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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Holy everything you need to know about Batman in one post

He was originally to be called Birdman but thankfully during development Bob Kane and Bill Finger switched this to Batman Initially Finger received no credit for his part in the character with Batman, for a great many years, being credited as a Bob Kane creation. It was only in later years that Kane acknowledged Finger's contribution to the early development of the character.

"I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN. Finger talking about his initial look at Kane's creation.

Indeed it was Finger who suggested giving the character a cowl instead of the domino mask, a cape instead of wings, adding gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume But Bob Kane's dad was a lawyer which assured that Kane got his byline on each and every Batman story, which was something unheard of during the period.

Batman first saw light in 1939 with issue 27 of Detective Comics. Many of the aspects of the modern day character were in place for this first story - Batman's secret identity as Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon and of course the costume style which although developed over the years is still essentially the same thing.

Over the years we have learned that Batman's cowl contains a transmitter, that the thickest layer of body armour is around the bat symbol on Batman's chest, that the outer layer of the batsuit can be electrified and that the suit is fireproof. The biggest element of the suit is that it scares bad guys. And Batman was initially a vampiric character and this symbolism has been used effectively by many of the writers over the years. The Batman of Tim Burton's Batman the Movie was very much Dracula with morals.

Batman also has a utility belt which over the years has carried grappling hooks, cameras, lights, weapons and communicators.

The trauma of Batman witnessing the murder of his parents as a child left him with an hatred of guns and he vows to never use them in his fight against crime. Though that doesn't stop him using explosive pellets or lethal batarangs.

Batman uses various gadgets from kick ass cars to shark repellent bat spray. The batglider is bloody cool too and Batman keeps all these at the Batcave which exists beneath Wayne Manor.

The origin - Bruce sees his parents killed, vows that he will fight crime, trains , becomes Batman.

"I chose this life. I know what I'm doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today however isn't that day."

Gotham City is a city where town planning never existed and where a lot of lowlife scum tend to operate. The city houses the Arkham Asylum which is a gothic nightmare.

Robin is Batman's sometimes sidekick. There have been various Robins over the years but personally I prefer my Batman to operate solo. Damien Wayne, Bruce's son, is the current Robin.

Alfred Pennyworth was once a cockney womaniser who fought the Zulus but is now the stereotypical English butler. One of the few anachronisms in popular culture that actually work.

Commissioner Gordon - Batman's buddy in the police.

Batman sometimes works with his super buddies such as Wonder Woman, Green Arrow or Superman. And of course Bats is also a member of the Justice League of America. The caped crusader is often a part of other teams too.

Batman sometimes get his leg over and his birds have included Vicky Vale, Julie Madison, Vesper Fairchild and Catwoman.

Batman fights many enemies but the most iconic are:

The Joker - the most iconic of them all. Joker is to Batman what Lex Luthor is to Superman.

Penguin - next to the Joker he's the tops.

The Riddler - takes third place.

Bane - overrated

Two Face - excellent character

Mr Freeze - Silly

Catwoman - Sexy

Poison Ivy - also sexy

Scarecrow - often a very effective character.

Alongside Superman, Batman defined the superhero age - they were characters for our times. Indeed during the second world war Batman was drafted in for many advertising campaigns.


Batman Year One

The Dark Knight Returns

The Killing Joke

Death in the Family

Arkham Asylum

Knightfall parts 1 and 2

The Long Halloween

There you have it - that's everything really, because Batman can be picked up and enjoyed at any point in his long continuity. I've only recently started reading the comics, after many years away, thanks to the Titan collectors editions, and I'm enjoying them as much as ever. For there is more than one Batman and the character can, depending on how he is presented, be for the young kiddies as well as the more mature and demanding readers.

Maybe more so than Superman, Batman is the no 1 superhero ever created and this is perhaps because he is not really a superhero, but more an everyman. A symbol of the hero we like to think resides within us all.

Now Explore this:

Fatman on Batman podcast

 The Bat Blog

Batman News

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