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Batman Day: 15 things you might not know about the Caped Crusader and his universe

Batman made his first appearance in May 1939, in issue 27 of Detective Comics (DC). The drawings were by Bob Kane while the writing was credited to Bill Finger. Incidentally, his story occupied a mere six pages of the 64 in the magazine.

batman, batman day, manman history, batman trivia, batman lesser know facts, atman characters, batman dc comics, batman comic history, comics news, indian express Batman made his first appearance in May 1939, in issue 27 of Detective Comics (DC), since then the Caped Crusader has been ruling our hearts. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

It started in 2014 to mark 75 years off the existence of the Dark Knight, and now September 23 is celebrated all around the world (well, that part of it which really follows its superheroes at least) as Batman Day. To mark the day, here are some lesser known facts about the most mortal and yet perhaps the most heroic super hero of them all:

Cover of Detective Comics 27 (May 1939 DC Comics). Art by Bob Kane. (Source: Grand Comics Database)

1. Batman made his first appearance in May 1939, in issue 27 of Detective Comics (DC). The drawings were by Bob Kane while the writing was credited to Bill Finger. Incidentally, his story occupied a mere six pages of the 64 in the magazine. Incidentally, Superman had already made his debut a year earlier.

There is another school of thought that feels that Batman was made “dark” to contrast with the brightly colourful Superman! (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

2. There are many who believe that Batman drew inspiration actually from vampire stories and perhaps even Dracula – the long cape and the presence of the bats. There is another school of thought that feels that Batman was made “dark” to contrast with the brightly colourful Superman!

What not too many know however is that Bruce Wayne’s father, Dr Thomas Wayne, had once worn a “Bat-Man” costume for a masquerade ball whose theme was “flying creatures” (Detective Comics #235, 1956). (Source: Batman / Facebook)

3. Which of course brings us to the matter of why he chose the bat as his inspiration. The most popular theory is that he was pondering a name when a bat flew in and bingo! Another theory, set out in Batman Begins, is that he was scared of bats and decided to make criminals share his fear by becoming as terrifying to them. What not too many know however is that Bruce Wayne’s father, Dr Thomas Wayne, had once worn a “Bat-Man” costume for a masquerade ball whose theme was “flying creatures” (Detective Comics #235, 1956). By some coincidence, he ended up fighting a few criminals who crashed the party as well. So perhaps it was this subsconscious memory that triggered him into choosing the bat as his theme creature when it flew in through that window.

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Commissioner James W. Gordon is one of Batman’s greatest allies. (Source: DC Comics)

4. The first Batman comic also featured another character who would become part of the Batman folklore. No, it was not Alfred the butler, or Dick Grayson who was the first Robin. It was Commissioner James W. Gordon.

Robin the Boy Wonder made his appearance in Detective Comics #38, in April, 1940. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

5. Robin, Batman’s sidekick and Bruce Wayne’s young ward, made his appearance almost a year after Batman himself did, in Detective Comics #38, in April, 1940. He was Dick Grayson, and along with his parents, John and Mary, was part of the Flying Graysons, an acrobat group in Haly’s circus. A run in with a local crime lord results in his parents being killed, and the Batman takes him under his wing, as they both pledge to fight crime together.

Not too many know that the appearance of the Joker is assumed to be based on actor Conrad Veidt’s role as Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs (a film made in 1928). (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

6. Perhaps the man as famous as Batman himself is his arch nemesis, the Joker. And it was very apt that he made his debut in the first comic book dedicated totally to Batman (Batman #1, April 25, 1940). Not too many know that the appearance of the Joker is assumed to be based on actor Conrad Veidt’s role as Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs (a film made in 1928). The character had a pale visage and a smile that seemed frozen on it all the time. Sounds familiar?

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The original cover for Batman Dc Comics for April-May 1943 (Batman #16) where Alfred Beagle appeared. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

7. Bruce Wayne seemed to be managing his massive mansion all by himself and a little help from Dick Grayson, but in April-May 1943 (Batman #16) , the Dynamic Duo got some unsolicited assistance, when a butler turned up. Yes, it was Alfred. And no, he was not the lean, spare avatar of today but a tubby customer with a distinctly British accent. His name was not Alfred Pennyworth either, but Alfred Beagle! He got off to a flying start, though – he figured out Bruce and Dick were Batman and Robin in no time at all. The narrative has been tweaked in later years to make Alfred more of a father figure to the Batman, but as per the original story, he was just a butler who liked reading detective stories and ended up at the Wayne Manor!

Batman creator Bob Kane posing with a Batmobile painting, 1966. (Source: Wikipedia)

8. There has been a lot of interest in Batman’s amazing vehicle, the Batmobile. Well, believe it or not, in his first appearance, the Caped Crusader, was actually driving a red car which had nothing special about it (God knows where he parked it). Batman actually got a dedicated flying machine, the Batgyro (September 1939), which seemed based on the helicopter, before the Batmobile made its first formal appearance in February 1941. Its design and specs have evolved over the years, so much so that when we last checked, it was a car, a tank, an aircraft and a hovercraft and a motorbike, all rolled into one.

DC comics original cover for Batman issue number 159. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

9. For all the talk about the secret identity of Batman, the fact is that Bruce Wayne is not the only one to have worn the costume of the Caped Crusader. It was worn by Dick Grayson (when Bruce went missing), Jason Todd (who was Robin too, but tried to be a better Batman), Azrael (who took over the Batman’s role when Bane smashed his back) and even one of Batman’s arch enemies, Hugo Strange, who managed to uncover his secret identity and impersonate him!

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Interestingly, two ladies have also played Robin for a short span of time – Stephanie Brown (who was very close to Tim Drake) and Carrie Kelley, who plays Robin in Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight series. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

10. The Batman costume has been worn by more than one person, but has always come back to Bruce Wayne. Robin, on the other hand, has seen both costume and role go to different people. Dick Grayson was the first Robin, and he graduated to a new character called Nightwing. Jason Todd was the second Robin, one whom Batman met when Jason was trying to steal the tyres of the Batmobile. He, however, met his death at the hands of the Joker (although he made a very cruel and complicated comeback). Robin’s mantle then fell to Tim Drake, who was also Bruce Wayne’s adopted son following the murder of his father. Drake went on to become a character called Red Robin. The most recent occupant of the Robin costume and role is Damian Wayne, the offspring of Bruce Wayne and the daughter of arch villain Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Gul (don’t ask, it’s complicated!). Interestingly, two ladies have also played Robin for a short span of time – Stephanie Brown (who was very close to Tim Drake) and Carrie Kelley, who plays Robin in Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight series.

Batman did get married, though and he does have a biological child. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

11. Notwithstanding all his romantic dalliances from Vicki Vale to Silver St Cloud to Selina Kyle, Bruce Wayne is still single. He did get married, though and he does have a biological child, though. And that too from the daughter of one of his arch enemies, Ra’s al Ghul. Talia’s role in Batman’s life is complicated to say the least – she seems to flit from being villain to love interest. The pair get married in Son of the Demon (1987), but the marriage does not last.

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie review, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice review, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie review in pics, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice review in pics Batman and Superman’s first appearance together was in 1952, in Superman #76.

12. Batman and Superman came into existence within a year of each other, but did not meet for almost a dozen years. Their first appearance together was in 1952, in Superman #76. Both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent end up sharing a cabin and then finding out who each other’s real identities. There is craziness aplenty, including a lot of flirting with Lois Lane. In the end, Bruce saves Clark by dressing up as him, and Lois goes on a date with Robin. Don’t ask!

Scott Snyder’s ALL-STAR BATMAN’s look. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

13. He might be extremely strong and courageous but that has not stopped the Batman from taking from terrible beatings. The most famous of these is perhaps at the hands of the heavily muscled Bane who beats him to a pulp and then breaks his back for good measure in Knightfall (1993-94) . An older Batman also underestimates the strength of the leader of a gang of mutants in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and once again suffers multiple injuries. And while he has been known to get the better of Superman a few times, it is the Man of Steel who smashes his spine in Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013-16 ), after which, believe it or not, Alfred breaks Superman’s nose with a head butt…don’t ask! It is not easy being Batman.

Leslie Thompkins as seen in Batman: No Man’s Land Secret Files & Origins #1 (November 1999) (Source: Wikipedia)

14. One of the most influential characters in Batman’s life is Dr. Leslie Thompkins. A colleague of his father, Leslie acts as a surrogate parent of the young Bruce Wayne after his parents have been murdered. She does not approve of Batman’s rather violent approach to fighting crime and is a pacifist but remains the closest thing he has to a mother.

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In the final frames of The Killing Joke (1988), Batman laughed at Joker’s jokes. (Source: Batman/ Facebook)

15. Can you imagine the Batman ever laughing with the Joker at one of the villain’s jokes? Yes, that happened in the final frames of The Killing Joke (1988), as the Batman finally captures the clown of crime after one of his most notorious sprees, in which he tortures Commissioner Gordon and leaves his daughter disabled for life. The jury, however, is out on what happened after the two stopped laughing – many believe that the Batman strangled the Joker out of sheer rage. No one really knows for sure.

First published on: 23-09-2017 at 02:55:01 pm
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