Happy Birthday to 'The Batman'.
DC Comics publishes its second major superhero in Detective Comics #27 on this day in 1939.
He is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman", he is additionally known as "The Caped Crusader", "The Dark Knight", "The Darknight Detective", and "The World's Greatest Detective". And is arguably the most popular comic book character, Ever.
Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a billionaire playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on crime, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime.
He fights an assortment of villains such as the Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.
The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. The Character didn't recover until Frank Miller's limited series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986), which tells the story of a 50-year old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated the character and was the main reason for his resurgence in popularity.
The Batman comics garnered major attention in 1988 when DC Comics created a 900 number for readers to call to vote on whether Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died. Voters decided in favor of Jason's death by a narrow margin of 28 votes (Batman: A Death in the Family). The following year saw the release of Tim Burton's Batman feature film, which firmly brought the character back to the public's attention, grossing millions of dollars at the box office, and millions more in merchandising. However, the three sequels, Tim Burton's Batman Returns and director Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, did not perform as well at the box office. The Batman movie franchise was rebooted with director and co-writer Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins in 2005 and The Dark Knight in 2008.
In an interesting side note, originally Batman carried a pistol and showed little remorse over killing or maiming criminals. It wasn't until 1940 that editor Whitney Ellsworth decreed that the character could no longer kill or use a gun.
Dan Emplit WBFD