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Batman is obviously an on-topic character for our site. He regularly teams up with or confronts aliens and has awesome technology at his fingertips even if he himself is "just a man in a suit".

However, would that have always been the case? I know Batman debuted in "Detective Comics" in 1939 and was popular enough to gain his own comic series in 1940. Wikipedia states: "The early part of the era known to comics fans and historians as the Silver Age of Comic Books saw the Batman title dabble in science fiction."; with the Silver Age starting in 1956.

At any point between the debut in 1939 and the claim that science fiction dabbling didn't begin until ~1956 did Batman have any other element that would have been considered "science fiction" or "fantasy, and if so what was the first occurrence?

Note: I am performing a bit of hypothetical... if SFF.SE existed back in the 1940s, would Batman been considered on-topic, or would he been have like James Bond's "spy-fy" where the series at large would have been off-topic (at least until the introduction of the SFF elements)?

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    Does a fictional plague count? Or suction knee pads for climbing up a brick wall?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 10 at 18:52
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    @Valorum I don't think so, unless that plague caused zombies or that knees pads were made from unobtanium. Basically if it wouldn't be enough to make James Bond SFF, it can't make Batman SFF. I understand this can be a very fine line because of how speculative fiction works in general.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 10 at 18:54
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    Probably the bit where he has the proportional strength and speed of a bat, sheesh. Commented Jul 11 at 22:07
  • @PaulD.Waite - Are bats especially strong? Aren't they just basically flying mice?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 11 at 22:32
  • @Valorum I mean they can hang from rafters for ages. On grip strength alone that's off the charts. Commented Jul 12 at 10:16

1 Answer 1

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I'm going to go with Detective Comics #31 - 'Batman Versus the Vampire, Part 1', five issues into Batman's first run. Batman chases the titular ghoul to his secret laboratory and is attacked by a trained gorilla. "Ho-hum," I hear you say. "How utterly mundane. We all have trained gorillas". But this gorilla is the size of a double-decker bus.

enter image description here

At this point I'm almost hesitant to point out that his next outing (in Detective Comics #32 - 'Batman Versus the Vampire, Part 2') had Batman fighting against a literal shape-shifting, mind-controlling vampire who could take over people's bodies and turn into a bat and was immortal. Compared to the colossal ape above, that's almost boring by comparison.

enter image description here

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    Gotta love Batman when he was still smokin' fools!
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 10 at 19:24
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    I'd argue that a giant gorilla is less of a "fantasy" element in-context and more of an "adventurer-fiction" trope - the sort of detail that might feature in a tall tale like "WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH" from Men's Life magazine. Exaggeratedly large animals featured a lot in old adventurer-fiction stories. The vampire definitely qualifies, though.
    – Alexia
    Commented Jul 10 at 20:10
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    @Alexia - My trained attack-gorilla is nowhere near the size of that one.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 10 at 20:30
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    That gorilla looks more like an orangoutang to me. Commented Jul 10 at 22:20
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    @StanleyWebb Whatever you do, don't use the M-word, it'll only make him angry ("Oook!")
    – ThaRobster
    Commented Jul 11 at 8:22

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