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Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #27
(May 1939)
Created by Bob Kane
Bill Finger (uncredited)
In-story information
Alter ego Bruce Wayne
Team affiliations Batman Family, Superman, Outsiders, Justice League|JLA
Justice Society of America, All-Star Squadron
Notable aliases The Bat, Dark Knight, Masked Manhunter, Caped Crusader, Bats, World's Greatest Detective, Matches Malone, the Dynamic Duo (with |Robin)
Abilities None; Genius intellect,
master detective skills,
peak physical condition,
master martial artist,
master of disguise,
expert escapologist,
high tech equipment

The DC Comics superhero Batman (originally and still sometimes referred to as the Batman) is a fictional character who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. He has since become, along with Superman and Spider-Man, one of the world's most well-known superheroes.[1] Batman was co-created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, although only Kane receives official credit for the character.

His true identity is Bruce Wayne, billionaire industrialist, playboy, and philanthropist. Witnessing the murder of his parents as a child led him to train himself to the peak of physical and intellectual perfection, don a costume, and fight crime. Unlike many other superheroes, he does not possess superhuman powers or abilities; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, technology, and physical prowess in his war on crime.

Character history[edit]

Over the years, Batman's origin story, history and tone have undergone various revisions, both minor and major. Some elements have changed drastically; others, like the death of his parents and his pursuit of justice, have remained constant.

Consistent across all versions of the Batman mythos, Batman is the alter-ego of Bruce Wayne, a millionaire or billionaire (depending on time period) playboy, industrialist and philanthropist who was driven to fight crime in Gotham City after his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha Wayne, were murdered by a mugger.

Golden Age version[edit]

The Golden Age Batman's origin was first presented in Detective Comics #33 in November 1939, and was later fleshed out in Batman #47, the 1985 four-issue limited series America vs. the Justice Society and 1986's Secret Origins (volume 2) #6.

As these comics state, Bruce Wayne was born in the late 1910s to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two wealthy Gotham City socialites. Bruce was brought up in Wayne Manor and its wealthy splendor and led a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents were killed by a small-time criminal named Joe Chill on their way home from the movie theater. Bruce was subsequently raised at Wayne Manor by his uncle, Philip Wayne.

Bruce Wayne swore an oath to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents' lives. He engaged in intense intellectual and physical training and studied a variety of areas which would aid him in his endeavors, including chemistry, criminology, forensics, martial arts, and gymnastics, as well as theatrical skills like disguise, escapology, and ventriloquism. He realized, however, that these skills alone would not be enough.

"Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot", said Wayne, "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 flitted through the window, inspiring Bruce to assume the persona of Batman. His debut as the Caped Crusader 1939 initially earned him the ire of the police; however, his relations with the law thawed by the early 1940s.

In 1940, Bruce took in the orphaned circus acrobat Dick Grayson, who became his sidekick, Robin. Also, in late 1940, Batman became a founding member of the Justice Society of America (DC Special #29).

Batman continued to function in Gotham City through the 1940s and into the 1950s. After the introduction of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, it was retroactively established that the Golden Age Batman lived on the parallel world of Earth-Two. It was also revealed that in the mid-1950s, Bruce Wayne had partnered with and married the reformed Catwoman, Selina Kyle (as shown in Superman Family #211); the two had their first and only child in 1957, Helena Wayne. Batman's activities soon lessened, as he went into semi-retirement, only returning to action to engage in special cases, with Robin taking over much of his functioning in Gotham City. Upon the retirement of Commissioner Gordon, Bruce Wayne took over the post of Gotham City police commissioner.

In the late 1970s, Bruce Wayne's life became tumultuous, as he dealt with the death of his wife Selina, who was fatally blackmailed by criminals into going into action one more time as Catwoman (as seen in DC Super-Stars #17). After Selina's death, Bruce permanently retired as Batman, but was forced to go into action again as Batman, when a criminal named Bill Jensen had gained superpowers from a sorcerer named Frederic Vaux. Jensen and Wayne fought each other, with Jensen eventually using his powers to destroy both himself and Batman[2]. Wayne was laid to rest next to his wife Selena; after Vaux was defeated, the sorcerer Dr. Fate used his powers to erase from human memory the knowledge of Wayne's secret identity, making all think the two had perished at almost the same time. (Adventure Comics #461-463).

After the 1985 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version of Batman, and all memory of his existence, was retroactively erased (along with Earth-Two's Robin and Huntress).

Silver Age version[edit]

From the 1950s through the 1970s, various new elements were added to Batman's origin, background and history. The Silver Age Batman first appeared sometime in the mid-1950s, with an origin that was (as revealed in various stories in the ensuing decades) similar to that of the Golden Age version of Batman. While the Golden Age and Silver Age distinctions are useful for discussing the character's evolution over the decades, the character's evolution was gradual, and there is no specific comic issue at which the Golden Age version gave way to the Silver Age version. Likewise, the character as he appeared near the beginning of the Silver Age (in the mid-1950s) was different in many ways than he appeared near the end of the Silver Age (in the mid-1980s), due to many minor revisions and new directions in the character's publication history.

As summarized in various stories, including 1980's the Untold Legend of the Batman limited series that thoroughly retold Batman's Silver Age origin and history, Bruce Wayne was raised by wealthy socialites Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne in Wayne Manor. Eight year-old Bruce saw his parents murdered by small-time criminal Joe Chill, after which he was raised by his uncle Philip Wayne. Bruce swore to seek revenge on all criminals, and launched himself into a lifetime of dedicated training similar to the Golden Age Batman's training.

At some point early in his training, Bruce wore a costume similar to that of the future Robin's, in order to anonymously receive training from Gotham City police detective Harvey Harris (Detective Comics #226). He and his guardians also visited Smallville, where he met the youthful superhero Superboy and worked with him on several cases. Bruce Wayne went on to attend college, taking various criminology and law related courses, but soon decided that being a police officer wasn't the path he should take. After graduating, Bruce, while pondering alone in his study on how to handle criminals, sees a bat fly through his study window, and decides to create a bat costume, calling himself "Batman".

Sometime after the start of his crimefighting career, Bruce took in an orphan named Dick Grayson, whose parents had been killed by gangster Boss Zucco and his henchmen, and trained him as his sidekick, Robin.

In Detective Comics #235 (September 1956), Batman learned that his parents' killing had not been chance, but an assassination ordered by gangster Lew Moxon. As a child, Bruce's father had worn a bat costume (similar to Batman's future costume) to a masquerade party, where he encountered and stopped the mobster. Moxon swore revenge against Dr. Wayne, and hired the criminal Joe Chill to arrange a mugging that would result in their deaths. Batman soon tracked down Moxon (while wearing his father's bat costume, his usual costume having been torn while in action), but Moxon, recognizing the costume, inadvertently fled into the middle of traffic in a state of panic, where he was struck by a truck and killed.

Batman soon went on to meet and regularly work with other heroes, most notably Superman, who he began regularly working alongside in a series of teamups in World's Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through 1986. Batman and Superman were usually shown as being close friends. Batman also went on to become a founding member of the Justice League of America, appearing in their first story in 1960's Brave and the Bold #28. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brave and the Bold became a Batman title, where Batman would teamup with a different DC Universe superhero each month.

The early Silver Age Batman stories of the late 1950s and early 1960s often featured heavy amounts of science-fiction elements; starting in 1964's Detective Comics #327, Batman had reverted to his detective roots, with said science-fiction elements jettisoned. It was retroactively established years later that all pre-1964 stories had happened on Earth-Two, despite the fact that 1964 was well into the Silver Age (and therefore years after the supposed retirement of the Earth-Two Batman), and that the characters and creative concepts which remained post-1964 weren't given new origin stories. The characters also seemed to recall their pre-1964 adventures, and the version of Batman which was established as living on Earth-One had been having adventures with the Justice League of America since well before 1964.

In 1969, Dick Grayson was sent to college as part of a revision effort of the Batman comics; Bruce also subsequently decided to move from Wayne Manor into a penthouse apartment on top of the Wayne Foundation building in downtown Gotham City, in order to be closer to Gotham City and its crimes as Batman. Bruce spent the 1970s and early 1980s mainly working solo, with occasional teamups with Robin and/or Batgirl. Batman's adventures also became somewhat darker and grimmer during this period, with the Masked Manhunter often dealing with increasingly violent crimes, including the first appearance (since the early Golden Age) of an insane, murderous Joker.

In the early 1980s, Bruce Wayne once more took on a new sidekick, upon Dick Grayson's decision to strike out on his own as his own superhero, Nightwing. Bruce took in a youth named Jason Todd, who had a background similar to Dick Grayson's (having been a circus acrobat whose family was killed by Killer Croc), and Jason eventually took on the role of Robin.

Modern Age version[edit]

Batman: Year One[edit]

Main article: Batman: Year One

After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC "rebooted" or revised the histories of some of their major characters in an attempt at updating them for then-contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retold Batman's origin in the storyline Batman: Year One (Batman 404-407), which emphasized a grittier tone to the character; unlike the reboots given to Superman and Wonder Woman's histories, however, various stories of Batman's Silver Age/pre-Crisis career remained canonical in the post-Crisis universe. While Dick Grayson's past remained much the same, Jason Todd's was altered, turning the boy into the orphan son of a petty crook, who tried to boost the tires from the Batmobile. Also removed was the guardian Phillip Wayne, leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred.

A Death in the Family[edit]

Batman's evolution continued through the late 1980s, notably with 1988's Batman: A Death in the Family storyline, readers were allowed to call in a 1-900 number to decide whether or not Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died (Jason was killed by a narrow margin). In 1993's Knightfall series, Bruce Wayne was critically injured by Bane, a new villain, and a new hero, Azrael, was called upon to wear the costume of Batman. As time passed, Azrael became increasingly violent; after a year, a healed Bruce Wayne defeated Azrael and took back the mantle of Batman. In 1994's Zero Hour storyline, the ideas of Batman as not having caught his parents' killer and of being an urban legend were first introduced.

In 1998, Gotham City was destroyed during the Cataclysm storyline, and Batman became deprived of many of his technological resources, forcing him to reconnect with the more mythical side of his persona. Gotham was rebuilt at the end of No Man's Land storyline. Again critically wounded in the Hush storyline of 2003, Batman chose to reveal his identity to Catwoman and the two became romantically involved for a brief time. Batman's growing sense of distrust ended their relationship.

Infinite Crisis[edit]

Main article: Infinite Crisis

{{spoiler}} In DC's 2005 crossover event Identity Crisis, the discovery that JLA member Zatanna had edited his memories led to Batman's deep loss of trust in the rest of the superhero community. His creation of the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over the other heroes, and its eventual co-opting by the villainous Checkmate, has been one of the main precursor events of the follow up event Infinite Crisis, currently in progress.

One Year Later: Progeny[edit]

Main article: One Year Later

One Year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Batman and Robin return to Gotham City after a year long absence. Harvey Dent has been the protector of the city, but the investigation of the KGBeast's murder has him pegged as the prime suspect. All evidence points to Two-Face trademarks. Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert are working on the follow up story arc Batman and Son, guest starring Talia al Ghul.

Also, "One Year Later", Selina Kyle has retired and has given birth to a baby she named Helena. This is a reference to Batman's Earth-Two daughter Huntress, but does not necessarily mean Batman is the father. {{endspoiler}}


Like Superman, the prominent persona of Bruce Wayne's dual identities has varied with time. Present comics seem to favor portraying the decadent playboy aspect of his character (earlier versions of Bruce Wayne depicted him as a more mature, refined gentleman) as the facade, while the masked and particularly dark, grim vigilante is marked as the "true" man. Wayne guards his secret identity well, as only a handful of individuals know of his superhero alter-ego. Several villains have also discovered his true identity over the years, most notably eco-terrorist Ra's Al Ghul, as well as Hugo Strange, the Riddler, Bane, and Hush.

Bruce Wayne[edit]

To the world at large, Bruce Wayne is an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lives off his family's personal fortune (amassed when Bruce's parents invested in Gotham real estate before the city was a bustling metropolis) and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, a major private technological firm that he has inherited. However, Wayne is also known for his contributions to charity, notably through the Wayne Foundation, a foundation devoted to helping the victims of crime and preventing people from turning to it. Bruce Wayne's playboy public persona was created by Bruce to aid in throwing off suspicion of his secret identity, often acting dim-witted and self-absorbed to further the act. Batman has made it clear that he considers keeping his secret identity his top priority; he has on various occasions come near to death rather than use his skills in public as Bruce Wayne.

The Dark Knight[edit]

Bruce Wayne created Batman to strike fear into the hearts of Gotham's underworld. The costume–and the way he acts while wearing it–is meant to be as imposing and intimidating as possible. While Bruce Wayne is lighthearted and irresponsible, Batman is stoic and driven. In addition to the change in costume and personality, Bruce Wayne also significantly changes his voice to become Batman. The Dark Knight's voice is low and raspy, both as a disguise and as intimidation.

In keeping with the "dark" theme of the comics and the nature of bats, Batman is usually presented as operating primarily at night. In recent comics, the idea was introduced of Batman being an urban legend; however, this notion is contradicted by various previous stories. Compensating for this flaw in continuity, Batman was "outed" in War Games, a story that stretched across all Batman titles, when his live image was broadcast over the news as he made a brief daytime appearance in front of a violence-overtaken high school in Gotham.

Matches Malone[edit]

Main article: Matches Malone

Batman also occasionally goes undercover to infiltrate the criminal element of Gotham. Matches Malone was a small time thug who once acted as Batman's snitch; when Matches was killed, Batman assumed his identity. In the recent War Games storyline, it was revealed that Batman had a plan which would make Matches Malone the crime boss of Gotham, in effect giving Batman direct control over the criminals he stalks as Batman.

Skills, resources and abilities[edit]

Batman is a human being who does not possess any superhuman abilities, and his skills are the result of years of rigorous training. Physically he is at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, most notably martial arts, acrobatics, strength, and escape artistry. Intellectually he is just as peerless, being at once one of the world's greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise. He is regarded as one of the world's greatest fictional detectives. Lacking superpowers, he often uses cunning and planning to outwit his foes, rather than simply out-fighting them.

One of the highlights of Batman's character, whether as a solo character, or a member of the Justice League, is that he is a superhero despite not having super-powers. His training, resourcefulness and insights make up for lack of any other special abilities.


Being human, Batman's character flaws can be exploited. In modern comics, Batman is shown to have become steadily paranoid over the years and tends to not trust other heroes, even those he has known for years, like Superman, and some enemies have used this to isolate the Dark Knight. Batman has also been portrayed as arrogant, treating many of his allies with various degrees of disrespect. At one point, Batman's arrogance so infurated the resurrected Green Lantern Hal Jordan that Jordan hit Batman across the face. These traits have developed over the last few decades, whereas older portrayals of Batman usually tend to show him as more willing to work with others. Additionally, his childhood trauma makes him emotionally distant from even those allies closest to him, and a common theme among the younger heroes he often works with is how hard it is to gain his approval.


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

Bruce designs or modifies the costumes, equipment, and vehicles he uses as Batman, which are produced by a division of Wayne Industries. Over the years, he has accumulated a large arsenal of specialized gadgets (compare with the later James Bond). The designs of most of Batman's equipment share a common theme of dark coloration with a bat motif. A notable example is Batman's primary vehicle, the Batmobile, often depicted as an imposing black car with large tail fins that suggest a bat's wings; another is his chief throwing weapon, the batarang, a bat-shaped boomerang. In proper practice, the "bat" prefix (as in batmobile or batarang) is rarely used by Batman himself when referring to his equipment, especially as this has been stretched to camp in some portrayals (namely the 1960s Batman live-action television show and the Super Friends animated series). The 1960s live-action television show arsenal included such ridiculous, satirical "bat-" names as a bat-computer, bat-rope, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-cuffs (handcuffs), bat-phone, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, shark repellent bat-spray, bat-funnel, alphabet soup bat-container, and emergency bat-turn lever. In one episode, Batman and Robin stop by an outdoor hamburger stand which sells "bat-burgers", beef sandwiches supposedly named in his honor.

Batman keeps most of his field equipment in a signature piece of apparel, a yellow utility belt. Over the years it has contained a virtually limitless variety of crimefighting tools. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in either pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it.

In some of his early appearances, Batman used sidearms (see especially Detective Comics #32, September 1939), but since that time, he has eschewed their use because his parents were murdered by a gunman. Some stories have relaxed this rule to allow Batman to arm his vehicles for purposes of disabling other vehicles or removing inanimate obstacles. In the 1989 movie version, however, firearms figured more prominently in the Dark Knight's arsenal; machine guns and grenades were mounted on the Batmobile and missiles and machine cannons on the Batwing. Burton's Batman was not afraid to cause collateral damage and was willing to kill.


Main article: Batsuit

The details of the Batman costume have changed repeatedly through the character's evolution, but the most distinctive elements have remained consistent: a black scallop-hem cape; a cowl covering most of the face and featuring a pair of batlike ears; and a stylized bat emblem on the chest. His gloves also typically feature three scallops that protrude from the sides. The most significant costume variations over the years involve the chest emblem–a yellow ellipse was added in 1964, and has come and gone since then–and the color scheme, which are variously lighter colors (medium blue and light gray) or darker (black and dark gray). The length of the cowl's ears and of the cape vary greatly based on the artist.


One of the best-known elements of the Batman mythos is the Bat-Signal. When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens that 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 phone line (a.k.a. the Bat-Phone) which connects directly to the Batcave.


Main article: Batcave

The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his residence, Wayne Manor. It serves as his command centre for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for the war on crime. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. The Batcave is considered one of the most advanced centers of intelligence and technology in the world.

Gotham City[edit]

Main article: Gotham City

As much as Gotham's crime ridden streets were the cause of Batman's creation, the Dark Knight utilizes the Gothic nature of his city to strike fear in the hearts of criminals. Modeled after New York City, Gotham is positioned on the northeast coast of the United States and is located in New Jersey in several sources. Suffering from urban blight, Gotham is generally portrayed as dirty, crime-ridden, and corrupt, in stark contrast to the bright, clean, futuristic feel of Superman's Metropolis. Thomas and Martha Wayne were gunned down in Crime Alley, formerly Gotham's ritzy Park Row but now a slum.

Publication history[edit]

Main article: History of Batman

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publications (later DC Comics, D.C. is short for Detective Comics, now a subsidiary of Time Warner) to request more superheroes for their titles. In response, Bob Kane created a character called "the Bat-Man". His collaborator Bill Finger offered such suggestions as giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, wearing a cape instead of wings, wearing gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume.

Finger wrote the first Batman story and Kane provided the art. The Batman was a breakout hit, with sales on Detective Comics soaring to the point that National's comic book division was renamed "Detective Comics, Inc."

Kane signed away any ownership that he might have in the character in exchange for, among other compensation, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics stating "Batman created by Bob Kane". At the time, no comic books and few company-owned comic strips were explicitly credited to their creative teams. Bill Finger's contract, by comparison, left him with little money and without a byline, even on comics he had written. Finger, like Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, and many other creators during and after the Golden Age of Comic Books, would resent National for denying him money and credit he felt he was owed for his creations. By the time Finger died in 1974, he had never been officially credited for his work. Kane himself, however, willingly acknowledged Finger's contributions to the character. Though drawings of a "Batman" character by Frank Foster have been suggested by some as predating the creation of Kane and Finger by about seven years, this is more than likely a case of parallel evolution (as in DC's Catman and Holyoke's Catman, or DC's Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing) rather than plagiarism, as it unlikely either Kane or Finger had seen the obscure drawings by the obscure artist, which only became even a little well-known well after Foster's death in 1995.


Supporting characters[edit]

Robin is perhaps Batman's most important ally; no fewer than five teenage sidekicks having served in the role: Dick Grayson (the original Robin, later Nightwing), Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown and Carrie Kelly in the non-canonical Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Both Jason Todd and Stephanie Brown were killed in the line of duty.

Alfred Pennyworth is Bruce Wayne's loyal butler and father figure while Lucius Fox acts as his business manager. Former Police Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon worked closely with Batman despite their differences on how to best enforce the law.

Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's red-haired daughter, previously fought crime at Batman's side as Batgirl; in recent comics, she became the computer hacker known as Oracle. Most recently, Cassandra Cain assumed the Batgirl identity, though she has recently given up the mantle following her final confrontation against Lady Shiva.

Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Azrael, briefly became Batman during the Knightfall Saga and is currently presumed dead.

In pre-Crisis continuity, the Huntress was Helena Wayne, daughter to Earth-Two's Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle (Catwoman). Post-Crisis, the Huntress' secret identity is Helena Bertinelli, who has no biological relations to Catwoman or Batman. Her willingness to kill makes her alliance with Batman extremely uneasy.

Batman is also supported by Superman and members of the Justice League of America and the Outsiders, both of which he is usually a part-time member. Superman especially crosses paths with Batman often, given that the two are DC Comics' most prominent characters. In pre-Crisis continuity, the two were depicted as close friends, and appeared together monthly in the pages of World's Finest Comics. In current continuity, the two are usually depicted as having an uneasy relationship, with an emphasis on their differing views on crimefighting and justice. Although in recent years their relationship has became less frosty and Superman is probably the member of the Justice League that Batman is closest to. The nickname "World's Finest" (taken from the World's Finest Comics title) is often used to describe Superman-Batman teamups. Although Superman currently keeps his trust, Batman keep Kryptonite, given to him by Superman, in case the world's most powerful being should ever be taken control of, or if he has gone rogue. Currently, DC is publishing a monthly teamup title, called simply Superman/Batman. In addition, Batman has a friendly rivalry with Mister Terrific, his opposite number in the Justice Society of America.

Batman is often portrayed as the complete moral focus of the DC Universe. Although his tactics are viewed by some as barbaric, he is always the one to see the greater good in a situation, and always deduce the most just outcome. He does not let personal bias or friendship impede his rigid standing of right and wrong. One piece of substantiated evidence in this regard is when a childhood friend of his, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, basically let the fourth Robin die. Because Batman maintains an extremely strict rule of never taking a life, Batman saw Dr. Thompkins as, "nothing more than another murderer in my criminal database."

Batman has had many romantic relationships throughout his various incarnations. They have been with villainesses (Catwoman, Talia al Ghul and Poison Ivy); reporters (Vicki Vale and Vesper Fairchild); superheroines (Wonder Woman, Batwoman and Zatanna); ex-sidekick (Sasha Bordeaux); and others including Silver St. Cloud, Julie Madison, physician Shondra Kinsolving, Dr. Chase Meridian and nurse Linda Page. With the exception of Catwoman, these relationships have been notable mainly for their short duration; Batman's attraction to Catwoman, however, has been in nearly every version and media the character has appeared in. Authors have gone back and forth over the years as to how Batman manages the 'playboy' aspect of Bruce Wayne's personality; at different times he is variously embracing or fleeing from the women interested in attracting 'Gotham's most eligible bachelor'.

Enemies of Batman[edit]

Main article: Enemies of Batman

Batman's foes form one of the most distinctive rogues galleries in comics. In the 1930s and 1940s the most familiar Batman villains evolved: The Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Man-Bat and Clayface.

Other well known villains emerged in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s including Mister Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Ra's Al Ghul. Killer Croc, Black Mask and the Ventriloquist emerged in the 1980s, and Bane and Harley Quinn in the 1990s. Later enemies have been introduced, such as Hush, David Cain and a new Red Hood (Jason Todd returned from the dead). These enemies, with Bane, Ra's and the Riddler, know Batman´s true identity and use that against him.


See also Intercompany crossover.

Batman as a DC Comics' character has from time to time been featured in crossovers with characters from other comic companies, most commonly with Marvel Comics. Many of these stories are not canon for the companies involved, although the DC/Marvel crossovers appear to have some ongoing validity in the DC universe.

The first such crossover was with the Incredible Hulk in the late 1970s. Batman, both as Jean-Paul Valley and Bruce Wayne, also encountered the Punisher. Batman and Captain America have both fought each other in the Marvel vs. DC event, and were allies against the Red Skull and the Joker in Crossover Classics II. Since then, they have encountered each other again in JLA/Avengers. Batman has also worked together with Spider-Man twice, the first simply titled Spider-Man/Batman, with appearances from Marvel's Carnage and DC's Joker. The sequel, Batman & Spider-Man, brought the two heroes together to face Ra's al Ghul and the Kingpin. Two other Batman and Marvel crossovers feature Daredevil.

Crossovers with other companies include Judge Dredd, Spawn, Grendel, Predators, Aliens, Tarzan, Danger Girl, Planetary and The Spirit.

Seduction of the Innocent[edit]

In 1954, psychologist Fredric Wertham's general assertion in his book Seduction of the Innocent was that readers would imitate crimes committed in comic books, and that these works would corrupt the morals of the youth. The most notorious charge in the book, however, was leveled at Batman, in a four-page polemic claiming that Batman and Robin were gay. "They live in sumptuous quarters, with beautiful flowers in large vases, and have a butler," Wertham wrote. "It is like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together." What was more, Wertham asserted, "the Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies."

Wertham became aware of this alternative reading through his conversations with fans of Batman in the fifties, who brought the comic book to his attention as an example of the idealization of a "homosexual lifestyle." Burt Ward has also remarked upon this interpretation, in his autobiographical Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights noting that the relationship could be interpreted as a sexual one, with the show's double entendres and lavish camp also possibly offering ambiguous interpretation.[2] This is despite the fact that the TV series was an attempt at a tamer version of Batman which tried to be less violent than the comic series — one of Wertham's arguments against comics.

Despite the lack of any concrete cause-and-effect link between reading comics and "deviance", these suggestions raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. It has also been suggested by scholars that the characters of Batwoman (in 1956) and 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.[3]

However, commenting on homosexual interpretations of Batman, writer Alan Grant has stated that "the Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay. Denny O'Neil's Batman, Marv Wolfman's Batman, 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.",[4] whilst Devin Grayson has commented "it depends who you ask, doesn't it? Since you're asking me, I'll say no, I don't think he is ... I certainly understand the gay readings, though."[5]

While changing morals have made the issue less important today, popular culture and a number of artists continue to play off the homosexual connotation of their relationship, against the wishes of the publisher.[6] One notable example occurred in 2000, when DC Comics refused to allow permission for the reprinting of four panels (from Batman issues 79, 92, 105 and 139) to illustrate Christopher York's paper All in the family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s[7] Another happened in the summer of 2005, when painter Mark Chamberlain displayed a number of watercolors depicting both Batman and Robin in suggestive poses. DC threatened both artist and gallery with legal action if they did not cease selling the works, and also demanded that all remaining art as well as any profits be handed over.[8]

Most recently, George Clooney said in an interview with Barbara Walters that in Batman & Robin he played Batman as gay. "I was in a rubber suit and I had rubber nipples. I could have played Batman straight, but I made him gay."[9]


Main article: List of Batman comics

The in-continuity Batman of the DC Universe can currently be seen as the primary character in current comic book series such as Detective Comics, Batman, Legends of the Dark Knight and Superman/Batman.

Long running former series in which Batman starred included Batman Family, The Brave and the Bold and World's Finest Comics.

He appears regularly in many other DC titles, including JLA, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, Gotham Central and Catwoman.

The series All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is not in continuity.

Significant developments in the Batman mythos were seen during Bill Finger and Bob Kane's run on the series in the 1930s and 1940s, Denny O'Neil, Len Wein and Neal Adams's work in the 1970s, and later others such as Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. In addition to their contributions, notable limited series which featured Batman include Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.

In other media[edit]

Main article: Batman in other media

In addition to comic books, Batman has appeared in newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television and several theatrical feature films, including the 1989 film Batman starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. In 2005, the film Batman Begins took the character back to his roots. In addition, there is a musical theatre (Batman: The Musical), set to premiere sometime in 2006/2007. There are several Batman video games, and the Six Flags theme parks host Batman shows and rides. Over the last decade, Batman has appeared in starring or supporting roles in the Bruce Timm-helmed DC Animated Universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited.

Given Batman's cultural ubiquity and long-standing iconic status, references to Batman, either as homage, influence, or parody, are common. Other comic companies have often created their own version of the character, such as Marvel's Nighthawk, and Image Comics' Darkwing among others. In the Amalgam Comics, Batman and Wolverine were fused to create Dark Claw.

Batman has also appeared in both video and board games, as well as various heroclix sets, the DC Overpower card game, and the DC Heroes roleplaying game.


  • The character was named Bruce Wayne in honor of Robert Bruce, the Scottish Patriot, and "Mad" Anthony Wayne, the American Revolutionary War general.[citation needed]
  • A personality trait that creator Bob Kane shared with Batman was a certain fondness for keeping late hours.[citation needed]
  • In all Spanish language dubs and translations, Bruce Wayne is named Bruno Diaz.
  • Official DC statistics state that Batman stands 6 ft 2 in and weighs 220 lb. Adam West is also that height. Coincidentally, at the time of Batman Begins' filming, Christian Bale weighed 220 lb.
  • Lego produces a line of Batman Legos.
  • Bruce Wayne briefly went by the name "Todd Gelineau" in an issue in the 70's, Todd Gelineau was a childhood friend of creator Bob Kane.


See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ The British newspaper The Guardian has lauded Batman as "the perfect cultural artefact for the 21st century" in an article about Batman's anniversary [1].
  2. ^ "Bruce Wayne: Bachelor". Ninth Art: Andrew Wheeler Coment. Retrieved June 21, 2005. 
  3. ^ York, Christopher (2000). "All in the family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s". The International Journal of Comic Art 2 (2): 100–110. 
  4. ^ "Is Batman Gay?". Retrieved December 28, 2005. 
  5. ^ #"Is Batman Gay?". Retrieved December 28, 2005. 
  6. ^ #^ Garth, Ennis (March 2006). "Batman is the Gay Batman". Newsarama.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ #Beatty, Bart (2000). "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: How Do You Illustrate an Academic Essay about Batman and Homosexuality?". The Comics Journal (228): 17–18. 
  8. ^ #^ "Gallery told to drop 'gay' Batman". BBC. 19 August 2005.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ #"Brokebat Mountain: "Batman is gay", says George Clooney". 3 March 2006. Retrieved 2006-3-12.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]