Came across this ragged beauty the other day on a trip to Louisville. The 12-cent comic is from June 1968, so it’s not the oldest in the collection … but it’s old enough.
Here’s the plot summary:
Records from the 20th century have been destroyed in the null-nuclear war of the 22th century. People from the future do not know if Batman was a myth or a real person. A group calling themselves the Batmaniacs aim to prove that Batman is real, so they send one member, Tomas back in time. Tomas arrives in the 20th century where he exists only as a ghost. He then watches as Batman and Robin help Commissioner Gordon solve a case. Gordon had some important evidence stolen from his car. Batman identifies the thief and tracks him down. He then recovers the evidence. During the entire adventure, Batman believes he is being watched by a ghost. Tomas returns to his own time period with evidence that Batman is real. However, he doesn’t learn that the Caped Crusader is really his ancestor.
The interesting part is that we can see the context of the culture peeking through with the nuclear war demolition of society as we know it. Also, the “twist” of Batman as the time-traveling ghost’s ancestor implies that the creators envisioned that Bruce Wayne would eventually have children. And, of course, 40-some years later, we learn that there is indeed an heir to the Wayne legacy: Damian … the current Robin.
I’m telling ya: soap operas got nothing on comic books for twisted tales.