“Time is the eternal butter that melts before all men”
-some philosopher, probably.
Gosh, it’s been a while. I apologise. Apparently the last time I proved beyond reasonable doubt that Batman was better than anything was back in November 2014. It’s hard to believe that that was over 100 years ago now! Crazy! The truth is that work got in the way – exhibiting at conventions and working on comics. I even got to work on a Batman comic! A dream come true. But it’s no excuse for not keeping up with proving how Batman is better than everything in the world. Time makes fools of us all, I suppose.
Us all…EXCEPT BATMAN.
To be clear, we are not talking about how Batman is better than Time Magazine, popular weekly news publication. Time Magazine have actually already admitted their inferiority to Batman, having voted him their “person of the year” every single year since they began the award in 1927 (impressive given that the caped crusader wasn’t actually created until 12 years after that.) SURE, if you look on Wikipedia it’ll tell you such honourable gentlemen as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Richard Nixon have won the award, but the truth is that this is all a ruse – Batman has consistently won for his contributions in the field of “punching bad dudes in the face”.
Kicking ass and getting rid of bombs.
Today we are discussing how Batman is better than the concept of time, AKA the fourth dimension AKA “Old Man Clocksworth’s Endless March”. The most simple and direct way to prove this is to point out how the caped crusader has dealt with time better than most – this year he turns 76, and yet forever remains in his mid to late 30s, or thereabouts. Even when Bruce Wayne is an old man, in The Dark Knight Returns or Batman Beyond, he remains ageless and eternal.
It could be argued that this is true of most fictional characters, but the fascinating thing about comic book characters specifically is how they endure and adapt through the ages. Batman fought Nazis. Batman handled commies in the Cold War. Batman…um…probably has an iPod now. And Tinder? Those are modern things right?
It’s the only way he can meet people these days. 🙁
Batman has probably lived longer than anyone reading this, and will continue to live beyond our inevitable deaths.
BUT ANYWAY HEY THAT’S A BIT MORBID LET’S CHECK OUT SOME FUN TIMES BATMAN HAS TIME TRAVELLED.
Batman’s biggest recent time travel escapade was back in 2010’s The Return of Bruce Wayne, in which Bruce journeys through the timestream to return to present day Gotham City following his supposed “death” at Darkseid’s hand. SOMEHOW we already discussed this story back when we proved that Batman was better than Pac-Man, so moving on…
In the comics, Batman would often time travel early on before a more serious, sombre tone was established to “course correct” the character following the camp 1966 TV series. Often time travel stories would feature Professor Carter Nichols, a friend of Thomas Wayne’s who had developed a method of time travel hypnosis to displace characters in the timestream. Gosh, Batman comics used to be stupid.
This meant that from the 1940s to the 1960s, a time when superhero stories were generally less popular, these time travel adventures allowed Batman and Robin to have more traditional adventure stories in Ancient Rome…
…and even dinosaur times (AKA “the awesomesoic era”).
Interestingly* the giant T-Rex that takes pride of place in many iterations of the Batcave did NOT come from a time-travel story, but that’s best left for another time.
*”interestingly” is used relative here to how much you care about Batman’s history, but if you made it this far I KNOW YOU DO.
Professor Carter Nichols, like many more far fetched Bat-characters, basically disappeared after the 60s, although there is still an occasional reference to him, for example in Batman: Brave and the Bold, a cartoon devoted to some of the sillier aspects of the Bat-legacy.
Batman’s most well-known time based enemy is probably Clock King, a villain who has the honour of being featured in both Batman: The Animated Series AND the 1966 live action Batman series, as well as being in Brave and the Bold and most recently in the Flash/Arrow TV series.
As a DC villain, Clock King’s past is complicated and convoluted. The character first appeared in Star Spangled Comics #70 (in July 1947), and later became primarily a Green Arrow villain with an awesome costume.
“Is this enough clocks on my costume? Do you get my clock motif yet?”
Later he died in a Suicide Squad mission, but then there was another guy with the same name, or it might just be a reboot of the same guy, also the character was originally called “The Clock”, and is sometimes known as William Tockman, sometimes as Tempus Fugit…and…um…okay. Listen. Minor DC characters are all over the place, okay? I can’t help it if it’s hard to keep track. Leave me alone.
In season 2 of Batman (1966), Clock King had the honour of showing up in the only two-parter co-written by Batman’s true creator, Bill Finger. As with most Batman ’66 villains, he uses a bunch of non-specific brightly coloured gas to knock people out. At the end of part one, he traps the dynamic duo in a giant hourglass. A subplot involves Aunt Harriet inviting a giddy Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara to Bruce Wayne’s surprise birthday party. Batman ’66 is just PRECIOUS.
Instead of just shooting him, Batman ’66 villains come up with the best traps.
Later depections show Clock King as a cold, calculating mastermind capable of planning schemes down to the second and using a finely tuned internal clock to ensure heroes will fall into every step of his traps right on time.
None of this disguises the fact that Clock King is kind of a dumb villain.
If it’s not painfully clear by now, Batman is better than time.