Superman and Batman know their identities.

Batman with Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert

We first saw Superman on May 3, 1938 in Action Comics #1, while we met Batman in Detective Comics #27, published on April 18, 1939. Both could only be seen together in a couple of of panels within a story in All-Star Comics #7 (from August 25, 1941). But it would be a few years before they really met and collaborated on a mission. It was the same day Superman and Batman learn their identities.

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Both heroes were members of the first superhero team, The Justice Society of America (which years later would become The Justice League of America). Outside of these comics, they had never been seen living together in the same story. That changed in 1952. Before delving into it, I leave you the note where you can see them together for the first time:


Most superhero comics had stopped being published; the end of the war had dampened interest and readers migrated to genres such as horror and police. Only a handful of heroes continued to appear in their respective magazines, as was the case with Wonder Woman.

Batman and Superman -as well as Green Arrow- appeared in World’s Finest Comics magazine and although the duo shared a cover, they were not seen participating in the same adventure. This comic began publication on February 10, 1941.

Fans hoping to see their favorite heroes together got their wish on March 7, 1952. And it didn’t happen in World’s Finest Comics (which was about to release issue #28), but in Superman #76.

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The story, written by Edmond Hamilton with art by Curt Swan (one of the quintessential Superman artists and who holds the record for the most stories drawn for The Man of Steel), announces on its cover that the couple join forces to become ” The most powerful team on Earth.”

The meeting is more circumstantial than planned, since both characters plan to go on a cruise vacation. As the quota is full, Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne are assigned to the same room.

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A man causes a fire as a distraction to commit a robbery. Wayne and Kent search for a way to switch to their respective identities, but find out about each other. Putting his surprise aside, Superman puts out the fire while Batman rescues Lois Lane. Once the initial crisis passes, the heroes vow not to reveal their identities to other people.

Batman and Superman combine their talents to discover the thief on the cruise ship. This represents a difficulty due to space restrictions; Clark seeks to get away from Lois Lane who works on her behalf to cover the robbery and discover the thief, which she succeeds in. Not only that, but he deduces the respective identities of the heroes. After catching the offender and turning him over to the authorities, Clark and Bruce devise a way to trick Lois and keep their respective secrets.

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It wasn’t long before World’s Finest Comics magazine began publishing stories featuring Batman and Superman side by side. This happened starting with issue #71, which hit the newsstands on May 26, 1954. Interestingly, Superman swaps uniforms with Batman in front of Robin, when supposedly only Wayne knew his secret.

In World’s Finest Comics #88 we would see another interesting duet, that of their main enemies: Lex Luthor and Joker, an event that we will analyze in a couple of weeks.

70 years have passed since the first real encounter between Superman and Batman, as part of the Golden Age of American comics.

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Superman and Batman know their identities.

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