World's Finest Comics was an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1941 to 1986. The series was initially titled World's Best Comics for its first issue; issue #2 (Summer 1941) switched to the more familiar name. Most likely the reason for the title change was that DC received a cease and desist letter from Better Publications, Inc., who had been publishing a comic book entitled Best Comics since November 1939. Virtually every issue featured DC's two leading superheroes, Superman and Batman, with the earliest issues also featuring Batman's sidekick, Robin.
The idea for World's Best #1 originated from the identically formatted 1940 New York World's Fair Comics featuring Superman, Batman, and Robin with 96 pages and a cardboard cover. The year before there was a similar 1939 New York World's Fair Comics featuring Superman but without Batman and Robin because Bill Finger and Bob Kane had not yet created them.
The series was initially a 96-page quarterly anthology, featuring various DC characters – always including Superman and Batman – in separate stories. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "Pairing Superman and Batman made sense financially, since the two were DC's most popular heroes." When superheroes fell out of vogue in the early 1950s, DC shortened the size of the publication to that of the rest of its output, leaving only enough space for one story; this led to Superman and Batman appearing in the same story together starting with World's Finest Comics #71 (July 1954). The title often depicted Batman gaining superpowers as a way to avoid having him be overshadowed by Superman.Lex Luthor and the Joker first joined forces in issue #88 (June 1957). A new super-villain, the Composite Superman was introduced in #142 (June 1964). Noted Batman artist Neal Adams first drew the character in an interior story in "The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" in issue #175 (May 1968).
The series reverted to Superman and Batman team-ups after issue #214, initially with a unique twist, featuring the children they might one day have, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. These characters, billed as the Super-Sons, were co-created by writer Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin in issue #215 (January 1973). Super-Sons stories alternated with tales of the original Superman and Batman through issue #263, with issues #215–216, 221–222, 224, 228, 230, 231, 233, 238, 242, and 263 featuring the sons. Haney frequently disregarded continuity by scripting stories which contradicted DC's canon or by writing major heroes in an out-of-character fashion. He introduced Batman's older brother, Thomas Wayne Jr., in World's Finest Comics #223 (May–June 1974). This story was used a basis for a plot detail in the "Court of Owls" story arc in 2012. Issues #223 (May–June 1974) to #228 (March–April 1975) of the series were in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format.
With issue #244 (April–May 1977), World's Finest Comics became one of the first 80-page Dollar Comics. It featured the Superman and Batman team with back-up features. The number of pages was reduced from 80 to 64 starting with issue #252 (August–September 1978) and reduced to 48 pages with issue #266 (December 1980 – January 1981) which lasted until issue #282 (August 1982).
A ten-issue mini-series in 1999 written by Karl Kesel and illustrated by Dave Taylor. This series explored the Post-Crisis history of the two with each of the ten issues taking place one year after the other.
In January 2012, DC announced a new ongoing series with a similar name but a differently-placed apostrophe, Worlds' Finest, beginning in May. It starred Power Girl and the Huntress. In this incarnation, the two are natives of Earth-2, where they used the codenames Supergirl and Robin, respectively. with issue number 29 the series began to feature the Superman and Batman of Earth 2 as the main characters.
Batwoman: World's Finest – In October 2012, the Batwoman title's third storyline featured Batwoman fighting alongside Wonder Woman in a five-issue story arc.
Batgirl: World's Finest- In March 2017, the first annual of Batgirl vol. 5 saw Batgirl team with Supergirl for a special mission.
In 2002, The Batman Superman Movie was released on DVD. This was the three episodes from "The World's Finest" story arc of Season 2 of Superman: The Animated Series (1997) combined into a feature length film.
^Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 36. ISBN978-0-7566-6742-9. With ninety-six packed pages and DC's three biggest stars sharing the cover, World's Best Comics promised a galaxy of stories for the low price of 15 cents...The new ongoing title, renamed World's Finest Comics with issue #2, featured heavy-hitters Superman and Batman.
^Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 73: "Although the covers of World's Finest Comics had teased co-appearances of Batman and Superman for years, the first joint adventure of the two in the comic occurred in issue #71...written by Alvin Schwartz, pencilled by Curt Swan, and inked by Stan Kaye."
^Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1950s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 57. ISBN978-1465424563. It became challenging for writers and artists to tell a story without one hero overshadowing the other. A common gimmick was for Batman to swap powers with Superman, something he did for the first time in [issue# 77].
^Manning "1950s" in Dougall, p. 63: "This story, written by Edmond Hamilton and illustrated by Dick Sprang, would be the first time these two notorious villains joined forces, a tradition that would continue into the modern era."
^Forbeck, Matt "1960s" in Dougall, p. 84: "In this tale from Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan, an angry janitor received the powers of the entire Legion of Super-Heroes."
^McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 129: "1968 was the year when Neal Adams and Batman's fates became forever intertwined...Adams tackled his first interior with Batman on Leo Dorfman's script for 'The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads' story in World's Finest Comics #175."
^Kingman, Jim (August 2013). "Men of Steel: Superman and Julius Schwartz in World's Finest Comics and DC Comics Presents". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (66): 51–53.
^O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Race to Save Time" World's Finest Comics 199 (December 1970)
^Friedrich, Mike (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Prisoners of the Immortal World!" World's Finest Comics 200 (February 1971)
^O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "A Prize of Peril!" World's Finest Comics 201 (March 1971)
^Skeates, Steve (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Who's Minding the Earth?" World's Finest Comics 203 (June 1971)
^O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Journey to the End of Hope!" World's Finest Comics 204 (August 1971)
^Skeates, Steve (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "The Computer that Captured a Town!" World's Finest Comics 205 (September 1971)
^Wein, Len (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Peril of the Planet-Smashers!" World's Finest Comics 208 (December 1971)
^Friedrich, Mike (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Meet the Tempter.... and Die!" World's Finest Comics 209 (February 1972)
^Maggin, Elliot S! (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "World of Faceless Slaves!" World's Finest Comics 210 (March 1972)
^O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "...And So My World Begins!" World's Finest Comics 212 (June 1972)
^Maggin, Elliot S! (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Peril in a Very Small Place!" World's Finest Comics 213 (August–September 1972)
^Skeates, Steve and O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "A Beast Stalks the Badlands" World's Finest Comics 214 (October–November 1972)
^Coates, John (1999). "Art Index". The Art of Nick Cardy. Coates Publishing. pp. 172–173. ISBN1-887591-22-2.
^Stroud, Bryan (May 2013). "Metamorpho in Action Comics". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (64): 22–27.
^McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 157: "Scribe Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin introduced the DC Universe to an alternate timeline starring the World's Finest offspring in January's World's Finest Comics #215."
^Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 206: "In the tradition of DC's anniversary editions, World's Finest Comics #300 was an extra-length issue contributed to by a variety of comic book talent. Written by David Anthony Kraft, Mike W. Barr, and Marv Wolfman, and illustrated by Ross Andru, Mark Texeira, Sal Amendola, and George Pérez."
^Wiggins, Randall C. (December 2013). "World's Finest Comics #300: An Epic in the Making". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (69): 64–67.
^Manning "1980s" in Dougall, p. 150: "A rare early example of Mazzucchelli's Batman before his ground-breaking 'Batman: Year One' story in February 1987, this tale featured Superman and Batman doing something quite out of the ordinary for the duo: having a drink at a local bar."