "Spring, 1940". The first five issues of this title were published quarterly on a seasonal basis.
Batman & Robin
- Batman and Robin's chronological prior appearance was in a flashback, in the first story in Batman #12, "Brothers in Crime," which is set in June, 1939. Based on this date, Robin's career began in or before June, 1939.
- This issue's Batman and Robin appearances take place after their appearances in Detective Comics #38 and in Detective Comics #39, going by their on-sale dates.
- James Gordon chronologically appeared previously in Batman #32. He appears next in New York World's Fair Comics #2.
- "The Legend of the Batman - Who He is, and How he Came to Be" was originally printed in Detective Comics #33. The splash page introducing this story was reprinted from Detective Comics #34. This story is also reprinted in Famous First Edition F-5, Millennium Edition: Batman #1, Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Volume 1 and Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years.
- This issue features the first appearance of the Joker. The Joker makes a chronologically earlier appearance as the Red Hood as revealed in a flashback in Detective Comics #168. He appears next in Batman #2.
- The Joker knocks Batman unconscious, with an axe. This is Batman's 5th blunt-instrument head trauma.
- The plot from "The Joker" is re-imagined in the 2005 graphic novel Batman: The Man Who Laughs. The plots from "The Joker" and "The Joker Returns" are also a major influence on the 2008 feature film The Dark Knight where the Joker does the same things as he did in that comic, such as publicly announcing his crimes before committing them, removing his make-up and disguising himself as a police officer to gain access to a person he had threatened to kill, using a powerful bomb smuggled into jail to escape, stealing and killing not for personal gain but to simply create chaos and disorder, and infringing upon the city's old-fashioned mobsters.
- The plot from "The Joker" can also be revisited at Crack Comics #4 Aug 1940 and Smash Comics #25 Aug 1941.
- "The Joker" is reprinted in Batman From the 30s to the 70s, Famous First Edition F-5, Millennium Edition: Batman #1, Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Volume 1 and The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years.
- Joker was originally made to be a one off character but soon became popular.
- "The Joker Returns" is reprinted in Famous First Edition F-5, Batman Chronicles, Volume 1, Millennium Edition: Batman #1 and Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Volume 1.
- Hugo Strange appeared last in Detective Comics #36. He appears next in Detective Comics #46.
- Batman straight up kills many of Strange's monsters, with machine-gun fire. He also hangs one. He also tear-gases one into falling off a tall building. This may have been retconned out of Earth-Two history. It is never mentioned again.
- The asylum featured in "The Giants of Hugo Strange" is never identified, however it seems to exist as an Earth-Two counterpart to the famous Arkham Asylum of Earths One and New.
- "The Giants of Hugo Strange" is also known as "Professor Hugo Strange and the Monsters".
- Robin is absent from this story. It will be many years before his next absence, in 1969.
- "The Giants of Hugo Strange" is reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, Famous First Edition F-5, Millennium Edition: Batman #1, Batman Chronicles, Volume 1 and Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Volume 1.
- "The Giants of Hugo Strange" takes place on Earth-Two, but according to Detective Comics #471, similar events also occurred early in Batman's career on Earth-One.
- This issue is the first appearance of Catwoman. She makes a chronologically earlier appearance in flashback, in Batman #52, and in The Brave and the Bold #197. She appears next in Batman #2.
- The Catwoman is referred to only as the Cat in this issue.
- Batman breaks the Fourth Wall, directly addressing the reader: "Well kids, there's your proof! Crooks are yellow without their guns! Don't go around admiring them--rather do your best in fighting them and all their kind!"
- "The Cat" is reprinted in Famous First Edition F-5, Batman Chronicles, Volume 1, Millennium Edition: Batman #1, Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Volume 1 and Catwoman: A Celebration of 75 Years.
- Also appearing in this issue of Batman were:
- Major Bigsbee an' Bots by Paul Gustavson.
- "Bob Kane" (text biography) by Whitney Ellsworth.
- "Two Aces" (text story) by George Shute.
- Ginger Snap by Ted Raye
- Bob Kane signed his Ginger Snap stories as "Ted Raye."
- Fast Facts feature by George Papp.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Catwoman Recommended Reading
- Joker Recommended Reading
- Joker (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Batman: The Man Who Laughs
- "Batman: Lovers and Madmen"
- "Batman: A Death in the Family"
- Joker: Devil's Advocate
- Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
- "The Joker's Last Laugh"
- "Superman: Emperor Joker"
- "Superman/Batman: With a Vengeance!"
- The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told
- Joker (graphic novel)