Happy Birthday, Oh Dark And Scary One – 80 Years Of The Batman!
Eight decades ago, the gun barrel of Joe Chill violently unleashed unto the unsuspecting denizens of Gotham City, a nocturnal nightmare of which it had never seen. The tragic murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents right before his innocent eyes created a force of vengeance and justice that has been preying on Gotham’s criminal underbelly with furious anger ever since… The Batman!
Created by the genius pairing of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, the creepy and curmudgeonly creature of the night’s first ever appearance was in DC Comics’ much revered Detective Comics, in May of 1939. Since that time, the Dark Knight has gone on to become, quite possibly, the most popular and recognised Superhero ever conceived, with his fame spreading across every single entertainment medium from comic books through video-games, TV shows, movies, toys, clothes, novelisations and much, much more, firmly cementing his place in heroic history.
But what is it that compels readers to immerse themselves in a vengeance driven Manhunter, a being that has devoted his life to bringing his own brand of Bat-justice to a corrupt and dystopian city seething with criminal detritus? I absolutely believe it’s his inherent vulnerability and pathos, you see unlike most Superheroes, Bruce is ultimately just a man in a costume… he can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, or deflect bullets with bracelets, he’s not capable of reaching the speed force, or even talking to fish! but what he does possess is the inherent belief in own righteousness and decency, it’s his integrity and morality that has enabled him to rise above a sea of costumed crime-fighters and be the best he can be, no matter the adversity or lack of powers thereof… the mark of a true hero (of course, billions of dollars, an unsurpassed mastery of several martial arts, genius level intellect, and a compendium of glorious gadgets also, sort of help!)
My first encounter with the Caped Crusader was when my Mum purchased me an issue of Detective Comics when I was a mere six years of age, this was not only the first time I had ever read a Batman comic, but was in fact the first comic book I had ever read. I remember re-reading the issue at least a dozen times over in one sitting and was eager to divert more of my attention to this amazing hitherto unseen world that contained fantastical costumed characters who really captured my young imagination in a way nothing else previously had. I have been fanatical of the Dark Knight since that time, and my Mum, still to this day, will buy me the odd Batman comic or gift, and has, over the years, become a huge Bat-fan herself (she especially loves Michael Keaton’s portrayal, but also really enjoyed the more recent Nolan films)
Detective Comics #466 marked my initial encounter with the Masked Manhunter, and told the tale of Batman’s clash with villain, Signalman… not exactly an iconic member of Batman’s rogues gallery it has to be said, but it was my very first brush with a SuperVillain. This amazingly nostalgic comic issue also introduced me to the fact that Batman shared a universe with other Superheroes, thanks to a very enjoyable back up story, that regaled the young me with the daring adventures of the Emerald Archer – Green Arrow, and so it was through the caped and surly one that I discovered my other infatuation in comic book form – Wonder Woman! Batman has brought many fantastic gifts to my life… Happy 80th anniversary to THE greatest comic book character of, all, time!
Long Live The Batman!
(Batman is trademark – DC Comics)
Posted on March 27, 2019, in Comics, Comics in film, Comics/television and tagged 80 Years Of The Batman, Batman, Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Bruce Wayne, Caped Crusader, Dark Knight, DC Comics, Detective comics, Precinct1313. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.