Guest Author - Carol Taller
Batman first appeared in a Detective Comics #27 May 1939 issue, but it was not until November 12, 1940, that Batman was trademark registered and earned its own title. He was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, but there are discrepancies towards how much input each creator actually had. Legal documents credit Kane as creator, leaving Finger without monetary benefits of this partnership.
Batman, the superhero, has a civilian alter ego – Bruce Wayne. Wayne is a millionaire entrepreneur/philanthropist, a humanitarian, and a single ladies man. The story takes place in Gotham City, located in north of the United States. Gotham City was once a thriving industrial city, but the Great Depression left the city periled with crime and darkness.
Bruce’s parents were Thomas Wayne, a prominent Gotham City physician, and his wife Martha. They lived in an expansive mansion called Gotham Manor. As a young child Bruce had two incidents that helped shape his life. One event was the death of his parents. He and his family had just seen the film The Mark of Zorro and were walking home from the theater. When a mugger approached them Thomas struggled, and Bruce was left alone with the bodies of his two dead parents.
The other event was watching bats flying around the property of Wayne Manor. There was one particularly large bat that created the greatest sense of admiration and fear. It was the combination of these two events that help Bruce determine that he wished to fight crime and save the dreary and depressed Gotham City. He went to school and learned about crime and the principals of fighting crime. He gave thought to his plan and he had the money to build and buy gadgets to support his mission. He went after criminals with a mission, not to seek revenge. He treated people with justice.
Bruce would dress as a bat to instill the feeling of fear and awe in others. The major difference between Batman and other superheroes of the time is that Batman did not have any super powers. He built a Batmobile that is an armored car to protect him in the many ways that an immortal superhero needs protecting. And he built an electronic superstation as an office below the Wayne Mansion and called it the Batcave.
As the popularity of Batman grew, so did the surrounding cast of characters. Robin was created as a colleague that Batman could confide in. A long list of villains gradually appeared including the Joker, the Catwoman, the Riddler, and the Penguin.
Batman still remains popular today as movies and stories continue to update his character and add drama to Gotham City’s long reign of despair.