The Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice movie is on its way and it promises further the time honored tradition of having Superman and Batman beat the snot out of each other and then team up. Batman and Superman have had a lot of encounters over the 75-plus years they’ve been in comics and some of them have been downright bizarre. They’ve fought over the weirdest things- from Lois Lane’s hand in marriage to the fate of Soviet Russia- and they’ve also been in bizarrely intimate situations. Whether as friends or as foes, Superman and Batman get up to some ridiculous shenanigans together.
It would be impossible to list them all, but here’s a collection of some of the weirdest encounters between Superman and Batman throughout comics history. If you have any favorite weird stories that didn’t make the list, be sure to mention it in the comments section!
Superman and Batman's First Meeting
Superman and Batman first officially first met in 1952’s Superman #76. Granted, they’d appeared in comics together before then, mainly in 1940’s, but this was the first story that showed them, y’know, meeting. It featured a weird cover where they both compete over who will save Lois from a fiery death. As Lois herself would say, probably not the best time to whip ‘em out and measure ‘em, guys.
The story itself is as kitschy and weird as the cover suggests. Bruce and Clark just happen to be assigned the same cabin on a cruise ship and naturally, a robbery happens that requires them to suit up. They discover each other’s secret identities when they accidentally see each other changing clothes. You know, a lot of slash fic has started the same way.
Batman and Superman are even worse at hiding their secret identities together than apart, so Lois, who is also on the ship, begins to suspect their true identities. Superman’s clever plan to both distract her and catch the theif is to pretend he and Batman are jealously competing over Lois’s affections, which Lois is thoroughly unimpressed by. At the end of the story, Lois decides to ditch them both and “date” Robin instead. Uh…not seriously go on a date with him, she was just trying to make a point. We hope.
Superman and Batman Switch Costumes
Batman and Superman eventually got a title exclusively devoted to their teamups, called “World’s Finest”. Issue 71 featured Lois once again figuring out Bruce and Clark’s secret identities (these guys are really bad at this). Bruce and Clark came up with the perfect solution to this: switch costumes and make Lois think Bruce is Superman! It’s foolproof.
Since Bruce and Clark look exactly alike, this totally works. Lois is slowly tricked into believing Bruce is Superman, meanwhile Clark gets knocked out by Kryptonite while playing Batman. Lois discovers him and assumes he was either impersonating Batman to get a story or has a weird costume-based fetish. Then she walks in on Superman and Bruce Wayne in the same room, throws her hands up in the air and gives up on these assholes.
You know, guys, it would be a lot easier to just tell her she’s right, ask her to keep it a secret and actually devote your time to solving crimes rather than these overly complicated schemes.
The Menace of Composite Superman-Batman
In World’s Finest #142, Bats and Supes had to fight a combined version of themselves. Like, he was literally half Supes, half Bats, split straight down the middle. The dude had green skin and was actually just a humble janitor from the future who got struck by lightning and gained the powers of The Legion of Superheroes, a group of heroes from the 31st century. It….doesn’t really make much sense.
Big-head Batman versus Caveman Superman
World's Finest #151 told a story where Batman is zapped with doohickey that evolves him 800,000 years. Apparently in 800,000 years humans will have giant heads and godlike powers because that’s what happens to Bruce.He also decides to be a huge jerk and decides to turn Superman into a neanderathal. The book says this is the ray’s fault, but I don’t buy it. Being smart doesn’t automatically translate to being an ass- I guess Bruce just is prone to power trips.
Batman and Superman make Robin and Jimmy Olsen Dig Their Own Graves
World’s Finest #195 has one of those covers typical of the Silver Age (1950’s-early 70's era of comics), where Superman or another hero is doing something ridiculously evil and the story inside explains why in a convoluted way. In this case, he and Batman are making their sidekicks dig their own graves before murdering them. What’s perhaps most notable about this is that whoever wrote this forgot that Batman does actually have a code against killing.
The story inside is as bizarre as the cover suggests. Basically, Batman and Superman try to infiltrate the mafia, but Batman is bamboozled into thinking he really IS a mafia don. Superman is forced to pretend he has also turned evil and snap Bats back to himself. The mafia demands the two kill Jimmy and Robin to prove their loyalty. A tearful speech from Robin gets Bats back to normal and they both instead just PRETEND to murder their sidekicks...
... even going so far as the present the mafia with their hearts, claiming they had prepared a box specifically for the occasion.
The Saga of the Super-Sons
"The Super-Sons” may be the strangest thing Superman and Batman have ever been involved with, and if you’ve gotten this far on the list, you know that’s saying a lot. These stories started with World’s Finest #215 and were purported to be the ABSOLUTELY REAL, NOT IMAGINARY STORY of Supes and Bats’ sons. (The Silver Age tended to have a lot of out-of-continuity “what-if” stories, so readers had to be extra-assure this wasn’t one of those).
Basically, these were the two swingin’ college age sons of Batman and Superman and some unnamed faceless women. They looked exactly like Bruce and Clark, donned their exact costumes and were even named Bruce Jr. and Clark Jr. Real creative, guys. They spoke in cringe-worthy exaggerated 1970’s “youth” slang and Bruce Jr. was even- horror of horrors- a hippie!
The super-sons adventures mostly involved rebelling against their parents,who consistently treated them like dirt. For instance, Clark super disapproved of his son working at a soup kitchen and forbade him to use his powers. So much for our hero of the people.
Eventually and unsurprisingly, DC went back on the whole “this is totally the real future of these characters” thing and the “super-sons” were revealed to be some twisted computer simulation Bruce and Clark made in the Fortress of Solitude. They admitted they didn’t really include the boys’ mothers in the simulation because they didn’t seem relevant. Guys, it’s okay. You can admit you were trying to see what it would be likeif you had kids with each other.
Soviet Superman versus Soviet Batman
Superman: Red Son was a three issue series that took place in an alternate reality where Superman was raised in the Soviet Union rather than America and grew up to fight for Stalin rather than for the American way. Lex Luthor vows to destroy him and recruits orphan Bruce Wayne to the cause. He lures Superman into a trap but Supes convinces a smitten Wonder Woman to sacrifice herself to save him (can writers figure out how to do something that isn’t “be blindly lovesick over Superman” with Wonder Woman in alternate universes?). Rather than let Superman take him, Batman blows himself up. The tragedy of it all is a little undercut by Batman's adorable furry hat.
Superman and Batman's Holiday Brawl
A parody story from the DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1 called “Yes, Tyrone, There is a Santa Claus” took Superman and Batman’s spats to a hilarious extremes. In it, Clark is planning to play Santa for a little boy. Bruce comes along a berates him for making himself look so silly and tells him he should be solving world hunger or something (only interrupting his rant to lament “my parents…in the alley…twitching…” for what must be the 20th time this week, causing Clark to roll his eyes). Clark is convinced, and mutters to himself he probably should do something about “that Middle East thing”. He decides to go back and see the boy as Superman, only to find that Batman has stolen his idea and dressed up as Santa for the kids. Enraged, Supers punches Bruce in the face in front of horrified children.
Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator
Just like it says, in 2007 a two parter was released where Superman and Batman went up against both the creatures from the Aliens franchise and the Predators. The Predators actually believe that Superman is a sun spirit and Batman his disciple. The two heroes decide to help the Predators leave earth, for the good of all.
Superman Breaks Batman's Back
The Injustice: Gods Among Us series depicts a world where Superman has become a horrifying evil dictator. Batman leads a resistance against him. In Injustice: Gods Among Us #36, Superman breaks into the Batcave and breaks Batman’s back over his knee. Fortunately, Bruce is rescued by Alfred, who eats a pill to give himself powers and headbutts Superman into submission.
Batman Takes on a Jokerized Superman
In Batman: End Game, Superman, along with many others, has fallen victim to a toxin that makes those who injest it as unhinged as the Joker. Batman takes him on and how he defeats him is totally ridiculous- he literally chews a piece of Kryptonite-laced gum and spits it into his eye.
Superman and Batman Share a Bed and Meet Deadpool
We’ve talked about how a lot of these encounters read like slash fic, and the Superman/Batman series took that to its logical conclusion by actually titling itself like a slashfic. The series’ first annual issue was a comical retelling of their first meeting- only this time, rather than just staying in the same cabin, Bruce and Clark were forced to share a bed, which was super awkward for everyone. In addition to this, they actually meet Deadpool.
See, Deadpool’s design was sort of blatanly ripped off DC’s Deathstroke the Terminator, aka Slade Wilson, to the point where Fabian Nicieza decided to name him “Wade Wilson” as an in-joke.
The annual pokes fun at this by having Slade, who enters the boat on an assassination mission, run into a version of himself from an alternate dimension who keeps cracking jokes and has a seems unable to die. To make things even more complicated, evil versions of Batman and Superman (called Owlman and Ultraman) also attack.
The whole issue is ridiculous fun, with Clark and Bruce endlessly snarking at each other and Lois being totally done with them.