While visiting another comics related web site I read a comment regarding the Riddler's return to the pages of Batman in 1965 after an absence of 17 years.  I do not have the story available to me at this point but I seem to recall there was an in story reference and explanation for Edward Nigma's long absence - jail perhaps?. In the context of the story the Riddler and Batman of 1965 were the same Riddler and Batman of 1948 but how could that be since the 1948 story would have taken place on Earth Two, the 1965 tale on Earth One. Was there ever an explanation or was it simply ignored?  Or am I totally confused?

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I suspect you may have given it more thought than they did.

Many events happened on both Earth-One and Earth-Two, though perhaps not identically and not with the same amount of time passing.

I just noted on Facebook that DEADSHOT first appeared in Batman #59 in 1950 and didn't reappear (and completely redesigned) until the Englehart/Marshall era in Detective Comics during the mid-70s. He said that he was in jail all that time but they never said it was twenty-five years.

It's a slow day at work.

The Baron said:

I suspect you may have given it more thought than they did.

For some time it wasn't clear whether there was an Earth-Two Superman or Batman. Batman of Earth-Two's existence wasn't established until Detective Comics #347, over eight months after the Riddler's return.

In Detective Comics #347 Batman and Robin fight the Bouncer, whose costume is covered with an alloy that violates the laws of physics. They defeat him using a ray that doesn't exist. This drives the writer, Gardner Fox, temporarily insane. He has a vision in which the Bouncer kills Batman using a method that could only work with fantastic luck. Robin then avenges Batman with dubious science. I can't explain how Batman of Earth-Two comes into it because the cover asks me not to.

Come to think of it, the comic I have the story in doesn't have a cover, and didn't use that one anyway. After Batman and Robin defeat of the Bouncer Fox reveals he has a "what-if" room in which he thinks about alternative ways a story might have gone. He imagines what might have happened if the Bouncer had caught on to what Batman and Robin were up to when they captured him.(1) In his fantasy the Bouncer springs his own plan before they succeed, and Batman is killed. Robin refuses the help of the JLA and captures him alone using knowledge he has gained by analysing the Bouncer's murder weapon. He returns home to find - Batman! Batman removes his cowl and explains he is the Bruce Wayne of Earth-Two, and has come to Earth-One to help out at the urging of the Robin of Earth-Two, who is an adult and has promised to carry on in his place. The final twist is he's brought the Alfred of Earth-Two with him.(2)

The bit about Earth-Two Robin being grown up and carrying on for him anticipates the introduction of the Earth-Two Robin in Justice League of America #55 a year later. Robin had previously been depicted as carrying on from Batman in the Batman II-Robin II stories. Earth-Two Batman looks as young as the Earth-One version and also wears a costume with a yellow oval.

(1) In Fox's fantasy the Bouncer can hear his heart and realises Batman and Robin are doing something to cool him.

(2) This being the period when Alfred was supposed to be dead.

"Many events happened on both Earth-One and Earth-Two, though perhaps not identically and not with the same amount of time passing."

That's what I would say, too.

In the Detective Comics #347 alternative ending the Bouncer can hear his heart because he has a "triple heart". I assume this means a heart with an extra atrium and ventricle. Fox's footnote reads

  • *Authors note: Such rare instances have been reported by the Ephemerides and in various medical books and journals!

I've been trying to find out what the Ephemerides is. It seems to be here a journal known as the Ephemerides naturae curiosorum. A work at Google Books, A Short of Breast Cancer by D. de Moulin, describes it as follows:

  • The Ephemerides, or Miscellanea curiosa medico-physica academiae naturae curiosorum sive ephemeridum medico-physicarum germanicarum curiosarum, as the official title goes, was a mainly medical and biological periodical first issued in 1670 under the auspices of one of the earliest scientific societies, the ‘Academia Naturae Curiosorum’. Both academy and periodical still exist. Scientific journals started to play a part - for some time, only a modest one - in medical communication late in the seventeenth century.

There are plenty of online versions of a Victorian work called Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle. This often cites "the Ephemerides", including as follows:

  • The Ephemerides cites an instance of triple heart, and Johnston has seen a triple heart in a goose.

I love the fact that you two can discuss this Bouncer story, and I literally have no idea whether this is a real story or pure BS that you're embellishing as you go, because either explanation is equally plausible.

All the details are true except the first time I thoroughly misrepresented the bridging sequence with Fox to mock it. Also, Justice League of America #55 came out a year and a half later.

(Spoilers warning.)

-The Bouncer's costume wouldn't work because it wouldn't save him from being killed by his own momentum. When he bounced from skyscraper height the higher bits in his body would say hello to the lower bits.

(Actually, I hadn't thought of that when I wrote the above. My objection was to a bit where he throws the alloy his costume is later made from at the ground and it bounces into the sky. It couldn't have more energy after the bounce than it had before.)

-Batman and Robin defeat him with "a special beam that quick-freezes an object situated between two electrodes".

-In the alternate outcome section he throws a gun made of his alloy at a wall so that it shoots Batman when it collides. "Fantastic luck" may be too strong but I figure the shot could easily go wild.(1)

-Robin defeats him by causing fatigue in the alloy by bombarding it with light and sound.

(1)  He might also shoot himself. But his costume covers his whole body except for his mouth and perhaps his eyes, and would probably protect him. But this just proves he's a textbook example of a crook whose invention could've made him more money than his robberies. His alloy is a lightweight and flexible super-armour.

Everything that separates Earth-One and Earth-Two in the Silver Age was applied retroactively, after "Flash of Two Worlds" introduced the concept. (And some of it was waaaaay after it!) So whenever you cite a demarcation line between Earth-One and Earth-Two adventures of any character, you are doing so based on your own criteria, and doing so to stories that were never meant to do what you're forcing them to do.

That being said, some characters had new origins in the late 1950s which made for nice demarcation points -- such as Aquaman, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman. Most people tend to cite the "Fortress of Solitude" story in 1958 or 1959 as the point where Earth-One Superman stories begin, since he previously had a different Fortress.

Then there's Batman, where the line is so fuzzy as to be non-existent. Most people tend to go with the early to mid-1950s as the switchover -- Earth-One beginning with the (re-)introduction of Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman, and the team-ups with Superman -- even though some later stories have elements in them we associate with Earth-Two that Earth-One Batman remembers. What most people do with the problematic stories is say they happened on both Earths, but we just happened to read the one from whichever Earth is most convenient.

Philip Portelli said:

I just noted on Facebook that DEADSHOT first appeared in Batman #59 in 1950 and didn't reappear (and completely redesigned) until the Englehart/Marshall era in Detective Comics during the mid-70s. He said that he was in jail all that time but they never said it was twenty-five years.

What was he going to say? "Damn you, Batman, you sent me to jail for 25 years!"

He should have arranged to get put in the same cell as Joker or Lex Luthor. He'd've been out before Batman and Robin could go home and change identities.

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