Sunday, June 26, 2022

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 26: there?

Tonight, June 26, at 10:48 PM, is the anniversary of Joe Chill killing Bruce Wayne's parents in Crime Alley.

from Batman (2016 series) #63 (DC, March 2019), script by Tom King, pencils and inks by Mikel Janín, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles

When I've counted down this event in previous Junes, I've generally reserved the actual anniversary for not only yet another scene of the Waynes dying, but also the hope that sprang from that moment, as personified by Leslie Thompkins.

from Batman: Madness one-shot (DC, November 1994), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils and inks by Tim Sale, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by Todd Klein

If Joe Chill made Bruce Wayne into Batman, I believe there are three characters who made Batman into Bruce Wayne, preserving his humanity. The first is Dick Grayson, Robin:

from "[Robin the Boy Wonder]" in Detective Comics (1937 series) #38 (DC, April 1940), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Bob Kane, inks and letters by Jerry Robinson

The second is Alfred Pennyworth — who didn't even become a part of Bruce's childhood until after the universe reset in Zero Hour, more than fifty years after Batman's debut:

from Batman (1940 series) #0 (DC, October 1994), script by Doug Moench, pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Ken Bruzenak

But the third — and I think often sadly overlooked — influence in young Bruce Wayne's life is Leslie Thompkins the woman whose existence completely negates the familiar maxim of "there is no hope in Crime Alley."

To me, Leslie is as important an element to the Batmythos as the Batmobile and Bat-Mite: you can't truly have the rich and lush tapestry of the world of Batman without her.

from Batman: Madness

Tonight we mourn Thomas and Martha Wayne yet celebrate Dr. Leslie Thompkins. With her, there will always be hope in Crime Alley. With the Batman, there will always be hope in Gotham City.

Tomorrow, June 27: We'll wrap this month up with Dick Grayson. Or: There Is No Hope at Haley's Circus.

from Detective Comics #38

1 comment:

Blam said...

I'm always torn between how great a character Leslie Tompkins became post-Crisis and how effective she was in her first appearance.