Batman, arguably the world’s most famous superhero, was first published in 1939, which was 75 years ago this year. Batman has not only been published as several titles of comic books since then but has been a serial, a series of cartoons, movies, a TV show, video games, and so much more. It would be almost impossible to estimate his influence on popular culture. The Strangest Adventures spoke of Batman’s future last time, now it’s time to talk about his beginnings.
The first appearance of Batman was in Detective Comics #27; one unrestored copy of it went for $1,075,000 in February 2010. As you an see, he looked just a bit different in those days, but even then he was recognizable as the Dark Knight Detective we know today. I can only imagine the amazement a child of that time must have felt, seeing him for the first time.
As a child growing up in the 1960’s, I was always fascinated by Batman. Unlike other comic book heroes, he was just a human, no super powers, no magic ring; Batman relied on his detective skills, his athletic training, and of course, his utility belt with his wonderful gadgets. He had one thing in common with Superman, who had come out the year before, in 1938, both of them had dead parents but Superman’s parents died on an alien planet while he was a baby while Batman, as a young Bruce Wayne, saw his parents gunned down in front of him! From that trauma, Batman emerged. Here is his origin story from Detective #33, which was published on November 1939.
One thing I have always liked about Batman was how he never killed and never used guns, after all his parents had been killed by a gun. However, in the beginning, he not only used a gun, but also had no problem with using deadly force. That was quickly toned down though, and he took on a kid sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder. He evolved into the ethical hero now known and loved around much of the world. Here at The Strangest Adventures, Batman is one of our favorites. You can be sure we’ll have more to say about him next time!
Hey look! Batman is letting Robin drive the 1940's Batmobile!
Disclaimer- this is the first post where I created none of the images! Batfart is from the September 1974 National Lampoon, and was illustrated by famed comic book artist Nick Cardy and written by conservative humorist P.J. O’Rourke and the whole story can be read here. The other illustrations are from long time Batman artist Bob Kane and property of DC Comics.