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)
Well now, how excited do you think we are right now here in the celebrated Comic Crypts of Precinct1313? I mean, I assume you’ve heard the rather awesome news, right? Batwoman is finally materialising into live action form… yep, Batwoman… how awesome? Much awesome fellow Agents, much.
CW, the company responsible for DC Comics’ vice like grip on small screen Superhero sagas are to add another of DC’s worlds finest creations to their burgeoning cast list in the form of Kate Kane, aka Batwoman. And, in what appears to be the finest piece of actor casting in recent history, they have also revealed that popular actress Ruby Rose will be donning the iconic black and red costume of Gotham’s titular anti-hero… anticipation overload in 3… 2…
Batwoman had been skirting the edges of the DC Universe since her original introduction by comic-book auteurs Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in Detective Comics #233 in 1956. Kate (known as Kathy in her original form) was initially created as a female counterpart and love interest for Batman to refute the idea that the Caped Crusader had homosexual tendencies. An unfortunate and rather disturbingly awful vision for any comic book creation to be ushered into the limelight, the 1950’s were an extremely unenlightened time, sexism and misogyny ran rampant in all areas, and especially the entertainment arena, which included the wildly popular comic book scene.
In 1961, Sheldon Moldoff, alongside Batman co-creator Bill Finger, added Betty Kane to the ever growing Bat-Family as the niece of Kathy, whom upon discovering the secret identity of her crime fighting aunt, persuaded her to train her as her sidekick, resulting in the initiation of Batgirl, long before the mantle was taken up by the arguably more famous Barbara Gordon version of the wildly popular character. Just three short years later though, Batgirl, Batwoman and other popular members of Bruce’s broody band (such as Ace the Bathound and the mischievous Bat-Mite) were removed entirely from Bat lore in a restructure of the Batman universe by new editor Julius Schwartz.
Kathy and Betty Kane remained consigned to creative memory for decades following their shock erasure, that is until their revamped and progressive resurgence through the hands of master scribe and astonishing artist JH Williams III. Reversing the unenlightened and inauspicious history of the characters, Williams delivered to us strong, diverse and sophisticated heroes who could match their peers in Gotham, and finally laid to rest the awful spectre of their past conception. Phoenix like, Kathy and Betty (now renamed Kate and Bette) became a new standard for empowerment in the burgeoning female Superhero market, shrugging off their inception and, especially for Kate, becoming one of DC’s most popular and biggest selling creations.
In fact, aside from sharing similar names, the two variants of Batwoman couldn’t be more disparate if they tried. Whereas Kathy was a fun loving socialite with the hots for Bruce Wayne, Kate is resilient, no nonsense ex military, who, until recently, cast herself independent from Batman and his crime-busting cohorts. Also of note is Kate’s sexual orientation, Kate is a lesbian, and much was made of this revelation at the time with both good and bad press from various media outlets. Ultimately it proved not just a popular move by the creators, but also a defining trait for the character of Batwoman herself, with LGBT groups worldwide heralding the character and Kate ultimately becoming a poster child of diversification and emancipation.
Are You As Excited As We Are For Kate’s Live Action Debut? Then Why Not Sound Off In The Comments Section Below, Fellow Fans Of Fantastic Fiction…
Today would have marked the birthday of American comic book writer Milton ‘Bill’ Finger, best known as the (belatedly acknowledged) co-creator of the Batman. Bill was born in Denver, Colorado in 1914, his family moved to New York where Bill attended the De-Witt Clinton high school in the Bronx, where he graduated with honours in 1933. He met fellow Batman creator Bob Kane (also a De-Witt graduate) at a party, who later offered him a job as writer for newspaper comic strips Clip Carson and Rusty.
After the significant success of National Comics’ (now known as DC) Superman character in 1938, Bob Kane conceived a new character ‘The Batman’, Bob Kane’s original sketches of the character were shown to Bill who recalled that he looked very much like Superman, red tights, a domino mask and two very stiff looking wings. It was Bill who suggested that the domino mask be replaced with a full cowl, and a cape substituted for the wings. Bill was a huge fan of Lee Falk’s ‘The Phantom’ (the world’s first Superhero) which was a massive influence on the creation of the Caped Crusader.
Bob Kane sold the rights of Batman to National Comics, with the stipulation that his name would be associated as creator on all Batman comics and other adaptations, Bill Finger was not included in this deal even though he was just as significant in the creation of the character, in fact legendary comic artist/writer Jerry Robinson said that Bill without a doubt had the biggest influence on the character, much more so than Bob Kane. Bill died in 1974, without ever seeing recognition for his substantial work on the worlds most popular Superhero. Bill is now finally being given credit as co-creator after DC Comics reached an agreement with the estate of the late Bob Kane, though what a tragedy that Bill never actually got to see this in his lifetime.
Happy Birthday Bill, and thank you for helping to create one of the greatest fictional heroes in history.
Welcome fellow fans of DC to another awe inspiring trailer showcasing next year’s highly anticipated “Batman v Superman” movie. This sneak peek trailer has been released just ahead of the new full trailer, which will debut on Wednesday December 2nd. Enjoy…
Plus, the new film will be the first time that Batman co-creator Bill Finger is finally credited with his input as co-architect of not just the character himself, but also of the development of the series as a whole. Previous to this, Bob Kane was solely credited as the creator, it wasn’t until years after the death of Finger that Kane finally acknowledged his important contributions to the inception of the Caped Crusader. It was Finger that first saw Kane‘s initial sketches of an early Batman, and then redesigned the character, adding the iconic cape and cowl. Bill Finger was also responsible for writing the original script for Batman‘s debut in Detective Comics #27, which released in May 1939.