A (very) brief history of Batman

1939 - Batman makes his first appearance in Detective Comics #27

Bob Kane created Batman with vital input from Bill Finger.

Bob Kane's account:
One day I called Bill and said, 'I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I've made some crude, elementary sketches I'd like you to look at'. He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman's face. Bill said, 'Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?' At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: 'Color it dark gray to make it look more ominous'. The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action, and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn't have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn't leave fingerprints.

The Batman character evolved over the first year and in 1940 got his own title. Batman.

Batman's origin was revealed in Detective Comics #33, Finger's story depicts a young Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of a mugger. Later, at their grave, he vows that "by the spirits of my parents, I will avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals."

Both the Batman and Superman comics did well through the 1950's including appeances together in "World's Finest Comics".

In the early to mid 1960's the popularity of Batman was in decline, to the extent that consideration was given to killing the character off. Instead there was a revamp, a new logo (with yellow background) appeared on Batman's chest and some characters introduced in the 1950's were no longer used.

Subsequent changes in comics to the Batman character history and moreso additional characters are somewhat complex and if covered would no longer leave this as a 'brief history'. In short, there is considered to be a Golden Age, a Silver Age and various 'modern' incarnations of Batman, all with much the same origin and approach but sometime quite different 'additional characters'. Essentially there are several reboots of the character.

Television and Film also saw some rather different takes on 'Batman'.

In 1943 Batman first appears on-screen with Lewis Wilson in the role for a 15 part serial, followed in 1949 by Robert Lowery in "Batman and Robin"

1966 saw the debut of the Batman television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Although somewhat farcical (especially looking back today), it proved very popular and created new-found interest in the comic books while the televsion series ran.

During the 1980's Batman's popularity again grew, with some stories taking a darker approach. 1989 saw the appearance of Tim Burton's "Batman" film starring Micheal Keaton, 1992 saw Keaton and Burton return for "Batman Returns". Val Kilmer replaces Keaton in 1995's "Batman Forever" with George Clooney taking on the role for "Batman and Robin" (1997).

In 1992 "Batman: The Animated Series" began, followed by "Batman Beyond", set in the future with a teenage Batman, battling both crime and the difficulties associated with being a teenager.

2004 saw "The Batman", another animated series appear, replaced in 2008 by "Batman, The Brave and the Bold".

In 2005 Christopher Nolan brought us a Batman movie reboot with "Batman Begins", followed by "The Dark Knight" in 2008 and "The Dark Knight Rises" in 2012 all starring Christian Bale as Batman.

2013 will see a new Batman series, this time CGI animated, "Beware the Batman".


Batman - A Brief History

Batman on DVD and Blu-Ray

Batman Books and Comics

Batman PC and Console Games

Batman Toys/ Figures and Collectables

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