Batman: Arkham Asylum character design by Carlos D'Anda.
|Real Name||Bruce Wayne|
Peak Human Strength
Martial Arts Master
|Team Affiliations||Batman Family|
|Base of Operations||Wayne Manor|
|Criminal Nickname||Matches Malone|
Batman is the dark persona for billionaire Bruce Wayne, a man who's life has been drastically shaped by earlier events. As a child, Bruce witnessed the death of his parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne. He has trained himself both physically and mentally to become a man of great power, capable of battling criminals in and around Gotham City, his home. Batman gets assistance from others around him during his endevours, including his side-kick Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, and police commissioner James Gordon. Even though he is considered a Superhero, Batman has no actual powers. Instead, he fights crime using his highly trained combat skills, along with the great intellect he possesses and unmatched detective abilities.
After his introduction in 1939, Batman was eventually rewarded with his own comic book, Batman, in 1940. As the character gained more and more popularity, Batman was featured in a television show that ran during the 1960s. It was considered very campy for its goofy character depiction and outlandish storylines. In 1986, hoping for a darker interpretation, the series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was created. Then, after Tim Burton's Batman film in 1989, the character became a household name. Since then, Batman has been featured in many television shows, films, and even more comic books and graphic novels, along with having merchandise for the character created.
 Publication History
Back in 1938, editors in the comic book division at National Publications (which eventually became DC Comics) were prompted to create more superheros after the success and popularity of Superman. This led to Bob Kane creating "The Bat-Man" along with Bill Finger. The original character design for Batman was very much unlike his current appearance, with him wearing a domino mask, sporting red-colored pants, and not wearing any gloves or utility belt. The name Bruce Wayne was taken from a couple of sources. "Bruce" came from the Scottish Patriot Robert Bruce, and "Wayne" from the US General Mad Anthony Wayne.
Many of Batman's personality and appearance traits were adapted from pop culture in the 1930s, including movies, comic strips, newspapers, and even famous figures. A film such as The Mask of Zorro and iconic individuals such as Doc Savage and Sherlock Holmes were all used an inspiratons for the character. Bob Kane credits Billy Finger with much of Batman's beginnings, evident in this quote from the book Batman & Me:
"Bill Finger was a contributing force on Batman right from the beginning. He wrote most of the great stories and was influential in setting the style and genre other writers would emulate ... I made Batman a superhero-vigilante when I first created him. Bill turned him into a scientific detective."
Kane soon signed away ownership of the Batman character in exchange for his name appearing in each Batman comicbook as the creator. The settlement resulted in Kane's name being printed on the title page of each story. That is, until the 1960s when his name vanished and was replaced by the comic's actual writers and artists. A decade later, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began getting a "created by" credit on Superman titles, Kane once again received his due when Batman stories began saying "Created by Bob Kane" in each new issue.
Bill Finger however, did not receive the same praise. He had done great work for DC Comics since the 1940s, but his role in Batman's creation was essentially unknown to the public. In Batman #165, Julius Schwartz credits Finger for the creation of The Riddler, but leaves no mention of Batman. Finger felt that this was part of the reason why he had not done enough in his lifetime with his creative talents, and, by the time of his death in 1974, DC had not officially credited Finger with being the co-creator of Batman.
Jerry Robinson, a man who worked with both men on the comicstrip, recalls Kane as one unwilling to share the credit with Finger. In an interview in 2005 for The Comic Journal, Robinson said:
"Bob made him more insecure, because while he slaved working on Batman, he wasn't sharing in any of the glory or the money that Bob began to make, which is why... [he was] going to leave [Kane's employ]. ... [Kane] should have credited Bill as co-creator, because I know; I was there. ... That was one thing I would never forgive Bob for, was not to take care of Bill or recognize his vital role in the creation of Batman. As with Siegel and Shuster, it should have been the same, the same co-creator credit in the strip, writer and artist."
In a letter to the fans in 1965, Kane called out Finger, saying "it seemed to me that Bill Finger has given out the impression that he and not myself created the Batman". Along these lines, Kane went on to call Finger a ghost writer, and an individual in such a position does not have the right to take credit.
 Early Years
Batman's first appearance in a comic was in The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939. In his first appearance, Batman appeared much like your common gangster, as he was not above using firearms, and he showed no remorse over killing criminals. By 1940, his popularity had grown tremendously, and he was soon given his own comic by Detective Comics. Batman, along with Superman, helped the company reign supreme in the comic book industry. So much so that the two superheros were featured in a comic series together, titled World's Finest Comics.
Over the first handful of issues, Batman's character saw changes to both his physical and personality appearance. "About a year later he was almost the full figure, my mature Batman", Kane wrote. An example of the changes to his appearance were an extension of Batman's jawline, and making the ears taller and more pointy. Batman's utility belt was introduced in Detective Comics #29, while the always reliable batarang came to exist in #31. In issue #33, Batman's dark origin was introduced to the readers, featuring a 2-page story that revealed the death of Bruce Wayne's parents, leading to his brooding personality. It was depicted showing his parents being murdered during a street robbery, and at their funeral, Bruce vows to have his revenge against the criminals of the world.
The early "evil" Batman softened over time, and by Detective Comics #38 in April of 1940, with the introduction of his sidekick, Robin, you started to see this change. Bill Finger insisted Batman needed another individual that he could converse with, and after the addition, sales nearly doubled. In the first issue of the series Batman #1, huge events occurred that forever changed the character. Not only did we witness the creation of Catwoman and Joker, but in this issue, Batman brutally shoots down a couple of criminals with a machine gun mounted on the Batplane. Right after that he hangs one of Hugo Strange's monster men with a rope connected to the plane, the comic depicts it as a slow and painful death. This led to editor Whitney Ellsworth declaring that the character could no longer use a gun or kill anyone in later issues. Over the following years, including post World War II, Batman was shown as a respectable figure amongst his peers.
Interest in the Superhero genre waned a bit during the 1950s, but this did not stop Detective Comics from continue to push their main characters. In The Mightiest Team in the World (Superman #76), Batman and Superman teamed up for one of the first times and eventually figured out each other's identity. After the success of the first story, World's Finest Comics was altered so that more issues featured the two characters (Batman and Superman) together, instead of the seperate storylines the comic had been running. This led to much success and the stories ran until its cancellation in 1986.
Times darkened in the comic book world when in 1954, a psychologist by the name of Fredric Wertham wrote in one of his books that comic books were corrupting societies youth as children tended to imitate actions found within the stories, and that the homosexual nature of Batman's comics were unneccesary, claiming that Batman and Robin were portrayed as lovers. After the Comics Code Authority was established in the mid 1950s, we started seeing a campier and more "proper" Batman. Also, the introduction of Batwoman in 1956 and Batgirl in 1961 was done in part of an effort to rid people of the assumption that Batman and Robin were gay.
Later in the decade, the writers started to turn down a Sci-Fi route. New characters were introduce, including Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite. Stories also started including bizarre scenarios including aliens and supernatural occurances. In 1960, Batman debuted as a member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28. Batman would soon appear in many more issues of that series in the following years.
By 1964, Batman titles had begun losing a lot of interest, and Detective Comics was on the verge of scrapping the character completely. In an attempt to revive the character, editor Julius Schwartz was assigned to the series. He was in charge of providing major changes to Batman and his universe, and it began with Detective Comics #327, dubbed "New Look". Schwartz aimed to bring Batman back to his detective-oriented endeavors, and he brought in artist Carmine Infantino to alter Batman's appearance. This included adding some yellow his suit, and the Batmobile was also overhauled. The alien storylines found in the 1950s were trashed, and characters such as Batwoman, Bat-Mite, and Ace were retired. Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler, was killed off and replaced by Aunt Harriet Cooper, who ended up living in Wayne Manor with Bruce and Dick Grayson.
When the show Batman made its debut in 1966, Batman's popularity reached new heights. Not only did sales throughout the comic book industry see a bump, but Batman sales reached nearly 900,000 copies. With a more campy depiction, along with the return of Alfred and the introduction of Batgirl, Batman had returned. Although, the campy nature of the television show ran its course over time and the program was cancelled in 1968. At this time, Batman comics also started to see a decline in popularity.
The following year, writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams intended to remove the campy nature found in the television show and latest comics and return Batman to his darker nature. O'Neil intended to take inspiration from the earlier stories by Kane and Finger and hoped to return Batman to his former glory. The two first worked together on the story The Secret of the Waiting Graves (DC #395) in January 1970. Even though this grim Batman was popular with the fans, sales were still in a state of decline. As years passed, writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers took the reigns during issues #471-476 from 1978-1979. Their work actually the 1989 Batman movie, along with Batman: The Animated Series which debuted in the early 1990s. Still, sales had continued to decline, and in 1985, they hit rock bottom.
 The Dark Knight Returns and more
In 1986, a new Batman series was created by Frank Miller titled Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It told the story of a 50-year old Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement and returning to the streets of Gotham City as Batman. The series was a financal success and it helped reinvigorate Batman amongst fans and raised its popularity back up once again.
During this time, Batman began to return his dark roots following an appearance in the miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. In February of 1987, Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli created the Batman: Year One which redefined the characters origins. Then, in 1988, writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland continued the darker tones with the great novel Batman: The Killing Joke. Within this sinister storyline, the psychotic Joker is pictured torturing and (eventually) cripping Barbara Gordon, James Gordon's daughter, and then injuring the Commissioner himself, both physically and mentally.
DC Comics received much more attention for its Batman character after they created a 900 number of fans that let them vote on whether the character Jason Todd (The 2nd Robin) lived or died. By a slim 28 votes, fans chose for the young man to be killed off, and this event took place in Batman: A Death in the Family. The following year saw the release of the Tim Burton film, Batman, headlined by Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton. The movie garnered millions of dollars at both the box office and in merchandise sales. During this time, the first issue of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight was released and sold nearly one million copies.
A few years later in 1993, Batman: Knightfall was released featuring a new villian, Bane. He ends up critically injuring Bruce Wayne, and at this point, a man known as Azrael replaces him as Batman while Bruce recooperates. Writers Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant worked on this title (among others). The well written 1998 Cataclysm storyline would lead in to 1999s No Man's Land, a story which spanned over a year long period in which Gotham City is in turmoil following a violent earthquake.
In 2003, writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee created Batman: Hush, which was a 12-issue series which introduced a new villain, Hush, along with a number of individuals in Batman's supporting cast, including the return of Jason Todd. The series was number one in comic book sales after its release. Jim Lee then worked with Frank Miller on All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, which opened to tremendous sales and garnered the biggest earnings in the industry since 1993. Batman truly was back on top of the comic book world.
 Character Analysis
Batman's history is something that cannot be described in simple terms. Over time, the character has seen many revisions, both to his appearance and personality alike. One thing that has remained constant is his dark origin. When, as a child, Bruce Wayne witnessed the death of his parents at the hands of petty criminal. This leads Bruce Wayne to suit up as the enigma Batman as he fights crime in Gotham. This was the beginning of the Dark Knight, and, along with other big moments, such as the introduction of Robin, a consistency was sought after for one of the most popularized comic book characters in history.
 Golden Age
Batman is already appearing as his crime-fighting self in his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, and later on in Detective Comics #47, his origin is fleshed out for fans. Bruce Wayne, son of Thomas and Martha Wayne, is raised in a very wealthy lifestyle within the walls of Wayne Manor. His life goes according to plan until the death of his loving parents as they are shot down by Joe Chill in Crime Alley, near a movie theater. Bruce Wayne realizes what he must do with his life at a very young age, and, even after grueling training, he begins to doubt his ability to battle crime. It is not until he sees a Bat fly past his window that he realizes the symbol that he will use to strike fear in the hearts of evil.
In early comic appearances, Batman's vigilante tendencies are frowned upon by other crime fighters. Around this time, Bruce also becomes engaged to the beautiful Julie Madison and takes in an orphan named Dick Grayson who would eventually become Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America but does not participate in their activities very often. Batman soon would become an honorary member of the Gotham City Police Department after his good deeds are eventually accepted, and the always helpful Alfred Pennyworth arrives at Wayne Manor to be Bruce Wayne's butler and friend.
 Silver Age
It is believed that the Silver Age of comic books began in 1956 when Barry Allen was introduced as the new Flash. During this time, Batman was still perceived in a much lighter tone, with stories centering around science-fiction elements. It was not until the mid 1960s that Batman returned to his detective roots and science-fiction was all but rid from the series.
DC would then soon establish Earth-Two Batman, which focused on a Batman found in a parallel universe. In it, Batman ends up partnering with and marrying Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and fathering Helena Kyle, also known as the Huntress. She, along with Earth-Two Robin are tasked with protecting Gotham once Bruce Wayne retires as Batman into the position of Commissioner of the Gotham Police force. He is eventually killed during one last mission as Batman. No matter which Batman is being referenced or discussed, subtle changes to his history have been made throughout time. For example, there is a meeting between Bruce Wayne and the future Superman as children, as well as a time when Bruce Wayne was raised by his uncle Philip Wayne following his parents death.
Batman also teams up with other superheros during the Silver Age, including Superman, which whom he starred with in World's Finest Comics for 32 years from 1954 to 1986. The two men are usually shown as great friends and work together quite well. Batman also is a founding member of the Justice League of America, and, in a monthly edition of Brave and the Bold, Batman would team up with a different superhero each issue.
1969, even more changes were seen to the Batman universe. Dick Grayson begins attending college, while at the same time Batman moves out of Wayne Manor into a penthouse atop the Wayne Enterprises Building so he is closer to the crime found in Gotham City. Batman would spend the following two decades mainly working on his own, even though he would obviously team up with Robin on occasion. The stories would become increasingly darker as well during the 1970s and 1980s. Joker begins to be shown as a truly deranged psychopath, and Ra's Al Ghul is introduced as an ageless villain who knows Batman's true identity. Then, during the 80s, Dick Grayson eventually becomes Nightwing. In 1983, during the final issues of Brave and the Bold, Batman disbands the Justice League of America and creates a new group called the Outsiders and makes himself the leader.
 Modern Dark Knight
Following the series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the writers working on Batman spent a good deal of time reworking bits of Batman's history in an attempt to keep it updated with modern times. For instance, Frank Miller gave Batman's origin a much darker tone in his Year One storyline. Along with that, it is shown that many of the officers with the police force are corrupt, proving greater need for Batman in Gotham City. The history of Jason Todd is changed as well, depicting him as the son of a criminal who attempted to steal tires off of the Batmobile. Plus, instead of his uncle, Bruce is raised by his butler, Alfred. Readers are also told that Batman infact did not create the Justice League of America, even though he was a member for a period of time. In 1989, Legends of the Dark Knight was released that told a series of stories that took place within the Year One period.
In Batman: A Death in the Family (1988), Batman's sidekick Jason Todd is killed by the Joker. This leads Batman to be very wreckless and uncaring in his tackling of criminals within Gotham as he is quite pained by the loss of his close friend. Tim Drake would become the new Robin a few years later, and, in 2005, DC writers brought Jason Todd back to life and had him fack off against Batman.
Since the early 1990s, many of the storylines told about Batman are those which run through multiple issues. In 1993, the Knightfall story, the first phase tells of how the vicious Bane breaks Batman's back, leaving Azrael to become the new Dark Knight while Bruce Wayne heals. At this point, the storyline branches off in different directions, with one following Azrael as the new Batman, and the other focuses on Bruce Wayne's journey back to Batman. Eventually, in KnightsEnd, Azrael is forced to fight Bruce Wayne as his actions have become too wreckless and he is defeated. Bruce then lets Dick Grayson (Nightwing) assume the role of watcher of Gotham while his healing nears completion.
During the mid 1990s (1996), Batman would once again rejoin the Justice League, but his role would be rather limited as Batman faces great struggles in his own stories. In the Cataclysm series, Gotham City is torn apart by an earthquake, leaving the city a mess. This leads Batman to battle against some of his greatest foes in the No Man's Land storyline. At the end of this issue, Lex Luthor is responsible for rebuilding Gotham City, but he then frames Bruce Wayne for murder in the Bruce Wayne: Murderer? and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive comics.
In the 2005 series Identity Crisis, Batman loses parts of his memory at the hands of Zatanna. This causes Batman to lose trust in his fellow superheros as he creates a surveillance system to keep tabs on them. This story would lead to the miniseries Infinite Crisis which would be a big hit. Following the series, Batman, along with Tim Drake and Dick Grayson, are shown returning to Gotham City after a year long absence, as shown in the Face the Face arc. At the end, Tim is adopted as Bruce Wayne's son. In a series that followed, Batman & Son, Damian Wayne is introduced as Batman's son with Talia Al Ghul. Eventually, Batman returns to the Justice League before forming the Outsiders group.
 Bruce Wayne Persona
When he is not protecting the city of Gotham from criminals, Batman disguises himself as Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy. From the outside looking in, Bruce Wayne is viewed as a cocky and carefree who is contempt with living off of his families money. Although, along with using this false personality to throw people off of suspecting him as Batman, Bruce Wayne is CEO of Wayne Enterprises and donates a substantial amount of money to charities. Much like Superman, Batman has trouble being a normal citizen in the world, and even amogst debate, most can agree that Bruce Wayne is the true disguise, while Batman is the real individual.
 Items & Resources
Batman is unique in the superhero realm as he has no actual powers to aid him in his struggle against evil. Instead, Batman relies on his highly intellectual mind, unmatched detective prowess, and well-trained fighting background. Although, along with the help of some trusted friends and allies, Batman also has access to some very important gear that he uses during combat.
Main Article: Batsuit
Batman's costume is one that has seen considerable change over the years. A few things have remained constant though, such as the cape, a cowl covering his face, his utility belt, and the giant emblem covering the chest of his suit. Color-wise, we are normally presented with a blue and grey scheme, but the suit has recently been portrayed in a singular black color (i.e. The Dark Knight). The suit was designed to resemble that of a bat though, as Batman wished to use the imagery as a way to frighten criminals. Boots and gloves are also part of the attire, with the latter often having blades capable of protracting from the suit as a means of self defense.
Additional Information: Utility Belt
Batman has many gadgets and vehicles that he uses to battle the criminals of Gotham City. We first saw some of the creations with the introduction of the utility belt in Detective Comics #29 and then the batarang in Detective Comics #31. As far as vehicles go, Batman's main mode of transportation has been the Batmobile. Its most popular form being the long and slender black speedster seen in the comics and early movies. Batman also uses the Batcycle, Batplane, and Batboat to get around town. Most of Batman's equipment and projectile weapons are stores in his utility belt. It is a trademark of Batman, and the belt itself has been through many alterations over the years.
Main Article: Bat-Signal
The Bat-Signal is a giant searchlight that is used by the Gotham City Police Department or any other allies of Batman to call him out when there is trouble and his assistance is needed. The light has a bat logo attached to the front of it that projects the image out into the sky over Gotham.
Main Article: Batcave
The Batcave is the secret headquarters for Batman. It is located beneath Wayne Manor and it serves as a center for tracking criminals through surveillance and searching information through his database. The cave also holds his vehicles, equipment, and different suits he and Robin have worn. Few individuals know where the batcave actually is, although in the movie Batman Begins we are told that the area was used in the Underground Railroad.
 Supporting Characters
Batman has a unique relationship with the characters portrayed in his life, both good and bad. These individuals help shape Bruce Wayne and Batman into the upstanding individual he truly is. James Gordon is one of Batman's most trusted allies as the two often work together to fight against the criminals of Gotham. Later on, Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox join Bruce Wayne's intercircle, the first as his butler and the latter as his business consultant. Possibly the most important supporting character in the Batman unvierse however is Robin, who has been portayed by three different people. First was Dick Grayson, one who would eventually shift away from the sidekick role into the Nightwing persona. Second there is Jason Todd, the young man who was beaten to death by the Joker. And lastly there is Tim Drake who first appeared in 1989.
As far as women go, Bruce Wayne/Batman has been involved romantically with quite a few. Most are fairly harmless and innocent, such as the relationships with Vicki Vale and Silver St. Cloud, but he also gets involved with rather dubious women such as Catwoman and Talia Al Ghul. As far as Catwomen go, the two are often linked together in many comic books created over time, and they oftentimes have a very unique relationship. Rarely does Bruce Wayne stay with one woman for very long though, and that indirectly helps him portray the "Playboy" persona he is known for.
There are many other characters that help shape the Batman character. For instance, Barbara Gordon, James Gordon's daughter, would become Batgirl until she is paralyzed by a gunshot from the Joker. She would be replaced by Cassandra Cain as Batman's ally. Ace the Bat-Hound is the pet of Batman and a trusted companion during tough times. There is also Azrael whom would don the Batman gear while Bruce Wayne recovered from his vicious encounter with Bane.
 Bad Guys
Full List: Villains
Batman has fought against many dangerous foes, ranging from the lowly criminal to super powerful villains. His most famous adversary is the Joker, a psychotic man who has a clown-like manner that says he is everything that Batman is not, almost like the ying to his yang. Other well-known Batman enemies include Catwoman, Two-Face, Penguin, Riddler, Mr Freeze, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Ra's Al Ghul, Bane, and Clayface.
 Other Media Appearances
Full List of Movies: Movies
Batman made his film debut in the serial Batman which debuted in 1943. Actor Lewis Wilson became the first man to ever portray Batman with this series. A second serial was made in 1949 titled Batman and Robin. This time, the role of Batman was portayed by Robert Lowery. These series helped popularize Batman during a time when he was not very well known to the world outside of comic readers. Another movie was not released until 1966 when Batman was released in theaters. Adam West was the star of this movie, and much like its television counter-part, this movie had a very campy feel to it.
Batman didn't make a return to the big screen until director Tim Burton made Batman in 1989 with Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight. The movie became the highest grossing movie of the year. Three more movies followed it in the coming years: Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997). In the latter two, Joel Schumacher took over as director and Val Kilmer and George Clooney became Batman. Although, the Batman franchise has seen the biggest boom in popularity with the recently created films by Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). TDK currently sits as the second highest grossing film in cinematic history.
Full List of TV: TV Shows
Batman first made his television debut in the series Batman, which first aired in 1966. Adam West portrayed Batman, and the show became an instant phenomenom in part to its campy nature. The series ran for 120 episodes before ending in 1968. Shortly after, the The Batman/Superman Hour was created, which led to Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder, a 33-episode series that ran between 1968 to 1977. By that show's end, we saw the creation of The New Adventures of Batman, which lasted for 16 episodes.
Batman finally returned to telvision in 1992 with Batman: The Animated Series. This was a highly popular series an is widely regarded as one of the best Batman productions ever. It ran until 1997 when it was revamped into The New Batman Adventures. In 2004, The Batman made its debut with Rino Romano voicing Batman.
 Video Games
Full List of Games: Video Games
There have been many video games created over the years focused around Batman and his universe. A handful were titles based off of feature films, such as Batman Forever (Video Game) and Batman Begins (video game). There have also been those games which featured an original story, including Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu and Batman: Dark Tomorrow. The most recent video game to be released is Lego Batman: The Videogame which came out in mid-2008 on multiple systems. A promising title, Batman: Arkham Asylum, is slated for a late 2009 release.
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