Batman First Learned the Real Motive Behind His Parents' Murder!

In every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without actively retconning away the previous story. Feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, we look at a revelation that has since gone through many different iterations over the years due to the multiple continuity resets that DC has done over the years, but I still think it is interesting to look at one of the very first examples of DC altering the origin of Batman to make it more complicated than it originally appeared.

It all began with that classic origin that we first saw in Detective Comics #33 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. I am going to share the version of the origin from Batman #1 (I like Batman #1 better than the original origin in Detective Comics #33 because they change the first panel so that it is not a teaser for the main story from Detective Comics #33. It always kind of weirds me out that Batman's first origin has a big panel for an unrelated story at the start of the page)

I believe Sheldon Moldoff might have actually done a little background work on that origin, but I am not positive about that.

Anyhow, that was the only origin for Batman for nearly a decade before Finger and Kane came back together to work on one of the very last Batman stories that the two creators did together in Batman #47 in 1948.

In that story (with Kane inked by Charles Paris), Batman sees the mugshot of a possible crook and he instantly recognizes Joe Chill as the gunman who killed his parents so many years ago...

How awesome is the visual imagery there by Kane with Bruce's eyes? So cool.

Anyhow, Batman naturally decides that he has to take Chill down...

However, after a couple of his plans did not work out, Batman decides to try a desperation move to get a confession out of Chill...

How dramatic is that page? What a well done story this is!

Chill freaks out and it turns out that he ends up forcing his own murder by his fellow crooks...

You can tell that this story is from the late 1940s, as the violence is a lot more visceral than it ever would be allowed in the days of the Comics Code. Not that characters did not still die in the days of the Comics Code, but not in quite the same way.

By the way, with the whole deal with "Martha" in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, isn't it funny how much of an afterthought Martha is in this story? "He killed MY FATHER! I mean, he killed my mom, too, but who cares?"

Speaking of the Comics Code, it would be after the institution of the Code (and well after Bob Kane stopped being involved with the day-to-day depiction of Batman anymore) that Bill Finger decided to make one more change to the classic origin...

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