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Happy Birthday, Oh Dark And Scary One – 80 Years Of The Batman!

batsy80 p1313Eight 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!

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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.

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Bob Kane and Bill Finger – Creators Of A Legend!

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!)

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Batman and Robin Courtesy Of The Late, Great Norm Breyfogle – My Personal Fave Bat-artist of all time!

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)

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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! 

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Then and Now… Same Cover, Eight Decades Apart!

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(Batman is trademark – DC Comics)

 

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A Celebration Of Kate And Bette Kane…

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.

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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… 

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Ruby Rose Has Been  Confirmed In The Role Of Batwoman!

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.

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Kathy And Bette Circa 1961

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.

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Bruce And Kate Unite In A Scene From The Recent Animated Movie – Batman: Bad Blood

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.

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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.

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Bette Kane Eventually Took On The Mantle Of Flamebird, With Her Relationship To Kate  Retconned To Cousin, As Opposed To Niece

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…

 

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice Sneak Peek Trailer

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.

Bill Finger finally gets credit as Batman co-creator

Bill Finger finally gets credit as Batman co-creator

Super-Villain Sunday: Deadshot

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(DC Comics, 2015)

Super-Villain Sunday this week brings you master marksman and the world’s most dangerous contract killer, Deadshot. Created by Bob Kane, David Reed and Lew Schwartz in 1950 primarily as a new villain for Batman, and making his debut appearance in Batman #59. On his first appearance in Gotham City, he was initially thought to be a new crimefighter, but was later revealed to be an enemy of Batman, when he was exposed attempting to become the new king of Gotham’s underworld crime syndicates.

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Deadshot (real name: Floyd Lawton), grew up with his mother, very abusive father and older brother, whom he idolised. During one of his father’s numerous brutal attacks on his brother, Floyd picked up a rifle with the intent of stopping his father’s abuse once and for all. Taking position in a nearby tree and steadying himself for the shot, Floyd felt righteous in his attack, however the branch of the tree he was sitting on broke as he took his shot, causing Floyd to accidentally shoot and kill his brother. The psychological effect this had on Floyd is deemed what turned him into a murderous assassin, with a disregard not just for the lives he takes, but also his own.

Deadshot and Deathstroke duel for the title of 'World's greatest assassin'

Deadshot and Deathstroke duel for the title of ‘World’s greatest assassin’

Deadshot has been a major player in the Suicide Squad for many years, where his marksmanship skills and almost complete disregard for human life are seen as a major advantage for the covert black-ops, Government run group of ex-Supervillains and disgraced Superheroes. His most noticeable trait, is his utmost desire to die in a magnificent fashion, which is the reason he joined the clandestine squad in the first place. Deadshot is also an on/off member of other villainous teams including Secret Six (which hosts many ex-Suicide Squad members), Killer Elite, and Checkmate. Deadshot’s abilities include the expert use of all firearms, exceptional martial arts prowess and a cybernetic eye, built into his iconic costume, which grants him unparalleled accuracy, plus up to the minute mission data and target acquisition.

Soon to be seen on the big screen in the upcoming David Ayer directed movie Suicide Squad, which is being released by Warner Brothers in 2016. With the titular role of Deadshot being portrayed by  actor Will Smith, who actively campaigned for the role being a big fan of the comics themselves.

Super-Villain Rating: Sniper Elite.

Deadshot Reading Recommendations: Secret Six: Villains United.  Deadshot: Beginnings.  Suicide Squad #1: Kicked In The Teeth.  

Precinct1313’s all time favourite comic-book characters..daily countdown.

Welcome back…

NUMBER 2 is: The Batman.

Batman

Batman-real name Bruce Wayne was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, his first appearance was Detective comics#27 in May 1939. After his parents were brutally murdered in front of young Bruce’s eyes by Joe Chill, he swore an oath of vengeance against the criminals of his home..Gotham City. Spending his formative years training under the world’s greatest martial arts masters and learning other abilities such as ninjutsu and escapology, Bruce returned to Gotham to fight crime as the Batman.

Bruce was also born with a genius level intellect and was left a massive multi billion dollar fortune by his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Though he has no superpowers, Batman is quite possibly the most feared superhero in the DC universe…with the ability to seemingly appear and disappear at will, most criminals (and some superheroes) believe he is a supernatural creature of the night akin to a vampire. Using this reputation, his advanced skills and his ‘toys’, Batman with the help of other Gotham guardians (including Batgirl, Robin and Batwoman) manages to just about keep the streets of Gotham from overflowing in crime and supervillains.

Batman to date has the largest amount of appearances outside of comics than any other character, with movies and television shows dating back to the 1940’s. His popularity has never waned and he is as beloved today as when he was created  seventy five years ago. This year is the year of the Bat, being his 75th anniversary and I am sure he will still be with us in another seventy five years!

As a side note, Batman was originally going to share the number one spot on this list, as we love this character so much and felt bad about putting him at number two. But as Christopher Lambert said in Highlander..’there can be only one!’, join us tomorrow friends to see who that is.

Precinct1313’s all time favourite comic-book characters..daily countdown.

The top 3 are here, beginning with…

NUMBER 3 is: Catwoman.

Catwoman

Catwoman.. real name Selina Kyle was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, her first appearance was in Batman#1 in 1940. Selina is the epitome of the anti-hero type of character having been both a villain and hero in the seventy plus years since her insertion into Batman lore. There have been many revisions of her backstory over the decades but throughout all of them the core character has been left fundamentally unchanged, she is a cat burglar but with strict moral codes, she only ever stole from the wealthy (sometimes even distributing the wealth to those in need) and would also take time out to stop violent crime. Another constant in Selina’s changing origins is her love and respect for Batman, they have been in an on/off relationship since they were both introduced to each other over seven decades ago. Selina is a master of several fighting styles, possesses almost supernatural agility and is an expert at stealth and infiltration.

An interesting side note is that when Bob Kane invented Catwoman he was heavily influenced by the actress Jean Harlow, more recently she has been styled more like the actress Audrey Hepburn. Catwoman has been featured in more live action television and films than any other female comic-book character in history, and has been played by several different actresses including..Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer and more recently Anne Hathaway..here’s to another seventy years in the company of the lovely Selina Kyle.