Detective Comics x 2?!?

SO!.., Please do FORGIVE me, should my Q have already been asked & answered…
HOWEVER I did search for it just about as well as could be.
With BOTH of the 2 titles, Detective Comics & Batman, being dedicated to the life & adventures [each its own, very much different] of Bruce Wayne, well… MY Question is, HOW CAN THIS BE??? IS it possible?? I mean, they ARE running [it appears to MyDamnedSelf, anyhoo] in the exact same time, & of the exact same persons… YES?? …NO???


Detective Comics is a magazine that predates the creation of Batman. Starting with issue #27, it began running stories featuring Batman alongside other stories featuring detectives such as Slam Bradley. Batman was popular enough that he became the headliner for most of the magazine’s history, and that popularity led to the introduction of a quarterly magazine that featured nothing but Batman stories.

These two magazines, Detective Comics and Batman, have often been written by the same author at any given time. In fact, in the early-to-mid 1980s (long after the Batman magazine had become a monthly book instead of a quarterly), the stories would intersect: a multi-part arc would begin in Batman and then continue in Detective Comics, or vice versa.

Back-up stories in Detective Comics featuring another detective or superhero were phased out in 1987, and the book has (mostly) been a single-story Batman series ever since. That’s also when the two magazines began to have their own separate dedicated writers: Mike Barr (soon replaced by Alan Grant) on Detective Comics and Max Collins (soon replaced by Jim Starlin) on Batman.

Still, the two magazines continue to tell stories about the same character and tend to occur around the same time within the fictional narrative.


Superman and Action Comics both feature Superman at the same time, also. It’s common comic book thing for all characters that are really popular.


Ok! Thanks for those 2 thoughtful replies to my Q. But I think it’s obvious now that, well… I did not explain myself well. And I should explain that, yes, I do understand everything you’ve said. AND, what I really meant was, in short… what I’m really asking is — does it really seem possible that the same character actually be doing everything that is written in BOTH books AT THE SAME TIME? I mean I LOVE Batman as much as the next fan. But it just seems to me that Bruce Wayne, being human, cannot be EVERYwhere AT THE SAME TIME. He’s not The Flash!!
Please EXPLAIN it to me!!

Am I WRONG somehow??


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I asked this question myself a while back and didn’t really get a satisfactory answer. I get the feeling this is the kind of thing that comics fans accept as “just the way things are/have always been” without questioning it too much.

And don’t forget, Batman is on the Justice League AND The Outsiders, too. Plus, he’s in however many Batman limited series DC has running at the moment. And during the '90s and '00s there were usually 3-4 or more Batman books running at any given time, in addition to “Batman” and “Detective Comics”. It’s just one of those things. :man_shrugging:


In short, no. You’re not supposed to believe that both stories are happening at the same time, just at some point within the same general time frame.

And, in a world where men can fly and others can shapeshift, it’s totally okay that that is 100% impossible.How the neck what a Batsignal work on days without low hanging clouds, anyway???

You want to really blow your mind? Grant Morrison wants you to believe that every story that ever happened with Batman dating all the way back to the original Detective Comics 27 all occurred and occurred within the space of 5 to 10 years (because Bruce Wayne isn’t in his 100’s, you see).


Looking at the answers you got, I don’t know why you’d be dissatisfied. You received the correct answer from everyone who replied.

Action Comics and Detective Comics were anthologies. Superman’s stories began appearing in Action, and Batman’s stories began appearing in Detective. The two characters were extremely popular, so they received their own solo titles. Eventually, DC began cutting the length of their books to keep prices down. The non-Superman stories in Action and the non-Batman stories in Detective were the obvious choices to cut. That’s the entire answer.

Well, Grant dismisses the idea that these characters have any reason to age like normal human beings. They’re “paper people,” as he puts it. I’m inclined to agree with his sentiment.

Yes, because we’re all “Super Gods.” And, to paraphrase another slightly insane and genius writer from overseas, they’re all imaginary stories.

I was somewhat being facetious, though.


Well, if a six issue story takes place over the course of a week, assuming a biweekly schedule, then it will take three months for this one week to complete. Multiplied by two that’s two weeks for three months. If you add in team ups and other appearances… I mean, it doesn’t really work out perfectly, because basically Batman would be saving the world every single day. But if you have this explanation, and you don’t think about it too hard, maybe mix it with the “paper people” thing, it kinda works.


So if you sit down and watch Game of Thrones season 1 on your tv and season 2 on your tablet do they take place at the same time as well?

Sorry, but it should be pretty obvious that even if two books featuring the same character are published in the same week they do not take place at the same time. You even have some of them explicitly state that the storyline within that book take place before a certain issue in another series that might have been published months earlier.

Also as @TornadoSoup says each issue might span anywhere from an hour to over a month, so there’s actually room enough to place other stories in between breaks in a story or even in between issues of the individual books when they don’t continue directly into the next issue.

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Well, yes, it’s a satisfactory and correct answer in terms of the publication history of the books, but that’s not really what I was asking about. I was asking pretty much the same thing that SuperCrip666 here is asking: what, in-story, is the relationship between “Batman”/“Detective” and “Action”/“Superman”? Is one considered to be the “real” story, or are they both considered canon? Are they understood to take place in the same reality, at the same time, or in different realities? Is one considered more “important” and more worthy of paying attention to story-wise than the other? I think we’re getting a bit closer to the answer now in this thread.

I will say, from nearly a year of observation since I asked the question, it appears that “Batman” is the more “important” of the two titles, if not historically, at least in recent years. I see lots of discussion of the Scott Snyder and Tom King and James Tynion runs on “Batman”, but hardly any of the “Detective Comics” runs over the same time period (and that’s to say nothing of the tertiary on-going titles like the New 52’s “Batman: The Dark Knight”). The most important Batman events seem to take place in the “Batman” book. So then, what does that make “Detective”, exactly? An alternative to “Batman”, or is it integral to the overall Batman story? Is it canon or non-canon? Is it part of the same canon with “Batman”, or is it a separate, but still totally valid canon? Is it a supplementary book to “Batman”, with just “extra” tales, or is it just as “important” as “Batman”? This is the kind of thing I’m getting at.

(Yes, I realize I’m taking this entirely too seriously.)

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Is it more or less important? Or is it simply the same as if you have two albums of photos from vacations you’ve been on and one you’ve decided to call “Adventure” and the other “Action” for instance. Both would be equally valid and both could contain photos taken during the same time period and been printed and put in the albums at the same time, but the photos themselves would obviously have been taken at different times.

Pretty much the same deal with Detective and Batman. Each story is simply one of those photos and can be put in some sort of order. And just as if you haven’t written a specific date on your photos you might not be able to tell the exact order of the photos. There will be clues that can help you put them in the right order, but some of them will be harder to order than others. But you’ve still experienced everything.

Batman generally sells better than Detective and Superman better than Action, which is why you generally see the bigger name writers one the bigger selling books. The bigger selling books get more attention and by putting bigger names on them they sell even more.

Plenty of people find the lower selling book more interesting though, but because of the fact that it is lower selling and the creators not as high profile they often don’t get as much attention. Looking back over time you do find some of the really good stuff actually having been published in those books though.


Both books are considered canon and often reflect each other. Any change to the mythos in one book would also end up being in the other.


They’re not only equally canon, but they’re interchangeable. Bill Finger wrote both the Detective Comics stories and the Batman stories. Frank Robbins and Dennis O’Neil would bounce back and forth between the two books. Gerry Conway and Doug Moench both had runs in the 1980s where they would begin a story in one book and continue it in the other.

Alan Grant was introducing the modern rogue Scarface/Ventriloquist in Detective at the exact same time that Jim Starlin was establishing the new post-Crisis first meeting of Nightwing and Jason Todd in Batman. Both Detective and Batman carried the main issues of the Knightfall story arc and all of the other big 1990s events that followed, with neither book being more important.

Now, Batman has generally sold better than Detective because casual readers don’t always realize that Detective is a Batman book. That’s why the covers since the late 1960s have often placed the word Batman somewhere above the words Detective Comics. The same thing is true with Action Comics and Superman.

Former DC head Dan DiDio seemed to recognize the sales trend and began placing high-profile runs exclusively in the Batman book to maximize their exposure: Hush, Under the Hood, Batman and Son/RIP, and the recent Snyder and King runs. That’s probably why Detective Comics has felt comparatively insignificant for the last two decades.


And, like Knox indicated earlier, there have been large runs where they were very much basically the same comic with the ongoing story playing out in both issues.

For much of the 90’s, they even put extra numbering on all the Superman titles so we knew which order to read them in. You basically had a weekly Superman on-going even though they were under the titles Action Comics, Adventures of Superman, Superman, and Superman: Man of Steel.


Excellent discussion, everyone. This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. :nerd_face:

The relationship between “Batman”/“Detective” and “Superman”/“Action” is fascinating to me, and I can’t really think of another example of it in any other medium: two (or more) series being released at the exact same time, that focus on the exact same character(s). It’s something that seems to exist only in comics. (Now that I’ve said that, I’m sure somebody will come along and remind me of an obvious one that I’m forgetting.)


And Spider-Man did basically the same thing at the time. I remember collecting Amazing Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Spider-Man just to see how many more people Carnage would kill this week as Peter pouted about it. :stuck_out_tongue:

It really got out of hand with Spider-Man Unlimited, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow, and The Batman Chronicles. Those three comics existed solely to fill in gaps that would appear in the rare months with five weekly release dates instead of four!


So, to summarize, just for clarity: There are more complex historical reasons both titles exist, but essentially, Batman has two adventures per month, and one of them happens in Batman and one of them happens in Detective Comics. They’re both “valid,” concurrent arcs are assumed to happen around the same general timeframe, and they reference each other. Sometimes, particularly in years past when they would be written by the same person, a single multi-part story will bounce between the two. There has also occasionally been a third, fourth, or even fifth title but those have usually been shorter-lived than the main two.


I AM SO DAMNED GLAD I CREATED THIS THREAD!! [Y’All are welcome… *KiDDiNG!*:grin:]

ANYHOO… Please, allow me to toss one more log into the flames:
One bit bugging me-MYNDE in the 1st Place was, what had happened to the Batman who actually made Catwoman his wife, and fathered Helena Wayne? His existence is the reason why I had wondered IF the Batmen in the 2 books under discussion here could possibly have been in separate universes.
AND THEN… it is, of course, interesting & comment-worthy that Bruce Wayne is SO FREAKIN’ POPULAR, that His Legend continues to be re-created [AS WELL as is Clark Kent!]. I mean, the FANATICS [read, “WE”:nerd_face:] fairly-well demand that these Mantles NEVER ACTUALLY be passed on, in the way that that of Robin has been — “Batman Beyond” notwithstanding.

One of the things that makes the DC Universe so special is the multiverse. One of those other Earths was Earth 2, where all the Golden Age comic stories took place. It was on that Earth that Batman married Catwoman and begat Helena Wayne/Huntress.

He also became Police Commissioner and decided all super heroes were bad, denouncing the Justice Society.