Super-Sons

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Superman Jr.
Cover of World's Finest #215 (Batman Jr., and Superman Jr.)
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance World's Finest Comics #215
(January 1973)
Created by Bob Haney
Dick Dillin
(based upon the original character by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster)
In-story information
Alter ego Clark Kent Jr.
Species Human/Kryptonian hybrid
Place of origin Earth-One (Pre-Crisis
Computer Simulation)
Earth-154 (Infinite Crisis)
Earth-16 (Post-Infinite Crisis)
Partnerships Batman Jr.
Abilities Abilities equivalent to those of Superman, but at half the power level.
Batman Jr.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance World's Finest Comics #215
(January 1973)
Created by Bob Haney
Dick Dillin
(based upon the original character by Bob Kane and Bill Finger)
In-story information
Alter ego Bruce Wayne Jr.
Species Human
Place of origin Earth-One (Pre-Crisis
Computer Simulation)
Earth-154 (Infinite Crisis)
Earth-16 (Post-Infinite Crisis)
Partnerships Superman Jr.
Abilities No superhuman powers; highly trained fighter and athlete, armed with Batman-type gadgets.

The Super-Sons were a pair of fictional characters in an alternate version of the DC Comics universe. The characters were created by Bob Haney and Dick Dillin (based upon Superman by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman by Bob Kane & Bill Finger). The duo first appeared in World's Finest Comics #215 (January 1973).[1] They were based on imaginary tales about the sons of Superman and Batman with Lois Lane and Kathy Kane first in Batman Comic #131 (April 1960) and Batman #163 (May 1964). They next appeared in World's Finest Comics Vol 1 #154 (December 1965). They later inspired the characters Joel Kent and Bruce Wayne Jr in Superman & Batman: Generations I (January - March 1999) the sons Superman and Batman fathered with Lois Lane and (probably) Julie Madison.

The Super-Sons were Superman Jr. (Clark Kent Jr.) and Batman Jr. (Bruce Wayne Jr.), college-aged versions of their superhero fathers. Their mothers are never fully shown – their faces either being hidden or turned away from the reader – and are never referred to by name by their husbands, but would appear to be Lois Lane or Lana Lang and Talia al Ghul or Selena Kyle or Silver St. Cloud. Later it is revealed they don't actually have mothers since they are AI programs in a computer simulation created by Superman and Batman. When the Super-Sons demanded to know who their mothers were, Batman and Superman told them they never felt mothers were relevant to the simulation and so hadn't actually programmed any in. The Super-Sons did come to life briefly in the real world in World's Finest Comics #263 (July 1980) but after causing their "fathers" some trouble IRL, Superman and Batman convince their offspring that although they're alive they're not real people and get them to jump into a disintegration pit and kill themselves because their existence would doom the world. They then reappear alive and well in Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 (August 1999).

Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred Pennyworth, makes brief appearances in three of the stories, namely "Saga of the Super Sons", "Cry Not For my Forsaken Son" and "Crown for a New Batman", Commissioner Gordon appears briefly in "Cry Not For my Forsaken Son", while the original Robin, Dick Grayson, plays a major part in "Crown for a New Batman". (It is interesting to note that like Bruce Jr. and Clark Jr., Dick is still a teenager in the story – which implies that, in this alternate DC Comics Universe, he and Bruce Jr. grew up together as brothers.) The Super-Sons also get to meet Superman Sr.'s old enemy, Lex Luthor, and his daughter, Ardora, who appears in "The Angel With a Dirty Name".

The Super-Sons, tired of living in their fathers' shadows, were apparently intended by writer Bob Haney to represent the youth culture versions of Superman and Batman, not unlike his take on the Teen Titans.[citation needed] The Super-Sons debuted in World's Finest Comics #215 (1973), and had a sporadic run in that title through #242 (1976).

The Super-Sons look almost exactly like their fathers and wear identical costumes. The characters spoke with a slightly exaggerated version of the slang popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They regard each other as brothers, since both understand the pressures involved in being the son of a living legend. Like his father, Batman Jr. has no superhuman powers and relies on athletic prowess and gadgets. Superman Jr., on the other hand, has inherited his father's powers. Since Superman Jr. is half-human, his powers are lesser than those of Superman, Sr. (but still developing). However, the elder Superman's powers were almost limitless.

Although the very first Super-Sons Story insisted that the stories of the Super-Sons were actual stories in the lives of Superman and Batman, the final story in World's Finest #263, "Final Secret of the Super-Sons", written by Dennis O'Neil, revealed that the Sons had never really existed — they were merely computer simulations of what might have been, created by Superman and Batman on the Man of Steel's computer in his Fortress of Solitude.

Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths[edit]

Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. were erased from DC continuity. A Super-Sons story by Bob Haney was published in the rare comic special Elseworlds 80-Page Giant (1999). In "Elseworlds" tales, "heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places -- some that have existed, and others that can't, couldn't or shouldn't exist." Thus, the Super-Sons continued to be viewed as "imaginary" characters outside mainstream DC continuity.

The Super-Sons (and their fathers) appear briefly during the Infinite Crisis limited series, during which time Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three warps reality in an attempt to restore the multiverse. Their planet—identified as Earth-154—and countless other Earths later contract into a single "New Earth".[2] However, in the limited series 52, it is later revealed that 52 identical parallel universes were created. During his subsequent attempt to consume the multiverse, the worm-like villain Mister Mind altered each of the parallel worlds, creating distinct histories for each.[3] According to DC Nation #89, one of those worlds is Earth-16, home of the Super-Sons.[4]

The Super-Sons Stories[edit]

The titles of the individual 'Parts' of the stories are presented here as they were in the comic books. In other words, that of Part Two of Little Town With a Big Secret was actually shown in quotation marks, and the number of The Angel With a Dirty Name Part 3 was in numerical form rather than being spelled out as were the previous two Parts. These variations have thus been reflected below, and are not mistakes.

Unlike the other stories, Saga of the Super Sons and Final Secret of the Super Sons were not divided into 'Parts'.

It should also be pointed out that 'Super Sons' was spelled both on the story titles and on the cover of DC Comics' trade-paperback collection without a hyphen, as here.

In World's Finest, the title of the series as given on the stories themselves tended to vary from issue to issue, i.e. Superman and Batman, Superman, Batman and their Super-Sons etc. These variations have been mentioned where they occur. However, Cry Not For my Forsaken Son bore only its story title and no series title was given at all.

Title Issue Date Writer Artist(s)
Superman and Batman:
Saga of the Super Sons
World’s Finest #215 January, 1973 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Henry Scarpelli
Superman, Batman and their Super-Sons:
Little Town With a Big Secret
World’s Finest #216 March, 1973 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Murphy Anderson
(Part One is untitled)
Part Two: "The People Without Shadows"
Part Three: Children of the Universe
Cry Not For my Forsaken Son World’s Finest #221 February, 1974 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Murphy Anderson
Part 1: Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth
Part 2: Rendezvous on Massacre Island
Part 3: Just an Ordinary Hero
Superman Junior and Batman Junior:
Evil in Paradise
World’s Finest #222 April, 1974 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Vince Colletta
(Part 1 is untitled)
Part 2: The Human Test Tube
Part 3: Who the Killer, Who the Prey?
Superman and Batman:
The Shocking Switch of the Super Sons
World’s Finest #224 June/July, 1974 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Vince Colletta
Part 1: A Chasm So Wide...!
Part 2: The Mighty Marauder
Part 3: The Breath of Death
Superman, Batman and their Sons, co-starring Robin:
Crown for a New Batman
World’s Finest #228 March, 1975 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Tex Blaisdell
Part 1: Avenge Thy Father
Part 2: The Riddle of Smoke Island
Part 3: Tomb of Ice
Superman and Batman and their Sons:
The Girl Whom Time Forgot
World’s Finest #230 May, 1975 Bob Haney Curt Swan,
Tex Blaisdell
Part 1: What the Satellite Saw
Part 2: The Silent City
Part 3: Sins of the Fathers
Superman, Batman and their Super Sons:
Hero is a Dirty Name
World’s Finest #231 July, 1975 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
Tex Blaisdell
Part 1: Fathers on Trial
Part 2: Unwelcome Allies
Part 3: The Weather Bomb
Superman & Batman and their Super-Sons:
World Without Men
World’s Finest #233 October, 1975 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
John Calnan
Part 1: Big Sister is Watching You
Part 2: The Greatest Hate
Superman, Batman and their Super Sons:
The Angel With a Dirty Name
World’s Finest #238 June, 1976 Bob Haney Dick Dillin,
John Calnan
Part One: Those Who Play the Puppets
Part Two: The Plague Giants
Part 3: Between Two Worlds
The Super Sons of Superman and Batman:
Town of the Timeless Killers
World’s Finest #242 December, 1976 Bob Haney Ernie Chan,
John Calnan
Part 1: Trio of Fear
Part 2: He Whom Evil Fights
Part 3: The Epitaph That Saved a Superman
Superman and Batman:
Final Secret of the Super Sons
World’s Finest #263 July, 1980 Dennis O'Neil Rich Buckler,
Dick Giordano
Superman Jr. is No More! Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 June, 1999 Bob Haney Kieron Dwyer


Collection[edit]

In December 2007, DC Comics published a trade-paperback collection of the series entitled Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons. It collects the stories from: World's Finest #215-216, 221-222, 224, 228, 230, 231, 233, 238, 242, and 263; and Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1. The story in World's Finest #263 is written by Dennis O'Neil, all the others by Bob Haney. ISBN 1-4012-1502-5

Batman Junior/John Vance[edit]

An earlier version of Batman Junior made one appearance in Detective Comics #231 (May 1956), in a story written by Edmond Hamilton, with art by Sheldon Moldoff. In the story, Batman Junior is John Vance, a boy who once helped Batman as sidekick long before Robin (Dick Grayson at the time), had arrived. John re-enters Batman's life to solve yet another case, making Robin feel that he is about to be replaced. Apart from a reprint of the story in Batman #185 (October–November 1966), John Vance has not reappeared.

Batman Jones[edit]

Main article: Batman Jones

Batman Jones was a young boy who Batman saved from an auto accident, subsequently named in Batman's honor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Scribe Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin introduced the DC Universe to an alternate timeline starring the World's Finest offspring in January's World's Finest Comics #215." 
  2. ^ Infinite Crisis #6 (May 2006)
  3. ^ 52 #52 (May 2, 2007)
  4. ^ DC Nation #89 appears in comics published on November 28, 2007, such as Countdown to Final Crisis #22.

External links[edit]