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CSBG Archive

Drawing Crazy Patterns – Knowing Batman’s Identity Can Be Lethal!

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today I’m featuring people who have discovered that Bruce Wayne is really Batman…only to die soon afterwards.

Enjoy!

The king of this plot is Joe Chill, in the utter classic Batman yarn, “The Origin of the Batman,” from Batman #47.

Batman confronts the man who killed his parents…

I still can’t get over how awesome that story is.

Anyhow, amusingly enough, the VERY NEXT ISSUE of Batman, #48, has a story about a crook who escapes from prison and goes on the lam – conveniently in Wayne Manor. He accidentally discovers the entrance to the Batcave and Batman and Robin try to trap him within the cave…

A number of issues earlier, a member of a gang of hoods Joker was a part of figured out Batman was Bruce Wayne after dancing with Bruce. She saved his life, only to be killed in return…

In Batman #83, Batman crashes the bat-plane and is trapped in the mountains outside of Gotham City. A bunch of crooks are the only people who receive his transmission for help. Now knowing Batman to be out of commission, they decide to hire an ex-con to dress up as Batman while the real one is indisposed. However, the ex-con, conks his head and Robin comes by to bring him back to Wayne Manor, where he is convinced that he IS Bruce Wayne. The ex-con (named Harry) then fights the crooks AS Batman! Eventually, the REAL Batman returns and is captured. Harry, though, looks enough like Bruce Wayne that when Batman is unmasked, they still think he is Harry. They decide to kill him in retaliation for double-crossing them. Harry has something to say about that…

In Detective Comics #70, a fake mind-reader, Carlo the Amazing, actually gains the power to read minds. He figures out Batman is Bruce Wayne.

Carlo goes on to use his new powers to find out where an old miser has hidden his treasure. Batman and Robin track Carlo to the miser’s home only for Carlo to trap them (as his telepathy means that he knows all the secret trap doors and defenses that the miser has devised for his home to keep people from stealing his treasure). Carlo then throws Robin into a bathysphere) with the oxygen turned off so he’ll suffocate to death) and sets out to find where the miser put his treasure…

If you have a suggestion for a future Drawing Crazy Patterns installment, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

29 Comments

Coincidence? Yeah, right.

I always wanted that story where gets unmasked and everyone goes “No D’uh! How many 6 foot 4 inch guys who are built like body builders and have enough money to build all those vehicles and gadgets are there in this city? Yeah…we all know. Get over it.”.

In Wednesday Comics, Luna discovers the secret identity of Batman just before she dies, does it count?

Note how Batman beats up the crooks who shot Chill, not because they’re murderers, but because he doesn’t want them to hear Chill reveal his name.

One of the guys who ends up killing Chill was sent to prison *by Batman* for ten years, and is now already out, suggesting that by the time of Batman #47 Batman had been on the job at least that long; Robin still looks like an eight-year old. Timeline and time dilation problems even way back then! :-)

In the Wednesday Comics Batman story (SPOILERS),

he reveals his identity to a dying woman.

Man, Joe Chill is straight up FREAKING OUT after Bruce reveals himself. The baddest, scariest, most powerful dude in the city was created by YOU…and ALL of his hate is directed at you right now. Good luck, buddy.

Also, hey Brian, we finally reached 3,000 followers on twitter/CSBG! Greatest Stories Ever Told 2.0, please :)

>One of the guys who ends up killing Chill was sent to prison *by Batman* for ten years, and is now already out, suggesting that by the time of Batman #47 Batman had been on the job at least that long

Or he made early parole.

Love Batman’s diamond blinged-up Bat symbol in the Detective Comics #70 story.

Batman thinks of everything.

Everything.

Best moment over:

“Ooooh…”

“Dead…”

Alternatively, he could have been one of the first guys Batman caught and Robin came about much later.

i remember joe chill winding up killed after revealing he is responsible for bruce becoming batman. a little ironic pay back .

I think I saw an episode of Brave and the Bold where they re-created that entire scene of the reveal to Joe Chill. Did anyone else see that?

Also, hey Brian, we finally reached 3,000 followers on twitter/CSBG! Greatest Stories Ever Told 2.0, please

It’ll definitely happen, but it’s going to be a little bit later in the year than originally planned.

I love the idea of batman laying on a huge spotlight to create a makeshift batsignal cuing himself to appear.

Yeah, funny how these people just end up dying like that. What would be great is if Batman started getting a reputation for incidents like these. “Oh crap, I found out Batman’s identity. I am so dead.”

Heck, I can almost imagine Golden Age Batman saying, “Oho, found out who I am, did you? Enjoy being dead!”

That is totally something Golden Age Batman would say, too.

“Enjoy being dead.”

And then pushing the person off of a cliff or something.

**”That is totally something Golden Age Batman would say, too.

“Enjoy being dead.”

And then pushing the person off of a cliff or something.”**

Brian, would he say “Papa Spank” first?

Possibly, but “come to poppa” would be more likely (like he said to the Joker in Batman #12 – okay, he’s actually talking to the hanging wire he is trying to grab to follow the Joker, but still…).

Love Batman’s diamond blinged-up Bat symbol in the Detective Comics #70 story.
Wasn’t Batman presented with that diamond-studded badge by the Gotham police department, or something? I seem to recall that happening, once.

And, while it’s artistic license to make it sparkle, actually having a diamond-edged emblem would allow that part of his uniform to act as a back-up/makeshift weapon or tool, if he lost his belt. the stuff the diamonds are mounted on probably served as a small armor plate over the heart/lung region as well.

Buttler, I think he already has a reputation like that. Like mentioned, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out who could possibly be Batman if one put one’s mind into it and did some research…

And anyway…”this guy Wolf Brando found about my secret identity but unfortunately he fell into a whirlpool that I conveniently happened to have in Batcave. I tried to grab him but unfortunately was too late, and now he sleeps with the fishes. Robin witnessed the whole thing, didn’t you, Robin?”

Damn, that bathysphere action is fantastic. “Lungs yearning for precious oxygen . . .”

Finding out Batman’s true ID then dropping dead must be Joe Chill’s version of Hawkman’s curse, because the same thing happens to him in the (since retconned out) Batman Year Two and the last issue of the Batman Adventures comic, set in the DCU animated world (one of my favorite Batman stories).

Travis Pelkie

July 21, 2011 at 2:57 am

I wanna say that that lettering in the ‘Tec 70 piece is really really cool.

I wonder if Bruce ever “threatened” Dick — “Gee, Dick, y’know, you’re about the only person left who knows I’m really Batman. I hope you’ll behave and keep it that way!”

I particularly like that whilst chasing the villain through the Batcave, batman still finds time to take Robin on a romantic gondola trip in the dark tunnels….

“I knew the Penguin’s flame-throwing umbrella would come in handy!” You see, that there is the kind of outside-the-box thinking that made Wolf Brando such a fearsome villain. “Aha, a suit of Kryptonite chainmail! Most people would just throw this away, but I suspect I can find a way to turn it to my advantage somehow!”

He isn’t smart enough to use it a second time, to deflect the swarm of bats, but then again, Batman himself is too dumb to use his glass-cutting badge to carve into the front window of that bathysphere instead of wasting ten minutes with an oxygen torch.

Also, it kinda looks like Carlo’s last message to the world was gonna be “Batman is really a prick.”

[...] These pictures are featured on Brian Cronin’s CSBG Archive post entitled “Drawing Crazy Patterns- Knowing Batman’s Identity Can be Lethal!” They illustrate a time from Batman #47 where Batman reveals his true civilian identity to the man who killed his parents. The top right panel of the second picture is of Batman speaking. “I became BATMAN because of what you did and I swore I’d arrest you for it some day! I can’t prove your guilt, but I’ll never stop hounding you until I do…” See more here: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/07/17/drawing-crazy-patterns-knowing-batmans-identity-… [...]

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