Many people remember the hit Cartoon Network show Brave in the Bold, in which Batman would team up with obscure superheroes in the DC Universe, but not many realize that this was actually based on a series in the 1960s (that actually launched the Justice League). It started as a tryout book for new concepts, which is where the Justice League came from, but it evolved into a series to team Batman up with their lesser-selling characters to improve sales.
Batman Teams Up with a… Ghost?
In an issue of Brave and the Bold that ended up being famed Batman artist Neal Adams’ first Batman story, Batman teams up with dead circus acrobat Deadman. He was a circus acrobat who was murdered during a trapeze performance. It’s like if Batman decided to team up with John Grayson instead of Dick Grayson. (This actually was a story-beat in Flashpoint, in which Nightwing became the new Deadman after being killed).
Batman and… The Joker?
Everyone knows Batman and The Joker are worst enemies, especially during the Bronze Age of Comics. What many do not realize is that they have actually worked together from time to time. Of course, like usual, it was all an elaborate plot by The Joker to kill Batman, and it inevitably failed because a psychotic circus clown can’t outsmart the World’s Greatest Detective for very long.
Batman is a… Bat-Hulk?
Many characters from DC’s Silver Age have been forgotten. One of these is the adventure superhero Metamorpho. His gimmick is that he is made of a multitude of different elements that allow him to change shape. Batman’s rogues’ gallery took advantage of this power when they made a chemical that would periodically turn Batman into a massive, hulking monster. (This is obviously a cash-grab targeted at fans of Marvel’s Hulk, who debuted to massive acclaim 4 years earlier, and had been featured in the Avengers 3 years prior to this issue)
Batman and the… Bat Squad?
During one of Batman’s surprisingly frequent visits to England, he gained a following of average people who attempted to be vigilantes who dubbed themselves the “Bat Squad”. There honestly isn’t much to say about this concept, as even DC thought it was a weak premise, so they never showed up again after this issue.
Batman Teams Up With a… Clown?
While Joker and Batman are almost always enemies, there is a Joker-like character in DC who is actually a hero. His name is The Creeper. By day he is famed news reporter Jack Ryder, but by night he is the crazed hero The Creeper. In this issue, Batman and The Creeper team up to take down the alien-bug creature Hellgrammite (this character would later evolve into an entire species and one of those aliens would star in the 3rd season of the hit TV Show Young Justice).
Batman and… Kamandi (Who Even is That?)
Everyone knows Jack Kirby is the King of Comics and is perhaps the second best-known name in comics (after his long-time creative partner, Stan Lee). What many forget is that Marvel was only the tip of the iceberg for works he did in comics. In addition to co-creating most of the famed Marvel characters, he also wrote and drew tons of romance comics, Golden Age DC books, creator-owned books, and some more odd books created after he left Marvel for the final time. One of these was the series Kamandi, which was about a boy in a post-apocalyptic wasteland just trying to survive. This issue (sadly not worked on by Kirby) has some other human survivors calling Batman to the future to help them survive in that world.
Batman and the Legion of Superheroes (wait… Batman?)
As many people know, Superman (and his related family members) have all teamed up with the Legion of Superheroes on a frequent occasion (in fact, the Legion of Superheroes appeared for a time in CW’s Supergirl, and Brainiac 5 is one of the main characters of that show. What many people do not know is that Batman actually teamed up with this superhero team on one occasion. This issue sees Batman being transported to the 31st century to help the teenage superhero club/team take down a time-traveling adversary who was allied with Legion of Superheroes villain Universo (if there is one thing more obscure than Bronze Age heroes, it is Bronze Age supervillains).
Batman and… Batman?
Despite sounding like the weirdest thing on this list, it may be the most relatively normal. This issue sees our Batman teaming up with the Batman of Earth-Two, which is the multiversal earth in which superheroes got their fictional start in the Golden Age instead of the fictional start on a sliding timeline like we have in the mainline earth.
All of this is due to multiversal shenanigans, which should not come as a surprise to many (in fact, we just had this idea come to fruition with the Marvel character Loki in his self-titled series, in which Loki teamed up with an alternate timeline version of himself). Additionally, we can see this same scenario play out in DC’s upcoming movie The Flash (2022, directed by Andy Muschietti, starring Ezra Miller), in which Ben Affleck’s Batman (seen in Zack Snyder’s DC movies, including the recent Snyder Cut) teams up with Michael Keaton’s Batman (seen in the Tim Burton Batman movies and recently in the Batman ‘89 comic series).
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