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Batman Publication History

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Publication History is unknown.



The original concept of Batman was developed by writer/artist Bob Kane. Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, Zorro, a Leonardo da Vinci sketch of a bat-winged flying machine, and his own imagination, Kane sketched an early version of the character.

Taking his idea to writer Bill Finger, they further developed the concept. Finger himself said on more than one occasion that Kane did indeed create a version of the character before Finger got involved with the project. Kane was inspired by the flying machine of Leonardo Da Vinci, a movie he had seen called The Bat and of course, Bela Lugosi's 1931 film Dracula which featured a "man-bat" in its opening credits. However, Finger did suggest a different costume direction for "The Bat-Man."

Batman Earth-Two 0002

Detective Comics #27

In an interview for Jim Steranko's History of the Comics: Vol. One, Finger described in detail, the extent of his suggestions about the costume. He felt the original character (The Bat-Man) looked too much like Superman with a mask and bat-wings. He recommended replacing the Da Vinci-inspired wings with a cape, giving him gloves, and changing the character's bodysuit from red to grey. Perhaps most importantly, Finger found a book with a picture of a bat in it and encouraged Kane to replace the character's domino mask with a more bat-like hooded cowl, complete with "ears" which would make the character distinguishable even in silhouette. It's generally agreed that Finger encouraged Kane to leave out the character's eyes when he wore the mask. Although Kane would accept many of these suggestions, one cannot escape the direct influence of Lee Falk's character The Phantom, as Kane admitted that he studied newspaper strips on a routine basis.

Finger wrote the first Batman script, while Kane provided 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. This was not unusual in the comic books of that time, where the artist would often sign his name to the first page of the story and the script would be uncredited, but it was in contrast to other features on which Finger worked where he was identified as scripter, such as Wildcat and Green Lantern, and in contrast to the credits on features by the same publisher such as Superman, where writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster both received credit during the time they were affiliated with the publisher, even on stories ghosted for them by other writers and artists.

According to Wizard Magazine, Bob Kane had Finger enter a work for hire contract. It is this contract that provided National and DC their strongest defense against later claims by Finger.

Finger was a very meticulous writer and as such, a slow one, leading editor Whitney Ellsworth to "suggest" that Kane replace him with someone else. During Finger's absence, Gardner Fox contributed scripts that introduced Batman's early "Bat-" arsenal (the utility belt, the Bat-Gyro/plane and the Batarang). Upon his return, Finger created or co-created items such as the Batmobile and Batcave, and is credited with providing a name for Gotham City. Among the things that made his stories particularly distinctive was a use of giant-sized props: enlarged pennies, sewing machines, or typewriters.

Kane and Finger brought together such diverse influences as pulp magazines, comic strips, film noir, and the slapstick comedy of teams like the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges, creating a "Cartoon-Noir" that was widely imitated. Eventually, Finger left Kane's studio to work directly for DC Comics where he still supplied scripts for Batman as well as many other characters.

Golden Age

During Batman's early appearances, the character was still somewhat pulp-influenced, either killing his opponents, or, at least, letting them die.

Batman cape

Batman as a dark avenger

Batman was a success, and soon after, National suggested that character receive a youthful sidekick who the readers could use as an audience surrogate. Kane initially suggested an impish character like Puck, while Finger suggested a more down-to-earth character. The name Robin was suggested by Jerry Robinson who had arrived at the studio while Kane and Finger were kicking names around. Finger went on to write many of the early Batman stories, including making major contributions to the character of The Joker, as well as other major Batman villains.


Batman & Robin - usher in a large number of heroes and teen sidekicks, starting in 1940

The notion of a superhero with a sidekick became ubiquitous, with Sandman & Sandy the Golden Boy, Black Terror and Tim, Captain America & Bucky, etc. ad nauseam.

Silver Age

After the publication of Fredric Wertham's juvenile delinquency treatise, Seduction of the Innocent, and the adoption of the Comics Code Authority, Batman's more violent and darker aspects were jettisoned to focus on relatively wholesome (and some would argue, blander) detective stories. In addition, with the writers' need for adventure, but with their freedom to depict violence curtailed, Batman became a daytime deputy of the police, and became involved in increasingly outlandish science-fiction type stories, often involving a fantastic transformation of some kind and trips through time and space.

Batman 122

"The Marriage of Batman and Batwoman" - see, he can't be gay

Partly to counteract Wertham's claims about Batman and Robin's homoexuality, various female characters were introduced in the late 1950s, including Vicki Vale, Batwoman, and Batgirl. These characters provided "love interests" for both Batman and Robin.

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"Prisoners of Three Worlds" - an example of Batman's sci-fi period

Batman 162

"The Batman Creature"

During the 1960s, the Batman comics were actually near cancellation. Carmine Infantino was brought in and introduced a "new look" for the character in Detective Comics #327 in 1964. [1]

Later still, he hired a new artist, Neal Adams. Together with writer Dennis O'Neil they brought back the old elements that originally defined the character. For a list of some of O'Neil's greatest Batman tales, see Wizard's DENNY O'NEIL'S TOP 12 GREATEST BATMAN MOMENTS.


Batman as depicted by artist Neal Adams

Modern Age


Batman 012

Batman as depicted by Jim Lee


Batman (1943 Serial)

Batman 1943 Serial 001

Lewis Wilson as Batman

Batman first came to the Silver Screen in 1943's Batman serial, starring Lewis Wilson as Batman and Douglas Croft as Robin. J. Carrol Naish played the villain, an original character named Dr. Daka. Rounding out the cast were Shirley Patterson as Linda Page (Bruce Wayne's love interest), and William Austin as Alfred.

Batman (1943 Serial) Batman-Robin-1

Batman and Robin in 1943

Batman and Robin (1949 Serial)

A second serial called Batman and Robin followed in 1949, starring Robert Lowery as Batman.

Batman and Robin 1949 Serial 001

Batman and Robin, 1949


Tim Burton's Batman

Michael Keaton Batman

Batman in 1989

Batman returned to the big screen in director Tim Burton's Batman in 1989.

Christopher Nolan's Batman

After a series of increasingly cartoonish film adaptations, the franchise was reinvigorated in 2005 with Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as the Dark Knight. Villains included the Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul.

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Christian Bale as Batman in 2005

Batman Begins was the fifth live-action Batman movie since 1989 and was a reboot to the superhero's film franchise. It tells the origin story of the character as he takes on crime for the first time in Gotham. It is a significantly darker film, studying the character's inner struggle between justice and vengeance. It received high praise from critics and general audiences, being considered by many as the best of the series, with praise for Bale's performance. The film is followed by a 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight. In it, Batman encounters the Joker and Two-Face.


Batman 1966 TV Series

Batman was a thirty-minute prime time, live action television series broadcast by the ABC Network between 1966 and 1968. Premiering on January 12th, the series featured actor Adam West as the perennial character of Batman, while Burt Ward donned nylon stockings and fairy boots for his portrayal of the erstwhile sidekick, Robin.

Batman 1966 movie

Batman and Robin in 1966

The series took the tradition of Batman into the uncharted territory of camp, oftentimes mocking the character's heritage with trite dialogue and silly plot devices. The show was noteworthy for its memorable use of onomatopoeia during climactic fight scenes. Despite the clumsy nature of the series however, the show proved popular to many fans, and transformed Adam and Burt into modern pop culture icons.

Batman: The Animated Series

Bruce Wayne DCAU 001

Batman Animated

Batman: The Animated Series ran from 1992 to 1999. The series was based on the exploits of Batman and his crusade against injustice. It was arguably a children's show, yet its dark atmosphere and award-winning writing grew a more mature fanbase. The show is based in modern-day Gotham City, a dark, gothic, crime-ridden area. In 1994 the series was retitled The Adventures of Batman & Robin. It now focused more on Robin in an attempt to appeal to children. The rename and inclusion of Robin did not adversely affect the writing and the series bowed out in September 1995.

Aborted Bruce Wayne WB Series

Prior to the development of Smallville, there were tentative plans for a live-action TV series to follow the development of Bruce Wayne into Batman.[2] The series failed to materialize.

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  • DC Comics has never made a clear distinction between when the Golden Age Batman stories end, and the Silver Age Batman stories begin. As such, there is also room for interpretation in determining which Bronze Age Batman stories carry over into the modern Post-Crisis environment and which ones should be considered apocryphal. Mike's Amazing World of DC indicates Superman (Volume 1) #76 as the first appearance of the Earth-One Batman. This information is predicated upon the idea that Batman and Superman are meeting each other, seemingly, for the very first time. As the Golden Age Batman and Superman have met each other on several occasions, it is believed by some, that this issue represents the earliest possible appearance of the Earth-One Batman.


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