Batman and Superman’s first crossover comic saw DC heroes share a bed

Batman and Superman have actually satisfied for the very first time often times. They satisfied for the very first time in motion pictures like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and World’s Very best, where they fought each other prior to choosing to be pals. They’ve satisfied in alternate universes like Superman: Red Kid, and fought each other prior to choosing to be opponents. They satisfied for the very first time after DC restarted its universe in 2011 (fighting, then pals), and after it restarted its universe in 1986 (fighting, then pals).

However what if Batman and Superman satisfied each other without instantly tossing hands? That’s precisely what took place, in the really initially very first time the Dark Knight and the Guy of Tomorrow was familiar with each other.

How do you construct a fulfill adorable in between titans?

9 times out of 10, when you search for a superhero’s very first anything, it’s not especially fascinating. At finest, these minutes are low profile in a paradoxical method, offered how crucial they ended up being in the future. In Wolverine’s very first look, he was simply a Canadian operative attempting to remove the Hulk. Darkseid’s very first look remained in a problem of Superman’s Friend Jimmy Olsen. The Venom symbiote was an alternate outfit from a strange head dome in an area structure.

Initial Firsts like Wolverine’s launching don’t show their later significance since no one might have understood that they were going to be essential in the very first location. Initial Firsts like the Venom symbiote’s very first look don’t show their later significance since they were meant to be ordinary, and their significance was retroactively developed later on, by other creatives.

Spider-Man and the symbiote in Secret Wars #8, Marvel Comics (1984).

Yep, this is actually the very first look of the symbiote.
Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck/Marvel Comics

It’s simple to presume that these guidelines would likewise use to the Original First conference in between Batman and Superman. We’ve seen it in motion pictures, and in contemporary comics. It’s most likely quite pedestrian. Absolutely nothing to report other than that Superman and Batman sure did satisfy each other, and they sure did foil a criminal offense of some sort.

Yeah, that’s incorrect.

The time Batman and Superman satisfied on a double-booked cruise

The important things about Batman and Superman is that they precede the concept of a shared superhero universe. And they were both big prior to that concept started to take kind. DC doubled down on their appeal by providing an entire additional book to share, World’s Very best, and even then, every problem was an anthology including one solo Batman story and one solo Superman story.

So when author Edmond Hamilton and artist Curt Swan (a duo likewise accountable for the Batman Slapping Robin meme) took it upon themselves to craft the supermeet in 1952’s Superman #76, they understood it was something special.

And yet they still made a story where Batman and Superman are double scheduled in the exact same space on a cruise, which is funny.

A porter shows Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne to their shared room. “But what if he should find out I’m Superman?” Clark thinks. “What if he discovers I’m Batman?” Bruce wonders, in Superman #76, DC Comics (1952).

Sadly for everybody, we can plainly see from this image that there is more than one bed.
Image: Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan/DC Comics

Hamilton and Swan kicked the entire thing off with Batman and Superman going on getaway at the exact same time. The Dark Knight taking some time off! What a surprise! However as the very first 2 panels of the comic describe, Batman and Robin simply mopped up the last criminal on Gotham’s desired list. Batman did it! He eliminated all crime in Gotham!

So he goes on a cruise.

And it’s a crowded cruise. So crowded that mild mannered reporter Clark Kent and well-off but not particularly famous bachelor Bruce Wayne have to share a double.

The tension of the situation is cut almost immediately when a crime occurs on the dock outside the ship, and the two superheroes … well, let’s let Hamilton and Swan tell it:

The issue then becomes a classic farce. Batman and Superman must board the ship as their superhero selves in order to ferret out a diamond thief — but also have to maintain the pretense that their civilian identities are on board — all under the investigative eye of Lois Lane, who will be damned if she lets Clark walk away with a headline while he’s on vacation.

“Hi, Batman!” says Robin as he takes Lois by the arm, “What do you think? I’m taking Miss Lane out to dinner!” “Isn’t he the cutest little chap?” says Lois, as Batman and Superman exclaim “OH, NO!” in Superman #76, DC Comics (1952).

He’s gonna get a root beer and she’s gonna tell him that interns should be paid.
Image: Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan

Things get messy as Superman and Batman decide that Batman should flirt with Lois to distract her, and Lois realizes that Batman is fake flirting with her as a distraction — so she decides to fake an interest in him to annoy Superman. But eventually the crime is foiled, the instant super-bros help each other maintain their secret identities, and Lois gets her headline and even a bit of revenge by letting Robin take her out to dinner instead of either of them.

It’s nice! It’s cute! It’s kind of oddly mundane, and clearly for a kid audience. But can we do better? Can we revitalize this story for a more modern audience?

This is comics, so, of course we can. In 2006 writer Joe Kelly (Deadpool, Spider-Man, Superman) and a team of artists (Ed McGuiness, Ryan Ottley, Sean Murphy, and Carlo Barberi) got together for Superman/Batman Annual #1, a bombastic retelling of Superman #76.

This time there was only one bed

Ironically, Superman/Batman Annual #1 doesn’t hold up as well as Superman #76. It’s littered with off-color jokes that were tired even in 2006. But where Kelly and Ottley clearly improve on 1952 is in the actual scene in which Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent discover their superhero identities, as they both desperately try to get the other to just leave so they can spring into action.

Disaster strikes on a cruise ship, as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent internally plan how to save the day, and then each try to insist the other leave the room, so they can preserve their secret identities, in Superman/Batman Annual #1, DC Comics (2006).

Image: Joe Kelly, Ryan Ottley/DC Comics

“I have no time for this. Goodnight, Kent,” says Bruce Wayne, before firing a tranquilizer dart from a hidden wrist mechanism. It bounces harmlessly off of Clark Kent’s impervious neck, and they both stand in shock as they realize the other is Batman and Superman respectively, in Superan/Batman Annual #1, DC Comics (2006).

Image: Joe Kelly, Ryan Ottley/DC Comics

And so the strangest thing about Superman #76 is not that it’s the exception to the Law of Unmemorable Comic Book Firsts, but that it was, by complete accident, a shockingly modern conceit.

Most readers of Superman/Batman probably didn’t put it together that the series’ very first annual was lifting so directly from a 54-year-old story (not to mention that the average fan did not have a simple way to track down 54-year-old issues, in an era before digital back issues). “There was only one hotel room” is such an established romance trope — of course it would be funny to apply it to a couple of scions of masculine friendship. It’s not the sort of thing one would expect had cropped up in a mid-century story that was also the very first time these 2 massive characters had ever met.

And yet it is. Canonically, the very very first really very first time that Batman and Superman satisfied, it was since they were double-booked in the exact same hotel space.

Your relocation, Hollywood.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.