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When We First Met – Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman’s First Meeting

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In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today, based on a request from reader Tim S., we look at the first time DC’s Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman all appeared in a comic book story together!

Interestingly enough, early on, Superman and Batman were in their own little world in terms of popularity and because of such, they were guarded heavily from other DC Comics using them. The Justice Society had Batman and Superman appear in an early issue but after that, they were pretty much just honorary members

Here, by the way, is Superman and Batman’s first appearance together in a comic book, from All-Star Comics #7…

allstar3

That was a full issue before Wonder Woman even made her first appearance! She debuted in a back-up story in All-Star Comics #8. Wonder Woman eventually became a member of the Justice Society, likely the most popular character to be a regular member of the team (typically the book ended up being a place to spotlight the less successful National and All-American heroes).

So it was not until 1947’s All-Star Comics #36 that the three heroes actually all appeared in a comic book together.

Go to the next page to see how it all went down…

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48 Comments

Roy Thomas wrote a sequel to this story, years later, in INFINITY, INC. Back before the Crisis took most of the fun out of that series.

I find it interesting, and kinda neat, that none of the other heroes know Batman’s (and probably Superman’s, considering how he was contacted) identities. In the first JSA story, they all seemed to automatically know each other’s identities- the Flash even knew the Red Tornado’s true identity, during her brief cameo. I know Superman and Batman didn’t learn each other’s identities until later, but it’s definitely interesting.

I like how dumb Bruce assumes the JSA are- “They won’t AT ALL be suspicious if Bruce Wayne leaves and Batman comes in a couple minutes later”. And he’s RIGHT.

Wait this is the first “River of Evil” story?! I remember the sequel it was awesome! Yeah, I didn’t like Crisis erasing the Golden-Age characters from Earth-2 and history.

I love the Trinity dynamic and really wish DC would wring more out of it.

Completely off topic, but how cool is Dr. Midnight’s costume? I’ve only just noticed how ahead of its time his attire is.

I don’t think Dr Mid-Nite’s costume (yeah, his name was spelled like that)was ahead of its time as much as modern sensibilities having come back around to the Golden Age in some respects. In the ’70s, that costume looked incredibly outdated.

This is one of my favorite issues of All-Star, and I had wondered if it was the first time all three characters appeared on panel together.

We often get the claim that Superman #76 was the first time Batman and Superman met, and it always makes me ask “What about All-Star Comics? Doesn’t that count?”

So all the guys go out on missions while Diana stays home to what? Knit a scarf? Marston must have been livid.

This is more than just the Trinity, you have all of the ‘Big Five’ solo DC franchises: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern. You even have them assembling in the seven hero configuration that would drive the JLA.

Airdave yes, this story introduced the River of Ruthlessness.

interesting always wondered when dc first put their trinity together on the case but never liked that the jsa was sexist towards wonder woman and only had her be their sectary including staying behind in this case .

Gardner Fox was really not a very progressive dude in regards to gender roles.

We often get the claim that Superman #76 was the first time Batman and Superman met, and it always makes me ask “What about All-Star Comics? Doesn’t that count?”

What’s interesting is that Superman #76 even makes it clear that they already know each other.

Did Hawkman have a mouth back then? In not one panel that shows him do I see anything that indicates he has a mouth.

Jeff Nettleton

March 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Hawkman’s early mask was a hawk’s head with an open beak; upper and lower. It then changed into one revealing his moth area, then the cloth mask. When All-Star Squadron debuted, they had Hawkman in that mask.

@Alaric
I thought Dr Midnite’s costume looked pretty good, in the 70s. Actually, I thought most of the JSAers had more interesting costumes than the JLA. Of course, some of it was because they were less familiar and some I only saw posed in illustrations, without identification, which made them mysterious. But, on the whole, their costumes were more theatrical and had a bit more style to them.

Next question: when was the first time Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all appeared in the same interior panel? It doesn’t happen in what’s reproduced above, and given how JSA adventures were structured, that probably means it didn’t happen in this issue at all!

They all appear on panel together at the end of Superman’s chapter, seated around the JSA table. Batman and Superman are seated next to each other, then Hawkman, then Wonder Woman. I think there’s one other panel in the final chapter where all three are seen together on panel as well.

It is a bit borderline, but the three are visible in the panel just below Bruce getting into costume. Alas, Batman is only recognizable as the shadowy outline of his cowl.

Next question: when was the first time Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all appeared in the same interior panel? It doesn’t happen in what’s reproduced above, and given how JSA adventures were structured, that probably means it didn’t happen in this issue at all!

Here ya go, Jacob, from later in the story!

allstar7

allstar8

Tim Drakes costume pre 52 looks just like Midnites

Forget where I read it, but someone pointed out that Wonder Woman’s inclusion in the JSA stories, after getting her second series, was an exception to the rule.

When the JSA started Superman was appearing in Action Comics, Superman & maybe World’s Finest, so he didn’t need the extra exposure.

Batman was in Detective, Batman & maybe World’s Finest, so he didn’t need to appear in All Star Comics.

When Flash & Green Lantern both got their second series they became honorary members of the JSA and didn’t reappear until years later.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand, continued to get exposure in All Star even after she got her self-titled comic. So while being the JSA’s secretary was a poor use of her powers she was getting free advertising the other characters weren’t.

Another thing I read somewhere was that after Gardner Fox wrote his first solo chapter featuring Wonder Woman, Marsten saw the story and rewrote it which ticked off Fox, so he didn’t write another Wonder Woman solo chapter until after Marsten died.

Personally I don’t really get the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman trinity thing. Batman & Superman were such a long-lasting boy’s club, that adding Wonder Woman just feels off, especially since various continuities have tried to give her a romance with one or the other. Kind of a reverse Archie, Betty & Veronica thing.

Meanwhile her original trinity of Wonder Woman, Flash & Green Lantern from the Comics Cavalcade days has long been ignored.

I was just wondering why Fox used the clumsy idea of having Bruce Wayne show up first and then changing to Batman, then realized that he probably hadn’t written Wayne since he worked on a couple of early Detectives and wouldn’t write him again until the ’60s, so maybe he wanted (what he tought) would be one last chance to write Bruce Wayne?

With regard to Comic Cavalcade, I think the problem lies with how unavailable the stories are, just like so many Golden Age comics. That first Archive volume reprints the first three issues, so they’re in print and not hard to find, but not so for the rest of the series. People ignore those character associations because they just don’t know about them.

@Mark Bigford: the Red Robin costume was created originally for Kingdom Come, where it was used by Dick Grayson’s future self. It did remind one of Doctor Mid-Nite, obviously, which is why Mid-Nite had a new costume in KC as well.

Personally, I think the concept of Wonder Woman is simply too artificial to truly work (she might as well name herself Contradictions Woman far as concept goes), leading to ever so conscious attempts at making it work and at presenting her as an equal to Superman, or even Batman. We have an embarrassing under-representation of heroic women in comics as it is.

Which is not to say I think it is a good idea, but it seems to be well-meaning.

The net effect is however odd and IMO counter-productive. We often end up with attempts at making Batman too dark to feel at ease with Superman even as the two of them team up to somehow say Wonder Woman that she is their equal, even as they tell her how to behave – as perhaps best illustrated by the weird treatment Wonder Woman had at the opening of her third volume, when Batman and Superman actually chose her civil identity for her.

Wonder Woman has no serious competition for the title of most prominent female superhero, but she is anything but a natural for the role. However, decades of reinforcement may well mean that we are stuck with trying to make it work nonetheless.

I hope and expect that perception to change eventually. DC and comics would be that much stronger having Barda, Batwoman or Supergirl as their most visible heroines. Unfortunately, to an extent they end up emptying each other’s appeal due to that competition, while Wonder Woman is just too well-known to be fully deemphasized even if would be the rational route to choose.

I mean, a swimsuit-clad defender of women’s dignity? An ambassador for peace that most often works by punching things into submission? A character that wears USA’s flag while explicitly being not american and arguably not even human?

There is just not much there to make a continuously viable character without periodical reinventions and reworkings. Which is why they sure enough happen like clockwork every few years, usually after a period of disappointment for the wasted potential of the previous run. Which is IMO par of course, since Wonder Woman tries to be so many incompatible things at once by imposition of the very concept.

They’re all in-panel on page 6, above…it’s just not that dynamic.

@KAM

I’m with you. Wonder Woman’s inclusion as one of DC’s big 3 always felt pretty tacked on. Not only because she was never anywhere near as iconic, popular and well-known as the other 2, but also because Supes and Bats have such a great dynamic, whereas I never saw any interesting dynamics between Wonder and either of them.

Luis: “There is just not much there to make a continuously viable character without periodical reinventions and reworkings. Which is why they sure enough happen like clockwork every few years, usually after a period of disappointment for the wasted potential of the previous run. ”

Actually she stayed quite constant from her debut until the “Diana Rigg” period at the end of the 1960s. The Perez reboot had a decent run too. And I think the constant reinventions have at least as much to do with DC just changing female characters in a way it doesn’t with men. Supergirl in the Bronze Age went from TV camerawoman to drama student to guidance counselor to soap actress, then psych student at the start of the 1980s. And since they dropped Matrix Supergirl it seems like we get repeated reboots and then reboots of the reboots (I haven’t followed Supergirl in a while so if I’m off based on her more recent incarnations, my bad). And all the changes come with a complete change in the setting and supporting cast. Whereas the Superman/Batman cast stays consistent as does their day jobs.

As far as chemistry goes, I rather liked the way they played off each other in Superman/Wonder Woman. I think I’d have enjoyed seeing it as a WF-type buddy team up instead of a romance.

After posting I found myself thinking that once upon a time Batman & Superman teaming up wouldn’t have been seen as a natural thing, so maybe in 10, 20, or 30 years some future comic fan will be amazed at how long it took before Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman teamed up?

Andersonh1 – “With regard to Comic Cavalcade, I think the problem lies with how unavailable the stories are, just like so many Golden Age comics.”

True.

Luis Dantas – “An ambassador for peace that most often works by punching things into submission?”

Oh, yes. When I read George Perez’s reboot of WW I felt that Marston was probably turning in his grave. I mean Wonder Woman was supposed to be a non-violent answer to the more violent boy’s comics, but these days Wondy seems to be the most violent hero of the DCU. She was given a lasso to restrain people, and solve things non-violently, but these days the “she was trained as a warrior” argument gets used and she chops people’s heads off to solve a problem.

I guess now she represents boy’s love of sex & violence rather than being a liberated woman who solves things non-violently.

“A character that wears USA’s flag while explicitly being not american and arguably not even human?”

Isn’t it more elements of the flag rather than the flag itself.

I should probably clarify that George Perez comment.

I was not trying to say that George made the character more violent, just the book. In particular it was a scene with the army machine gunning down Ares forces, if I recall correctly. It just felt too much to me that they were using violence to solve a problem.

I feel it was later writers who made WW herself more violent.

“I’ve got the perfect replacement for you. Rather than just telling him to come in, I’m going to leave. I won’t bring him in with me, but before he comes in, I’ll just leave never to be seen by you again”. Not odd at all.

Luis –

“DC and comics would be that much stronger having Barda, Batwoman or Supergirl as their most visible heroines.”

Wonder Woman has something that none of those others has. She’s her own character. Batwoman is secondary to Batman, Supergirl to Superman, Barda is a part of the Fourth World characters (and THAT concept is arguably as convoluted as WW).

KAM –

“I mean Wonder Woman was supposed to be a non-violent answer to the more violent boy’s comics, but these days Wondy seems to be the most violent hero of the DCU.”

Marsten’s intent, maybe. Not his execution. Wonder Woman comics of the 1940s were not any less violent than Batman’s or Superman’s. That she used a lasso to restrain opponents speaks more of Marston’s endearing notion that sexual bondage was a cure-all than her being more pacifist than Batman or Green Lantern.

However, there were a few WW stories when villains suffered “rehabilitative” justice instead of masculine punitive justive. Now, I don’t know if that is any better, because the rehabilitation seemed a lot like brainwashing to me. That is violence to me.

Also, I don’t see George Perez’s run as more violent than other superhero comics of the period.

If I agree with Luis on something is that Marsten was blind to the contradictions of the character he created. She is supposed to be a pacifist but comes from a Greek-Roman culture that was extremely violent, historically.

But, unlike Luis, I don’t look at contradictions and see a problem, I see potential richness. Life is contradiction.

As KAM pointed out above, it’s not like Superman and Batman were automatically a match (John Byrne’s view, of course, was that they really didn’t work together at all). But they became one because they were put together. Same to a lesser degree with Barry and Hal, or Ollie and Hal. So yeah, maybe down the road the Trinity will seem more organic than when they came up with it.

Post-Crisis, the Superman/Batman partnership runs on contrast, like a buddy cop movie.

Wonder Woman adds to this contrast. I think it was Matt Wagner, writer of a Trinity mini, that listed some of the contrasts.

2 males, 1 female.
2 terrestrial, 1 extraterrestrial.
2 bright, 1 dark.
2 superhuman, 1 human,
2 aristocrats, 1 man of the people.
2 orphans, 1 not.

Great post, but I was hoping you would do a retrospective of ALL the first meetings of DC’s big three (I refuse to use the word Trinity). Maybe too ambitious a project for a single post?

Great post, but I was hoping you would do a retrospective of ALL the first meetings of DC’s big three (I refuse to use the word Trinity). Maybe too ambitious a project for a single post?

What do you mean? Like post-Crisis, New 52 or whatever?

Yes I mean every in-continuity first meeting they had including retcons and reboots. Not counting imaginary stories and elseworlds. I’m always interested in how the story has changed over the years. For example what was their first meeting in the Silver Age retconned to be?

“Mini mental radios” So, Amazonian bluetooth?

Silver Age is a tough one because none of these three characters were rebooted, so the line between their Golden Age versions and the Silver Age versions is a little hazy. My guess is the first Silver Age meeting of all three at the same time would have been the JLA’s first adventure with the Appellaxians.

So was the next time The Brave and the Bold #29?

Luis:
>>Personally, I think the concept of Wonder Woman is simply too artificial to truly work (she might as well name herself Contradictions Woman far as concept goes), leading to ever so conscious attempts at making it work and at presenting her as an equal to Superman, or even Batman. We have an embarrassing under-representation of heroic women in comics as it is.<<

Ambassador of peace who has come to man's world to teach people alternate ways of resolving conflicts and how to exist peacefully with one another isn't that artificial. Yes, part of the problem is that her concept hasn't been central to her character over the entirety of her existence, but from George Perez on, it largely has been. At least til Azzarello changed things. Now she's little more than Warrior Woman.

Also, this:
>>I mean, a swimsuit-clad defender of women’s dignity?<<

Is something that trips a lot of people up. Years ago, I couldn't understand it either. Now I do. One of the many things feminists have pushed for is for women to be judged based on their words and actions, not on their appearance. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where the value of a woman is so often tied to her appearance, and for many people, if a woman doesn't dress "properly", she'll be dismissed. Part of what makes WW appealing to me is that she preaches a message of peace and diplomatic resolution of conflicts, while being proud of her body and wearing a costume (thought it's more armor than costume) that she feels comfortable in. The lesson the costume ought to impart is that women can and should feel free to wear whatever clothing they choose, including revealing clothing. Another concept tied to cultures around the world is that women aren't supposed to be sexual beings. Embracing women's rights also includes embracing their right to be sexual beings, and supporting them if they choose to express their sexuality. And also recognizing that no matter what a woman wears, she should be judge on the same merits as men, not on how she is or isn't attired.

Tony –

When people start to go on and on about Wonder Woman being an ambassador of peace that punches people, I do think they should remember that she was created in 1941. Wonder Woman was an answer to Nazism, and Nazism was and still is a huge thorn for people who advocate complete pacifism. Non-violence and civil resistance would never work against the Nazis. Yes, folks, sad as it is to acknowledge this, sometimes more violence IS the way to get peace. Even one of the most respected pacifists ever had a very weak suggestion about how to deal with the Nazis. Gandhi said that the Jews should have committed mass suicide. As if THAT would have stopped Hitler. Even if such an unlikely event came to pass, the Nazis would only claim that the mass suicide was more proof of how unnatural and inferior the Jews were.

Numerous later conflicts blighted the notion of engaging in war to secure peace, yes, but I don’t think that that invalidates Wonder Woman.

And yes, it’s not wearing a swimsuit or any kind of clothing that diminishes a woman’s dignity. There is a subtle but real difference between a woman that is proud and secure to display her body and a woman whose body has been turned into a commodity to please the male gaze. I think Wonder Woman has been in both situations throughout her long career. Guys like George Perez and Phil Jimenez have managed to keep her dignified in her classic costume. Unfortunately, lots of cover artists in the Rucka run have turned her into the equivalent of a Playboy bunny.

A) Wonder Woman ended up as secretary to the JSA because Marston kept wanting to rewrite all the stories, so she was regulated to a less vital role so he wouldn’t keep rewriting things and meddling with the story. Marston really didn’t want anyone working on Wonder Woman but him because he feared her message would be lost (which it clearly has been.. since she stands for nothing anymore other than warrior Amazon babe).

B) When Wonder Woman first appeared, she wasn’t wearing a bathing suit, that whole thing came about later. She originally wore a top with culottes (or a skort). Her original outfit was designed to be and commented on in her first issue as being “risque” and proved that Diana was proud of her body and refused to cover up. Remember, Wonder Woman first appeared in 1941, women didn’t wear that little clothing out in public. It was scandalous, but also showed how brave she was.

C) Wonder Woman has never “worked” with Batman and Superman because writers have no clue who she is or what to do with her. They’ve kept trying to fit her as the balance between them.. or the chick they fight over.. or the remote boring virginal goddess of Truth.. They don’t show her as a unique perspective and a unique heroine that she really is. Wonder Woman’s methods and methodology was designed to be less violent than the men.. and while Wonder Woman was fighting Nazis and what not, she would hit people and harm them.. she wasn’t shooting them and “accidentally” killing them like Batman was at the time and she wasn’t threatening to rip them limb from limb like Superman. She even APOLOGIZES while hitting them and says how she hates to use this much force.
She also did something neither Batman or Superman ever did.. she tried and successfully reformed her villains. Paula von Gunther went from being deadly enemy to staunchest ally. See Reformation Island was not some “brain washing” facility. Instead, women went to it and trained to be Amazons and unlocked their true potential (another thing WW has lost in the last several decades.. she isn’t an exemplary Amazon, she’s inherently better since she’s got super powers and knowingly or unknowingly cheats in the contest against her fellow amazons). Diana and other Amazons taught them (and the Halliway girls) to unlock their true potential and embrace their inner goodness.. Never stuck for Priscilla Rich though because of her multiple personalities and there is even a woman that ultimately rejects WW’s help because she’s too bound by her man.. Marston openly admitted that this was all propaganda and it was.. just really well written in fun stories and it worked.

Oh on another aside.. People throw out Marston’s complex bondage and S&M imagery (which is very well thought out) as some sort of proof that Marston was some loon and just a pervert.. The man was a very well accomplished and intelligent man. He created the DISC personality tests, which are still used today to determine personality. He clearly studied and understood people better than most.
As for the imagery itself, it’s actually pretty brilliantly done.. if a bit heavy handed at times (this is propaganda remember?). Wonder Woman (or really any woman in Marston’s world) bound by mankind loses her powers, she loses her will, and she’s weaker when controlled by man. Absolutely well thought out theme and much deeper stuff than a lot of Golden Age superhero stuff.
Add the loving submission and the whole flip side that a woman who puts a man in bondage is teaching him to love and to submit to women, who in Marston’s mind, were the perfect rulers. He felt women, free from the bondage of man and free to be themselves, would teach mankind a peaceful and better way to do things. To exemplify this, the Amazons were literally EVERYTHING.. they were experts on advance science and magic. Think, we’re almost 75 years after Wonder Woman’s first appearance and we’re STILL trying to stress women getting into the Maths and Sciences, Marston openly pushed for it. After his death, many of those elements were lost and Perez removed them all.. Azzarello burnt the village to the ground and salted it (taking a profemale message and turning it into an openly misogynistic one and knocking the amazons down to nothing more than barbarian babes).
Marston also created the magic lasso, not as a magic lie detector (Wonder Woman often could and did create her own lie detectors in the early comics.. even explaining HOW she did it..). Instead, it could compel anyone to do whatever Wonder Woman wanted.. it was an extension, according to Marston, of a woman’s natural charm to win anyone over and make them do things they would not normally do (Marston is clearly smitten with ladies). Perez severely limited it’s power to just truth in the 80’s and Azzarello just made it an accessory.

If DC/National had added Superman and Batman regularly to All-Star, the title would have not gone Western in 1951.

lots of cover artist”s in the Rucka run have turned her into the equivalent of a Playboy bunny.”
From BDSM model to Playboy Bunny. A step up, no? ;)

Vichus –

Well, they still kept the BDSM angle. :) I remember one cover of Wonder Woman handcuffed that was right out of a fetish magazine. Wonder Woman #220.

When you’re handcuffed in a bikini, it’s kind of odd. Last time I saw that, it was an episode of Cops.

I think there’s an issue of Flash that has a similar cover.

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