Strange Times & Places: Batman #131

Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we’re reading in-universe fanfic from 1960’s Batman #131!

How’s It Different?

This is a classic Imaginary Story, with a twist – it is being written in-universe by Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred. Luckily, this tale predates the “Alfred as Father Figure” take on the character…but that makes his Real Person Fan Fiction (or, as Bob’s Burgers termed it, Friend Fiction) only mildly less strange.

What’s The Story?

In the future, Batman has married Batwoman (who, for those who came in late, was not a lesbian in the 1950s) and retired, passing the mantle of Batman onto Dick Grayson. Their son, Bruce Jr., convinces his family to give him the training he needs to take up the mantle of Robin. When their first big case goes south, it will take the combined might of this multi-generational family of crimefighters to handle things!

Best of Differences

  • This is, as mentioned, framed as a creative writing exercise by Alfred. Amusingly, Bruce tells him that, because it includes Batman & Robin’s secret identities, “Nobody will ever read it.” I choose to take this as Bruce’s comment on not wanting anything to do with Alfred’s weird friend fiction – since both he and Dick could read it.
  • The second Batman and Robin both have giant Roman numeral twos on their uniforms. This is oddly charming.
  • In a hilarious turn of events, both times that Dick Grayson has canonically ascended to the role of Batman (in the Pre-Flashpoint DCU and the Post-Flashpoint Earth 2), he has actually been the third person to hold the title (after Azrael and Thomas Wayne, respectively).
  • The Bruce Wayne, Jr. would go on to influence both John Byrne’s Batman elseworlds stories AND the role that Damian Wayne plays in the DCU.

And the award for most unnecessarily complex secret messaging goes to…Batman II!

Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Tokusatsu Gesundheit!

About Chris Walker

Chris Walker (@back2past) is affectionately referred to as Back to the Past's social media lackey. He's all over finding nuggets of pop culture news, wherever they may be hiding!

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