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I know Superman predates Batman as far as first appearances in the comic books (1938 v 1939), but as far as the different universes go its not clear to me which character started vigilantism first. For example, in the new DC cinematic universe Superman started flying presumably after Bruce became the Batman. According to what has been said about the Dawn of Justice movie, Bruce will be the older Batman who has been around a while.

So who came first, Superman or Batman? I am more interested if they have mentioned this in the comics than the movie universes, but curious about both.

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    Due to the nature of sliding timescales in comics, I'm pretty sure this is going to be near impossible to answer. – phantom42 Jun 10 '15 at 4:05
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    So we're ignoring Superboy, then? – Valorum Jun 10 '15 at 5:49
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    “I am more interested if they have mentioned this in the comics than the movie universes, but curious about both” — ha ha! Two universes! Yes, just the two. – Paul D. Waite Jun 10 '15 at 9:54
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The comments cover most of the ground:

“I am more interested if they have mentioned this in the comics than the movie universes, but curious about both” — ha ha! Two universes! Yes, just the two.

Due to the nature of sliding timescales in comics, I'm pretty sure this is going to be near impossible to answer.

In any given universe, one or the other may have been operating first, and in various instances, it unambiguously was one or the other, in others, not.

So we're ignoring Superboy, then?

Here is where it becomes as unambiguous as things get. Speaking of the original, pre-Crisis Earth-Two, instances of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne (and their Earth-One successors), we have Clark operating as the original version of Superboy well before Bruce Wayne is shown to have had any costumed adventures. While later versions of the characters have many permutations of this, including Clark never using his powers until maturity and Bruce taking the mantle of Robin in his youth, with the versions of the characters introduced first in the real world, Clark was first.

  • as a related question, we can then assume thier ages are the same way? sometimes Bruce is older than clark and sometimes clark is older than bruce? – MC_Hambone Jun 10 '15 at 21:12
  • Given that they were at least conceived, and often born, light years apart, the question of the sequence of their birth is arguably unanswerable. – Politank-Z Jun 11 '15 at 1:15

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