If you’ve never heard of The Batman, then we’re guessing your grandparents probably didn’t either. Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane way back in 1939, Batman has been a popular character ever since. He became an iconic figure in the Golden Age of comics (1940s-1950s) and was one of the first superheroes to grace the big screen in the 1966 film Batman, starring Adam West. Since then, he’s been appearing in various media and has been a regular fixture at comic book conventions.
Before you begin your journey into the world of The Batman, it’s important to understand several key things about the character and franchise.
1. He Is One Of The Most Popular Characters In Comics.
As mentioned above, Batman has been featured in numerous comics throughout the years. Since his inception, the character has always been well-received and continues to be so today. In fact, in March 2019, Wizard reported that Batman is currently one of the most popular characters in all of comics, ranking 7th amongst all comic book characters according to a recent Comichron poll. The character even made it into the Top 100 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time according to Comic Book Resources.
The most recent Batman revival, The Batman and the Outsiders, was one of the most popular comics of 2018, according to a recent Diamond Comic Sales Report. The book featured a popular superhero team-up and received good reviews from critics, including Comicbook.com’s Charlie Coyle, who called it a “tour de force.”
2. The Characters In The Bat Family Have Always Been Together.
Unlike many other comic book characters, who often feature storylines about individual characters, the Batman family has always been about protecting the city and bringing down the bad guys. This was initially demonstrated in the very first issue of Detective Comics (which features a story about Batman), where he goes undercover as a reporter for a newspaper with his trusted partner, Harvey Bullock (later to become Commissioner Gordon).
This dynamic duo would go on to become two of the most enduring and popular characters in the Batman franchise. Throughout the years, they’ve grown in popularity and evolved alongside the Batman franchise, appearing in various comics and at comic book conventions worldwide.
However, the strength and popularity of the Batman family doesn’t stop at the characters mentioned above. The franchise also features the Robins, which are a group of female vigilantes who defend the city alongside Batman. Their first appearance was in the 1940s and they’ve been a part of the Batman family ever since. While the females of the Bat family haven’t received the same level of recognition as the males, the characters have always garnered a lot of support from fans, particularly the Robins, who are often referred to as the “Batgirls”.
3. The Characters And Villains In The Franchise Are Usually Genres Mixed Together.
If you’ve ever read a comic book, then you know that comics aren’t always divided into clear-cut categories like action and adventure or romance and humor. Sometimes, a story will mix up the genres, as different artists and writers will have different ideas about what makes a story work. As a result, comics will occasionally feature stories that are a combination of the above.
This can often lead to some interesting situations. For instance, a story might start out as an adventure thriller before transforming into a comedy, or vice versa.
This was certainly the case with Batman. In the beginning, the character was inspired by the horror movies of the time, particularly Son of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. In some of these comics, Batman would battle creatures from mythology, such as the Minotaur and the Gorgon.
As the series progressed, the stories became more light-hearted. A popular example of this is the 1940s series, The Brave and the Bold, which was originally published in the now-defunct Whiz Comics and consisted of short stories paired with colorful cartoon illustrations. The series was created by an artist named Will Eisner, who is known for his series of graphic novels called The Spirit. The comics would later be collected and published in a book called The Spirit Collection. This collection featured some of the best works by Eisner, as well as other well-known creators from the Golden Age of comics.
Due to the success of Eisner’s work, the demand for his services as an illustration designer grew, and so did his workload. As a result, he began to put the brakes on his comic book work, producing only one full issue, The Brave and the Bold No. 54, in 1947. The following year, he would revive the series, producing five more issues, which were collected into a single volume. This was the starting point of a new era in comics, known as the Silver Age of comics (or the “Age of Aquarius”).
It’s important to point out that while the above-mentioned series mixed genres, this was very much a case of the times. During this era, stories were often classified according to whether or not they were comedic or dramatic. However, as time passed and comics creators became more daring, this classification system began to break down.
Today, we no longer classify comics based on their tone, as comics have become an all-encompassing medium. In 2019, for example, Marvel Comics featured an all-Caucasian superhero team, the Alpha Squad, while DC Comics featured an all-black superhero team, the Suicide Squad.
Regardless, due to the character’s enduring popularity, the above situation is unlikely to repeat itself.
4. Batman Is More About Philosophy And Personal Responsibility Than He Is About Violence.
Although the character’s primary function in the comics has always been to protect the city and fight crime, Batman also has a deep and rich philosophical side. This is most evident in the character’s interactions with his children, who frequently pose questions about right and wrong to their famous parent.
Batman has always been regarded as a somewhat self-sacrificial character. He will often go above and beyond the call of duty in order to protect his city and those he cares about. This can sometimes mean sacrificing his own physical well-being. As a result, Batman has often been the victim of attacks from both the criminals he has hunted down and the vicious thugs who live in the shadows. He has also been held captive by the Joker, who was responsible for putting him in a coma that lasted for three years.
Batman has overcome these challenges, however, through sheer willpower and dedication. In the most recent comics revival, The Batman and the Outsiders, Batman breaks his long hiatus from crime fighting and returns to take on new villains, one of whom is actually his former partner, the Joker. In the first issue of the new series, Batman reflects on his life and decides that he wants to lead a normal life with his family, saying: “If we’re going to be on this Earth for a little while, then I might as well make the most of it. My name isn’t Bruce Wayne anymore. It’s Batman.
5. Batman Is More About Community Than Crime-Fighting.
One of the central themes in the Batman comics is the importance of community. Whether it’s between the characters or between the reader and the character, Batman frequently encourages people to help one another, care for one another, and work together for the greater good of society. As a result, Batman has always been associated with “clean” comic books and has gone to great lengths to ensure that his comics are family-friendly. He has also spoken out against the evils of gun violence and encouraged kids to read.
Since the 1950s, Batman has been involved in numerous “crime-fighting” scenarios, where he battles various villains and then brings them to justice. However, in reality, it is the criminals, not the superheroes, who are usually the bad guys in these stories, as the world of Batman is often very different from the one we experience every day. For example, many of the villains are billionaires, movie stars, or powerful politicians who can pay high-priced lawyers to keep them out of trouble. As a result, many of these stories don’t really reflect the reality of crime in today’s world.
6. The Characters In The Franchise Mostly Wear Clothes That Are Light-Colored.
Another thing you need to know about The Batman is that the characters wear mostly white or pale-colored clothes. As a result, many of them appear to be ghosts or spirits, which is fitting, since Batman is sometimes depicted as a spirit or apparition himself.