Batman Chronicles Vol. 1

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!

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Batman Chronicles Vol. 1

4 thoughts on “Batman Chronicles Vol. 1

  1. Hey Maddy, I like that the comic seems to have you curious to read more and as a fan of Batman prior to reading these comics I can absolutely relate. I however like the fact that in these comics Batman comes in from windows instantly crashing into his target or punching him. There is no downtime when Batman is in frame and it keeps the comics exciting. As far as the Joker goes, I personally find him to be the, if not one of the best villains in history. I do wish that Batman would just let him die but if he did, the rivalry would be dead and the Joker would not be as prominent of a character as he is now. Batman and the Joker compliment each other and they both are at their best when fighting against one another.

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    1. Alejandra Orantes says:

      Hello, I agree with the point you made about a lack of origin story. Although it is annoying to us “modern” readers, because we are used to getting bombarded with so many detailed adaptations, but it’s not surprising for the time in which they were written, because as we’ve learned they were meant to be quick little individualistic stories, not one long story arc. You make a very good observation, that Batman in this earlier adaptation is a lot more violent then I expected, he seems to lack the moral code of present day adaptions. At first he seems to have no problem snapping villains necks, throwing them out windows, or even merely beating on them. Whereas more current adaptions often portray a morally uptight Batman (minus the vigilantist antics of course) who reuses to kill his opponents. He is also very sassy in a brutish sarcastic way that I find difficult to distinguish whether it’s endearing and comical, or annoyingly attempting to be more masculine dialogue.

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  2. Hi Madeleine,

    I agree, I do love an origin story and especially Batman’s, so I was indeed hoping to read that in the beginning. I think his origin story would be more interesting with more details on his relationship with his parents. Although, it shows that he did love them dearly. I think in that ordinary guy comes this special quality that only The Batman can grasp. In other words, as readers it is nearly impossible to feel what he felt unless we have went through what he did. I remember as a kid, I always thought it was awesome that Batman chose to be called “Batman” because he had a fear for bats as a kid. Your observation on The Joker’s prevail of death is very interesting. I found it intriguing as well that The Joker survived. He has to be one of my favorite villains in The Batman Universe aside from Two-Face and Harley Quinn.

    Great post, looking forward to reading more!

    -Nguyen, Alina

    Like

  3. Alejandra Orantes says:

    Hello, I agree with the point you made about a lack of origin story. Although it is annoying to us “modern” readers, because we are used to getting bombarded with so many detailed adaptations, but it’s not surprising for the time in which they were written, because as we’ve learned they were meant to be quick little individualistic stories, not one long story arc. You make a very good observation, that Batman in this earlier adaptation is a lot more violent then I expected, he seems to lack the moral code of present day adaptions. At first he seems to have no problem snapping villains necks, throwing them out windows, or even merely beating on them. Whereas more current adaptions often portray a morally uptight Batman (minus the vigilantist antics of course) who reuses to kill his opponents. He is also very sassy in a brutish sarcastic way that I find difficult to distinguish whether it’s endearing and comical, or annoyingly attempting to be more masculine dialogue.

    Like

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