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When We First Met – When Did Batman First Vanish on Commissioner Gordon?

by  in Comic News Comment
When We First Met – When Did Batman First Vanish on Commissioner Gordon?

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “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!

First Time Batman Vanished on Commissioner Gordon

Readers JoeMac and Kieran S. (and I am sure others) have asked me about this over the years. I’ll be honest with you, I have not read through the first thirty-plus years of Batman comic books to give you a definitive can’t miss answer, but my pal Graeme Burk wrote in with his theory on the first appearance of this particular bit and I think Graeme is correct. If Graeme is incorrect, feel free to write in with a better answer but I am confident that Graeme is on point when he notes that the first appearance of this particular bit was in 1973’s Swamp Thing #7 by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson…

As you can see, it is definitely a new bit when it was used in Swamp Thing. Was it BRAND-new, though, is the question. I think so, but if anyone knows of a story before 1973 when Batman vanished on Gordon, please let me know by e-mailing me at!

EDITED TO ADD: Commenter Kenny noted that Batman did vanish on Gordon a year earlier in 1972’s Detective Comics #424 (by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Dick Giordano)


Reader Aaron asked about a couple of first appearances of popular nicknames courtesy of Ben Grimm, the Thing.

First Time the Thing Called the Human Torch “Matchstick” and First Time the Thing Called Mr. Fantastic “Stretch”

Early on, the Thing’s go-to nicknames for the Human Torch were “Squirt”…

and “Hot Head”…

And for Mister Fantastic, it was variations on “Rubber”…

and “Big Brain”…

In Fantastic Four #22 (the same issue that the Thing first said “clobberin’ time”), the Thing breaks out “matchstick” for the first time…

and the very next issue, he breaks out “stretch” for the first time…

By the way, in Fantastic Four #8, some criminals call the Human Torch “matchstick”…


If YOU have a suggestion for a comic debut you’re curious about, feel free to drop me a line at

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