Batman (1939) vs. Superman (1938)

Who’s going to get pimpslapped this time? 1939 Batman didn’t yet have the “always wins if he’s prepared” mojo, but 1938 Superman was vastly less powerful than his later incarnations. At this early phase of their careers, both were equally ruthless and willing to kill an opponent, so neither gains advantage from the other “holding back.”
So let’s look at the set up:
Superman- bulletproof, able to leap hundreds of feet, can outrun an express train, strong enough to lift an automobile overhead and pound it into a hillside. Seems to be of average intelligence. Kryptonite not yet invented (discovered?) so it isn’t a factor.
Batman- excellent physical condition, apparently knows something about unarmed combatives, has a few weapons (batgyro w/ machinegun, baterang, silk rope, handgun, choking gas capsules), very well funded, seems to be of above average intelligence.

I gotta go with Superman on this, mainly because 1938 Superman isn’t the altruistic Boyscout the character later became. Modern day Batman consistently makes Superman his bitch by exploiting Superman’s innate “nice guyness” and, of course, by using kryptonite when appropriate. I can easily see 1938 Superman demolishing Batman’s red automobile, pulling Batsy from the wreckage, and flinging him over the horizon just like he did the torturer in Action #1.
It’s been many years since I read any early Superman, but the only item that 1938 Batman uses than might conceivably have any effect are the choking gas capsules. I don’t remember whether early Superman could hold his breath for extended periods or whether he was immune to inhaled chemicals. If not, I’m still left with the question of how Batman might exploit that advantage while remaining within the bounds of the character as written at the time.

1938 Superman takes that one. He’d box 1939 Batman’s ears and give him a knuckle sandwich. He’d give Bats what-for!

Oh, he has the mojo. He just won’t be prepared to use the mojo for several years.

[sub]Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.[/sub]

Didn’t Batman originally carry guns? He would have unloaded on Superman then fled in terror when Supes kept coming.

Its’ so Superman. Without the “prepared” mojo Batman is just a dude. A dude with fancy gadgets, but that’s just bows and arrows vs. lighting when it comes to Supes.

Supes v. WWII era Alan Scott would be much closer, but even then Supes would just borrow a bat from a local little league team and go to town on GL.

Hold on. Batman was inspired by two genuine pulp-era bad-asses: Zorro and The Shadow – whereas all Superman had going for him was Wylie’s GLADIATOR, a significant but not impregnable facade.

I need more information. Where does this fight take place? Metropolis or Gotham? Day or night? Can Batman tap into the Wayne fortune? Can Superman use his x-ray vision to set things aflame? I need parameters, man.

Superman spent his first year fighting corrupt contractors and tinhorn dictators. Batman spent his first year fighting vampires, zombies, and Hugo Strange’s giants.



Have you been watching JLU? Given what happened at the end of Doomsday Sanction, you get the idea that Bats isn’t sold on Supermans boyscout image or his stability.

No, he’d have unloaded, thrown the gun at Superman in the hope that might hurt him, and then fled in terror. :slight_smile:

He’d have emptied the gun, then used a gas pellet to cover his escape as he disappeared down a sewer hole.

You are, no doubt, aware that this humorous riff is based on something that didn’t happen in the comics in 1938 (or any other year). Imagine how much funnier it would be if you and Adam Yax had based your posts on something that 1938 Superman actually “did.”

Of course Superman would have taken all the bullets in the chest and dodged as the gun was thrown at him.

Well, what is your point exactly? The original question is pure speculation and George Reeves did duck thrown guns. My response and the others following it are mixed partly on the comics and partly on the Superman series from the 1950’s. Sorry if it wasn’t the trenchant insight you were looking for.

No, the “ducking the thrown gun” is a George Reeve-ism. AFAIK, it isn’t from the comics at all, unless the writers have thrown it in recently as an ironic reference to the TV show. I’m not looking for trenchant insight as much as I am a (possibly) amusing discussion of a particular topic. In the last two days, I’ve started two threads about early Superman and you’ve shown up in both with the “lets bullets bounce of his chest but ducks when they throw the gun” joke.

  1. It isn’t an observation/joke original to you.
  2. It isn’t really related to the topic at hand.
  3. It’s only mildly funny, in any case, and wasn’t worth repeating.
    Please, do try to add humor to the thread. See the “amucing discussion” bit above. I’d simply be far more impressed if your attempts at humor were original and a bit more on task.

Scumpup, would you say “Worst episode ever” for me?


I’d be happy to, but I’m unsure what you’re getting at. If you’re indicating that “worst episode ever” is something you’re tired of seeing repeated, I agree completely. If you’re saying I’ve used that phrase and drawing a pot-kettle analogy to what I posted to Adam Yax, all I can tell you is that I’ve never used that phrase. I even ran an advanced search on my name and those words to be sure.

Geez, Scumpup. Buzzkill much?

First things first, note my user name - no caps.

Second, the ‘worst episode ever’ thing is trying to point out that you, like CBG are taking these things waaaaaaaay too seriously.

Also FTR, what was wrong with my original post?

Doc Savage would have cleaned both their clocks.