Slam Bradley

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Slam Bradley
Slam Bradley.png
First appearance of Slam Bradley, from Detective Comics #1, March 1937. Art by Joe Shuster.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #1 (March, 1937)
Created by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
In-story information
Alter ego Samuel Emerson Bradley
Species Human
Team affiliations Gotham City Police Department
Abilities Extremely good bar-fighter known to take down several opponents at once; excellent detective

Samuel Emerson "Slam" Bradley is a fictional character that has appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics. He is a private detective who exists in DC's main shared universe, known as the DC Universe. Created by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the latter two also created Superman), the character is a hard bitten, tough private eye who loves working for dames, but prefers the platonic company of his sidekick, "Shorty" Morgan (bearing in mind a target audience of 10-year-old boys). Slam was one of the first stars of Detective Comics, debuting in #1 (March, 1937) a year before Superman first appeared and two years before Batman would make the title his home.[1]


Slam Bradley was originally outlined by Wheeler-Nicholson in a May 13, 1936 letter to Jerry Siegel, which stated: "We need some more work from you. We are getting out at least one new magazine in July and possibly two. The first one is definitely in the works. It will contain longer stories and fewer. From you and Shuster we need sixteen pages monthly. We want a detective hero called 'Slam Bradley'. He is to be an amateur, called in by the police to help unravel difficult cases. He should combine both brains and brawn, be able to think quickly and reason cleverly and able as well to slam bang his way out of a bar room brawl or mob attack. Take every opportunity to show him in a torn shirt with swelling biceps and powerful torso ala Flash Gordon. The pages are to run the same size as New Comics but to contain eight panels a page instead of six".

Publication history[edit]

Detective was originally an anthology comic; Slam's adventures continued despite Batman's debut in #27, through World War II and beyond, finally ending in Detective Comics #152 (October, 1949). The feature was replaced by Roy Raymond, TV Detective. Bradley would not make another significant appearance for over 32 years and his sidekick Morgan disappeared completely.

Slam's first appearance after his run in Detective Comics ended in 1949 was in Detective Comics #500, cover-dated March 1981. Bradley (with graying sideburns) assisted in "The Too Many Cooks... Caper!", about a fellow retiring detective's murder; the story featured other DC detectives, such as Jason Bard, Pow-Wow Smith, Roy Raymond, TV detective; the Human Target; and Mysto, Magician detective. This story established him and his previous adventures in DC's Earth-One continuity due to his interactions with other characters of that world and the appearance of Gotham City (beforehand Slam's stories seemed independent of the DC Multiverse).

Slam returned in Detective Comics #572 (the 50th anniversary issue), teaming up with Batman, Robin, Elongated Man, and Sherlock Holmes. This was his first story in Post-Crisis continuity.

He later appeared in the Superman titles in the 1990s, working for the Metropolis Police Department. However, this incarnation of the character was short-lived. When an older Slam Bradley re-appeared in Detective Comics, it was explained that the Metropolis character was Slam Bradley Jr.[2]

Slam's brother Biff appeared in Tim Truman's 1998 Guns of the Dragon miniseries, which was set in the 1920s. In that story, Bradley teamed up with older versions of Bat Lash and Enemy Ace for an adventure on Dinosaur Island. Originally, Slam was slated to appear, but another editor had plans for Slam. Hence, his heretofore unknown brother Biff was substituted. At the end of the series, Biff sacrifices his life to stop the villainous Vandal Savage, although Savage would return many times later.

In 2001, Bradley returned to Detective Comics when writer Ed Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke revived the character in the four-part serial "Trail of the Catwoman" which ran in Detective Comics #759-762. Bradley investigates the death of Selina Kyle and in the process runs afoul of the Batman.[3] The current incarnation of the character is a former police officer in his late 50s who has always worked in Gotham City, (contradicting the previous Cleveland, New York and Metropolis settings).

After Detective Comics #762, Bradley became a supporting cast member in the Catwoman ongoing series. He reveals that he has a son, Sam Bradley Jr., on the Gotham City Police Department. Sam Jr. and Selina Kyle engaged in a romantic relationship that produced Helena Kyle, Selina's daughter, thus making "Slam" Bradley the grandfather of Catwoman's daughter.[1]

The character appears in Darwyn Cooke's 2003/2004 DC: The New Frontier as a private investigator working alongside Detective John Jones.

Slam appears in Darwyn Cooke's Solo #5.

Slam made an appearance during a flashback in the story arc "Heart of Hush", where he was the primary detective in the murder of Thomas Elliot's father.

Slam was featured in the out-of-continuity[4] comic Legends of the Dark Knight #5, in which he had to team up with Batman to clear his name of a murder charge. This story was released digitally as Legends of the Dark Knight #11-13.[5]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Originally operating out of Cleveland, then later in New York City, Slam and his sidekick "Shorty" Morgan often had humorous, fight-filled adventures, often going undercover in various professions to catch their man. Though most stories had a mystery element, "Slam" was more likely to solve them with his fists than his brains.

In other media[edit]


  • "Slam" Bradley appears in the direct-to-video animated film Justice League: The New Frontier, voiced by Jim Meskimen. He appears as Martian Manhunter's detective partner and helps him save a young boy from a cult that worships the Centre.


  1. ^ a b Wallace, Dan (2008), "Slam Bradley", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 59, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
  2. ^ Slam Bradley Jr. at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 64. ISBN 9780345501066.
  4. ^ Phillips, Brandy (June 6, 2012). "New Batman Digital Comic Series LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT to Debut Tomorrow". DC Comics. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  5. ^ Beedle, Tim (August 16, 2012). "DIGITAL FIRST SPOTLIGHT: Legends of the Dark Knight". DC Comics. Retrieved March 4, 2013.

External links[edit]