EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SUPERMAN AND BATMAN, BUT WAS AFRAID TO ASK

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Batman & Superman With the new Superman Vs Batman movie primed to hit the cinemas in March, 2016, I thought it would be a good idea to look back and see how these two heroes got together. Trust me, their evolving relationship hasn't been plain sailing. If anything, their relationship has been as choppy as the Titanic in Iceberg season. Timber!!!


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BALLOON HEROES


One year after Batman jumped out of the comic book page, and two years after Superman, the powers that be at National Periodical (now called DC Comics) wanted to promote their two maiden heroes in the 1940's Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. So, as was the trend at the time, they decided to make two huge balloons, brandishing their images for everyone to see. Lovely.


COVER SHOT FOR THE WORLD'S FINEST


In 1941 National Periodical published an anthology series showcasing their various superhero characters. Initially this series was given the title World's Best Comics (re-titled World's Finest Comics with issue two) and on its cover boasted the first time Batman, Superman, and Robin would ever grace a comic book page. Strangely enough, they didn't appear together in the issue in question, and would never appear in the same comic book adventure until years later.


RADIO COMES TO THE RESCUE


On the same year as the 1940's Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, Superman was also given his own radio show (sponsored by Kellogg's Pep) aptly entitled 'The Adventures Of Superman'.  During the war time years this jovial serial became a huge success, broadcasting the Man Of Steel's adventures on a daily basis, sometime between 5:15pm and 5:45pm every day. More notably, however, this was the show where Batman and Superman shared an adventure together for the first time -- and I do mean first -- in a 1945 adventure where Superman saves Robin's life, before both of them rush off to where Batman is fighting a group of saboteurs. Over the years Batman would become a reoccurring character, and would temporary replace Superman whenever the voice-actor who played him (Bud Collyer) wanted to take a vacation.


CRUISING FOR A COMIC


Batman and Superman finally appeared in the same comic book adventure together in Superman #73, published by DC Comics in June, 1952. In this book we get to see both Bruce and Clark trapped in a cruise liner, hidden in the same room shrouded by the cover of darkness. When suddenly, a searchlight flashed through a nearby window, at the exact same time both men were changing into their respective alter-ego's... Oh no! It's you? It's you too? Let the adventure begin. Lois Lane also made an appearance in this comic book, acting as a counterpoint each hero helps the other hide their secret identity from.


BUDDING RELATIONSHIP FOR LIGHT AND DARK


In 1954 DC decided to refocus World's Finest Comics from an anthology series to a team-up book. So what did they do? They remembered those two heroes who graced it's cover at the very beginning. And from that moment onwards, more or less, World's Finest became a book in which the fans saw Superman and Batman's relationship grow and grow and grow. In fact, they grew so much, the only thing that was able to split them apart was a universal multi-part cross-over event.


AND NOW, THE END IS NOT NEAR...


DC Comics took the initiative in 1985 to re-brand their books by blowing up and re-creating the universe (see Crisis On Infinite Earths for more details) so they could re-position their heroes in a more mature light. Where Superman and Batman are concerned, initially this re-branding took place in the last issue of World’s Finest, issue 323, where Batman told Superman off for not wanting to accept his help in an adventure. The next stage of their relational development came care of Frank Miller's groundbreaking The Dark Knight Returns miniseries, in which Bat's and Supe's had a spat over politics and ethics. And finally, to top it all off, John Byrne's 'Year One' Man of Steel miniseries stuck the knife right in, making Batman more edgy, and making Superman more... errr... super.


WHATEVER NEXT?


Within recent years Batman and Superman's on-off relationship has hit a stalemate. They are both members of the Justice League. They are both associates in the Batman / Superman comic book. And from time to time they even pop up in each others series. Another thing they also have in common is a strange connection of sorts. Jerry Siegel, one of the creators of Superman, lost his father in a botched robbery attempt made at his store, thus inspiring Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, to create him. Well, Bob partly created Batman. But that's a story for another day. Presently Batman and Superman are in a very good place, primed for a 2016 movie plus whatever else DC will throw their way. What will that be? Who knows? Wonder Woman perhaps?