Batman

Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger,[1][2] and first appeared in Detective Comics #27, in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man", the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.[5]

Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.[6]

Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character's prominence in mainstream culture.[7]

An American cultural icon, Batman has garnered enormous popularity and is among the most identifiable comic book characters. Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists, with many offering interpretations of his psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of "50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History".[8] Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Anthony Ruivivar, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Jason O'Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.

Batman
Batman DC Comics
Art by Mikel Janín
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #27
(cover date May 1939 /
release date March 1939)
Created by
In-story information
Alter egoBruce Wayne
Place of originGotham City
Team affiliations
Partnerships
Notable aliases
  • Matches Malone[3]
  • Lefty Knox[4]
Abilities
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Peak human physical condition
  • Skilled martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant
  • Expert detective
  • Utilizes high-tech equipment and weapons

Publication history

Creation

Batman ad
First published image of Batman, in Action Comics #12, announcing the character's debut in the forthcoming Detective Comics #27[9]

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man".[10] Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that "Kane had an idea for a character called 'Batman,' and he'd like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN".[11] The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired as a child by Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch of an ornithopter flying device.[12]

Finger suggested giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves; he also recommended removing the red sections from the original costume.[13][14][15][16] Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character's secret identity: "Bruce Wayne's first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock ... then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne."[17] He later said his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk's popular The Phantom, a syndicated newspaper comic-strip character with which Kane was also familiar.[18]

Kane and Finger drew upon contemporary 1930s popular culture for inspiration regarding much of the Bat-Man's look, personality, methods, and weaponry. Details find predecessors in pulp fiction, comic strips, newspaper headlines, and autobiographical details referring to Kane himself.[19] As an aristocratic hero with a double identity, Batman had predecessors in the Scarlet Pimpernel (created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 1903) and Zorro (created by Johnston McCulley, 1919). Like them, Batman performed his heroic deeds in secret, averted suspicion by playing aloof in public, and marked his work with a signature symbol. Kane noted the influence of the films The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Bat Whispers (1930) in the creation of the character's iconography. Finger, drawing inspiration from pulp heroes like Doc Savage, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, and Sherlock Holmes, made the character a master sleuth.[20][21]

In his 1989 autobiography, Kane detailed Finger's contributions to Batman's creation:

One day I called Bill and said, 'I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I've made some crude, elementary sketches I'd like you to look at.' He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman's face. Bill said, 'Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?' At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: 'Color it dark grey to make it look more ominous.' The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn't have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn't leave fingerprints.[18]

Golden age

Subsequent creation credit

Kane signed away ownership in the character in exchange for, among other compensation, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics. This byline did not originally say "Batman created by Bob Kane"; his name was simply written on the title page of each story. The name disappeared from the comic book in the mid-1960s, replaced by credits for each story's actual writer and artists. In the late 1970s, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began receiving a "created by" credit on the Superman titles, along with William Moulton Marston being given the byline for creating Wonder Woman, Batman stories began saying "Created by Bob Kane" in addition to the other credits.

Finger did not receive the same recognition. While he had received credit for other DC work since the 1940s, he began, in the 1960s, to receive limited acknowledgment for his Batman writing; in the letters page of Batman #169 (February 1965) for example, editor Julius Schwartz names him as the creator of the Riddler, one of Batman's recurring villains. However, Finger's contract left him only with his writing page rate and no byline. Kane wrote, "Bill was disheartened by the lack of major accomplishments in his career. He felt that he had not used his creative potential to its fullest and that success had passed him by."[17] At the time of Finger's death in 1974, DC had not officially credited Finger as Batman co-creator.

Jerry Robinson, who also worked with Finger and Kane on the strip at this time, has criticized Kane for failing to share the credit. He recalled Finger resenting his position, stating in a 2005 interview with The Comics Journal:

Bob made him more insecure, because while he slaved working on Batman, he wasn't sharing in any of the glory or the money that Bob began to make, which is why ... [he was] going to leave [Kane's employ]. ... [Kane] should have credited Bill as co-creator, because I know; I was there. ... That was one thing I would never forgive Bob for, was not to take care of Bill or recognize his vital role in the creation of Batman. As with Siegel and Shuster, it should have been the same, the same co-creator credit in the strip, writer, and artist.[22]

Although Kane initially rebutted Finger's claims at having created the character, writing in a 1965 open letter to fans that "it seemed to me that Bill Finger has given out the impression that he and not myself created the ''Batman, t' [sic] as well as Robin and all the other leading villains and characters. This statement is fraudulent and entirely untrue." Kane himself also commented on Finger's lack of credit. "The trouble with being a 'ghost' writer or artist is that you must remain rather anonymously without 'credit'. However, if one wants the 'credit', then one has to cease being a 'ghost' or follower and become a leader or innovator."[23]

In 1989, Kane revisited Finger's situation, recalling in an interview:

In those days it was like, one artist and he had his name over it [the comic strip] — the policy of DC in the comic books was, if you can't write it, obtain other writers, but their names would never appear on the comic book in the finished version. So Bill never asked me for it [the byline] and I never volunteered — I guess my ego at that time. And I felt badly, really, when he [Finger] died.[24]

In September 2015, DC Entertainment revealed that Finger would be receiving credit for his role in Batman's creation on the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the second season of Gotham after a deal was worked out between the Finger family and DC.[1] Finger received credit as a creator of Batman for the first time in a comic in October 2015 with Batman and Robin Eternal #3 and Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis #3. The updated acknowledgment for the character appeared as "Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger".[2]

Early years

Detective Comics 27
Batman made his debut in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Cover art by Bob Kane.

The first Batman story, "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate", was published in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Finger said, "Batman was originally written in the style of the pulps",[25] and this influence was evident with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals. Batman proved a hit character, and he received his own solo title in 1940 while continuing to star in Detective Comics. By that time, Detective Comics was the top-selling and most influential publisher in the industry; Batman and the company's other major hero, Superman, were the cornerstones of the company's success.[26] The two characters were featured side-by-side as the stars of World's Finest Comics, which was originally titled World's Best Comics when it debuted in fall 1940. Creators including Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang also worked on the strips during this period.

Over the course of the first few Batman strips elements were added to the character and the artistic depiction of Batman evolved. Kane noted that within six issues he drew the character's jawline more pronounced, and lengthened the ears on the costume. "About a year later he was almost the full figure, my mature Batman", Kane said.[27] Batman's characteristic utility belt was introduced in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), followed by the boomerang-like batarang and the first bat-themed vehicle, the Batplane, in #31 (Sept. 1939). The character's origin was revealed in #33 (Nov. 1939), unfolding in a two-page story that establishes the brooding persona of Batman, a character driven by the death of his parents. Written by Finger, it depicts a young Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of a mugger. Days later, at their grave, the child vows that "by the spirits of my parents [I will] avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals".[28][29][30]

The early, pulp-inflected portrayal of Batman started to soften in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) with the introduction of Robin, Batman's junior counterpart.[31] Robin was introduced, based on Finger's suggestion, because Batman needed a "Watson" with whom Batman could talk.[32] Sales nearly doubled, despite Kane's preference for a solo Batman, and it sparked a proliferation of "kid sidekicks".[33] The first issue of the solo spin-off series Batman was notable not only for introducing two of his most persistent enemies, the Joker and Catwoman, but for a story in which Batman shoots some monstrous giants to death. That story prompted editor Whitney Ellsworth to decree that the character could no longer kill or use a gun.[34]

By 1942, the writers and artists behind the Batman comics had established most of the basic elements of the Batman mythos.[35] In the years following World War II, DC Comics "adopted a postwar editorial direction that increasingly de-emphasized social commentary in favor of lighthearted juvenile fantasy". The impact of this editorial approach was evident in Batman comics of the postwar period; removed from the "bleak and menacing world" of the strips of the early 1940s, Batman was instead portrayed as a respectable citizen and paternal figure that inhabited a "bright and colorful" environment.[36]

Silver and Bronze ages

1950s and early 1960s

Batman was one of the few superhero characters to be continuously published as interest in the genre waned during the 1950s. In the story "The Mightiest Team in the World" in Superman #76 (June 1952), Batman teams up with Superman for the first time and the pair discover each other's secret identity.[37] Following the success of this story, World's Finest Comics was revamped so it featured stories starring both heroes together, instead of the separate Batman and Superman features that had been running before.[38] The team-up of the characters was "a financial success in an era when those were few and far between";[39] this series of stories ran until the book's cancellation in 1986.

Batman comics were among those criticized when the comic book industry came under scrutiny with the publication of psychologist Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent in 1954. Wertham's thesis was that children imitated crimes committed in comic books, and that these works corrupted the morals of the youth. Wertham criticized Batman comics for their supposed homosexual overtones and argued that Batman and Robin were portrayed as lovers.[40] Wertham's criticisms raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, a code that is no longer in use by the comic book industry. The tendency towards a "sunnier Batman" in the postwar years intensified after the introduction of the Comics Code.[41] Scholars have suggested that the characters of Batwoman (in 1956) and the pre-Barbara Gordon Bat-Girl (in 1961) were introduced in part to refute the allegation that Batman and Robin were gay, and the stories took on a campier, lighter feel.[42]

In the late 1950s, Batman stories gradually became more science fiction-oriented, an attempt at mimicking the success of other DC characters that had dabbled in the genre.[43] New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite were introduced. Batman's adventures often involved odd transformations or bizarre space aliens. In 1960, Batman debuted as a member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb. 1960), and went on to appear in several Justice League comic series starting later that same year.

"New Look" Batman and camp

By 1964, sales of Batman titles had fallen drastically. Bob Kane noted that, as a result, DC was "planning to kill Batman off altogether".[44] In response to this, editor Julius Schwartz was assigned to the Batman titles. He presided over drastic changes, beginning with 1964's Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), which was cover-billed as the "New Look". Schwartz introduced changes designed to make Batman more contemporary, and to return him to more detective-oriented stories. He brought in artist Carmine Infantino to help overhaul the character. The Batmobile was redesigned, and Batman's costume was modified to incorporate a yellow ellipse behind the bat-insignia. The space aliens, time travel, and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred was killed off (though his death was quickly reversed) while a new female relative for the Wayne family, Aunt Harriet, came to live with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.[45]

The debut of the Batman television series in 1966 had a profound influence on the character. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry, and Batman reached a circulation of close to 900,000 copies.[46] Elements such as the character of Batgirl and the show's campy nature were introduced into the comics; the series also initiated the return of Alfred. Although both the comics and TV show were successful for a time, the camp approach eventually wore thin and the show was canceled in 1968. In the aftermath, the Batman comics themselves lost popularity once again. As Julius Schwartz noted, "When the television show was a success, I was asked to be campy, and of course when the show faded, so did the comic books."[47]

Starting in 1969, writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and to return the character to his roots as a "grim avenger of the night".[48] O'Neil said his idea was "simply to take it back to where it started. I went to the DC library and read some of the early stories. I tried to get a sense of what Kane and Finger were after."[49]

O'Neil and Adams first collaborated on the story "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" in Detective Comics #395 (Jan. 1970). Few stories were true collaborations between O'Neil, Adams, Schwartz, and inker Dick Giordano, and in actuality these men were mixed and matched with various other creators during the 1970s; nevertheless the influence of their work was "tremendous".[50] Giordano said: "We went back to a grimmer, darker Batman, and I think that's why these stories did so well ..."[51] While the work of O'Neil and Adams was popular with fans, the acclaim did little to improve declining sales; the same held true with a similarly acclaimed run by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #471–476 (Aug. 1977 – April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992.[52] Regardless, circulation continued to drop through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting an all-time low in 1985.[53]

Modern age

The Dark Knight Returns

Dark knight returns
Cover art for The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller's limited series The Dark Knight Returns (Feb.–June 1986) returned the character to his darker roots, both in atmosphere and tone. The comic book, which tells the story of a 55-year-old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated interest in the character. The Dark Knight Returns was a financial success and has since become one of the medium's most noted touchstones.[54] The series also sparked a major resurgence in the character's popularity.[55]

That year Dennis O'Neil took over as editor of the Batman titles and set the template for the portrayal of Batman following DC's status quo-altering miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. O'Neil operated under the assumption that he was hired to revamp the character and as a result tried to instill a different tone in the books than had gone before.[56] One outcome of this new approach was the "Year One" storyline in Batman #404–407 (Feb.–May 1987), in which Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli redefined the character's origins. Writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with 1988's 48-page one-shot Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker, attempting to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, cripples Gordon's daughter Barbara, and then kidnaps and tortures the commissioner, physically and psychologically.

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 (see Batman: A Death in the Family).[57]

Knightfall

The 1993 "Knightfall" story arc introduced a new villain, Bane, who critically injures Batman after pushing him to the limits of his endurance. Jean-Paul Valley, known as Azrael, is called upon to wear the Batsuit during Bruce Wayne's convalescence. Writers Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant worked on the Batman titles during "Knightfall", and would also contribute to other Batman crossovers throughout the 1990s. 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline served as the precursor to 1999's "No Man's Land", a year-long storyline that ran through all the Batman-related titles dealing with the effects of an earthquake-ravaged Gotham City. At the conclusion of "No Man's Land", O'Neil stepped down as editor and was replaced by Bob Schreck.[58]

Another writer who rose to prominence on the Batman comic series, was Jeph Loeb. Along with longtime collaborator Tim Sale, they wrote two miniseries (The Long Halloween and Dark Victory) that pit an early in his career version of Batman against his entire rogues gallery (including Two-Face, whose origin was re-envisioned by Loeb) while dealing with various mysteries involving serial killers Holiday and the Hangman. In 2003, Loeb teamed with artist Jim Lee to work on another mystery arc: "Batman: Hush" for the main Batman book. The 12–issue storyline has Batman and Catwoman teaming up against Batman's entire rogues gallery, including an apparently resurrected Jason Todd, while seeking to find the identity of the mysterious supervillain Hush.[59] While the character of Hush failed to catch on with readers, the arc was a sales success for DC. The series became #1 on the Diamond Comic Distributors sales chart for the first time since Batman #500 (Oct. 1993) and Todd's appearance laid the groundwork for writer Judd Winick's subsequent run as writer on Batman, with another multi-issue arc, "Under the Hood", which ran from Batman #637–650 (April 2005 – April 2006).

21st century

All-Star Batman and Robin

In 2005, DC launched All-Star Batman and Robin, a stand-alone comic series set outside the main DC Universe continuity. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Jim Lee, the series was a commercial success for DC Comics,[60][61] although it was widely panned by critics for its writing and strong depictions of violence.[62][63]

Starting in 2006, Grant Morrison and Paul Dini were the regular writers of Batman and Detective Comics, with Morrison reincorporating controversial elements of Batman lore. Most notably of these elements were the science fiction themed storylines of the 1950s Batman comics, which Morrison revised as hallucinations Batman suffered under the influence of various mind-bending gases and extensive sensory deprivation training. Morrison's run climaxed with "Batman R.I.P.", which brought Batman up against the villainous "Black Glove" organization, which sought to drive Batman into madness. "Batman R.I.P." segued into Final Crisis (also written by Morrison), which saw the apparent death of Batman at the hands of Darkseid. In the 2009 miniseries Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Wayne's former protégé Dick Grayson becomes the new Batman, and Wayne's son Damian becomes the new Robin.[64][65] In June 2009, Judd Winick returned to writing Batman, while Grant Morrison was given his own series, titled Batman and Robin.[66]

In 2010, the storyline Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne saw Bruce travel through history, eventually returning to the present day. Although he reclaimed the mantle of Batman, he also allowed Grayson to continue being Batman as well. Bruce decided to take his crime-fighting cause globally, which is the central focus of Batman Incorporated. DC Comics would later announce that Grayson would be the main character in Batman, Detective Comics, and Batman and Robin, while Wayne would be the main character in Batman Incorporated. Also, Bruce appeared in another ongoing series, Batman: The Dark Knight.

The New 52

In September 2011, DC Comics' entire line of superhero comic books, including its Batman franchise, were canceled and relaunched with new #1 issues as part of the New 52 reboot. Bruce Wayne is the only character to be identified as Batman and is featured in Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, and Batman: The Dark Knight. Dick Grayson returns to the mantle of Nightwing and appears in his own ongoing series. While many characters have their histories significantly altered to attract new readers, Batman's history remains mostly intact. Batman Incorporated was relaunched in 2012–2013 to complete the "Leviathan" storyline.

With the beginning of the New 52, Scott Snyder was the writer of the Batman title. His first major story arc was "Night of the Owls", where Batman confronts the Court of Owls, a secret society that has controlled Gotham for centuries. The second story arc was "Death of the Family", where the Joker returns to Gotham and simultaneously attacks each member of the Batman family. The third story arc was "Batman: Zero Year", which redefined Batman's origin in The New 52. It followed Batman #0, published in June 2012, which explored the character's early years. The final storyline before the "Convergence" (2015) storyline was "Endgame", depicting the supposed final battle between Batman and the Joker when he unleashes the deadly Endgame virus onto Gotham City. The storyline ends with Batman and the Joker's supposed deaths.

Starting with Batman vol. 2, #41, Commissioner James Gordon takes over Bruce's mantle as a new, state-sanctioned, robotic-Batman, debuting in the Free Comic Book Day special comic Divergence. However, Bruce Wayne is soon revealed to be alive, albeit now suffering almost total amnesia of his life as Batman and only remembering his life as Bruce Wayne through what he has learned from Alfred. Bruce Wayne finds happiness and proposes to his girlfriend, Julie Madison, but Mr. Bloom heavily injures Jim Gordon and takes control of Gotham City and threatens to destroy the city by energizing a particle reactor to create a "strange star" to swallow the city. Bruce Wayne discovers the truth that he was Batman and after talking to a stranger who smiles a lot (it is heavily implied that this is the amnesic Joker) he forces Alfred to implant his memories as Batman, but at the cost of his memories as the reborn Bruce Wayne. He returns and helps Jim Gordon defeat Mr. Bloom and shut down the reactor. Gordon gets his job back as the commissioner, and the government Batman project is shut down.[67]

In 2015, DC Comics released The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, the sequel to Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again.[68]

DC Universe

In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics' entire line of comic book titles. Batman was rebooted as starting with a one-shot issue entitled Batman: Rebirth #1 (Aug. 2016). The series then began shipping twice-monthly as a third volume, starting with Batman vol. 3, #1 (Aug. 2016). The third volume of Batman was written by Tom King, and artwork was provided by David Finch and Mikel Janín. The Batman series introduced two vigilantes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. Detective Comics resumed its original numbering system starting with June 2016's #934, and the New 52 series was labeled as volume 2 with issues numbering from #1-52.[69] Similarly with the Batman title, the New 52 issues were labeled as volume 2 and encompassed issues #1-52. Writer James Tynion IV and artists Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez worked on Detective Comics #934, and the series initially featured a team consisting of Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface, led by Batman and Batwoman.

DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger "DC Universe" banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continues across DC's comic book titles, including volume one of Detective Comics and the third volume of Batman.[70][71]

Characterization

Bruce Wayne

Bruce Wayne Concept Art
DC Comics concept art of Bruce Wayne

Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American industrialist. As a child, Bruce witnessed the murder of his parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne, which ultimately led him to craft the Batman persona and seek justice against criminals. He resides on the outskirts of Gotham City in his personal residence, Wayne Manor. Wayne averts suspicion by acting the part of a superficial playboy idly living off his family's fortune and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, his inherited conglomerate.[72][73] He supports philanthropic causes through his nonprofit Wayne Foundation, but is more widely known as a celebrity socialite.[74] In public, he frequently appears in the company of high-status women, which encourages tabloid gossip. Although Bruce Wayne leads an active romantic life, his vigilante activities as Batman account for most of his time.[75]

Various modern stories have portrayed the extravagant, playboy image of Bruce Wayne as a facade.[76] This is in contrast to the post-Crisis Superman, whose Clark Kent persona is the true identity, while the Superman persona is the facade.[77][78] In Batman Unmasked, a television documentary about the psychology of the character, behavioral scientist Benjamin Karney notes that Batman's personality is driven by Bruce Wayne's inherent humanity; that "Batman, for all its benefits and for all of the time Bruce Wayne devotes to it, is ultimately a tool for Bruce Wayne's efforts to make the world better".

Writers of Batman and Superman stories have often compared and contrasted the two. Interpretations vary depending on the writer, the story, and the timing. Grant Morrison[79] notes that both heroes "believe in the same kind of things" despite the day/night contrast their heroic roles display. He notes an equally stark contrast in their real identities. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent belong to different social classes: "Bruce has a butler, Clark has a boss." T. James Musler's book Unleashing the Superhero in Us All explores the extent to which Bruce Wayne's vast personal wealth is important in his life story, and the crucial role it plays in his efforts as Batman.[80]

Will Brooker notes in his book Batman Unmasked that "the confirmation of the Batman's identity lies with the young audience ... he doesn't have to be Bruce Wayne; he just needs the suit and gadgets, the abilities, and most importantly the morality, the humanity. There's just a sense about him: 'they trust him ... and they're never wrong."[81]

Personality

Batman's primary character traits can be summarized as "wealth; physical prowess; deductive abilities and obsession".[83] The details and tone of Batman comic books have varied over the years due to different creative teams. Dennis O'Neil noted that character consistency was not a major concern during early editorial regimes: "Julie Schwartz did a Batman in Batman and Detective and Murray Boltinoff did a Batman in the Brave and the Bold and apart from the costume they bore very little resemblance to each other. Julie and Murray did not want to coordinate their efforts, nor were they asked to do so. Continuity was not important in those days."[84]

The driving force behind Bruce Wayne's character is his parents' murder and their absence. Bob Kane and Bill Finger discussed Batman's background and decided that "there's nothing more traumatic than having your parents murdered before your eyes".[85] Despite his trauma, he sets his mind on studying to become a scientist[86][87] and to train his body into physical perfection[86][87] to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman, an inspired idea from Wayne's insight into the criminal mind.[86][87]

Another of Batman's characterizations is that of a vigilante; in order to stop evil that started with the death of his parents, he must sometimes break the law himself. Although manifested differently by being re-told by different artists, it is nevertheless that the details and the prime components of Batman's origin have never varied at all in the comic books, the "reiteration of the basic origin events holds together otherwise divergent expressions".[88] The origin is the source of the character's traits and attributes, which play out in many of the character's adventures.[83]

Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order".[89] Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting,[90] a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience.[91] Miller is often credited with reintroducing anti-heroic traits into Batman's characterization,[92] such as his brooding personality, willingness to use violence and torture, and increasingly alienated behavior. Batman's original character was changed in the 1950s when the now-defunct comic book codes went into effect, and DC editor Whitney Ellsworth reinvented Batman as having a stringent moral code which never allowed him to kill.[92] Miller's Batman was closer to the original, golden-age version, who was willing to kill criminals if necessary.[93]

Others

On several occasions former Robin Dick Grayson has served as Batman; most notably in 2009 while Wayne was believed dead, and served as a second Batman even after Wayne returned in 2010.[59] As part of DC's 2011 continuity relaunch, Grayson returned to being Nightwing following the Flashpoint crossover event.

In an interview with IGN, Morrison detailed that having Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin represented a "reverse" of the normal dynamic between Batman and Robin, with, "a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, badass Robin". Morrison explained his intentions for the new characterization of Batman: "Dick Grayson is kind of this consummate superhero. The guy has been Batman's partner since he was a kid, he's led the Teen Titans, and he's trained with everybody in the DC Universe. So he's a very different kind of Batman. He's a lot easier; He's a lot looser and more relaxed."[64]

Over the years, there have been numerous others to assume the name of Batman, or to officially take over for Bruce during his leaves of absence. Jean Paul Valley, also known as Azrael, assumed the cowl after the events of the Knightfall saga.[59] James Gordon donned a mech-suit after the events of Batman: Endgame, and served as Batman in 2015 and 2016.

Additionally, members of the group Batman, Incorporated, Bruce Wayne's experiment at franchising his brand of vigilantism, have at times stood in as the official Batman in cities around the world.[59] Various others have also taken up the role of Batman in stories set in alternative universes and possible futures, including, among them, various former proteges of Bruce Wayne.

Supporting characters

Batman's interactions with both villains and cohorts have, over time, developed a strong supporting cast of characters.[83]

Adversaries

BatmanRoguesGallery
Batman surrounded by his enemies. Art by Alex Ross.

Batman faces a variety of foes ranging from common criminals to outlandish supervillains. Many of them mirror aspects of the Batman's character and development, often having tragic origin stories that lead them to a life of crime.[94] These foes are commonly referred to as Batman's rogues gallery. Batman's "most implacable foe" is the Joker, a homicidal maniac with a clown-like appearance. The Joker is considered by critics to be his perfect adversary, since he is the antithesis of Batman in personality and appearance; the Joker has a maniacal demeanor with a colorful appearance, while Batman has a serious and resolute demeanor with a dark appearance. As a "personification of the irrational", the Joker represents "everything Batman [opposes]".[35] Other long time recurring foes that are part of Batman's rogues gallery include Catwoman (a cat burglar antiheroine who is an occasional ally and romantic interest), the Penguin, Ra's al Ghul, Two-Face, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bane, Clayface, and Killer Croc among others. Many of Batman's adversaries are often psychiatric patients at Arkham Asylum.

Allies

Alfred

Batman's butler, Alfred Pennyworth, first appeared in Batman #16 (1943). He serves as Bruce Wayne's loyal father figure and is one of the few persons to know his secret identity. Alfred raised Bruce after his parents' death and knows him on a very personal level. He is sometimes portrayed as a sidekick to Batman and the only other resident of Wayne Manor aside from Bruce. The character "[lends] a homely touch to Batman's environs and [is] ever ready to provide a steadying and reassuring hand" to the hero and his sidekick.[94]

"Batman Family"

The informal name "Batman family" is used for a group of characters closely allied with Batman, generally masked vigilantes who either have been trained by Batman or operate in Gotham City with his tacit approval. They include: Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's daughter, who has fought crime under the vigilante identity of Batgirl and, during a period in which she was confined to a wheelchair due to a gunshot wound inflicted by the Joker, the computer hacker Oracle; Helena Bertinelli, the sole surviving member of a mob family turned vigilante, who has worked with Batman on occasion, primarily as the Huntress and as Batgirl for a brief stint; Cassandra Cain, the daughter of professional assassins David Cain, and Lady Shiva, who succeeded Bertinelli as Batgirl.

Civilians

Lucius Fox, a technology specialist and Bruce Wayne's business manager who is well aware of his employer's clandestine vigilante activities; Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a family friend who like Alfred became a surrogate parental figure to Bruce Wayne after the deaths of his parents, and is also aware of his secret identity; Vicki Vale, an investigative journalist who often reports on Batman's activities for the Gotham Gazette; Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's canine partner who was mainly active in the 1950s and 1960s;[95] and Bat-Mite, an extra-dimensional imp mostly active in the 1960s who idolizes Batman.[95]

GCPD

As Batman's ally in the Gotham City police, Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon debuted along with Batman in Detective Comics #27 and has been a consistent presence ever since. As a crime-fighting everyman, he shares Batman's goals while offering, much as the character of Watson does in Sherlock Holmes stories, a normal person's perspective on the work of Batman's extraordinary genius.

Justice League

Batman is at times a member of superhero teams such as the Justice League of America and the Outsiders. Batman has often been paired in adventures with his Justice League teammate Superman, notably as the co-stars of World's Finest and Superman/Batman series. In pre-Crisis continuity, the two are depicted as close friends; however, in current continuity, they are still close friends but an uneasy relationship, with an emphasis on their differing views on crime-fighting and justice. In Superman/Batman #3 (Dec. 2003), Superman observes, "Sometimes, I admit, I think of Bruce as a man in a costume. Then, with some gadget from his utility belt, he reminds me that he has an extraordinarily inventive mind. And how lucky I am to be able to call on him."[96]

Robin
Batman & Robin (Batman vol. 1 -9 Feb. 1942)
Batman and Robin. Art by Jack Burnley.

Robin, Batman's vigilante partner, has been a widely recognized supporting character for many years.[97] Bill Finger stated that he wanted to include Robin because "Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking."[98] The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was introduced in 1940. In the 1970s he finally grew up, went off to college and became the hero Nightwing. A second Robin, Jason Todd, appeared in the 1980s. In the stories he was eventually badly beaten and then killed in an explosion set by the Joker, but was later revived. He used the Joker's old persona, the Red Hood, and became an antihero vigilante with no qualms about using firearms or deadly force. Carrie Kelly, the first female Robin to appear in Batman stories, was the final Robin in the continuity of Frank Miller's graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again, fighting alongside an aging Batman in stories set out of the mainstream continuity.

The third Robin in mainstream comics is Tim Drake, who first appeared in 1989. He went on to star in his own comic series, and currently goes by Red Robin, a variation on the traditional Robin persona. In the first decade of the new millennium, Stephanie Brown served as the fourth in-universe Robin between stints as her self-made vigilante identity The Spoiler, and later as Batgirl.[99] After Stephanie Brown's apparent death, Drake resumed the role of Robin for a time. The role eventually passed to Damian Wayne, the ten-year-old son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, in the late 2000s.[100] Damian's tenure as du jour Robin ended when the character was killed off in the pages of Batman Incorporated in 2013.[101] Batman's next young sidekick is Harper Row, a streetwise young woman who avoids the name Robin but followed the ornithological theme nonetheless; she debuted the codename and identity of Bluebird in 2014. Unlike the Robins, Bluebird is willing and permitted to use a gun, albeit non-lethal; her weapon of choice is a modified rifle that fires taser rounds.[102] In 2015, a new series began titled We Are Robin, focused on a group of teenagers using the Robin persona to fight crime in Gotham City.

Wayne family

Helena Wayne is the biological daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle of an alternate universe established in the early 1960s (Multiverse) where the golden-age stories took place.

Damian Wayne is the biological son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul,[64][103][104] and thus the grandson of Ra's al Ghul.

Terry McGinnis is the biological son of Bruce Wayne in the DC animated universe, and has taken over the role as Batman when Bruce has become too elderly to do it.

Romantic interests

Writers have varied in the approach over the years to the "playboy" aspect of Bruce Wayne's persona. Some writers show his playboy reputation as a manufactured illusion to support his mission as Batman, while others have depicted Bruce Wayne as genuinely enjoying the benefits of being "Gotham's most eligible bachelor". Bruce Wayne has been portrayed as being romantically linked with many women throughout his various incarnations. The most significant relationships occurred with Selina Kyle, who is also Catwoman[105] and Talia al Ghul, as both women gave birth to his biological offsprings, Helena Wayne and Damian Wayne, respectively.

Batman's first romantic interest was Julie Madison in Detective Comics #31 (Sept. 1939), however their romance was short-lived. Some of Batman's romantic interests have been women with a respected status in society, such as Julie Madison, Vicki Vale, and Silver St. Cloud. Batman has also been romantically involved with allies, such as Kathy Kane (Batwoman), Sasha Bordeaux, and Wonder Woman, and with villains, such as Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Jezebel Jet, Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy), and Talia al Ghul.

Catwoman
Adam Hughe's Catwoman
Catwoman is Batman's most enduring romance.[106] Art by Adam Hughes.

While most of Batman's romantic relationships tend to be short in duration, Catwoman has been his most enduring romance throughout the years.[106] The attraction between Batman and Catwoman, whose real name is Selina Kyle, is present in nearly every version and medium in which the characters appear. Although Catwoman is typically portrayed as a villain, Batman and Catwoman have worked together in achieving common goals and are usually depicted as having a romantic connection.

In an early 1980s storyline, Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne develop a relationship, in which the closing panel of the final story shows her referring to Batman as "Bruce". However, a change in the editorial team brought a swift end to that storyline and, apparently, all that transpired during the story arc. Out of costume, Bruce and Selina develop a romantic relationship during The Long Halloween. The story shows Selina saving Bruce from Poison Ivy. However, the relationship ends when Bruce rejects her advances twice; once as Bruce and once as Batman. In Batman: Dark Victory, he stands her up on two holidays, causing her to leave him for good and to leave Gotham City for a while. When the two meet at an opera many years later, during the events of the twelve-issue story arc called "Hush", Bruce comments that the two no longer have a relationship as Bruce and Selina. However, "Hush" sees Batman and Catwoman allied against the entire rogues gallery and rekindling their romantic relationship. In "'Hush", Batman reveals his true identity to Catwoman.

The Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world, partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Selina Kyle, as shown in Superman Family #211. They have a daughter named Helena Wayne, who becomes the Huntress. Along with Dick Grayson, the Earth-Two Robin, the Huntress takes the role as Gotham's protector once Bruce Wayne retires to become police commissioner, a position he occupies until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman.

Batman and Catwoman are shown having a sexual encounter on the roof of a building in Catwoman vol. 4, #1 (2011); the same issue implies that the two have an ongoing sexual relationship.[107] Following the 2016 DC Rebirth continuity reboot, the two once again have a sexual encounter on top of a building in Batman vol. 3, #14 (2017).[108]

Following the 2016 DC Rebirth continuity reboot, Batman and Catwoman work together in the third volume of Batman. The two also have a romantic relationship, in which they are shown having a sexual encounter on a rooftop and sleeping together.[108][109][110] Bruce proposes to Selina in Batman vol. 3, #24 (2017),[111] and in issue #32, Selina asks Bruce to propose to her again. When he does so, she says, "Yes." [110]

Batman Annual vol. 3, #2 (Jan. 2018) centers on a romantic storyline between Batman and Catwoman. Towards the end, the story is flash-forwarded to the future, in which Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are a married couple in their golden years. Bruce receives a terminal medical diagnosis, and Selina cares for him until his death.[110]

Abilities

Skills and training

Batman has no inherent superhuman powers; he relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess".[31] Batman's inexhaustible wealth gives him access to advanced technologies, and as a proficient scientist, he is able to use and modify these technologies to his advantage. In the stories, Batman is regarded as one of the world's greatest detectives, if not the world's greatest crime solver.[112] Batman has been repeatedly described as having a genius-level intellect, being one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, and having peak human physical conditioning.[113] As a polymath, his knowledge and expertise in countless disciplines is nearly unparalleled by any other character in the DC Universe.[114] He has traveled the world acquiring the skills needed to aid him in his endeavors as Batman. In the Superman: Doomed story arc, Superman considers Batman to be one of the most brilliant minds on the planet.[115]

Batman has trained extensively in various martial arts, mastering many different types, making him one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the DC Universe. Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth", able to defeat an entire team of superpowered extraterrestrials by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates in Grant Morrison's first storyline in JLA.

Batman is strongly disciplined, and he has the ability to function under great physical pain and resist most forms of telepathy and mind control. He is a master of disguise, multilingual, and an expert in espionage, often gathering information under the identity of a notorious gangster named Matches Malone. Batman is highly skilled in stealth movement and escapology, which allows him to appear and disappear at will and to break free of nearly inescapable deathtraps with little to no harm.

Batman is an expert in interrogation techniques and his intimidating and frightening appearance alone is often all that is needed in getting information from suspects. Despite having the potential to harm his enemies, Batman's most defining characteristic is his strong commitment to justice and his reluctance to take a life. This unyielding moral rectitude has earned him the respect of several heroes in the DC Universe, most notably that of Superman and Wonder Woman.

Among physical and other crime fighting related training, he is also proficient at other types of skills. Some of these include being a licensed pilot (in order to operate the Batplane), as well as being able to operate other types of machinery. In some publications, he underwent some magician training.

In the comic, The Many Deaths of the Batman which focused on a former demolitions teacher of Batman who killed Batman's other teachers which included a race car driver, chemist, body builder, and gymnast all of whom were experts in their field.

Technology

Batman utilizes a vast arsenal of specialized, high-tech vehicles and gadgets in his war against crime, the designs of which usually share a bat motif. Batman historian Les Daniels credits Gardner Fox with creating the concept of Batman's arsenal with the introduction of the utility belt in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939) and the first bat-themed weapons the batarang and the "Batgyro" in Detective Comics #31 and #32 (Sept., Oct. 1939).[27]

Personal armor

Batman's body armored costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals.[116] The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through various decades, stories, media and artists' interpretations, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a scallop-hem cape; a cowl covering most of the face; a pair of bat-like ears; a stylized bat emblem on the chest; and the ever-present utility belt. Finger and Kane originally conceptualized Batman as having a black cape and cowl and grey suit, but conventions in coloring called for black to be highlighted with blue.[116] Hence, the costume's colors have appeared in the comics as dark blue and grey;[116] as well as black and grey. In the Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns films, Batman has been depicted as completely black with a bat in the middle surrounded by a yellow background. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy depicted Batman wearing high-tech gear painted completely black with a black bat in the middle. Ben Affleck's Batman in the DC Extended Universe films wears a suit grey in color with a black cowl, cape, and bat symbol.

Batman's batsuit aids in his combat against enemies, having the properties of both Kevlar and Nomex. It protects him from gunfire and other significant impacts. His gloves typically feature three scallops that protrude from long, gauntlet-like cuffs, although in his earliest appearances he wore short, plain gloves without the scallops.[117] The overall look of the character, particularly the length of the cowl's ears and of the cape, varies greatly depending on the artist. Dennis O'Neil said, "We now say that Batman has two hundred suits hanging in the Batcave so they don't have to look the same ... Everybody loves to draw Batman, and everybody wants to put their own spin on it."[118]

Batmobile
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The 1966 television Batmobile, built by George Barris from a Lincoln Futura concept car

Batman's primary vehicle is the Batmobile, which is usually depicted as an imposing black car, often with tailfins that suggest a bat's wings. Batman also has an aircraft called the Batplane (later called the "Batwing"), along with various other means of transportation. In proper practice, the "bat" prefix (as in Batmobile or batarang) is rarely used by Batman himself when referring to his equipment, particularly after some portrayals (primarily the 1960s Batman live-action television show and the Super Friends animated series) stretched the practice to campy proportions. For example, the 1960s television show depicted a Batboat, Bat-Sub, and Batcycle, among other bat-themed vehicles. The 1960s television series Batman has an arsenal that includes such "bat-" names as the bat-computer, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-cuffs, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, bat-shark repellent bat-spray, and bat-rope. The storyline "A Death in the Family" suggests that given Batman's grim nature, he is unlikely to have adopted the "bat" prefix on his own. In The Dark Knight Returns, Batman tells Carrie Kelley that the original Robin came up with the name "Batmobile" when he was young, since that is what a kid would call Batman's vehicle. The Batmobile was redesigned in 2011 when DC Comics relaunched its entire line of comic books, with the batmobile being given heavier armor and new aesthetics.

Utility belt

Batman keeps most of his field equipment in his utility belt. Over the years it has shown to contain an assortment of crime-fighting tools, weapons, and investigative and technological instruments. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in compartments, often as pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it. Batman is often depicted as carrying a projectile which shoots a retractable grappling hook attached to a cable. This allows him to attach to distant objects, be propelled into the air, and thus swing from the rooftops of Gotham City. An exception to the range of Batman's equipment are guns, which he refuses to use on principle, since a gun was used in his parents' murder.

Bat-Signal

When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens called the Bat-Signal, which shines into the night sky, creating a bat-symbol on a passing cloud which can be seen from any point in Gotham. The origin of the signal varies, depending on the continuity and medium.

In various incarnations, most notably the 1960s Batman TV series, Commissioner Gordon also has a dedicated phone line, dubbed the Bat-Phone, connected to a bright red telephone (in the TV series) which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent top. The line connects directly to Batman's residence, Wayne Manor, specifically both to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study and the extension phone in the Batcave.

Batcave

The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his mansion, Wayne Manor. As his command center, the Batcave serves multiple purposes; supercomputer, surveillance, redundant power-generators, forensics lab, medical infirmary, private study, training dojo, fabrication workshop, arsenal, hangar and garage. It houses the vehicles and equipment Batman uses in his campaign to fight crime. It is also a trophy room and storage facility for Batman's unique memorabilia collected over the years from various cases he has worked on. In both the comic Batman: Shadow of the Bat #45 and the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cave is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad.

Fictional character biography

Batman's history has undergone many retroactive continuity revisions, both minor and major. Elements of the character's history have varied greatly. Scholars William Uricchio and Roberta E. Pearson noted in the early 1990s, "Unlike some fictional characters, the Batman has no primary urtext set in a specific period, but has rather existed in a plethora of equally valid texts constantly appearing over more than five decades."[119]

20th century

Origin

Thomas Wayne 1939
Thomas and Martha Wayne are shot by Joe Chill in Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939). Art by Bob Kane.

The central fixed event in the Batman stories is the character's origin story.[83] As a young boy, Bruce Wayne was horrified and traumatized when he watched his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, murdered with a gun by a mugger named Joe Chill. Batman refuses to utilize any sort of gun on the principle that a gun was used to murder his parents. This event drove him to train his body to its peak condition and fight crime in Gotham City as Batman. Pearson and Uricchio also noted beyond the origin story and such events as the introduction of Robin, "Until recently, the fixed and accruing and hence, canonized, events have been few in number",[83] a situation altered by an increased effort by later Batman editors such as Dennis O'Neil to ensure consistency and continuity between stories.[120]

Golden age

In Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27, he is already operating as a crime-fighter.[121] Batman's origin is first presented in Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939) and is later expanded upon in Batman #47. As these comics state, Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two very wealthy and charitable Gotham City socialites. Bruce is brought up in Wayne Manor, and leads a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents are killed by a small-time criminal named Joe Chill while on their way home from a movie theater. That night, Bruce Wayne swears an oath to spend his life fighting crime. He engages in intense intellectual and physical training; however, he realizes that these skills alone would not be enough. "Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot", Wayne remarks, "so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible ..." As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to craft the Batman persona.[122]

In early strips, Batman's career as a vigilante earns him the ire of the police. During this period, Bruce Wayne has a fiancée named Julie Madison.[123] In Detective Comics #38, Wayne takes in an orphaned circus acrobat, Dick Grayson, who becomes his vigilante partner, Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America,[124] although he, like Superman, is an honorary member,[125] and thus only participates occasionally. Batman's relationship with the law thaws quickly, and he is made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department.[126] During this time, Alfred Pennyworth arrives at Wayne Manor, and after deducing the Dynamic Duo's secret identities, joins their service as their butler.[127]

Silver age

The Silver Age of Comic Books in DC Comics is sometimes held to have begun in 1956 when the publisher introduced Barry Allen as a new, updated version of The Flash. Batman is not significantly changed by the late 1950s for the continuity which would be later referred to as Earth-One. The lighter tone Batman had taken in the period between the golden and silver ages led to the stories of the late 1950s and early 1960s that often feature many science-fiction elements, and Batman is not significantly updated in the manner of other characters until Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), in which Batman reverts to his detective roots, with most science-fiction elements jettisoned from the series.

After the introduction of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, DC established that stories from the golden age star the Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world. This version of Batman partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle. The two have a daughter, Helena Wayne, who becomes the Huntress. She assumes the position as Gotham's protector along with Dick Grayson, the Earth-Two Robin, once Bruce Wayne retires to become police commissioner. Wayne holds the position of police commissioner until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman. Batman titles however often ignored that a distinction had been made between the pre-revamp and post-revamp Batmen (since unlike The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman comics had been published without interruption through the 1950s) and would occasionally make reference to stories from the golden age.[128] Nevertheless, details of Batman's history were altered or expanded upon through the decades. Additions include meetings with a future Superman during his youth, his upbringing by his uncle Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, Feb. 1969) after his parents' death, and appearances of his father and himself as prototypical versions of Batman and Robin, respectively.[129][130] In 1980 then-editor Paul Levitz commissioned the Untold Legend of the Batman limited series to thoroughly chronicle Batman's origin and history.

Batman meets and regularly works with other heroes during the silver age, most notably Superman, whom he began regularly working alongside in a series of team-ups in World's Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through the series' cancellation in 1986. Batman and Superman are usually depicted as close friends. As a founding member of the Justice League of America, Batman appears in its first story, in 1960's Brave and the Bold #28. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brave and the Bold became a Batman title, in which Batman teams up with a different DC Universe superhero each month.

Bronze age

In 1969, Dick Grayson attends college as part of DC Comics' effort to revise the Batman comics. Additionally, Batman also moves from his mansion, Wayne Manor into a penthouse apartment atop the Wayne Foundation building in downtown Gotham City, in order to be closer to Gotham City's crime. Batman spends the 1970s and early 1980s mainly working solo, with occasional team-ups with Robin and/or Batgirl. Batman's adventures also become somewhat darker and more grim during this period, depicting increasingly violent crimes, including the first appearance (since the early golden age) of the Joker as a homicidal psychopath, and the arrival of Ra's al Ghul, a centuries-old terrorist who knows Batman's secret identity. In the 1980s, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing.[6]

In the final issue of Brave and the Bold in 1983, Batman quits the Justice League and forms a new group called the Outsiders. He serves as the team's leader until Batman and the Outsiders #32 (1986) and the comic subsequently changed its title.

Modern age

After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics retconned the histories of some major characters in an attempt at updating them for contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retold Batman's origin in the storyline "Year One" from Batman #404–407, which emphasizes a grittier tone in the character.[131] Though the Earth-Two Batman is erased from history, many stories of Batman's silver-age/Earth-One career (along with an amount of golden-age ones) remain canonical in the post-Crisis universe, with his origins remaining the same in essence, despite alteration. For example, Gotham's police are mostly corrupt, setting up further need for Batman's existence. The guardian Phillip Wayne is removed leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred Pennyworth. Additionally, Batman is no longer a founding member of the Justice League of America, although he becomes leader for a short time of a new incarnation of the team launched in 1987. To help fill in the revised backstory for Batman following Crisis, DC launched a new Batman title called Legends of the Dark Knight in 1989 and has published various miniseries and one-shot stories since then that largely take place during the "Year One" period.

Subsequently, Batman begins exhibiting an excessive, reckless approach to his crime-fighting, a result of the pain of losing Jason Todd. Batman works solo until the decade's close, when Tim Drake becomes the new Robin.[132]

Many of the major Batman storylines since the 1990s have been inter-title crossovers that run for a number of issues. In 1993, DC published "Knightfall". During the storyline's first phase, the new villain Bane paralyzes Batman, leading Wayne to ask Azrael to take on the role. After the end of "Knightfall", the storylines split in two directions, following both the Azrael-Batman's adventures, and Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman once more. The story arcs realign in "KnightsEnd", as Azrael becomes increasingly violent and is defeated by a healed Bruce Wayne. Wayne hands the Batman mantle to Dick Grayson (then Nightwing) for an interim period, while Wayne trains for a return to the role.[133]

The 1994 company-wide crossover storyline "Zero Hour" changes aspects of DC continuity again, including those of Batman. Noteworthy among these changes is that the general populace and the criminal element now considers Batman an urban legend rather than a known force.

Batman once again becomes a member of the Justice League during Grant Morrison's 1996 relaunch of the series, titled JLA. During this time, Gotham City faces catastrophe in the decade's closing crossover arc. In 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline, Gotham City is devastated by an earthquake and ultimately cut off from the United States. Deprived of many of his technological resources, Batman fights to reclaim the city from legions of gangs during 1999's "No Man's Land".

Meanwhile, Batman's relationship with the Gotham City Police Department changed for the worse with the events of "Batman: Officer Down" and "Batman: War Games/War Crimes"; Batman's long-time law enforcement allies Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock are forced out of the police department in "Officer Down", while "War Games" and "War Crimes" saw Batman become a wanted fugitive after a contingency plan of his to neutralize Gotham City's criminal underworld is accidentally triggered, resulting in a massive gang war that ends with the sadistic Black Mask the undisputed ruler of the city's criminal gangs. Lex Luthor arranges for the murder of Batman's on-again, off-again love interest Vesper (introduced in the mid-1990s) during the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" and "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" story arcs. Though Batman is able to clear his name, he loses another ally in the form of his new bodyguard Sasha, who is recruited into the organization known as "Checkmate" while stuck in prison due to her refusal to turn state's evidence against her employer. While he was unable to prove that Luthor was behind the murder of Vesper, Batman does get his revenge with help from Talia al Ghul in Superman/Batman #1–6.

21st century

2000s

DC Comics' 2005 limited series Identity Crisis reveals that JLA member Zatanna had edited Batman's memories to prevent him from stopping the Justice League from lobotomizing Dr. Light after he raped Sue Dibny. Batman later creates the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over and, if necessary, kill the other heroes after he remembered. The revelation of Batman's creation and his tacit responsibility for Blue Beetle's death becomes a driving force in the lead-up to the Infinite Crisis miniseries, which again restructures DC continuity. Batman and a team of superheroes destroy Brother Eye and the OMACs, though, at the very end, Batman reaches his apparent breaking point when Alexander Luthor Jr. seriously wounds Nightwing. Picking up a gun, Batman nearly shoots Luthor in order to avenge his former sidekick, until Wonder Woman convinces him to not pull the trigger.

Following Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson (having recovered from his wounds), and Tim Drake retrace the steps Bruce had taken when he originally left Gotham City, to "rebuild Batman".[134] In the Face the Face storyline, Batman and Robin return to Gotham City after their year-long absence. Part of this absence is captured during Week 30 of the 52 series, which shows Batman fighting his inner demons.[135] Later on in 52, Batman is shown undergoing an intense meditation ritual in Nanda Parbat. This becomes an important part of the regular Batman title, which reveals that Batman is reborn as a more effective crime fighter while undergoing this ritual, having "hunted down and ate" the last traces of fear in his mind.[136][137] At the end of the "Face the Face" story arc, Bruce officially adopts Tim (who had lost both of his parents at various points in the character's history) as his son.[138] The follow-up story arc in Batman, Batman and Son, introduces Damian Wayne, who is Batman's son with Talia al Ghul. Although originally in Son of the Demon, Bruce's coupling with Talia was implied to be consensual, this arc ret-conned it into Talia forcing herself on Bruce.[139]

Batman, along with Superman and Wonder Woman, reforms the Justice League in the new Justice League of America series,[140] and is leading the newest incarnation of the Outsiders.[141]

Grant Morrison's 2008 storyline, "Batman R.I.P." featured Batman being physically and mentally broken by the enigmatic villain Doctor Hurt and attracted news coverage in advance of its highly promoted conclusion, which would speculated to feature the death of Bruce Wayne.[142] However, though Batman is shown to possibly perish at the end of the arc, the two-issue arc "Last Rites", which leads into the crossover storylines "Final Crisis", shows that Batman survives his helicopter crash into the Gotham City River and returns to the Batcave, only to be summoned to the Hall of Justice by the JLA to help investigate the New God Orion's death. The story ends with Batman retrieving the god-killing bullet used to kill Orion, setting up its use in "Final Crisis".[143] In the pages of Final Crisis Batman is reduced to a charred skeleton.[144] In Final Crisis #7 Wayne is shown witnessing the passing of the first man, Anthro.[145][146] Wayne's "death" sets up the three-issue Battle for the Cowl miniseries in which Wayne's ex-proteges compete for the "right" to assume the role of Batman, which concludes with Grayson becoming Batman,[147] while Tim Drake takes on the identity of Red Robin.[148] Dick and Damian continue as Batman and Robin, and in the crossover storyline "Blackest Night", what appears to be Bruce's corpse is reanimated as a Black Lantern zombie,[149] but is later shown that Bruce's corpse is one of Darkseid's failed Batman clones. Dick and Batman's other friends conclude that Bruce is alive.[150][151]

2010s

Bruce subsequently returned in Morrison's miniseries Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, which depicted his travels through time from prehistory to present-day Gotham.[152][153][154] Bruce's return set up Batman Incorporated, an ongoing series which focused on Wayne franchising the Batman identity across the globe, allowing Dick and Damian to continue as Gotham's Dynamic Duo. Bruce publicly announced that Wayne Enterprises will aid Batman on his mission, known as "Batman, Incorporated". However, due to rebooted continuity that occurred as part of DC Comics' 2011 relaunch of all of its comic books, the New 52, Dick Grayson was restored as Nightwing with Wayne serving as the sole Batman once again. The relaunch also interrupted the publication of Batman, Incorporated, which resumed its story in 2012–2013 with changes to suit the new status quo.

Cultural impact and legacy

Batman has become a pop culture icon, recognized around the world. The character's presence has extended beyond his comic book origins; events such as the release of the 1989 Batman film and its accompanying merchandising "brought the Batman to the forefront of public consciousness".[155] In an article commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the character, The Guardian wrote, "Batman is a figure blurred by the endless reinvention that is modern mass culture. He is at once an icon and a commodity: the perfect cultural artefact for the 21st century."[156]

In other media

Batman and Robin 1966
Adam West as Batman (right) and Burt Ward as Robin in the 1960s Batman TV series

The character of Batman has appeared in various media aside from comic books, such as newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television, a stage show, and several theatrical feature films. The first adaptation of Batman was as a daily newspaper comic strip which premiered on October 25, 1943.[157] That same year the character was adapted in the 15-part serial Batman, with Lewis Wilson becoming the first actor to portray Batman on screen. While Batman never had a radio series of his own, the character made occasional guest appearances in The Adventures of Superman starting in 1945 on occasions when Superman voice actor Bud Collyer needed time off.[158] A second movie serial, Batman and Robin, followed in 1949, with Robert Lowery taking over the role of Batman. The exposure provided by these adaptations during the 1940s "helped make [Batman] a household name for millions who never bought a comic book".[158]

In the 1964 publication of Donald Barthelme's collection of short stories Come Back, Dr. Caligari, Barthelme wrote "The Joker's Greatest Triumph". Batman is portrayed for purposes of spoof as a pretentious French-speaking rich man.[159]

Television

The Batman television series, starring Adam West, premiered in January 1966 on the ABC television network. Inflected with a camp sense of humor, the show became a pop culture phenomenon. In his memoir, Back to the Batcave, West notes his dislike for the term 'camp' as it was applied to the 1960s series, opining that the show was instead a farce or lampoon, and a deliberate one, at that. The series ran for 120 episodes; ending in 1968. In between the first and second season of the Batman television series, the cast and crew made the theatrical film Batman (1966). The Who recorded the theme song from the Batman show for their 1966 EP Ready Steady Who, and The Kinks performed the theme song on their 1967 album Live at Kelvin Hall.

The popularity of the Batman TV series also resulted in the first animated adaptation of Batman in The Batman/Superman Hour;[160] the Batman segments of the series were repackaged as The Adventures of Batman and Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder which produced thirty-three episodes between 1968 and 1977. From 1973 until 1986, Batman had a starring role in ABC's Super Friends series; which was animated by Hanna-Barbera. Olan Soule was the voice of Batman in all these shows, but was eventually replaced during Super Friends by Adam West, who also voiced the character in Filmation's 1977 series The New Adventures of Batman.

Batmananimated32
Batman as depicted in the award-winning 1990s Batman: The Animated Series

In 1992, Batman: The Animated Series premiered on the Fox television network; produced by Warner Bros. Animation and featuring Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman. The series received considerable acclaim for its darker tone, mature writing, stylistic design, and thematic complexity compared to previous superhero cartoons,[161][162] in addition to multiple Emmy Awards.The series' success led to the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993),[163] as well as various spin-off TV series; including Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited (each of which also featured Conroy as Batman's voice). The futuristic series Batman Beyond also took place in this same animated continuity and featured a newer, younger Batman voiced by Will Friedle, with the elderly Bruce Wayne (again voiced by Conroy) as a mentor.

In 2004, an unrelated animated series titled The Batman made its debut with Rino Romano voicing Batman. In 2008, this show was replaced by another animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, featuring Diedrich Bader's voice as Batman. In 2013, a new CGI-animated series titled Beware the Batman made its debut, with Anthony Ruivivar voicing Batman.[164]

In 2014, the live-action TV series Gotham premiered on the Fox network, featuring David Mazouz as a 12-year-old Bruce Wayne. In 2018, when the series was renewed for its fifth and final season it was announced that Batman would make an appearance in the show's series finale.

For the season 1 finale of Titans, Alain Moussi portrays Batman as a stunt double.[165]

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the character, Warner Bros aired the television short film, Batman: Strange Days, that was also posted on DC's YouTube channel.

Film

17 Batman and Vicki Vale
Batman (Michael Keaton), with Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) in the 1989 film Batman.

In 1989, Warner Bros. released the live-action feature film Batman; directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the title character. The film was a huge success; not only was it the top-grossing film of the year, but at the time was the fifth highest-grossing film in history.[166] The film also won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.[167] The film's success spawned three sequels: Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997); the latter two of which were directed by Joel Schumacher instead of Burton, and replaced Keaton as Batman with Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively. The second Schumacher film failed to outgross any of its predecessors and was critically panned; causing Warner Bros. to cancel the planned fourth sequel, Batman Unchained,[168] and end the initial film series.

Bale as Batman
Christian Bale as Batman in the 2005 film Batman Begins.

In 2005, Batman Begins was released by Warner Bros. as a reboot of the film series; directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman. Its sequel, The Dark Knight (2008), set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time in the U.S., earning approximately $158 million,[169] and became the fastest film to reach the $400 million mark in the history of American cinema (eighteenth day of release).[170] These record-breaking attendances saw The Dark Knight end its run as the second-highest domestic grossing film (at the time) with $533 million, bested then only by Titanic.[171] The film also won two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for the late Heath Ledger.[172] It was eventually followed by The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which served as a conclusion to Nolan's film series.

Batman-BenAffleck
Promotional poster of Ben Affleck as Batman in the DC Extended Universe

Since 2008, Batman has also starred in various direct-to-video animated films under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner. Kevin Conroy has reprised his voice role of Batman for several of these films, while others have featured celebrity voice actors in the role; including Jeremy Sisto, William Baldwin, Bruce Greenwood, Ben McKenzie, and Peter Weller.[173] A Lego-themed version of Batman was also featured as one of the protagonists in the animated film The Lego Movie (2014), with Will Arnett providing the voice.[174] Arnett reprised the voice role for the spin-off film The Lego Batman Movie (2017).[175]

In 2016, Ben Affleck began portraying Batman in the DC Extended Universe with the release of the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder.[176] Affleck also made a cameo appearance as Batman in David Ayer's film Suicide Squad (2016).[177] Affleck reprised the role in the 2017 film Justice League,[178][179] also set in the DC Extended Universe.[180][181][182]

On October 23, 2018, Dante Pereira-Olson was cast as a young Bruce Wayne in the upcoming film Joker.[183][184]

Video games

Since 1986, Batman has starred in multiple video games, most of which were adaptations of the various cinematic or animated incarnations of the character. Among the most successful of these games is the Batman: Arkham series. The first installment, Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009), was released by Rocksteady Studios to critical acclaim; review aggregator Metacritic reports it as having received 92% positive reviews.[185] It was followed by the sequel Batman: Arkham City (2011), which also received widespread acclaim and holds a Metacritic ranking of 94%.[186] A prequel game titled Batman: Arkham Origins (2013) was later released by WB Games Montréal.[187] A fourth game titled Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) has also been released by Rocksteady.[188] As with most animated Batman productions, Kevin Conroy has provided the voice of the character for these games; excluding Arkham Origins, in which the younger Batman is voiced by Roger Craig Smith. In 2016, Telltale Games released Batman: The Telltale Series adventure game, which changed the Wayne Family's history as it is depicted in the Batman mythos.[189] A sequel, titled Batman: The Enemy Within, was released in 2017.[190]

Interpretations

Gay interpretations

Gay interpretations of the character have been part of the academic study of Batman since psychologist Fredric Wertham asserted in Seduction of the Innocent in 1954 that "Batman stories are psychologically homosexual ... The Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies, of the nature of which they may be unconscious."[191] Andy Medhurst wrote in his 1991 essay "Batman, Deviance, and Camp" that Batman is interesting to gay audiences because "he was one of the first fictional characters to be attacked on the grounds of his presumed homosexuality".[192] Professor of film and cultural studies Will Brooker argues the validity of a queer reading of Batman, and that gay readers would naturally find themselves drawn to the lifestyle depicted within, whether the character of Bruce Wayne himself were explicitly gay or not. He also identifies a homophobic element to the vigor with which mainstream fandom rejects the possibility of a gay reading of the character.[193]

Creators associated with the character have expressed their own opinions. Writer Alan Grant has stated, "The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay ... everybody's Batman all the way back to Bob Kane ... none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view."[194] Frank Miller views the character as sublimating his sexual urges into crimefighting so much so that he's "borderline pathological", concluding "He'd be much healthier if he were gay."[195] Grant Morrison said that "Gayness is built into Batman ... Obviously as a fictional character he's intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay. I think that's why people like it. All these women fancy him and they all wear fetish clothes and jump around rooftops to get to him. He doesn't care—he's more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid."[196]

In 2000, DC refused permission for the reprinting of four panels (from Batman #79, 92, 105, and 139) to illustrate Christopher York's paper "All in the Family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s".[197] In 2005, painter Mark Chamberlain displayed a number of watercolors depicting both Batman and Robin in suggestive and sexually explicit poses,[198] prompting DC to threaten legal action.[199]

Psychological interpretations

Batman has been the subject of psychological study for some time, and there have been a number of interpretations into the character's psyche.

In Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight, Travis Langley argues that the concept of archetypes as described by psychologists Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell is present in the Batman mythos, such that the character represents the "shadow archetype". This archetype, according to Langley, represents a person's own dark side; it is not necessarily an evil one, but rather one that is hidden from the outside and concealed from both the world and oneself. Langley argues that Bruce Wayne confronts his own darkness early in life; he chooses to use it to instill fear in wrongdoers, with his bright and dark sides working together to fight evil. Langley uses the Jungian perspective to assert that Batman appeals to our own need to face our "shadow selves".[200][201]

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External links

Batman

Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27, in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man", the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character's prominence in mainstream culture.An American cultural icon, Batman has garnered enormous popularity and is among the most identifiable comic book characters. Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists, with many offering interpretations of his psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of "50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History". Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Anthony Ruivivar, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Jason O'Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.

Batman (1989 film)

Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters and Peter Guber, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is the first installment of Warner Bros.' initial Batman film series. The film stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman, alongside Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough and Jack Palance. The film takes place early in the title character's war on crime, and depicts a battle with his nemesis the Joker.

After Burton was hired as director in 1986, Steve Englehart and Julie Hickson wrote film treatments before Sam Hamm wrote the first screenplay. Batman was not greenlit until after the success of Burton's Beetlejuice (1988). Numerous A-list actors were considered for the role of Batman before Keaton was cast. Keaton's casting caused a controversy since, by 1988, he had become typecast as a comedic actor and many observers doubted he could portray a serious role. Nicholson accepted the role of the Joker under strict conditions that dictated top billing, a high salary, a portion of the box office profits and his shooting schedule.

The tone and themes of the film were influenced in part by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. The film primarily adapts the "Red Hood" origin story for the Joker, in which Batman creates the Joker by dropping him into Axis Chemical acid, resulting in his transformation into a psychopath, but it adds a unique twist in presenting him specifically as a gangster named Jack Napier. Filming took place at Pinewood Studios from October 1988 to January 1989. The budget escalated from $30 million to $48 million, while the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike forced Hamm to drop out. Warren Skaaren did rewrites. Additional uncredited drafts were done by Charles McKeown and Jonathan Gems.

Batman was a critical and financial success, earning over $400 million in box office totals. It was the fifth-highest-grossing film in history at the time of its release. The film received several Saturn Award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination, and won an Academy Award. It also inspired the equally successful Batman: The Animated Series, paving the way for the DC animated universe, and has influenced Hollywood's modern marketing and development techniques of the superhero film genre. Three sequels, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, were released on June 19, 1992, June 16, 1995, and June 20, 1997, respectively.

Batman (TV series)

Batman is a 1960s American live action television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin – two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City from a variety of arch villains. It is known for its camp style, upbeat theme music, and its intentionally humorous, simplistic morality (aimed at its largely teenage audience). This included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables, and drinking milk. It was described by executive producer William Dozier as the only situation comedy on the air without a laugh track. The 120 episodes aired on the ABC network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, twice weekly for the first two and weekly for the third. In 2016, television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked Batman as the 82nd greatest American television show of all time.

Batman Begins

Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman, directed by Christopher Nolan and written by Nolan and David S. Goyer. It stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, and Morgan Freeman. The film reboots the Batman film series, telling the origin story of Bruce Wayne from the death of his parents to his journey to become Batman and his fight to stop Ra's al Ghul and the Scarecrow from plunging Gotham City into chaos.

After a series of unsuccessful projects to resurrect Batman on screen following the critical failure of Batman & Robin (1997), Nolan and Goyer began work on the film in early 2003. Aiming for a darker, more realistic tone compared to the previous films, a primary goal for their vision was to engage the audience's emotional investment in both the Batman and Bruce Wayne identities of the lead character. The film, which was principally shot in the United Kingdom, Iceland and Chicago, relied heavily on traditional stunts and miniature effects, with computer-generated imagery being used in a minimal capacity compared to other action films. Comic book storylines such as The Man Who Falls, Batman: Year One and Batman: The Long Halloween served as inspiration.

Batman Begins opened on June 15, 2005, in the United States and Canada in 3,858 theaters. It grossed over $48 million in its opening weekend in North America, eventually grossing over $374 million worldwide. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and three BAFTA awards. It was followed by The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which constitute The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Batman Beyond

Batman Beyond (known as Batman of the Future in Europe, Latin America, Australia, and Asia) is an American animated television series developed by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett and produced by Warner Bros. Animation in collaboration with DC Comics as a continuation of the Batman legacy. Depicting a teenaged Batman in a futuristic Gotham City under the tutelage of an elderly Bruce Wayne, the series began airing on January 10, 1999, and ended its run on December 18, 2001. After 52 episodes spanning three seasons and one direct-to-video film, the series was put on hold for the Justice League animated series, despite the network having announced plans for a fourth season.Batman Beyond is set in the chronological future of the DC animated universe (despite being released before Static Shock, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited), and serves as a continuance of both Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures.

Batman Beyond is said to explore the darker side of many Batman projects, playing on key elements such as emotions, personal relations, fear of the unknown, to cyberpunk- and sci-fi-themed elements such as issues and dilemmas of innovation and technological and scientific progress affecting society, and to the disturbing psychological elements of the character of Bruce Wayne. As such, it was considerably darker than most other children's programs at the time, although producer Bruce Timm recalls it was conceived as a kid-friendly Batman cartoon. It is also the first Batman series to portray the hero as a teenager.

IGN named the show 40th on their list of "Top 100 Animated TV Series." The premise of Batman Beyond has been used in various comic book stories published by DC Comics, including an ongoing series beginning in 2011.

Batman Forever

Batman Forever is a 1995 American superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is a sequel to the 1992 film Batman Returns and the third installment of the initial Batman film series, with Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Chris O'Donnell. The plot focuses on Batman trying to stop Two-Face (Jones) and the Riddler (Carrey) in their villainous scheme to extract confidential information from all the minds in Gotham City and use it to learn Batman's identity and bring the city under their control. He gains allegiance from a love interest—psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian (Kidman) and a young, orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson (O'Donnell), who becomes his sidekick Robin.

Batman Forever's tone is significantly different from the previous installments, becoming more family-friendly since Warner Bros. believed that Batman Returns failed to outgross its predecessor due to parent complaints about the film's violence and dark overtones. Schumacher eschewed the dark, dystopian atmosphere of Burton's films by drawing inspiration from the Batman comic books of the Dick Sprang era, as well as the 1960s television series. After Keaton chose not to reprise his role, William Baldwin and Ethan Hawke were considered as a replacement before Kilmer joined the cast.

The film was released on June 16, 1995, receiving mixed reviews, but was a financial success. Batman Forever grossed over $336 million worldwide and became the sixth-highest-grossing film worldwide of 1995. The film was followed by Batman & Robin in 1997, with Schumacher returning as the director and George Clooney replacing Kilmer as Batman.

Batman in film

The fictional superhero Batman, who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics, has appeared in various films since his inception. Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the character first starred in two serial films in the 1940s: Batman and Batman and Robin. The character also appeared in the 1966 film Batman, which was a feature film adaptation of the 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, who also starred in the film. Toward the end of the 1980s, the Warner Bros. studio began producing a series of feature films starring Batman, beginning with the 1989 film Batman, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton. Burton and Keaton returned for the 1992 sequel Batman Returns, and in 1995, Joel Schumacher directed Batman Forever with Val Kilmer as Batman. Schumacher also directed the 1997 sequel Batman & Robin, which starred George Clooney. Batman & Robin was poorly received by both critics and fans, leading to the cancellation of Batman Unchained.Following the cancellation of two further film proposals, the franchise was rebooted in 2005 with Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale. Nolan returned to direct two further installments through the release of The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, with Bale reprising his role in both films. Both sequels earned over $1 billion worldwide, making Batman the second film franchise to have two of its films earn more than $1 billion worldwide. Referred to as The Dark Knight Trilogy, the critical acclaim and commercial success of Nolan's films have been credited with restoring widespread popularity to the superhero, with the second installment considered one of the best superhero movies of all-time.

After Warner Bros. launched their own shared cinematic universe known as the DC Extended Universe in 2013, Ben Affleck was cast to portray Batman in the new expansive franchise, first appearing in 2016 with the Zack Snyder directed film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film would help begin a sequence of further DC Comics adaptations, including Justice League, a crossover film featuring other DC Comics characters, in 2017, and a stand-alone Batman film directed by Matt Reeves. Dante Pereira-Olson will appear as Bruce Wayne in the 2019 film Joker, directed by Todd Phillips.Batman has also appeared in multiple animated films, both as a starring character and as an ensemble character. While most animated films were released direct-to-video, the 1993 animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, based on the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, was released theatrically. Having earned a total of U.S. $2,407,708,129 the Batman series is the fifth-highest-grossing film series in North America.

Catwoman

Catwoman is a fictional character created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with superhero Batman. The character made her debut as "the Cat" in Batman #1 (June 1940), and her real name is Selina Kyle. She is Batman's most enduring love interest and is known for her complex love-hate relationship with him.Catwoman is a Gotham City burglar who typically wears a tight, one-piece outfit and uses a bullwhip for a weapon. She was originally characterized as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, but she has been featured in a series since the 1990s which portrays her as an antiheroine, often doing the wrong things for the right reasons. The character thrived since her earliest appearances, but she took an extended hiatus from September 1954 to November 1966 due to the developing Comics Code Authority in 1954. These issues involved the rules regarding the development and portrayal of female characters that were in violation of the Comics Code, a code which is no longer in use. In the comics, Holly Robinson and Eiko Hasigawa have both adopted the Catwoman identity, apart from Selina Kyle.Catwoman has been featured in many media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman film. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992's Batman Returns. Halle Berry starred in 2004's Catwoman; this, however, was a critical and commercial flop and bears little similarity to the Batman character. Anne Hathaway portrayed Selina Kyle in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises, and a young version of Kyle is played by Camren Bicondova on the 2014 television series Gotham.

Catwoman was ranked 11th on IGN's list of the "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time", and 51st on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list. Conversely, she was ranked 20th on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time" list.

Dick Grayson

Richard John "Dick" Grayson is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Batman. Created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane, he first appeared in Detective Comics #38 in April 1940 as the original incarnation of Robin. In Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July 1984) the character retires his role as Robin and assumes the superhero persona of Nightwing, created by Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez.

The youngest in a family of acrobats known as the "Flying Graysons", Dick watches a mafia boss named Tony Zucco kill his parents in order to extort money from the circus that employed them. After the tragic murder, Batman (Bruce Wayne) takes Dick in as his legal ward (retconned as an adopted son in some cases) and trains him to become his crime-fighting partner Robin. He is written by many authors as the first son of Batman. As well as being Batman's crime-fighting partner, Dick establishes himself as the leader of the Teen Titans, a team of teenage superheroes. As a young man, he retires as Robin and takes on his own superhero identity to assert his independence, becoming Nightwing. As Nightwing, he continues to lead the Teen Titans and later the Outsiders. In the first volume of his eponymous series (1996–2009), he becomes the protector of Blüdhaven, Gotham's economically troubled neighboring city, the locale the character is most closely associated with. He has also been depicted as protecting the streets of New York, Chicago, and Gotham City over the years.

Dick Grayson has taken on the identity of Batman on a few occasions. In the aftermath of "Batman: Knightfall", Grayson initially declines taking up the mantle of Batman while the original was recovering from a broken back as he feels Nightwing is a hero in his own right and not Batman's understudy, but after the events of the Zero Hour miniseries later that year, he replaces Bruce Wayne as Batman, beginning in Robin #0 (1994) and extending throughout the Batman: Prodigal storyline in 1995. Dick again assumes the mantle following the events of "Batman R.I.P." (2008) and Final Crisis (2008–2009). As Batman, Dick moves to Gotham City following his mentor's apparent death and partners with the fifth Robin, Damian Wayne. On Bruce's return, both men maintained the Batman identity until 2011, when Dick returned to the Nightwing identity with DC's The New 52 continuity reboot. In a 2014 comic story, Dick is forced to abandon the Nightwing identity after being unmasked on TV and faking his death, setting up Tim Seeley's Grayson comic book, Dick becomes Agent 37, Batman's mole in the nefarious spy organization Spyral. Following the conclusion of the Grayson series, and the restoration of his secret identity in the series' final issue, Dick returns to being Nightwing as part of the DC Rebirth relaunch in 2016.

Dick Grayson has appeared as Robin (Batman’s sidekick) in several other media adaptations: the 1943 serial played by Douglas Croft, the 1949 serial played by Johnny Duncan, the 1966–1968 live action Batman television series and its motion picture portrayed by Burt Ward, played by Chris O'Donnell in the 1995 film Batman Forever and its 1997 sequel Batman & Robin. He stars on the Titans television series for the new DC streaming service played by Brenton Thwaites. Loren Lester voiced the character as Robin in Batman: The Animated Series and later as Nightwing's first screen adaptation in The New Batman Adventures. In May 2011, IGN ranked Dick Grayson #11 on their list of the "Top 100 Super Heroes of All Time". In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Grayson as Nightwing as #1 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics".

Jason Todd

Jason Todd is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Batman. The character first appeared in Batman #357 (March 1983) and became the second character to assume the role of Batman's vigilante partner, Robin.

Though initially popular, the character as written by Jim Starlin was not well received by fans following a revamping of his origin by Max Allan Collins (Batman #408–409). For 1988's "Batman: A Death in the Family" storyline (Batman #426–429), DC Comics held a telephone poll to determine whether or not the character would die at the hands of the Joker, Batman's nemesis. Todd was killed off by a margin of 72 votes (5,343 for, 5,271 against). Subsequent Batman stories dealt with Batman's guilt over not having been able to save him.

In 2005's "Under the Hood" story arc, the character was resurrected and became the second character to take up the Red Hood alias. Assuming the role of an antihero with a willingness to use lethal force and weapons, Jason Todd operates as the Red Hood in current DC Comics continuity.In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Todd as #23 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics".Todd has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. Todd's Robin appears in his first live adaptation as a guest star on the Titans television series for the new DC Universe streaming service, played by Curran Walters.

Joker (character)

The Joker is a fictional supervillain created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson who first appeared in the debut issue of the comic book Batman (April 25, 1940), published by DC Comics. Credit for the Joker's creation is disputed; Kane and Robinson claimed responsibility for the Joker's design, while acknowledging Finger's writing contribution. Although the Joker was planned to be killed off during his initial appearance, he was spared by editorial intervention, allowing the character to endure as the archenemy of the superhero Batman.

In his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a criminal mastermind. Introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster in the late 1950s in response to regulation by the Comics Code Authority, before returning to his darker roots during the early 1970s. As Batman's nemesis, the Joker has been part of the superhero's defining stories, including the murder of Jason Todd—the second Robin and Batman's ward—and the paralysis of one of Batman's allies, Barbara Gordon. The Joker has had various possible origin stories during his decades of appearances. The most common story involves him falling into a tank of chemical waste which bleaches his skin white and turns his hair green and lips bright red; the resulting disfigurement drives him insane. The antithesis of Batman in personality and appearance, the Joker is considered by critics to be his perfect adversary.

The Joker possesses no superhuman abilities, instead using his expertise in chemical engineering to develop poisonous or lethal concoctions, and thematic weaponry, including razor-tipped playing cards, deadly joy buzzers, and acid-spraying lapel flowers. The Joker sometimes works with other Gotham City supervillains such as the Penguin and Two-Face, and groups like the Injustice Gang and Injustice League, but these relationships often collapse due to the Joker's desire for unbridled chaos. The 1990s introduced a romantic interest for the Joker in his former psychiatrist, Harley Quinn, who becomes his villainous sidekick. Although his primary obsession is Batman, the Joker has also fought other heroes including Superman and Wonder Woman.

One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the Joker has been listed among the greatest comic book villains and fictional characters ever created. The character's popularity has seen him appear on a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectible items, inspire real-world structures (such as theme park attractions), and be referenced in a number of media. The Joker has been adapted to serve as Batman's adversary in live-action, animated, and video game incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series (played by Cesar Romero) and in films by Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989); Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008); Jared Leto in Suicide Squad (2016); and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (2019). Mark Hamill, Troy Baker, and others have provided the character's voice.

Robin (character)

Robin is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson, to serve as a junior counterpart to the superhero Batman. The character's first incarnation, Dick Grayson, debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a way to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman titles. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65–130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing. The team of Batman and Robin has commonly been referred to as the Caped Crusaders or Dynamic Duo.

The character's second incarnation Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983). This Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in the storyline "A Death in the Family" (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood. The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991 which featured the character's third incarnation Tim Drake training to earn the role of Batman's vigilante partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped his transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right. In 2004 storylines, established DC Comics character Stephanie Brown became the fourth Robin for a short duration before the role reverted to Tim Drake. Damian Wayne succeeds Drake as Robin in the 2009 story arc "Battle for the Cowl".

Following the 2011 continuity reboot "the New 52", Tim Drake was revised as having assumed the title Red Robin, and Jason Todd, operating as the Red Hood, was slowly repairing his relationship with Batman. Dick Grayson resumed his role as Nightwing and Stephanie Brown was introduced anew under her previous moniker Spoiler in the pages of Batman Eternal (2014). The 2016 DC Rebirth continuity relaunch starts off with Damian Wayne as Robin, Tim Drake as Red Robin, Jason Todd as Red Hood, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Robins have also been featured throughout stories set in parallel worlds, owing to DC Comics' longstanding "Multiverse" concept. For example, in the original Earth-Two, Dick Grayson never adopted the name Nightwing, and continues operating as Robin into adulthood. In the New 52's "Earth-2" continuity, Robin is Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who was stranded on the Earth of the main continuity and takes the name Huntress.

The Dark Knight (film)

The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the second part of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, starring an ensemble cast including Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman. In the film, Bruce Wayne / Batman (Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart) form an alliance to dismantle organized crime in Gotham City, but are menaced by an anarchist mastermind known as the Joker (Ledger), who seeks to undermine Batman's influence and turn the city to chaos.

Nolan's inspiration for the film was the Joker's comic book debut in 1940, the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke, and the 1996 series The Long Halloween, which retold Two-Face's origin. The "Dark Knight" nickname was first applied to Batman in Batman #1 (1940), in a story written by Bill Finger. The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as well as in several other locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Nolan used IMAX 70 mm film cameras to film some sequences, including the Joker's first appearance in the film. Warner Bros. initially created a viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight, developing promotional websites and trailers highlighting screenshots of Ledger as the Joker. Ledger died on January 22, 2008, some months after the completed filming and six months before the film's release from a toxic combination of prescription drugs, leading to intense attention from the press and movie-going public.

A co-production of the United States and the United Kingdom, The Dark Knight was released on July 18, 2008 in the United States and on July 25, 2008 in the United Kingdom. Film critics considered it one of the best films of its decade and one of the best superhero films of all time; the film received highly positive reviews, particularly for its action, score, screenplay, performances (particularly Ledger's), visual effects, and direction, setting numerous records during its theatrical run. The Dark Knight appeared on 287 critics' top ten lists, more than any other film of 2008 with the exception of WALL-E, and more critics (77) named The Dark Knight the best film released that year. With over $1 billion in revenue worldwide, it became the highest-grossing film of 2008 and is the 37th highest-grossing film of all time, unadjusted for inflation (4th at the time of release); it also set the record for highest-grossing domestic opening with $158 million, a record it held for three years. The film received eight Academy Award nominations; it won the award for Best Sound Editing and Ledger was posthumously awarded Best Supporting Actor. In 2016 it was voted 33rd among 100 films considered the best of the 21st century by 117 film critics from around the world. The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the trilogy, was released on July 20, 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 American-British superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, and the story with David S. Goyer. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the final installment in Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, and the sequel to The Dark Knight (2008). Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne / Batman, alongside Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman. Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, merciless revolutionary Bane forces an older Bruce Wayne to resume his role as Batman and save Gotham City from nuclear destruction.

Christopher Nolan was hesitant about returning to the series for a second time, but agreed after developing a story with his brother and Goyer that he felt would conclude the series on a satisfactory note. Nolan drew inspiration from Bane's comic book debut in the 1993 "Knightfall" storyline, the 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns, and the 1999 storyline "No Man's Land". Filming took place from May to November 2011 in locations including Jodhpur, London, Nottingham, Glasgow, Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, and Pittsburgh. Nolan used IMAX 70 mm film cameras for much of the filming, including the first six minutes of the film, to optimize the quality of the picture. A vehicle variation of the Batplane and Batcopter termed the "Bat", an underground prison set, and a new Batcave set were created specifically for the film. As with The Dark Knight, viral marketing campaigns began early during production. When filming concluded, Warner Bros. refocused its campaign: developing promotional websites, releasing the first six minutes of the film, screening theatrical trailers, and sending out information regarding the film's plot.

The Dark Knight Rises premiered in New York City on July 16, 2012. The film was released in the United States and the United Kingdom on July 20, 2012. It received positive reviews; the consensus at Rotten Tomatoes calls it "ambitious, thoughtful, and potent". The film has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, making it the second film in the Batman film series to earn $1 billion. In addition to being Nolan's highest-grossing film, it is the 25th highest-grossing film of all time (7th at the time of release), the third highest-grossing film of 2012, the highest-grossing Batman film of all time, the ninth highest-grossing superhero film, as well as the second highest-grossing DC Comics film of all time.

The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman Movie is a 2017 computer-animated superhero comedy film produced by the Warner Animation Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was directed by Chris McKay, and written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington, and produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Based on the Lego Batman toy line, the film is an international co-production of the United States, Australia and Denmark, and the first spin-off installment of The Lego Movie franchise. The story centers on the DC Comics character Batman as he attempts to overcome his greatest fear in order to stop the Joker's latest plan. The film features Will Arnett reprising his role as Batman for the film alongside Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes.

The Lego Batman Movie had its world premiere in Dublin, Ireland on January 29, 2017, and was released in the United States on February 10, 2017. Internationally, the film was released in 3D, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX and IMAX 3D. The film received positive reviews with critics praising its animation, voice acting, soundtrack, visual style and humor and was also commercially successful, having grossed $312 million worldwide against a budget of $80 million. A sequel is in development.

Two-Face

Two-Face (Harvey Dent) is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. The character was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942). As one of Batman's most enduring enemies, Two-Face belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up Batman's rogues gallery.

Once an upstanding Gotham City District Attorney, Harvey Dent is hideously scarred on the left side of his face after mob boss Sal Maroni throws acidic chemicals at him during a court trial. He subsequently goes insane and adopts the "Two-Face" persona, becoming a criminal obsessed with duality and the conflict between good and evil. In later years, writers have portrayed Two-Face's obsession with chance and fate as the result of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. He obsessively makes all important decisions by flipping his former lucky charm, a two-headed coin which was damaged on one side by the acid as well. The modern version is established as having once been a personal friend and ally of James Gordon and Batman.The character has been featured in various media adaptations, such as feature films, television series and video games. Two-Face has been voiced by Richard Moll in the DC animated universe, Troy Baker in the Batman: Arkham series, Billy Dee Williams in The Lego Batman Movie, and William Shatner in Batman vs. Two-Face. His live-action portrayals include Billy Dee Williams in Batman (as Harvey Dent only), Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight, and Nicholas D'Agosto in the television series Gotham. In 2009, Two-Face was ranked #12 on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time.

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