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Batman: Modern Age Life Size Bust

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"Sure, when I go around in a mask and cape they call me nuts!"

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

BATMAN

Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman," the character is additionally known as "the Caped Crusader," "the Dark Knight," and "the World's Greatest Detective," among other titles.

Batman is the secret identity of billionaire Bruce Wayne, playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains, often referred to as the "rogues gallery," which includes the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, among others. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.

Batman became a very popular character soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore 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, with varying results. The comic books of this dark stage culminated in the acclaimed 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller, as well as Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, among others. The overall success of Warner Bros.' live-action Batman feature films have also helped maintain public interest in the character.

A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists with many trying to understand the character's psyche and his true ego in society. In May 2011, Batman placed second on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman. Empire magazine also listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. The character has been portrayed by Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and soon by Ben Affleck in films.
In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man." Collaborator Bill Finger recalled "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."

Finger offered such suggestions as giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume. 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. Bruce, 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." He later said his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk's popular The Phantom, a syndicated newspaper comic-strip character with which Kane was familiar as well.
Kane and Finger (pictured left) 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. As an aristocratic hero with a double identity, the Bat-Man had predecessors in the Scarlet Pimpernel (created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 1903) and Zorro (created by Johnston McCulley, 1919). Like them, he performed his heroic deeds in secret, averted suspicion by playing the fool in public, and marked his work with a signature symbol. Kane specifically 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, and Sherlock Holmes, made the character a master sleuth.
In his 1989 autobiography, Kane (pictured right) 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 gray 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."

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." 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.

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, 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."

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."

INTRODUCING, THE BAT-MAN

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," 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, National 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. 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. 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."

The early, pulp-inflected portrayal of Batman started to soften in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) with the introduction of Robin, Batman's kid sidekick. Robin was introduced, based on Finger's suggestion Batman needed a "Watson" with whom Batman could talk. Sales nearly doubled, despite Kane's preference for a solo Batman, and it sparked a proliferation of "kid sidekicks." 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.

By 1942, the writers and artists behind the Batman comics had established most of the basic elements of the Batman mythos. 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.

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 discovers each other's secret identity. 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. The team-up of the characters was "a financial success in an era when those were few and far between"; 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 corrupt the morals of the youth. Wertham criticized Batman comics for their supposed homosexual overtones and argued that Batman and Robin were portrayed as lovers. Wertham's criticisms raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. The tendency towards a "sunnier Batman" in the postwar years intensified after the introduction of the Comics Code. 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. In retrospect the suggestion that Batman and Robin are gay may be just reading too much into stories drawn and written in a simpler time.

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. 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.

BATMAN GOES CAMP

By 1964, sales on Batman titles had fallen drastically. Bob Kane noted that, as a result, DC was "planning to kill Batman off altogether." 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 and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. Batman'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.

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. 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."

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." 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."

While the work of O'Neil and Adams was popular with fans, the acclaim did little to help declining sales; the same held true with a similarly acclaimed run by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #471–476 (August 1977 – April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992. Regardless, circulation continued to drop through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting an all-time low in 1985.

The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller's limited series The Dark Knight Returns (February–June 1986), which tells the story of a 55-year old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated the character. The Dark Knight Returns was a financial success and has since become one of the medium's most noted touchstones. The series also sparked a major resurgence in the character's popularity. 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. One outcome of this new approach was the "Year One" storyline in Batman #404–407 (February–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. In 1989, the first issue of Legends of the Dark Knight, the first new solo Batman title in nearly 50 years, sold close to a million copies.

The following year saw the release of Tim Burton's Batman feature film, which firmly brought the character back to the public's attention, grossing millions of dollars at the box office, and millions more in merchandising. Burton followed with Batman Returns but dropped out as director of the third film. Burton's Batman was concidered "too dark" and director Joel Schumacher's would helm Batman Forever and Batman & Robin each getting lighter in tone and more "family friendly". Neither performed as well as the original at the box office and Batman & Robin, meanwhile, was a critical and commercial failure. The studio was done with Batman until the franchise was rebooted with director and co-writer Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins in 2005, The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.

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Champions on Display NASCAR

Batman's primary character traits can be summarized as "wealth; physical prowess; deductive abilities and obsession." 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."

The driving force behind Batman's character is his parents' murder. 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." Despite his trauma, he is driven to train to become a brilliant scientist and train his body into absolute physical perfection to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman, an inspired idea from Wayne's insight into the criminal mind.

Another of Batman's characterizations is a vigilante; in order to stop evil that started with the death of his parents, he must sometimes break laws 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". The origin is the source of the character's traits and attributes, which play out in many of the character's adventures.

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." Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting, a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience.
The Batman is, in his everyday identity, Bruce Wayne, a wealthy business owner living in Gotham City. Wayne averts suspicion by acting the part of a superficial, dim-witted playboy idly living off his family's fortune (amassed through investment in real estate before the city became a bustling metropolis) and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, his inherited conglomerate. he supports philanthropic causes through his nonprofit Wayne Foundation but is more widely known as a celebrity socialite. In public he pretends to be a heavy drinker, using ginger ale to suggest champagne and liberally serving alcohol to guests that he never actually consumes himself. In reality, he is a strict teetotaler concerned to maintain top physical fitness and mental acuity.
In public he appears frequently in the company of fashionable women to encourage tabloid gossip. In reality there is less than meets the eye: though he leads an active romantic life, crime-fighting account for most of his night hours. Bruce Wayne's calculated persona as a vapid, self-indulgent son of privilege finds literary precedent in Sir Percival Blakeney, hero of the The Scarlet Pimpernel stories by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1903), and Don Diego de la Vega, hero of the Zorro tales by Johnston McCulley (1919). Like Bruce Wayne, Sir Percy and Don Diego are each members of gentry who invite contempt by publicly playing the fool. Also like Bruce Wayne, each performs heroic deeds in secret and marks his work with a signature symbol.

The name "Bruce Wayne" was chosen for certain connotations. According to co-creator Bill Finger, "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."

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 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 crucial role played by wealth in the Bruce Wayne story.

Modern stories tend to portray Bruce Wayne as the character's facade and the Batman as the truer representation of his personality (in counterpoint to the post-Crisis Superman, whose "Clark Kent" persona is the 'real' personality, and "Superman" is the 'mask'). In Batman Unmasked, a television documentary about the psychology of the character, Associate Professor of Social Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an adjunct behavioral scientist at the Rand Corporation Benjamin Karney, notes that the 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".

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."

Bruce Wayne is a graduate of Yale Law School, as seen in Detective Comics #439 (1974), in which the final page shows a Yale Law School diploma hanging in Bruce Wayne's office.

Batman has no inherent superhuman powers. To compensate for this, he relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess" and a lot of cool toys. In the stories, Batman is regarded as one of the world's greatest detectives, if not the world's greatest crime solver. In Grant Morrison's first storyline in JLA, Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth," able to defeat a team of superpowered aliens by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates. He has spent a significant portion of his life traveling the world and acquiring the skills needed to aid in his crusade against crime. His knowledge and expertise in almost every discipline known to man is nearly unparalleled by any other character in the DC Universe. Batman is an expert in interrogation techniques and would often use law enforcement methods as well as torture. Several of his methods include hanging a person over the edge of a building by the leg or chaining a person upside down and beating them. He usually just uses his frightening appearance to get answers. Batman has been repeatedly described as one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe; his skills in hand-to-hand combat are said to rival such notable martial artists as Lady Shiva, Bronze Tiger, and Richard Dragon.

Batman has the ability to function while tolerating massive amounts of physical pain, withstand telepathy and mind control. He is a master of disguise, often gathering information under the identity of Matches Malone, a notorious gangster. He is also skilled in spying, thus allowing him to hide in unexpected places. His ninjutsu training has made him a master at stealth where he can can appear and disappear in rather impossible situations. He is efficient with observation skills and forensic investigation. He is also efficient in escapology, thus allowing him to break free of nearly inescapable deathtraps with very little to no harm.

Batman's costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals. The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through various stories and media, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a scallop-hem cape, a cowl covering most of the face featuring a pair of batlike ears, and a stylized bat emblem on the chest, and the ever-present utility belt. The costumes' colors are traditionally blue and grey, although this colorization arose due to the way comic book art is colored. His batsuit aids in his combat against enemies, having the properties of both Kevlar and Nomex. It protects him from gunfire and other significant impacts. However, Batman's most defining characteristic is his strong commitment to justice and his unwillingness to take life, regardless of the situation he has faced. This unyielding moral rectitude has earned him the respect of several heroes in the DC Universe, most notably that of Superman and Wonder Woman.

Finger and Kane conceptualized Batman as having a black cape and cowl and grey suit, but conventions in coloring called for black to be highlighted with blue. This coloring has been claimed by Larry Ford, in Place, Power, Situation, and Spectacle: A Geography of Film, to be an inversion of conventional color-coding symbolism, which sees "bad guys" wearing dark colors.

Batman's 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. A yellow ellipse around the bat logo on the character's chest was added in 1964, and became the hero's trademark symbol, akin to the red and yellow "S" symbol of Superman. 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."

Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?

Batman uses a large arsenal of specialized 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 (September; October 1939). Batman's primary vehicle is the Batmobile, which is usually depicted as an imposing black car with large tailfins that suggest a bat's wings. Batman's other vehicles include the Batplane (aka the Batwing), Batboat, Bat-Sub, and Batcycle.

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. 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.

Batman keeps most of his field equipment in a utility belt. Over the years it is shown to contain a virtually limitless variety of crime-fighting tools. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in either pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it. A typical major exception to the range of Batman's equipment are conventional firearms, which he refuses to use on principle considering that weapon class was the instrument of his parents' murder. Modern depictions of Batman have him compromise for practicality by arming his vehicles mainly for the purpose of removing obstacles or disabling enemy vehicles.

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 cake cover on 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. It serves as his command center for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for his war on crime. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. In both the comic Batman: Shadow of the Bat (issue #45) and the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cave is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad. Of the heroes and villains who see the Batcave, few know where it is located.

The Batman's interactions with the characters around him, both heroes and villains, have over time developed a strong supporting cast around the character. Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon, Batman's ally in the Gotham City police, debuted along with Batman in Detective Comics #27. Gordon has been a consistent presence ever since. As a crime-fighting everyman, he shares the 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 an extraordinary genius. Later the Batman gained a butler. Alfred Pennyworth serves as Bruce Wayne's loyal father figure and is one of the few persons to know his secret identity. In the 1970s, Lucius Fox appeared as Bruce Wayne's business manager and technology specialist.

A widely recognized supporting character for many years has been the young sidekick Robin. 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." 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 later revived as an adversary, the Red Hood, using the Joker's old persona. Carrie Kelly, the first female Robin to appear in Batman stories, was the last Robin in in-universe chronology, joining up with a retiring Batman in Frank Miller's Dark Knight series in the middle 1980s. The third Robin in in-universe chronology, Tim Drake, first appeared in 1989. He went on to star in his own comic series. In the first decade of the new millennium, Stephanie Brown served as the fourth in-universe Robin between the character's stints as The Spoiler and Batgirl.

On two occasions former Robin Dick Grayson has served as Batman. He served briefly while Wayne recovered from spinal injuries caused by Bane in the 1993 Knightfall storyline. He assumed the mantle again in a 2009 comic book while Wayne was believed dead, and served as a second Batman even after Wayne returned in 2010. As part of DC's 2011 editorial mandate, he returned to being Nightwing (right) following the Flashpoint crossover event.

In an interview with IGN, Morrison details 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 explains 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."

The 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 adventure 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 have a mutually respectful but uneasy relationship, with an emphasis on their differing views on crime-fighting and justice. In Superman/Batman #3 (December 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."

Bruce Wayne has been portrayed as involved romantically with many women through his various incarnations. Some have been respected society figures: Julie Madison, Vicki Vale (above), and Silver St. Cloud. Some have been allies: Wonder Woman and Sasha Bordeaux. Some have been villainesses: the Catwoman and Talia al Ghul. With the latter he sired a son, Damian, and with the former of whom sired a daughter, Helena (on Earth-Two). While these relationships tend to be short, Batman's attraction to the Catwoman is present in nearly every version and medium in which the characters appear. Writers have varied in the approach over the years to the 'playboy' aspect of Bruce Wayne's persona; some 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."

Some of the other supporting characters in the Batman's world include Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara Gordon, who has fought crime under the aliases 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; Azrael, a would-be assassin who replaces Bruce Wayne as Batman for a time; Cassandra Cain, an assassin's daughter who became the new Batgirl; Huntress, the sole surviving member of a mob family turned Gotham vigilante who has worked with Batman on occasion, Stephanie Brown, the daughter of a criminal who operated as the Spoiler and temporarily as Robin, Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's canine partner; and Bat-Mite, an extra-dimensional imp who idolizes Batman.

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. Batman's "most implacable foe" is the Joker, a homicidal maniac with a clown-like appearance who, as a "personification of the irrational", represents everything Batman opposes. Other long time recurring foes include Catwoman, Bane, the Scarecrow, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Ra's al Ghul, among many others.

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. 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." In addition, media outlets have often used the character in trivial and comprehensive surveys, Forbes magazine estimated Bruce Wayne to be the 8th-richest fictional character with his $6.9 billion fortune, several places after Iron Man, who is at 5. BusinessWeek listed the character as one of the ten most intelligent superheroes appearing in American comics. Entertainment Weekly named Batman as one of The 20 All Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture. He also was placed on AFI's 100 Years&ldots; 100 Heroes and Villains from the 1989 feature film by the American Film Institute. The character was the focus of the 2008 non-fiction book Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero by E. Paul Zehr.

The character of Batman has appeared in various media aside from comic books. The character has been developed as a vehicle for newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television, a stage show, and of course feature films. The first adaptation of Batman was as a daily newspaper comic strip which premiered on October 25, 1943. That same year the character was adapted in the 15-part serial Batman, with Lewis Wilson (left) becoming the first actor to portray Batman on screen. While Batman never had a radio series of his own, the character made occasional guest appearance in The Adventures of Superman starting in 1945 on occasions when Superman voice actor Bud Collyer needed time off. 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.


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 release Batman (1966).

The Kinks performed the theme song from the Batman series 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 series The Batman/Superman Hour; 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 series, 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.

In 1989, Batman returned to movie theaters in director Tim Burton's Batman, 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. The film 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, while a box office success, failed to outgross any of its predecessors and was critically panned, causing Warner Bros. to cancel the planned Batman Triumphant, and place the film series on hiatus.
In 1992, Batman returned to television in Batman: The Animated Series, which was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and broadcast on the Fox television network. Les Daniels described the series as "coming as close as any artistic statement has to defining the look of Batman for the 1990s" in his reference book, Batman: The Complete History. The series' success led to the theatrical spin-off film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), as well as various other TV series set in the same continuity, including Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. As with Batman: The Animated Series, each of these productions featured Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman. The futuristic series Batman Beyond was also set in this same animated continuity and featured a newer, younger Batman voiced by Will Friedle. In 2004, a new animated series titled The Batman made its debut with Rino Romano as the title character. In 2008, this show was replaced by another animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with Diedrich Bader as Batman. In 2013, a new CGI-animated series titled Beware the Batman made its debut.

In 2005, Batman Begins was released to theaters 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, and became the fastest film to reach the $400 million mark in the history of American cinema (eighteenth day of release). 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. It was eventually followed by another sequel, The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which serves as a conclusion to Nolan's film series.
At the 2013 Comic-Con Zack Snyder confirmed that the Man Of Steel sequel would be a Batman-Supeman movie. After the announcement fans were beside themselves with joy. On August 22, 2013, it was announced by Warner Bros. Pictures that Ben Affleck will be taking the mantle of Batman in the Man of Steel sequel and the Internet had a melt down with many fans hating the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman. This is similar negative buzz that Michael Keaton got when cast as Batman in 1989 and Anne Hathaway got when cast as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. Both went on to prove their critics wrong. Affleck isn't new to the superhero genre, having played George Reeves, a former Superman, in the 2006 film Hollywoodland, he also played Daredevil in the 2003 movie of the same name, where he met his future off-screen wife Jennifer Garner. Affleck friend and superhero aficionado Kevin Smith (director of Mallrats, Clerks and Dogma) got a preview of Affleck in his Batman costume and announced in a Podcast that fans would not be disappointed.

Batman has also 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 was Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009), which was released by Rocksteady Studios to critical acclaim. It was followed by the sequel Batman: Arkham City (2011), which also received widespread acclaim. As with most animated Batman media, Kevin Conroy has provided the voice of the character in these games. A third game, Batman: Arkham Origins (2013), is being developed by Warner Bros. Games in Montreal.

What Batman villain formerly worked as a zoologist?

Killer Croc
The Penguin
ManBat
Poison Ivy

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