Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where this week we’re taking a trip to trilogy of Bronze Age stories chronicling the life of Bruce “Superman” Wayne.
How’s It Different?
While it was officially billed at the time as an “imaginary story” to denote it not taking place in the canonical Multiverse, for our purposes it is a “For Want of a Nail” tale – specifically one in which Superman’s rocket lands outside Gotham City rather than Smallville.
It originally appeared as back-up features in Superman #353, 358, & 363.
What’s The Story?
Patrolman Jim Gordon discovers a baby crawling through the marshes on Gotham’s outskirts and brings the tyke to Dr. Thomas Wayne for a check-up. Wayne and his wife Martha take in and adopt the healthy lil foundling, naming him Bruce. By the time he’s a toddler, he’s demonstrating superhuman abilities. By age eight, his speed and immunity to bullets has saved his parents lives. And at 21, after years of private tutoring in the finer points of science, criminology, and ethics from his parents and his “Uncle” Jim, he takes up the mantle of Superman.
Best of Differences
- Unlike its 90s counterpart, Superman: Speeding Bullets, this story fully embraces the idea of Bruce Wayne being Superman – he’s a big blue boy scout through and through.
- Bruce Wayne and his bride-to-be Barbara Gordon run (and presumably own) a book store called “The Book Cellar”. Nothing super important, I just really liked that detail.
- Barbara Wayne takes up the mantle of Batwoman, wearing a uniform identical to her Earth One Batgirl togs, after her father’s murder. A murder she blames herself for, as she asked Bruce to retire from being Superman when they married (because how dare a member of the Bat-Family be happy).
- The set-up of a happily married Superman/Batwoman team patrolling Gotham City and running a high-end book shop is such a good set-up that I’m mad it never appeared again. That may just be my affinity for the Batman/Supergirl team from John Byrne’s Generations talking…
Come Back Next Week for a New Tokusatsu Gesundheit!