Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Publication History
Batman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Bob's early design of Batman was a Superman-look-alike with a domino mask and stiff bat wings coming out of his back. Finger gave several suggestion to improve the character's look such as him having a cowl and cape. Batman was influenced by Zorro, the Phantom, the Shadow (who is often mistaken for Batman-knock off), Doc Savage and Sherlock Homes. Although many stories did not actually give credit to the creators in that time, later, the title panel would every now and then give Bob credit.
Early Years
First appearing in Detective Comics # 27, Batman started out as a hero who had little remorse for killing the villains. The character evolved over time. In issue 29, he got his trademark utility belt and in issue 31 he got the Bat-Plane and bat-shaped boomerangs. His origin wasn't revealed until issue 33. By issue 38, the character was be soften up by introducing the first Robin to act as his "Watson". Batman got his own comic, which not only introduced Joker and Catwoman in the first issue, but also his "no killing" rule.
1950s and 1960s
Due to the criticisms of Seduction of the Innocent, Batman became much softer and a less dark hero and had more female supporting characters. The comic started to become more sci-fi oriented and introduce characters like Bat-Mite and Ace the Bat-Hound, who would later be erased from the Batman mythos. He also became a founding member of the Justice League.
New Batman
Editor Julius Schwartz made major changes to Batman such as removing Bat-Mite and making the comic more detective-oriented again. Due to the popularity of the Batman television show featuring Adam West, the comics gained a campy touch. Writer Dennis O'Neil would later try and keep Batman away from the campy overtones. But, sales were bad.
Back to the Basic
Thanks to Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, Batman regained popularity as well as returned to his dark roots. A notable event was when fans could vote on if Jason Todd (the second Robin) would live or DIE! Lets just say things did turn out too good for Jason. In "Batman R.I.P.", Batman was killed. In "Battle for the Cowl", Dick Grayson (the first Robin) became the new Batman.
Character Biography
Young Bruce Wayne was leaving a movie when his parents where mugged. The mugger (later revealed to be Joe Chill) killed his parents. On his parent's grave, he swore to fight crime. After spending years of training in fighting, he decided to become a vigilante. But, he wanted to inflict criminals with fear... but how? One night, a giant bat flew into his study. Taking his as an omen, he decided to become "a bat" and became Batman. By day, he was an irresponsible playboy.
Golden Age
After several years of brutally fighting crime, Batman witnessed the Flying Graysons killed. He took their son (Dick Grayson) under his wing and dubbed him "Robin". The duo would fight many enemies such as Catwoman, Joker and Riddler. Batman had a few adventures with the Justice Society of America. Later, Alfred Pennyworth became his butler (in this version this is the first time Batman met him) and discovered that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same. Also, Vicki Vale (a Lois Lane knock off) became Batman's first girlfriend that didn't try to kill him.
Silver Age
The Golden Age Batman was rewritten so he existed in a reality known as Earth-Two, where he married Catwoman. The main reality Batman's origin was given a new twist: Joe Chill was hired to kill Batman's parents. It was revealed his dad (Thomas Wayne) stopped a mobster called Lew Moxon. Lew hired Joe to kill Thomas and his wife (which he did). This Batman became a founding member of the Justice League of America (the Silver Age counterpart to the JSA). Later, Robin decided to go solo. Batman's stories became darker such as his arch-enemy Joker became more sadistic and psychopathic. Later, Batman quit the JLA and joined the Outsiders, only to quit later too.
Modern Age
Batman was rebooted to be much darker. Also, Alfred was rewritten to be a father figure to Bruce. Batman got a new Robin: Jason Todd. Jason tried to find his genetic mom... only to get beaten half to death and blown up by the Joker. This caused Batman to become even more dark. However, he still had more Robins. A villain called Bane broke his back and Batman gave Azrael the mantle of the Bat, while he recovered, which he did. However, upon battling the god-like Darksied, his mind is sent to parallel worlds. However, it seems more like Darkseid actually killed him. Dick Grayson ends up becoming the new Batman. Through a complex series of events, Bruce gets back to normal and decides to open up Batman Inc.

Homosexual Interpretations
The before mentioned Seduction of the Innocent accused Batman and Robin of being a gay couple and them a "homosexual fantasy". However, creators disagree if Batman is gay or not. While Alan Grant says Batman isn't gay, Frank Miller views them as a "homophobic nightmare". Devin Grayson, a writer, said while he doesn't think Batman is gay "It depends who you ask".

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