True Firsts: Damian Wayne

The collectible comic market has a problem.  With no universal definition of what a true first appearance is, many collectors are left to wonder.  Until the market finds a way to sort out this problem, we will continue to see mistakes at auctions, on web resources and in print.  What follows is one of many examples that need to be discussed and possibly corrected.

Damian Wayne does make his first appearance ( in shadows ) in this issue:

Batman #655

Batman #655

Note: There is a regular cover, variant and a second print for this comic.

His first full appearance and first cover are in issues 656 and 657, respectively, but the market does accurately reflect this:

Batman #656

Batman #656

Batman #657

Batman #657

Some like to make the argument that this is his first appearance but that is not the case either:

image

Batman: Son of the Demon HC

DC branded Son of the Demon as out-of-continuity. When Grant Morrison took over Batman writing duties he really wanted to incorporate parts of Batman’s history that people had forgotten about including Batman’s unnamed son. But the origin of Damian is quite different from the ending of Son of the Demon. Damian was grown in a lab, not born and given up for adoption. The baby in Son of the Demon could be called a prototype at best as he was only inspiration for the today’s Damian Wayne.

In some ways this is similar to Cable. Cable’s first appearance is in New Mutants 86…um 87! But he appeared as a baby in UXM 201. No one considers 201 Cable’s first appearance even though if falls within Marvel continuity which gives it a better shot than an out-of-continuity book like Son of the Demon.

Here’s another example: Even when companies retcon characters to appear in earlier books it doesn’t change the true first appearance. Marvel said that ASM 4 vol. 1 features Jessica Jones ( she was not named in the comic ) but Alias 1 is still her first appearance. Son of the Demon remains a collectible comic but it should not be considered Damian Wayne’s first appearance.

Here is how I would list the key books for Damian:

  • Son of the Demon ( First son of Batman, out of continuity )
  • Batman 655 ( first appearance of Damian Wayne in shadows )
  • Batman 656 ( first full appearance of Damian Wayne )
  • Batman 657 ( first cover for Damian Wayne )
  • Batman 666 ( First Damian Wayne as Batman )

 

True Firsts, its logo, articles and all related content are the intellectual property of CBSI and Topher S.  Any use of these works is only given to those who seek permission from the owners of CBSI and cannot be used otherwise.

10 comments

  • Avatar

    It’s not Batman’s first son, either. He and Superman had sons in out-of-continuity World’s Finest stories in the ’70s. I would also argue that “continuity” means a lot less these days. DC’s pretty much established that even out-of-continuity stories are in continuity…in some other dimension. Plus, Harley’s first appearance wasn’t in continuity, either, but it’s certainly considered her first appearance. I agree it’s messy, but I don’t think you can definitely say Son of Demon’s baby ISN’T Damian, just because some details differ in Morrison’s story. Great site, overall, glad I found it!

  • Duc N.

    Thanks for this write up!

  • Ben C

    Great stuff and really well written!

  • Ben Steiniger

    Nice write-up! Why doesn’t the comic community force Marvel/DC to clean up this mess? Baseball cards finally did with rookie cards….anyone ever petitioned them to do so?

  • Avatar

    Its bizzare how the market makes this call. Shadows for one character, not for another (isnt Web of Spiderman 18 Venom in the shadows)?

    Ive been moaning that the term CAMEO sucks as well

    If I could make the call, it would be

    First Appearance (when any reference to them is made)
    First Introduction (when we learn who they are as pertains to continuity)
    First Cover

    Xforce 86 would be first appearance, 87 would be introduction and cover

    I dont think we can do anything about it .. its just weird what/why/how the market moves around these things. There is no pattern.

    Silk is another weird one ASM v3 #4 is the issue people go after, but the person has been around since issue 1? Person and Persona would be another debate

  • Avatar

    Darkseid is in 1 panel, on a computer screen no less, in Jimmy Olsen 134, yet CGC considers it his 1st appearance and not a cameo.
    Wolverine is on the last page of Hulk 180 and it’s called a cameo and not a first appearance.
    Strange Tales 180 is known as Gamora’s 1st appearance, but it’s a cameo and her name isn’t revealed until ST 181.
    Go figure

  • Avatar

    This books are not in my collection. Will buy them.

  • Kyle

    Get the 1st app. of Damien ASAP ! Word on the street, he’ll be appearing in the Season 3 finale and the BB for Season 4.

  • Avatar

    What is the difference between the first and second printings of Batman 655? How can you tell them apart?

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