The Real Batman Chronology Project

The Real Batman Chronology Project The Real Batman Chronology Project is a narratological study of reader-writer engagement with multi-authored serialized comic book storytelling (using detailed Batman timelines as primary case studies). www.therealbatmanchronologyproject.com
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The Real Batman Chronology Project, which started in 2009, tracks the narrative continuity of DC Comics via the lens of Batman, plotting each of his appearances into detailed timelines. To the average comic book reader or especially non-readers, simple questions arise: Doesn’t one just read the comics in the order they are published? Why does there need to be a project dedicated to ordering comics? And if it really is so difficult to figure out a reading order, surely there must be a lot of projects similar to the Real Batman Chronology Project online, right?” Ultimately, these questions all combine to form the bigger question of “Why is my site necessary?” I’ll try to answer as best as I can. First of all, my site is necessary due to the sheer complexity of how the superhero genre delivers its stories. Superhero universes exist in comics as a vast collection of interconnected serialized fictions. Every Wednesday, dozens of titles come out continuing the story from the previous week’s batch of titles. And all of these titles–week to week, month to month, and so on—tell an ongoing über-story in which the events and characters of said titles all exist in the same shared world, directly influencing each other. (To show how many ongoing titles are released, we can look at a selection of publications from a random Wednesday in 2015: Dark Horse put out 10 comics, DC put out 25, IDW put out 10, Image put out 15, Marvel put out 20, and various indie companies combined to put out 30.) DC and Marvel don’t tell you in what order to read them or how to organize them. Now, to be clear, the Big Two do publish trade paperbacks and their issues are all numbered and can be read in some sort of an order. But when it comes to stitching every title together to make the über-story that tells the whole tale, that is not a task that either company really gets bogged down in. How can all these titles possibly function cohesively? All together, the comics form a puzzle and it’s how the pieces fit together that really interests me.

Mission: Beyond the already layered complexity of writing and reading sequential art, the very nature of superhero comics is unique compared to other forms of media. When you read (or create) serialized superhero comic book narratives, you are engaging in a perceptive (or creative) process that is quite unlike any other. My site, using Batman as a primary case study, serves to analyze and catalogue this phenomenon. The unique narrative complexity of superhero comics consists primarily of a few key things. First, superhero universes exist in comics as a vast collections of interconnected serialized fiction—authored by hundreds of different people, including writers, pencilers, colorists, inkers, letterers, editors, publishers, and more—over the span of decades. Beyond this (and because of this), much of the superhero genre is open to reader interpretation—and authorial interpretation of previous authorship. Every Wednesday, dozens of titles come out continuing the story from the previous week’s batch of titles. And all of these titles–week to week, month to month, and so on—tell an ongoing über-story in which the events and characters of said titles all exist in the same shared world, directly influencing each other. That’s a lot of material, and DC and Marvel don’t tell you in what order to read them or how to organize them. If we look solely at DC, for example, we are talking about literally hundreds of creators working together to create a “shared universe”—essentially one single unified story. How can all these titles (and creators) possibly exist and function cohesively? How can there be a coherent story, both visually and narratively? Holistically, the comics form a puzzle and it’s how the pieces fit together that really interests me. Sticking with Batman appearances allows for the easiest opportunity to determine passage of time, character age, where events occur, where things need to be rearranged, how things come together, or how things fail to come together for the entire DC Universe. This project is about proving certain theses true: one, continuity equals congruity (meaning that, contrary to what a lot of folks think, continuity isn’t supposed to over-complicate or make texts feel exclusive—it actually helps us understand narrative more easily); two, serialized multi-authored narratives utilize truly unique forms of storytelling; and, three, a cohesive superhero universe is the result of a collaborative interpretive process undertaken by both creators and readers alike.

07/12/2019

malware attack, hacked, CDN problems, unrecognizable SSL cert, mystery 502 error... and all at the same time. site will be down for at least 48 more hours (and that's with any luck).

content part tres
06/19/2019
Dick Grayson as Batman: A Retrospective (Part 3)

content part tres

  Welcome to the third and final part of “Dick Grayson as Batman: A Retrospective (Part 3).” We left off in our last piece with Dick long into his tenure as Batman. With Bruce Wayn…

content part deux
05/08/2019
Dick Grayson as Batman: A Retrospective (Part 2)

content part deux

  Welcome to Part 2 of “Dick Grayson as Batman: A Retrospective”—a detailed look at Dick Grayson’s time spent wearing the cape and cowl of the Batman. In Part 1 we looked at …

content alert
05/06/2019
Dick Grayson as Batman: A Retrospective (Part 1)

content alert

Ever since the Golden Age, Batman has occasionally had friends fill-in for him underneath the cape and cowl—usually Alfred or Superman as part of a ruse to fool either a villain or a snooping assoc…

Great recent interview with one of my personal favorite comic book writers of all time—and, in my opinion, truly one o...
04/21/2019
One of Batman’s most singular writers explains why women are so drawn to Gotham City

Great recent interview with one of my personal favorite comic book writers of all time—and, in my opinion, truly one of the best comic book writers ever: Devin Grayson. Excellent content here. Lots of food for thought about an industry that's always two steps ahead of the curve yet paradoxically always has both feet in the grave.

Devin Grayson is the only woman to have been the lead writer on a core Batman title ... ever

Content that isn't just pictures (for once).
03/19/2019
The Prismatic Age: Batman as a Reflection of Outdated Ideas | disCONTINUITY

Content that isn't just pictures (for once).

I was recently reading a post entitled Comic Characters I Enjoy More in Spin-off Media by the great Anthony Dean, who runs the wonderful blog, Diverse Tech Geek. In his piece, Dean speaks about some of the reasons that he isn't that into the current Batman featured in mainstream comics.

Judo Chop! Part Nine (out of Ten)
03/19/2019
Judo Chop! Part Nine | disCONTINUITY

Judo Chop! Part Nine (out of Ten)

I know I said I was giving up on these, but theres just too damn much good stuff to ignore. Also, it makes sense to have Judo Chop! be a ten part series.

This Ronald Wimberly comic was linked in the previous thing I posted, and it's a few years old now, but damn it's gooooo...
02/28/2019
Lighten Up

This Ronald Wimberly comic was linked in the previous thing I posted, and it's a few years old now, but damn it's gooooooood. Everyone should read. Also, Wimberly is one of the best comic book makers alive today.

A cartoonist reflects on the subtle racism of shifting skin tones in a Marvel comic

I know I said I was swearing off FB, but this is the best piece of comic book writing I've read in quite some time. Very...
02/28/2019
Transmyscira: Time Dies Screaming in SUPREME BLUE ROSE

I know I said I was swearing off FB, but this is the best piece of comic book writing I've read in quite some time. Very very damn good. (By Véronique Emma Houxbois).

"The magic, the pure delirious power of comics as a medium is that they taught us everything we need to know to understand them as a function of reading them."

We discover possible pasts at the same time as we feel the opening up of possible futures. – Peter Wollen, Raiding The Icebox: Reflections on Twentieth Century Culture   We look at the p…

One more list to close-out 2018. My New Year's Resolution is to do no more lists in 2019.
01/23/2019
Books (Non-Comics) I Read in 2018 | disCONTINUITY

One more list to close-out 2018. My New Year's Resolution is to do no more lists in 2019.

2018 was a big year of lists for this blog site. Besides the cross-listed in-depth character histories that I wrote for the amazing TBU.net, most of disCONTINUITY was myopically-focused on judo and karate references in 60s and 70s comic books.

My favorite comics of 2018 PART ONE (#36 to #19)
01/10/2019
The Best Comics of 2018: 18 Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order) | disCONTINUITY

My favorite comics of 2018 PART ONE (#36 to #19)

Beneath the Dead Oak Tree by Emily Carroll Brat by Michael DeForge The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson & Chris Moreno Cruel and Unusual: Story of Lethal Injection by Liliana Segu...

New Judo Chop! with some truly mind-blowing ads from the 1970s.
11/21/2018
Judo Chop! Part Eight | disCONTINUITY

New Judo Chop! with some truly mind-blowing ads from the 1970s.

The judo chops keep on coming. Although, a decidedly noticeable drop-off in comic book references while ADVERTISEMENTS are on the rise as we head into the late 1970s. (There are some really amazing ads in this bunch.

my latest comics history, written for TBU, about KGBeast!
11/14/2018
Ten Nights (and Thirty Years) of the Beast (Part 1)

my latest comics history, written for TBU, about KGBeast!

  In March of 1988, who could have guessed the Cold War had pretty much run out of steam and was soon to end in only a couple years’ time? Certainly not creators Jim Starlin and Jim Apar…

99 problems but struggling for years to gain control of America to make its people my slaves while exhausting all my eld...
11/04/2018

99 problems but struggling for years to gain control of America to make its people my slaves while exhausting all my eldritch knowledge in the attempt without success ain't one.

GREAT scene from B&B #118 by Bob Haney/Jim Aparo (1975) wherein which Joker has his henchman hold a gun to a puppy's hea...
10/27/2018

GREAT scene from B&B #118 by Bob Haney/Jim Aparo (1975) wherein which Joker has his henchman hold a gun to a puppy's head, forcing Batman and Wildcat to box each other while wearing spiked-gloves that are infected with a deadly virus. Doesn't get much better than this!

Apparently, FB won't let me post a link with pics today. Typical.
10/19/2018
Judo Chop! Part Six | disCONTINUITY

Apparently, FB won't let me post a link with pics today. Typical.

Action Comics #430 Action Comics #431 The Brave and The Bold #107 The Brave and The Bold #107 Batman #255 Batman #259 Batman #260 Batman #260 Detective Comics #443 Detective Comics #443 Detective Comics #443 Wonder Woman #213...

Nice touch in Detective Comics 431 where Batman, out of his familiar skyscraper environment while on a case in Florida, ...
09/28/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Nice touch in Detective Comics 431 where Batman, out of his familiar skyscraper environment while on a case in Florida, perches atop a high dive to ponder the clues (by Dennis O'Neil, Irv Novick, & Murphy Anderson, 1973).

“Delightful moment in Detective Comics 431 where Batman, out of his familiar skyscraper environment while on a case in Florida, perches atop a high dive to ponder the clues (by Dennis O'Neil, Irv Novick, & Murphy Anderson, 1973).”

World's Finest SLAPP (by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella, WFC #211, 1972).
09/14/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

World's Finest SLAPP (by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella, WFC #211, 1972).

“World's Finest SLAPP (by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella, WFC #211, 1972).”

What would the Judo Chop series be without the amazing 1970s advertisements? Clearly, advertisers viewed comic book read...
09/10/2018
Judo Chop! Part Four | disCONTINUITY

What would the Judo Chop series be without the amazing 1970s advertisements? Clearly, advertisers viewed comic book readers as pencil-necked geeks that were in dire need of bulking up so they could fend-off countless waves of jock bullies. The ads speak for themselves.

What would the Judo Chop series be without the amazing 1970s advertisements? Clearly, advertisers viewed comic book readers as pencil-necked geeks that were in dire need of bulking up so they could fend-off countless waves of jock bullies.

Anyone know what issue this image is from? Part of Knightfall arc in 94-ish. It's very frustrating that like 99% of rand...
09/01/2018

Anyone know what issue this image is from? Part of Knightfall arc in 94-ish. It's very frustrating that like 99% of random images online aren't sourced in any way, shape, or form. I've never put an image online (FB, Twitter, Tumblr, etc) without saying where it came from and who created it. Peeps NEED TO LEARN.

1970s DCU: The darkest timeline. ☹️  (by Haney/Cardy, B&B #95, 1971).
08/22/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

1970s DCU: The darkest timeline. ☹️ (by Haney/Cardy, B&B #95, 1971).

“1970s DCU: The darkest timeline. ☹️ (by Haney/Cardy, B&B #95, 1971).”

The way they portrayed Zatanna in the early 70s was... interesting. (JLA 87, by Friedrich, Dillin, & Giella, 1971).
08/20/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

The way they portrayed Zatanna in the early 70s was... interesting. (JLA 87, by Friedrich, Dillin, & Giella, 1971).

08/17/2018

The site has been hacked. Will be down for at least 24 hours. Thanks for all the concern, friends.

Great weepy Batman ending (my favorite type of Batman ending), where our hero falls in love with a ghost only to acciden...
08/14/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Great weepy Batman ending (my favorite type of Batman ending), where our hero falls in love with a ghost only to accidentally exorcise her. (From Batman #227, by Denny O'Neil/Irv Novick/Dick Giordano, 1970.)

“Great weepy Batman ending (my favorite type of Batman ending), where our hero falls in love with a ghost only to accidentally exorcise her. (From Batman 227, by Denny O'Neil/Irv Novick/Dick Giordano, 1970.)”

Excellent layouts, excellent art by the legendary Nick Cardy (The Brave & The Bold #92, 1970).
08/08/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Excellent layouts, excellent art by the legendary Nick Cardy (The Brave & The Bold #92, 1970).

Batgirl's flirting in Detective Comics #401 is so awkward I love it. (By, who else, Denny O'Neil & Gil Kane, 1970.)
07/30/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Batgirl's flirting in Detective Comics #401 is so awkward I love it. (By, who else, Denny O'Neil & Gil Kane, 1970.)

“Batgirl's flirting in Detective Comics #401 is so awkward I love it. (By, who else, Denny O'Neil & Gil Kane, 1970.)”

Great panel from Batman #222 (by Mike Friedrich & Irv Novick, 1970).
07/29/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Great panel from Batman #222 (by Mike Friedrich & Irv Novick, 1970).

“this tired all the time, but for no reason”

Detective Comics #400 (1970) was a paradigm shift for Batman comics in many ways. BUT THIS SUMS IT ALL UP! #judowatch
07/27/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Detective Comics #400 (1970) was a paradigm shift for Batman comics in many ways. BUT THIS SUMS IT ALL UP! #judowatch

“Detective Comics #400 (1970) was a paradigm shift for Batman comics in many ways. BUT THIS SUMS IT ALL UP! #judowatch”

It’s time for Judo Chop! Part Two. All mentions of JUDO from 1969 through early 1970. They LOVE mentioning JUDO. Batma...
07/27/2018
Judo Chop! Part Two | disCONTINUITY

It’s time for Judo Chop! Part Two. All mentions of JUDO from 1969 through early 1970. They LOVE mentioning JUDO. Batman even does Judo to a horse.

Batman is so mean to Arthur Reeves, right out of the gate. He's a straight up BULLY. Denny O'Neil setting the early stag...
07/27/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Batman is so mean to Arthur Reeves, right out of the gate. He's a straight up BULLY. Denny O'Neil setting the early stage for his lengthy 70s run here in Detective Comics #399 (1970).

an interesting bat thing coming soon
07/21/2018
Batman and Ethics — my new book coming next spring!

an interesting bat thing coming soon

The news is out! As announced in the "Batman's Brain" panel at San Diego Comic-Con and in an interview with CGTN America, the superhero-and-philosophy book I've been teasing for the last few months is titled Batman and Ethics and will be published by Wiley Blackwell next spring! Following the same.....

Denny O'Neil nailed these Men's Rights bigots in the VERY PRESCIENT Justice League of America #77 (1969). In this tale, ...
07/17/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Denny O'Neil nailed these Men's Rights bigots in the VERY PRESCIENT Justice League of America #77 (1969). In this tale, Joker disguises himself to become a fear-mongering hate-spewing public speaker, who riles up these awful dudes. At one point, Batman even winds up in in a death trap—inside of a TRUMP structure, no less!

“Denny O'Neil nailed these Men's Rights bigots in the VERY PRESCIENT JLA #77 (1969). In this tale, Joker becomes a fear-mongering hate-spewing public speaker, who riles up these awful dudes. At one point, Batman even winds up in inside a death trap—in a TRUMP structure, no less!”

Dick goes to college (Batman #217, 1970).
07/05/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Dick goes to college (Batman #217, 1970).

“Dick goes to college aka the short goodbye (1970)”

Happy Pride Month from this excellent single page of a 1969 Batman comic. (The Brave & The Bold #85, by Bob Haney, Neal ...
06/29/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Happy Pride Month from this excellent single page of a 1969 Batman comic. (The Brave & The Bold #85, by Bob Haney, Neal Adams, & Dick Giordano.)

“Happy Pride Month from this excellent single page of a 1969 Batman comic. (The Brave & The Bold #85, by Bob Haney, Neal Adams, & Dick Giordano.)”

All men are slaves to the MALE EGO, even Batman. (From The Brave & The Bold #87, 1970, by the amazing Mike Sekowsky & Di...
06/29/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

All men are slaves to the MALE EGO, even Batman. (From The Brave & The Bold #87, 1970, by the amazing Mike Sekowsky & Dick Giordano.)

“All men are slaves to the MALE EGO, even Batman. (From The Brave & The Bold #87, 1970, by the amazing Mike Sekowsky & Dick Giordano.)”

Everything just everything about this panel—from the continuation of Lois Lane's murder trial in Lois Lane #100. By Ro...
06/26/2018
andy narwhal on Twitter

Everything just everything about this panel—from the continuation of Lois Lane's murder trial in Lois Lane #100. By Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick, & Mike Esposito, 1970.

“Everything just everything about this panel—from the continuation of Lois Lane's murder trial in Lois Lane #100. By Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick, & Mike Esposito, 1970.”

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