Superman with Batman and Robin on radio
Here at DC Histories, we try to make sense of the continuity that perplexes, befuddles, and intimidates. We discuss what worked and what didn’t. This week, we’re talking about the relationship between the two biggest icons in the DCU, Batman and Superman.
The Golden Age was a time before crossovers were an everyday appearance. For the most part, heroes stayed compartmentalized within the pages of their own comic book. Save for the revolutionary Justice Society of America, the world’s first superhero team, characters remained apart in the pages of National Comics, later DC Comics. Across the street at the publisher who would go on to be Marvel, Namor faced off against the Human Torch and the All-Winners Squad briefly formed, but these were outliers, not common occurrences.
Although both Superman and Batman were massive successes for National Comics in the 1940s, no effort was made to have the two characters meet. Their worlds were different ones. Superman’s tales became larger than life stories of superpowers and science fiction. Batman’s tales were generally concerned with crime of a more earthly nature. In any case, it just seemed natural that the heroes be kept apart. That didn’t keep DC from publishing a comic titled World’s Best Comics in 1941 which featured Superman, Batman, and Robin all in the same image for the very first time.
While these heroes appeared on the cover together, they had separate tales in the book. True, these tales were new and had never previously been published, but they were solo affairs. The cover, through striking, was a bit of a bait-and-switch.
World’s Best Comics sold well enough to become an ongoing quarterly concern. However, the title was found to be lacking. With the series’ second issue, the book was changed to World’s Finest Comics. Batman, Robin, and Superman remained on the cover of each issue but their adventures remained forever apart.
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