In “When We First Met”, 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.
Today, reader Joe O. had a fascinating question. A few years back, I did a “When We First Met” on the first time that Wonder Woman shared a comic book panel with Superman and Batman.
That was a Justice Society story with a rare appearance of Batman and Superman as part of the team (they almost never were actually allowed to appear as part of the Justice Society back then, as DC’s position was that the most popular heroes shouldn’t be “wasted” on a team book. It was actually a funny thing where character would end up leaving as they grew more popular, like the Flash and Green Lantern also got elevated off of the team when they became popular heroes. Wonder Woman was a notable exception, but she was also the only female member for years, so I suppose that played a role in her not leaving the team – not to mention that she didn’t actually go on missions with the team back then for the most part, as she was the secretary for the team. And yes, that IS messed up)…
However, Joe’s question is when did Wonder Woman first have an actual team-up with Batman? When did she first have an actual team-up with Superman? Not just “they’re all together on a team,” but a standard “two heroes having a team-up” situation like how Batman and Superman had team-ups together for years in World’s Finest Comics.
The answer was surprising in just how long it took for it to happen. Remember, characters really didn’t appear in each other’s books that often back then, especially less popular characters appearing in more popular character’s books (as Superman’s editors would be, like, “We don’t need Green Lantern to sell this comic book”). And when they did appear in the pages of Superman, it was often as “the entire Justice League makes a cameo.”
So it really was not until the team-up books debuted that we had an actual chance of a real team-up between Wonder Woman and the World’s Finest Heroes. Brave and the Bold did not become an exclusive Batman team-up book until 1967 (although it was nearly that way in 1966, during the height of Bat-Mania, but then they went back to other heroes before settling on it being just a Batman team-up book). In one of the earliest issues, Batman does, indeed, team-up with Wonder Woman in 1968’s Brave and the Bold #78…
The story itself is bonkers as all hell, and in fact, I’ve decided to spotlight it for a “Remember to Forget” sometime this week, so be sure to look for that to see just how insane this story is (and not in a good way). However, it is, indeed, a Batman/Wonder Woman team-up.
Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #93 LOOKS like it was a team-up of Superman and Wonder Woman (during the period where she had lost her powers and stopped wearing her traditional costume)….
But in reality, it was an evil alien villain pretending to be Wonder Woman to get Superman to marry her. The real Wonder Woman spends the issue captured.
When making Brave and the Bold a Batman team-up book went over well, DC briefly decided to turn World’s Finest Comics into a Superman team-up book (it did not last long before it went back to being just Batman/Superman stories). During that period, Superman had a team-up with Wonder Woman (during her powerless period) in World’s Finest Comics #204…
Interestingly enough, Clark Kent and Diana Prince get matched together on a computer dating service (the issue was by Denny O’Neill, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella)…
They then get dragged into the future where the Earth is unlivable and a robot tells them that there is a riot about to happen on a school campus in Superman and Wonder Woman’s time and a young man is going to die. If he dies, the future is doomed. They go back in time and manage to save a young man’s life who fit the description given by the computer, but then ANOTHER young man dies, and the issue ends with them not knowing if they succeeded in their mission!
Holy bleak ending, Batman!
Finally, just for the heck of it, I believe the first issue where the three heroes specifically teamed up together in a sort of “Trinity” situation was not until the classic Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Superman Annual #11 in 1985, “For the Man Who Has Everything”…
Alan Moore sure did have a huge influence on DC Comics during his time there.
Thanks for the suggestion, Joe! If anyone else has an idea for a future edition of When We First Met, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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