When Did Batman First Travel to Outer Space?


  • Batman in outer space originated in Batman #41 in 1947, written by Gardner Fox and Jim Mooney.
  • The story involves Batman and Robin fighting Martian criminals and introducing jet belts for flight.
  • An interesting twist reveals Batman secretly plotted against the villains to save Mars, showcasing his strategic mind.

In “When We First Met”, we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Today, we look at the first time that Batman traveled to outer space.

Nowadays, it is a very ordinary idea for Batman to just show up with Superman on a mission in outer space, like this moment in Batman/Superman #28 (by Tom Taylor, Robson Rocha, Dexter Vines, Wade van Grawbadger, Norm Rapmund, Blond and Rob Leigh)…

However, obviously this isn’t something that Batman has always done, as he was clearly introduced as a street-level vigilante. In fact, that is literally the premise behind the current Jason Aaron/Doug Mahnke series, Batman: Off-World, where Aaron noted to Donovan Morgan Grant at

It’s very much a Batman story—in space. Right away I knew I wanted to do something different, something that took him to somewhere we’re not used to seeing him and set him up to face a very different kind of challenge. Batman’s still early in his career, still fresh from the
Batman: Year One
days. He’s just figuring out the nooks and crannies of the city, and how he can be the Batman the city needs him to be. Suddenly he encounters a threat from beyond the stars and he realizes while he spent years traveling the Earth to become Batman, he left himself oblivious to what lies beyond the boundaries of Earth, and that there’s a whole universe of threats out there that he’ll have to be prepared for to protect Gotham. So, he sets out on a mission to complete his training in space.

We pick up with him thrust into the middle of a new corner of the DC cosmos filled with all manner of new alien threats and a couple of new allies. Lots of new characters from planets we know from DC’s history. But the main thing is taking this young Batman and dropping him in a situation he knows nothing about and is completely unprepared for, so he can become the Batman he needs to be to overcome it.

So yeah, Batman in outer space is weird, so when did it first happen?


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When did Batman and Robin first travel off-world?

What’s great is that the first time Batman went off-world was prominently spotlighted on the cover of the issue, Batman #41, which was released almost exactly 77 years ago, in March 1947 (you might ask yourselves, “But wait, Brian, if this happened 77 years ago, why didn’t you spotlight it in March 2022 for your Look Back column looking back at notable comics from 75 years ago?” Well, A. I probably planned on doing it as a When We First Met eventually and didn’t want to repeat topics and B. That month also saw the origin of Wonder Woman’s giant Kangas, so, well, hard choice there).

The cover of Batman #41

The story, “Batman, Interplanetary Policeman!” was written by two Golden Age icons, Gardner Fox and Jim Mooney. The story opens with Bruce Wayne taking a walk literally thinking to himself how cool it is that no one knows he is Batman (which is pretty hilarious for him to be thinking, right?) when a Martian reveals himself to Batman and explains that he DOES know that Bruce Wayne is Batman!

Batman meets a Martian

The alien, named Thund Dran, reveals that a Martian scientist named Sax Gola, was accidentally exposed to a ray that turned him into a criminal. Mars is now besieged by their first villain, and they have no idea how to stop a criminal, hence their decision to come to Earth to get the world’s best manhunter.

Batman and Robin quickly agree, and travel to Thund Dran’s spaceship, and head off for Mars, thus marking the first time that Batman (and Robin) traveled to outer space in the comics…

Batman and Robin travel to Mars

While they were approaching Mars, Sax Gola blasted their ship with a “Crime Ray.” Batman and Robin shielded themselves with handy pieces of lead, but Thund Dran was blasted head on. He decided to try to kill Batman and Robin, but even as they successfully fended him off, their ship still crash-landed on Mars.

Luckily, Mars somehow had a breathable atmosphere for the humans, and they headed off to find some other scientists who were still, you know, not criminals. Fox and Mooney take the time to develop the planet in some bizarre ways, with glass citys and giant cats, all sorts of weird stuff.

Eventually, Batman and Robin meet up with some glass men who are allies of Thund Dran, and they equip Batman and Robin with jet belts (and Batman makes sure to wear lined crash helmets – this is important for the story, of course, as Fox was a good writer who sets his stuff up at all times)…

Batman and Robin get jet belts

You have to love Robin thinking of how the sight of them flying around on jet belts would freak the Joker out.

Mooney makes an…interesting artistic decision by having Sax Gola’s outfit basically be a Martian tanktop, but whatever, the villainous Martian uses his Crime Ray…on BATMAN!!!

Batman is turned evil

Man, you know how Batman would smile a lot in the Golden Age? When you see him smiling as a VILLAIN, it’s SUPER disturbing, right? What can Robin do now?


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How can Robin defeat a brainwashed Batman and save Mars?

The Boy Wonder escapes, and heads back to the still non-evil scientists. Robin decides that his only choice is a direct attack on Batman and the evil Martians. He is surprised when the other Martians agree to go on the seemingly futile mission with him. That was nice of them.

They make their attack, but things are looking bad when the villainous side of the battle takes control of Mars’ water supply, but then Batman reveals that he is secretly still a good guy, and played them the entire time! You see, the crash helmets were lead-lined (Gardner Fox always plans ahead)…

Batman saves Mars

They head home, having freed Mars from evil, and Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson just happen to run into a couple whose topic of conversation is how no one knows Batman’s secret identity (man, not a lot of stuff going on in Gotham City, 1947, I guess).

I think someone suggested this a while back, but I can’t find evidence of it. Feel free to drop me a line if you want credit! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future When We First Met, drop me a line at! If you e-mail me the suggestion, it has the extra bonus of being searchable later, so I can properly credit you if I take a while before I write about it!

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