Welcome to Superhero Spotlight! In this edition, we will be taking at look at the Caped Crusader, Batman!
- Bob Kane
- Bill Fisher
- Detective Comics #27, May 1939
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 210 lbs
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Black
Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will.
Batman has been repeatedly described as having a genius-level intellect, being one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, and having peak human physical conditioning. He has trained extensively in various martial arts, mastering over 127 different types, making him one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the DC Universe. He also has the ability to function under great physical pain and to withstand telepathy and mind control. He is a master of disguise, multilingual, and an expert in espionage, often gathering information under the identity of Matches Malone, a notorious gangster. He is a master of stealth and escapology, which allows him to appear and disappear at will and to break free of nearly inescapable deathtraps with little to no harm.
Batman is an expert in interrogation techniques and often uses extreme methods to extract information from suspects, such as hanging a person over the edge of a building. His intimidating and frightening appearance alone is often all that is needed in getting information from suspects. Despite having the potential to harm his enemies, Batman’s most defining characteristic is his strong commitment to justice and his reluctance to take a life.
Batman’s body armored costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals. The suit has been depicted in many different ways, and the stories themselves have described Batman as modifying the details of his costume from time to time. However, it usually consists of a grey body suit, the chest emblazoned with a stylized black bat, and blue-black accessories: a wide scalloped cape, gloves with a series of fin-like projections, boots, and a close-fitting cowl (covering the upper half of his face) with ear-like projections to suggest a bat’s head; and a utility belt containing a variety of gadgets.
The Dark Knight has had his origin story retold differently several times over his many years of publication, with significant variations in continuity.
In the Golden Age of comics, Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two very wealthy and charitable Gotham City socialites in 1915. He is brought up in Wayne Manor, with it’s wealthy splendor, and lives a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents are killed by a small-timed criminal named Joe Chill while on their way home from a movie theater. Bruce swears an oath to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents’ lives. He engages in intense intellectual and physical training; however, he realizes that these skills alone would not be enough. “Criminals are superstitious and cowardly lot,” Bruce remarks, “so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible…” As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to take on the persona of Batman.
In early strips, Batman’s career as a vigilante earns him the ire of the police. During this period, Bruce has a fiancee named Julie Madison. He also takes in an orphaned circus acrobat, Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick, Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America, although he, like Superman, is an honorary member, and thus only participates occasionally. The Dark Knight’s relationship with the law thaws quickly, and he is made an honorary member of Gotham City’s police department. During this time, butler Alfred Pennyworth arrives at Wayne Manor, and after deducing the Dynamic Duo’s secret identities joins their service.
The story was completely changed during the Silver Age, when it was sometimes held to have begun in 1956 when the publisher introduced Barry Allen as a new, updated version of The Flash. Batman is not significantly changed by the late 1950s for the continuity which would be later referred to as Earth-One. The lighter tone Batman had taken in the period between the Golden and Silver Ages led to the stories of the late 1950s and early 1960s that often feature a large number of science-fiction elements, and Batman is not significantly updated in the manner of other characters until Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), in which Batman reverts to his detective roots, with most science-fiction elements jettisoned from the series.
After the introduction of DC Comics’ multiverse in the 1960s, DC established that stories from the Golden Age star the Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world. This version of Batman partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle (as shown in Superman Family #211) and fathers Helena Wayne, who, as the Huntress, becomes (along with Dick Grayson, the Earth-Two Robin) Gotham’s protector once Wayne retires from the position to become police commissioner, a position he occupies until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman. Batman titles however often ignored that a distinction had been made between the pre-revamp and post-revamp Batmen (since unlike The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman comics had been published without interruption through the 1950s) and would on occasion make reference to stories from the Golden Age. Nevertheless, details of Batman’s history were altered or expanded upon through the decades. Additions include meetings with a future Superman during his youth, his upbringing by his uncle Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, January/February 1969) after his parents’ death, and appearances of his father and himself as prototypical versions of Batman and Robin, respectively.
Batman meets and regularly works with other heroes during the Silver Age, most notably Superman, whom he began regularly working alongside in a series of team-ups in World’s Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through the series’ cancellation in 1986. Batman and Superman are usually depicted as close friends. Batman becomes a founding member of the Justice League of America, appearing in it’s first story in 1960s Brave and the Bold #28. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brave and the Bold became a Batman title, in which Batman teams up with a different DC Universe superhero each month.
- Fought for 28 hours in a gauntlet of death match battles against countless opponents
- Withstood punishment from Clayface and even held his breath for 7 minutes when Clayface engulfed him completely
- Bypassed a high level security system that no living person had ever been able to get inside of
- Trained under Richard Dragon, who was known as the world’s greatest martial artist
- Remained concealed inside the Watchtower for a full hour, avoiding detection from everyone inside…including Superman
- Flash (Jay Garrick) using his super speed is unable to find Batman after his shadow disappears out of sight
- Has taken down every member of the Justice League alone, some multiple times
- Able to make even a Talon feel fear plus force the Talon to retreat after a short battle
- Many, many, many more!
- Harley Quinn
- Black Mask
- Hugo Strange
- Mad Hatter
- Professor Pyg
- Poison Ivy
- Ra’s al Ghul
- Mr. Freeze
- Killer Croc
- Many more~
Batman’s favorite food is mulligatawny soup.
The Caped Crusader has appeared in several film adaptations, including the Dark Knight Trilogy. The film “The Dark Knight” is the 28th highest-grossing film of all-time, the highest-grossing film of 2008, and the fourth film in history to gross more than $1 billion.
Batman and Spider-Man are the two most recognized superheroes in the world.
Bruce Wayne is named after Scottish hero Robert the Bruce and American Revolutionary hero Mad Anthony Wayne (who turns out to be an ancestor of Batman’s, according to the comics).
Robin didn’t show up until issue Detective Comics #38. The young sidekick was the alter ego of Dick Grayson, part of a family of circus acrobats whose parents died in a high-wire accident. (It turned out that they’d been killed by mobsters who were shaking down the circus owner for protection money.) Naturally, Bruce Wayne identified with Dick’s plight and adopted him as his ward. There have been several Robins since, including Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne (Bruce Wayne’s son by Talia al Ghul).
Before Warner Brothers finally hired Christopher Nolan to direct what became the “Dark Knight” trilogy with Christian Bale, several other Batman movie projects died in development. Darren Aronofsky was to direct a “Batman: Year One” adaptation, based on the late-’80s DC title that covered Bruce Wayne’s earliest days as a crimefighter. But he dropped out to make “The Fountain.” And Wolfgang Petersen was going to do “Batman vs. Superman,” but he dropped out to make “Troy.” And then Warners decided to shelve the superhero duel in favor of a lighter Superman story — which also went through several iterations before becoming the 2006 movie “Superman Returns,” with Brandon Routh.
- Batman: Year One
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Batman: The Man Who Laughs
- Batman: Hush
- Batman: The Court of Owls
- Batman: Knightfall
- Batman: A Death in the Family
- Justice League of America: Tower of Babel