The Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight, The Masked Man-hunter (Yes! this was also a suggestion for Batman’s nickname) was born on March 20, 1939, when a cartoonist of National Comics (now known as DC Comics), Bob Cane was asked to build a new character. who could carry forward the success story that Superman brought to the studios?
Surprised? How can someone give a cartoonist such a responsible task?
God knows what Sullivan (the editor) had in mind that day, but he was not disappointed. Kane was up to this task as he created one of the most enduring, iconic and undoubtedly, the most popular character of the 20th century, THE BATMAN.
Firstly, Batman was introduced as a rich miser, who becomes a ruthless crime fighter and knocks off bad guys just for his satisfaction.
“A fitting end for his kind,” was what Batman announced when he knocked a criminal into a vat of acid in his first appearance in “The Case of Chemical Syndicate.”
Credits:- TSM Interactive
It was only after six months, when the tragic story of how a mugger murders Thomas and Martha Wayne, leaving their only child, Bruce, in a state of shock and vengeance, was released.
This storyline clearly explained the satisfaction that Batman attained by knocking off criminals from the streets.
The audience loved the concept of a normal human being with no supernatural powers, became an icon of justice.
The success story continued and in the year 1940, his sidekick, Dick Grayson aka The Robin was introduced. It might come as a shock, but this sidekick was only planned for one issue.
The reason being it would encourage the youngsters to fight gangster. But the success story of the “Dynamic Duos”, kind of forced the publishers to keep Robin alive in the future stories.
From a rich miser to a responsible, father-like figure. The audience loved this transformation of the Knight.
The arrogance, the responsibilities and the class that Batman was exhibiting was alluring everyone to be like him.
In 1943, the butler came into picture. Alfred Pennyworth. The Dynamic duos were cunning about not having a butler, but when Alfred discovered their secret identities, he found himself as one of the most trusted allies of the Duos.
And then later that year, came the arch nemesis, The Joker. A murderer who had fancy toys wore a make-up and had a maniac laugh.
These qualities were not enough to create an everlasting impact on the audience. As the years progressed, he became less of a sinister killer and more of a dangerous prankster. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
Credits- Hollywood reporter
From the 1950s, the fall of Batman begun. Introduction of the entire Bat Family, Batgirl and all was just making it more and more complex for the audience. The Dark Knight was in its darkest phase when the revolution came in 1966.
The Dynamic Duos appeared on-screen with Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. And suddenly everything changed.
From merchandise to comics, the sales soared. For over a year, DC happily lived on the profits from the Batman TV show. But again in 1969, the show closed. Dick Grayson went to college and Bruce Wayne closed the Wayne mansion, to create a “back-to-normal” environment.
Credits- South China Morning Post
In 1971, the Batman TV show was back again but was unable to fascinate the audience.
The animated series began in 1981 which featured the second Robin, Jason Todd.
Dick Grayson retired to be the Batwing, and Todd adopted the name. The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, all of them featured Batman as an old hero, who is coming out of his retirement as a tougher warrior. All of them become the best sellers of their time.
But then Killing Joke came, which featured the death of Jason Todd.
Todd was never able to make an everlasting impression on the audience, and they voted him a “thumbs down.” As a result, DC brought him down when he was killed in an explosion by Joker.
This again made Batman as a ruthless warrior, whose agony increased after the death of his son, Jason Todd. Tim Drake became the third Robin.
But then another revolution came. Jack Nicholson as Joker and Michael Keaton as Batman, gave a completely new face to
the Batman franchise. Michael Keaton continued the success story with another Batman movie which featured Danny Devito as the new nemesis, the Penguin.
But the biggest revolution was yet to come. And it came in the year 2005 when Nolan took the responsibility of bringing the Knight out of retirement.
A whole new face to the Batman franchise. Christain Bale as Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine as Alfred, Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul, HEATH LEDGER as JOKER, Tom Hardy as Bane.
It all gave a completely new face to the Batman franchise. Although the darkness connected to the Batman, the fancy toys of Joker, the arrogance of Bruce Wayne, all were out of the picture, this side of Batman was able to attract more viewers and fans than ever.
As a result, when Ben Affleck tried to bring the ancient Batman back, the audiences were a little disappointed. Anyways, whatever may be the case. Batman will always be the most alluring character DC has ever produced. It’s been over 78 years, and the Caped Crusader never lost its touch. Anyways, let me reveal something.
“I AM BATMAN.”