Hey guys! For today’s post we read Batman Chronicles Vol. 1. This is a compilation of all of the early Batman comics. From reading this selection, I found it odd that the story of “The Bat-Man”, as he was called early on, just jumps right in. There is no origin story to speak of until spring of 1940, over a year after the comic began. And even then, his origin story is very rushed in just a few panels. He sees his parents be killed in a robbery, and then swears to avenge their deaths by fighting crime. The next to panels then jump to Bruce Wayne being older and a master scientist, then to him “training his body to physical perfection”. All of the elements to his origin story don’t seem all that special to me. He is just an ordinary guy who is intelligent and knows how to work out. His whole origin story is also only two pages long! And the first page is only about his parents being shot; his “powers” aren’t shown until the second and last page. His decision to be called Batman is very arbitrary. He is shown sitting in a chair in his home when he sees a bat fly through the window, so he decides to become “Batman”.
Also noticed in these early comics is how violent Batman is. He tends to go in for the punch very early in finding these criminals, and then allows them to have horribly painful deaths. For example, in the first comic the villain is pushed to his death in a bucket of acid. In a later issue Batman and Robin cut down a villain from scaffolding and allow him to fall to his death. These punishments are very brutal in comparison to the crimes these guys are committing. Early Batman villains were not maniacs, but businessmen seeking more power or wealth. We don’t see the maniac type of villains until the later 1940s with the introduction of The Joker. He becomes the first match for Batman and Robin who is not swiftly killed in the end. He is an intelligent match for Batman and is able to come away alive from their encounters. It is also interesting to see that this supervillian is not killed when given the chance, but is only thrown into jail. Batman immediately kills all of the businessmen villains, but somehow The Joker gets to live. I am not sure what this means exactly yet, but I would love to explore it more as we continue to read Batman comics!
That’s all for now! Thank you for reading! Feel free to post questions or comments!