80 years of Batman
Views 14 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 15 - 2019 | By: Craig Odenwald
In Gotham City, criminals hide fearfully inside a warehouse. Little do they know, the building is rigged with traps that Batman can activate just by speaking.
“‘The stage’ is now live, sir.” says Alfred, confirming the traps are ready. Batman crashes through the building’s skylight.
“Do enjoy the performance,” chirps Alfred in reply.
And it has been a storied performance indeed. The above scene-setter was excerpted from Detective Comics Issue #1000, the latest in the second longest-running comic series in history, the first being Superman’s “Action Comics.” Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman, was released in March 1939. This month marks the 80th anniversary of the DC Comics character, created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
For the past eighty years, Batman has fought against countless foes, but he’s also gone through noticeable changes. The “Dark Knight” films emphasize Batman’s rule to never kill. But when Batman defeated his first criminal in Detective Comics #27, he made him fall to an acidic death, declaring, “A fitting end for his kind.” And while everyone loves the Batmobile, Batman used to get around in what he called a “high-powered auto”- a fancy phrase for his bright red sedan. Even his nemesis, the Joker, wasn’t supposed to stick around. He was to be killed off in his debut appearance, Batman #1, but DC opted against it. That decision seems to have worked wonders, as Mark Hamill’s animated incarnation in “Batman: The Animated Series” and Heath Ledger’s masterful performance in “The Dark Knight” have skyrocketed the character’s popularity. One might wonder how terrible Arkham Asylum’s security is that the Joker keeps breaking out and causing trouble, but DC appears to have stopped asking questions.
In paying tribute to Batman’s history, Detective Comics #1000 is fantastic. Numerous creators contributed to the issue, from Neal Adams, the Batman storyteller of the 70’s, to Scott Snyder, who is completing his eight-year run on the character this year. So what’s next for the Dark Knight? In upcoming issues, he and Robin will face off against the Arkham Knight, a militaristic manhunter from the “Batman: Arkham” video game series. The final season of Fox’s “Gotham” television series is coming to an end, and promises to show young Bruce Wayne’s transformation into his alter ego. On film, Joaquin Phoenix is set to star in “Joker”, which aims to examine the clown’s inner psychology. Margot Robbie will return as Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey,” where she will match wits with fellow anti-heroines in Gotham. And, in summer 2021, Ben Affleck passes the torch to a new Batman in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” which will feature more of Batman’s skills as a detective than past films. After countless comics and so many movies, one might think the day of “the super-hero” will soon pass. But as for the Caped Crusader, it looks like the night is still young.