Batman

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The DC Comics hero Batman (originally and still sometimes referred to as The Batman) is a fictional character who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. His "true" identity is Bruce Wayne, billionaire industrialist, playboy, and philanthropist. Although the character was co-created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, only Kane receives official credit for the character. Batman was, at first, just one of several characters featured in Detective Comics. He has since become one of the world's most well-known comic-book characters, along with Superman. Although unlike many superheroes he does not possess super-human powers or abilities, he makes use of his genius intellect, honed detective skills and physical prowess to deter crime.

Contents

Publication history

File:Detective27.JPG
Detective Comics #27, May 1939. The first appearance of Batman. Art by Bob Kane.

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publications (later DC Comics, D.C. is short for Detective Comics, now a subsidiary of Time Warner) to request more superheroes for their titles. In response, Bob Kane created a character called "the Bat-Man". His collaborator Bill Finger offered such suggestions as giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, wearing a cape instead of wings, wearing gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume. Finger wrote the first Batman story and Kane provided the art. Because Kane had already submitted the proposal for a Batman character to his editors at DC Comics, Kane was the only person given official credit at the time for the creation of Batman, and is still the sole creator listed to this day.

A number of other sources have been cited as inspirations for Batman's personality, character history, and visual design and equipment, including Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks, 1926's The Bat, Dracula, The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy, Spring Heeled Jack and even the technical drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Batman was a breakout hit, with sales on Detective Comics soaring to the point that National's comic book division was renamed "Detective Comics, Inc." After one year, Dick Grayson/Robin (named after Robin Hood) was introduced based on Finger's suggestion to Kane that Batman needed a "Watson".

Kane, the more business-savvy of the Kane-Finger creative team, negotiated a contract with National, signing away any ownership that he might have in the character in exchange for, among other compensations, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics stating "Batman created by Bob Kane", regardless of whether or not Kane had been involved with that story at all. At the time, no comic books and few company-owned comic strips were explicitly credited to their creative teams. Bill Finger's contract, by comparison, left him with a monetary pittance and no credit even on the stories that he wrote without Kane. Finger, like Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, and many other creators during and after the Golden Age of Comic Books, would resent National for cheating him of the money and dignity that he was owed for his creations. By the time Finger died in 1974, he had never once been officially credited for his work. In comparison, Kane parlayed his official sole creator status into a low level of celebrity, enjoying a post-comic book career as a painter. Ironically, much of Kane's later comics work, and even some of his non-comics art, was written or illustrated by other, uncredited writers or artists, ghostwriting under Kane's name. However, Kane reportedly felt bad that Bill Finger wasn't receiving any credit for his contributions to the Batman character.

Evolution of the concept

In Batman's original comics, Batman stories were often presented in the tone of film noir and gothic horror films of the day, with a particularly grim emphasis; a few stories even present Batman making use of firearms, as well as showing little remorse over an enemy's death. Following this style, the body count in the first dozen or so published Batman stories was quite high.

This interpretation of Batman began to soften with the introduction of Robin in Detective Comics #38 in 1940, and in 1941's Batman #7, Batman was made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department. Batman's tone continued to stay lighter for the next several decades.

In Superman (1st series) #76 (1952), Batman first teamed up with Superman and learned his secret identity; following the success of this story, the separate Batman and Superman features that had been running in World's Finest Comics instead featured both together; this series of stories ran until the book's cancellation in 1986. The stories featured the two as close friends and allies, tackling threats that required both of their talents.

Starting in the mid-1950s, Batman's stories gradually became more science fiction oriented in tone, an attempt at mimicking the success of the top-selling Superman comics of the time. New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite (the latter two paralleling Krypto the Superdog and Mr. Mxyzptlk of the Superman titles) appeared. Batman also began having various adventures involving either odd transformations or dealing with bizarre space aliens. Batman was a highly public figure during the stories of the 1950s as well, regularly appearing at such events as charity functions, and also frequently appearing in broad daylight. In 1960, Batman also became a member of the Justice League of America, which debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28.

File:Batman227.jpg
An example of Batman's return to a more gothic atmosphere during the 1970s. Batman #227 (December 1970). Art by Neal Adams.

Editor Julius Schwartz presided over drastic changes made to a number of DC's comic book characters, including Batman in 1964's Detective Comics #327. Schwartz introduced changes designed to make Batman more contemporary and return him to more detective stories, including a redesign of Batman's equipment, the Batmobile, and his costume (introducing the yellow ellipse behind the costume's bat-insignia), and brought in artist Carmine Infantino to help in this makeover. The space aliens and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. This makeover soon became known as the "New Look" Batman. Julius Schwartz also created Aunt Harriet to live with Bruce and Dick. This influenced the campy Adam West Batman parody TV series in 1966, which ran until 1968.

Writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams made additional changes to Batman when they started working on the comic, reintroducing some of Batman's earlier grimmer elements, starting with Detective Comics #395 "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" (1970). Dick Grayson was sent off to college the previous year, which also made Batman once again a loner. O'Neil's tone influenced Batman's comics through the rest of the 1970s and into the 1980s; 1977 and 1978's stories in Detective Comics written by Steve Englehart (with art by Marshall Rogers) are held by many as a high point of this era.

File:Dark knight returns.jpg
The first issue of The Dark Knight Returns, which redefined Batman in the 1980s.

Writer Frank Miller grounded Batman further in his grim and gritty roots with the comic book miniseries The Dark Knight Returns (1986), which takes place in a possible future, and 1987's storyline Batman: Year One. The Dark Knight Returns's popularity was nothing short of phenomenal, and raised sales for comics across the board. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with 1988's Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker crippled Batgirl Barbara Gordon, kidnapped Commissioner Gordon (her father) and attempted to drive him insane through physical torture and showing him nude photos of his critically injured daughter. These stories and others like them helped to raise the image of comic books beyond mere children's entertainment. The Dark Knight Returns and stories following it (such as John Byrne's Superman revamp) also severed the chummy relationship of Batman and Superman, replacing it with a respectful but often antagonistic one.

Stories like these, in turn, have set the tone for the last two decades of Batman comics. Tim Burton's Batman movies, Warner Bros' Batman and Batman Returns also featured a darker, more Gothic Batman; the popularity of those movies in turn led to the noir-ish Batman: The Animated Series. The ongoing comic book series, meanwhile, has continued in this gritty trend and this tone has served to inspire imitators in other comic books and films.

Batman: Year One was also significant in that it was set in, and majorly revised, Batman's early days. Since the original publication of Year One, many creators have set their stories in Batman's formative years, and the Batman title Legends of the Dark Knight in particular often features stories that take place in Batman's early days. Many of the stylistic notes of Year One, specifically text captions designed to look handwritten on note paper, have also been used quite successfully by other authors. In addition the general concept of a Year One book, taking a fresh look at the origins of an older character, as well as showing their learning process, has been embraced by the comics industry as a whole. Other comics which have since gotten the 'Year One' treatment include Spider-Man and the Justice League.

Other noteworthy moments in Batman's evolution:

  • In 1988's "A Death in the Family", readers were allowed to call in a 1-900 number to decide whether or not Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died.
  • In 1993's Knightfall series, Bruce Wayne was critically injured by a villain and a new hero, Azrael, was called upon to wear the costume of Batman for some time.
  • In 1994's Zero Hour storyline, the ideas of Batman as not having caught his parent's killer and of being an urban legend were first introduced.
  • In 1998, Gotham City was destroyed during the Cataclysm storyline, and Batman becomes deprived of many of his technological resources, forcing him to reconnect with the more mythical side of his persona. Later, at the end of No Man's Land, Gotham is rebuilt.
  • In 2004, Stephanie Brown, the fourth Robin, is killed as part of the War Games storyline.
  • In DC's current megacrossover event Infinite Crisis, the discovery that JLA member Zatanna edited his memories has led to Batman's losing trust in the rest of the superhero community. His creation of the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over the other heroes, and its eventual co-opting by the villanous Checkmate, is one of the main precursor events of the series.

Character history

Origin of the Batman

In the Batman mythos, Batman is the alter-ego of Bruce Wayne, a billionaire industrialist and philanthropist who was driven to fight crime after his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha Wayne, were murdered before his eyes at the age of eight. The identity of the mugger traditionally is known as the small-time criminal Joe Chill, though some versions have deviated from that (the 1989 Tim Burton movie Batman presented the Joker as the killer of Wayne's parents.) In the present comics continuity, the killer was never caught and thus his identity is unknown. In the comics and animated series, medical doctor and social worker Leslie Thompkins was there to give loving comfort to the traumatized Bruce. Depending on the adaptation, he was then raised on the Wayne Manor estate by uncle Philip Wayne and/or wise and loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Bruce Wayne swore an oath to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents' lives. He spent his youth traveling the world, training himself to intellectual and physical perfection and learning a variety of crime-fighting skills, including criminology, forensics, martial arts, gymnastics, and disguise. At age 14, Bruce Wayne began his global sojourn, attending courses at Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and other European universities. Beyond academia, Bruce acquired more "practical" skills. While abroad, Bruce learned all 127 major styles of combat, from Aikido to Yaw-Yan. Frenchman Henri Ducard made him an apprentice in manhunting. The ninja Kirigi schooled Bruce in stealth and the ways of the shadow warrior. African Bushmen taught hunting techniques, while Nepalese monks revealed healing arts. (In the film Batman Begins, he conducted his studies at Princeton University in New Jersey as a young adult, and learns jujitsu, ninjitsu, and multiple forms of martial arts from Henri Ducard, who is depicted as secretly being Ra's al Ghul.) He even studied ventriloquism from practitioners of the art. And so it went for 7 years as Bruce matured into manhood. His knowledge of so many varied disciplines has made Bruce an unconventional and unpredictable opponent. After returning to Gotham in his early to mid-twenties, Wayne made several harrowing and near-fatal forays into the world of crime-fighting before donning his now familiar costume that was in part inspired by another tragic accident of his life that would have a profound impact on who he would become — at the age of six, he fell down a cavern, located beneath Wayne Manor (later to become the Batcave), that was swarming with bats, nocturnal creatures, wherein he was forever haunted by the event despite the timely arrival of his father. After a particularly fatal brush with the criminals of Gotham (his last encounter before donning the cape and cowl) Bruce sat in his father's study questioning his mission and seeking direction. A bat crashed through the window, and he took it as a sign that he should take on the appearance of a bat to strike fear into the criminal element, whom he thought to be "a superstitious, cowardly lot."

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is an imposing vigil of darkness that prowls on criminals fulfilling his own strong sense of justice. Whenever Bruce Wayne dons his bat suit, he is transformed into the dark vigilante, the nightmare of Gotham's villains. The Dark Knight is typically portrayed as a brilliant tactician and peerless martial-artist, possessed with a stoic personality. In recent comics, Batman has often been presented as having an obsessive, humorless personality. He generally does not kill, but will use lethal force to defend himself or others if necessary.

In keeping with the "dark" theme of the comics and the nature of bats, Batman is usually presented as operating primarily at night. In recent comics, the idea was introduced of Batman being an urban legend and not believed by the denizens of Gotham City to actually exist; however, this notion is contradicted by various previous stories that indicate otherwise. In order to make up for this flaw in continuity, Batman was recently "outed" in War Games, a story that stretched across all Batman titles, when his live image was broadcast over the news as he made a brief daytime appearance in front of a violence-overtaken high school in Gotham.

Whenever he is needed, the Gotham City police activate a "Bat-Signal" (a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens) that shines into the night sky. In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, the Bat-Signal is used as much to enhance the terror effect of Batman on criminal elements as a signal. In Batman: The Animated Series, he can be paged by the police as well.

Bruce Wayne

To the world at large, Bruce Wayne is an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lives off his family's personal fortune (amassed when Bruce's parents invested in Gotham real estate before the city was a bustling metropolis) and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, a major private technological firm that he has inherited. However, Wayne is also known for his contributions to charity, notably through the Wayne Foundation, a foundation devoted to helping the victims of crime and preventing people from turning to it.

Dual Identities

Like Superman, the prominent persona of Bruce Wayne's dual identities has varied with time. Present comics seem to favor portraying the decadent playboy aspect of his character (earlier versions of Bruce Wayne depicted him as a more mature, refined gentleman) as the facade, while the masked and particularly dark, grim vigilante is marked as the "true" man. Usually, Batman is further separated from Bruce Wayne by the raspy and stony bass voice he usually assumes while costumed. (Except for Adam West's smooth baritone from the TV series.) Interestingly, Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan interpreted the character as having three personas: the affable goofy playboy, the extremely gritty and violent Batman, and the man in-between, when he takes off the mask but doesn't put on a tux. Nolan sees that as the true, pure character, a person that only Alfred sees.

Wayne guards his secret identity well, as only a handful of individuals know of his superhero alter-ego, including Alfred, Oracle, the Robins, the members of the Justice League, Catwoman, Leslie Thompkins, and a few others. Several villains have also discovered his true identity over the years, most notably eco-terrorist Ra's Al Ghul, as well as Hugo Strange, the Riddler, Scarecrow, Bane, and Hush. Batman often acts dim-witted and self-absorbed as Bruce Wayne, the better to convince people there is no connection. Batman has made it clear that he considers keeping his secret identity a life and death matter; he has on various occasions come near to death rather than use his skills in public as Bruce Wayne.

Batman also occasionally goes undercover to infiltrate the criminal element of Gotham. Matches Malone was a small time thug who once acted as Batman's snitch; when Matches was killed, Batman assumed his identity. In the recent War Games storyline, it was revealed that Batman had a plan which would make Matches Malone the crime boss of Gotham, in effect giving Batman direct control over the criminals he stalks as Batman.

Gotham City

Main article: Gotham City

A fictional city modeled primarily after New York City, it is Bruce Wayne's home and Batman's base of operation. In early Batman comics, he stated to be located in New York City; "Gotham" is in fact another name for New York. It is generally thought to be located on the northeast coast, and is located in New Jersey in several sources. It's an urban city, with ritzy areas, but a gloomy, dingy city in general. It is renowned for its lead in science development and architecture, along with its apparent overabundance of psychopaths. It specifically emphasizes a "dark side", in contrast to the bright, clean, futuristic feel of Superman's Metropolis.

Powers and abilities

Unlike Superman and most other costumed heroes, Batman is a human being who does not possess any superhuman abilities. However, he has elevated himself to near-superhuman status through years of rigorous training. Physically he is at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, most notably martial arts, acrobatics, bodybuilding, and escape artistry. Intellectually he is just as peerless, being at once one of the world's greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise. Given his lack of superpowers, he often uses cunning and planning to outwit his foes, rather than simply "out-fighting" them.


Weaknesses

Being human, Batman doesn't have any unusual weaknesses (like Superman's vulnerability to kryptonite) but has character flaws that can be exploited by enemies. In recent comics, Batman is shown as being vastly paranoid by nature and tends to not trust other heroes, even those he has known for years, like Superman. Some enemies have used this to isolate Batman and play games with him. Batman has also been portrayed as arrogant, treating many of his allies with various degrees of disrespect. He also sometimes overestimates his own abilities and allows foes to take advantage of that. These traits have developed over the last few decades, and older portrayals of Batman usually tend to show him as more willing to work with others. Additionally, his childhood trauma makes him emotionally distant from even those allies closest to him, and a common theme among the younger heroes he often works with (Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, etc.) is how hard it is to gain his approval.

Equipment, vehicles and weapons

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The 1966 television Batmobile was built by George Barris from a Lincoln Futura concept car.

Bruce designs the costumes, equipment, and vehicles he uses as Batman, which are produced by a division of Wayne Industries. Over the years, he has accumulated a large arsenal of specialized gadgets (compare with the later James Bond). The designs of most of Batman's equipment share a common theme of dark coloration with a bat motif. A prime example is Batman's car, the Batmobile, often depicted as an imposing black car with large tail fins that suggest a bat's wings; another is his chief throwing weapon, the batarang, a bat-shaped boomerang. In proper practice, the "bat" prefix (as in batmobile or batarang) is no longer used by Batman himself when referring to his equipment, especially as this has been stretched to camp in some portrayals (namely the 1960s Batman live-action television show and the Super Friends animated series). The 1960s live-action television show arsenal included such ridiculous, satirical "bat-" names as a bat-computer, bat-rope, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-handcuffs, bat-phone, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, shark repellent bat-spray, bat-funnel, alphabet soup bat-container, and emergency bat-turn lever.

Batman keeps most of his personal field equipment in a signature piece of apparel, a yellow utility belt. Over the years it has contained items such as plastic explosives, nerve toxins, batarangs, smoke bombs, a fingerprint kit, a laser cutting tool, a grappling hook gun, and a "re-breather" breathing device. Superman has entrusted Batman with a ring made of kryptonite, to be used should the Man of Steel ever turn evil. In some of his early appearances, Batman used sidearms (see especially Detective Comics #32, September 1939), but since that time, he has eschewed their use because his parents were murdered by a gunman. Some stories have relaxed this rule to allow Batman to arm his vehicles for purposes of disabling other vehicles or removing inanimate obstacles.

The Batcave

Main article: Batcave

The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his residence, Wayne Manor. It serves as his command centre for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for the war on crime. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. The Batcave is considered one of the most advanced centers of intelligence and technology the world has ever known.

Costume

The costume may have been inspired by a Halloween "bat-suit" worn by his father before his death, and was also certainly influenced by both Wayne's conviction that criminals are a "superstitious, cowardly lot" and his own fear of bats. The details of the Batman costume have changed repeatedly through the character's evolution, but the most distinctive elements have remained consistent: a dark scalloped hem cape, with a cowl covering most of his face, with a pair of pointed ears suggesting those of a bat, and a stylized bat emblem on his chest. His gloves also typically feature three scallops that protrude from the sides of each glove, presumably depictive of bat's wings and for offensive and defensive purposes. In Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, these fins are portrayed as metal blades doubling as weapons, derivative of his training with Ra's Al Ghul's organization. The most noticeable costume variations include a "yellow elliptical" bat-emblem vs. no ellipse, lighter colors (medium blue and light gray) vs. darker (black and dark gray), a bulky utility belt vs. a streamlined belt, and a long-eared cowl vs. short-eared. The development of Kevlar, Spectra and other types of body armor has prompted some modern creators to make Batman's costume or parts of the costume bullet-proof. In Frank Miller's seminal work The Dark Knight Returns, Miller explains that the yellow ellipse is used to attract gunfire to Batman's chest, where his armor is heaviest.

When faced with difficult or vastly strong opponents (Frank Miller's Superman in The Dark Knight Returns, Alex Ross's gulag prisoners in Kingdom Come and the Predator in Batman vs. Predator), writers do not hesitate to arm Batman with a battle suit of armor. Merchandising variants of his costume have exploited Batman's occasional need to fit him with a suit to match his challenge (ex: Batman's fire-proof suit against Firefly).

In the earliest Batman stories of Detective Comics, the costume features a few curiosities before it evolved in to its more or less standard style. The first gloves were ordinary looking, and lacked any sort of scalloped fins or other stylings, and only came to the wrists. A few issues later the gloves became longer, and by 1940 the familiar fins were added to the gloves. On a curious sidenote, the second Batman adventure featured the character wearing no gloves at all. Another early curiosity was the cape, which at times seemed to attach to Batman's arms, giving it a more wing-like look. The costume is also occasionally seen with a holster, as Batman sometimes carried a pistol in those days.

It should be noted that recent stories (particularly the maxi-series Justice) Batman's glove fins are depicted as solid, able to block bladed weapons.

Homosexual interpretations

File:Batman panel - Robin what have I done to you.jpg
From Justice League of America #44. Published in 1966.

In 1954, psychologist Fredric Wertham's general assertion in his book Seduction of the Innocent was that readers would imitate crimes committed in comic books, and that these works would corrupt the morals of the youth. The most notorious charge in the book, however, was leveled at Batman, in a four-page polemic claiming that Batman and Robin were gay. "They live in sumptuous quarters, with beautiful flowers in large vases, and have a butler," Wertham wrote. "It is like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together." What was more, Wertham asserted, "the Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies."

Wertham became aware of this alternative reading through his conversations with fans of Batman in the fifties, who brought the comic book to his attention as an example of the idealization of a "homosexual lifestyle." Burt Ward has also remarked upon this interpretation, in his autobiographical Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights noting that the relationship could be interpreted as a sexual one, with the show's double entendres and lavish camp also possibly offering ambiguous interpretation. [1] This is despite the fact that the TV series was an attempt at a tamer version of Batman which tried to be less violent than the comic series — one of Wertham's arguments against comics.

File:Batgirlbettebatmite.jpg
Bat-girl, From Batman #144. Published December 1961.

Despite the lack of any concrete cause-and-effect link between reading comics and "deviance", these suggestions raised a public outcry during the sexually-repressed 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. It has also been suggested by scholars that the characters of Batwoman (in 1956) and Bat-Girl (in 1961) were introduced in part to refute the allegation that Batman and Robin were gay, and the stories took on a campier, lighter feel.[2]

However, commenting on homosexual interpretations of Batman, writer Alan Grant has stated that "the Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay. Denny O'Neil's Batman, Marv Wolfman's Batman, everybody's Batman all the way back to Bob Kane...none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view.",[3] whilst Devin Grayson has commented "it depends who you ask, doesn't it? Since you're asking me, I'll say no, I don't think he is ... I certainly understand the gay readings, though."[4]

While changing morals have made the issue less important today, popular culture and a number of artists continue to play off the homosexual connotation of their relationship, against the wishes of the publisher. Two notable examples:

In 2000, DC Comics refused to allow permission for the reprinting of four panels, from Batman #s 79, 92, 105 and 139, to illustrate Christopher York's paper All in the family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s. The paper was published in The International Journal of Comic Art issue 4 without the panels, which were intended to illustrate analysis of their content.[5]
In the summer of 2005, painter Mark Chamberlain displayed a number of watercolors depicting both Batman and Robin in suggestive poses. DC threatened both artist and gallery with legal action if they did not cease selling the works, and also demanded that all remaining art as well as any profits be handed over.[6]

Supporting characters

Main article: Supporting characters of Batman

Robin is perhaps Batman's most important ally; no less than five teenage sidekicks having served in the role: Dick Grayson (the original Robin, later Nightwing), Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Carrie Kelly in the non-canonical The Dark Knight Returns. Both Jason Todd and Stephanie Brown were killed in the line of duty.

Alfred Pennyworth is Bruce Wayne's loyal butler and father figure. Former Police Commissioner James ("Jim") Gordon worked closely with Batman despite their differences on how to best enforce the law. Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's red-haired daughter, previously fought crime at Batman's side as Batgirl; in recent comics, she became the computer hacker known as Oracle. More recently, Cassandra Cain assumed the Batgirl identity.

Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Azrael, briefly became Batman during the Knightfall Saga and is currently presumed dead.

In pre-Crisis continuity, the Huntress was Helena Wayne, daughter to Earth-Two's Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle (Catwoman). Post-Crisis, the Huntress' secret identity is Helena Bertinelli, who has no biological relations to Catwoman or Batman. Her willingness to kill makes her alliance with Batman extremely uneasy.

Batman is also supported by Superman and members of the The Justice League of America, of which he is usually a part-time member. Superman especially crosses paths with Batman often, given that the two are DC Comics' most prominent characters. In pre-Crisis continuity, the two were depicted as close friends, and appeared together monthly in the pages of World's Finest Comics. In current continuity, the two are usually depicted as having an uneasy relationship, with an emphasis their differing views on crimefighting and justice. Among fans, the nickname "World's Finest" (taken from the World's Finest Comics title) is often used to describe Superman-Batman teamups. Currently, DC is publishing a monthly teamup title, called simply Superman/Batman.

Batman has had many romantic relationships throughout his various incarnations. They have been with villainesses (Catwoman, Talia al Ghul, and Poison Ivy), reporters (Vicki Vale and Lois Lane), superheroines (Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Batwoman, and Batgirl), an ex-sidekick (Sasha Bordeaux), and others including Silver St. Cloud, Julie Madison, radio personality Vesper Fairchild, physician Shondra Kinsolving, psychiatrist Chase Meridian, and assistant district attorney Rachel Dawes. With the exception of Catwoman, these relationships have been notable mainly for their short duration; Batman's attraction to Catwoman, however, has been in nearly every version and media the character has appeared in. Authors have gone back and forth over the years as to how Batman manages the 'playboy' aspect of Bruce Wayne's personality; at different times he is variously embracing or fleeing from the women interested in attracting 'Gotham's most eligible bachelor'.

Enemies of Batman

Main article: Enemies of Batman

Batman's foes form one of the most distinctive rogues galleries in comics. In the 1930s and 1940s the most familiar Batman villains evolved: The Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Man-Bat and Clayface. Other well known villains emerged in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s including Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Ra's Al Ghul. Killer Croc, Black Mask, and the Ventriloquist emerged in the 1980s, and Bane and Harley Quinn in the 1990s. Recently, new enemies have appeared, like Hush (who aparently is Tommy Elliot, Bruce´s childhood friend), David Cain (who trained Bruce and is father of Cassandra Cain, the new Batgirl), and a new Red Hood (Jason Todd, aparently back from the dead). These enemies, like Bane, know Batman´s true identity and use that against him.

Crossovers

See also Intercompany crossover.

Batman as a DC Comics' character has from time to time been featured in crossovers with characters from other comic companies, most commonly with Marvel Comics. Many of these stories are not canon for the companies involved, although the DC/Marvel crossovers appear to have some ongoing validity in the DC universe.

The first such crossover was with Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk in the late 1970s. Batman (both as Jean-Paul Valley and Bruce Wayne) also encountered Frank Castle/The Punisher. Batman and Captain America have both fought each other (in the Marvel vs. DC event), and were allies against the Red Skull and the Joker (in Crossover Classics II). Since then, they have encountered each other again in JLA/Avengers. Batman has also worked together with Spider-Man twice, the first simply titled Spider-Man/Batman (along with Marvel's Carnage and DC's Joker. The sequel, Batman & Spider-Man, brought the two heroes together to face Ra's al Ghul and the Kingpin. Another Batman/Marvel crossover features Daredevil.

Crossovers with other companies include Judge Dredd, Spawn, Grendel, Predators, Aliens, Danger Girl and The Spirit.

Awards

The character and series have received several awards over the years.

The series has been nominated for several award, including the Alley Award for Strip Most Needing Improvement in 1967, the Shazam Award for Best Writer (Dramatic Division) for Dennis O'Neil in 1970 for his work on Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman, and other titles, and the Shazam Award for Best Pencil Artist (Dramatic Division) for Neal Adams for Batman and Green Lantern. The series was also nominated for the Squiddy Awards for Most Improved Book/Series in 1990 and 1994, for Favorite Continuing Series in 1994, and the Award for Favorite Established Continuing/Ongoing Series in 1991 and 1995.

The character of Batman has also been nominated for the Squiddy Award for Favorite Character in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and for the Award for Favorite Lead Character in 1994.

The comic strip of the same name was nominated for the Squiddy Award for Comic Strip or Newspaper Cartoon in 1990.

Bibliography

Main article: Batman (bibliography) See also List of Batman comics.

Batman can currently be seen as the primary character in current comic book series such as Batman, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, Superman/Batman and All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. Long running former series in which Batman starred included Batman Family, The Brave and the Bold and (with Superman) World's Finest Comics.

He appears regularly as a guest in many other DC titles, including JLA, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Birds of Prey and Catwoman.

Significant developments in the Batman mythos were seen during Bill Finger and Bob Kane's run on the series in the 1930s and 1940s, Denny O'Neil, Len Wein and Neal Adams's work in the 1970s, and later others such as Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. In addition to their contributions, notable limited series or miniseries which featured Batman include Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, again by Frank Miller.

Batman in other media

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Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne from Batman Begins
Main article: Batman in other media

In addition to comic books, Batman has appeared in newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television and several theatrical feature films, including the 2005 movie Batman Begins. In addition, there is a musical theatre (Batman: The Musical) set to premiere late this year. There are several Batman video games, and even the Six Flags theme parks host Batman shows and rides. Over the last decade, Batman has appeared in starring or supporting roles in the Bruce Timm-helmed DC Animated Universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League.

Given Batman's cultural ubiquity and long-standing iconic status, references to Batman, either as homage, influence, or parody, are common. Other comic companies have often created their own version of the character, such as Marvel Comic's Nighthawk. Spoofs of the character include Dynomutt, Radioactive Man, Darkwing Duck and Rat Pfink and Saturday Night Live's short films of the Ambiguously Gay Duo. In addition to spoofs, his place in pop culture also makes him a recurring 'straight man' in comedy routines and comics, such as David Willis' Shortpacked.

Trivia

  • The character was named Bruce Wayne in honor of Robert Bruce, the Scottish Patriot, and "Mad" Anthony Wayne, the American Revolutionary War general.
  • A personality trait that creator Bob Kane shared with Batman was a certain fondness for keeping late hours.
  • Official DC statistics state that Batman stands 6'2" and weighs 220 lbs. Ironically, both Christian Bale and Adam West are also that height, and at the time of Batman Begins' filming Bale weighed 220 lbs.

External links

Comics
Animated cartoons

References

  • Daniels, Les. DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes.
  • Jones, Gerard. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book.
  • Beatty, Scott, et al., The Batman Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual. Quirk Books, March 30th, 2005. ISBN 1594740232

Notes

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See also

Additional Batman Information

Related information


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