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Happy 75th Birthday Bruce: A look back on the impact of The Batman!

March 30th, 2014 by Jake Tanner 7 Comments

Sometimes a sensation is made overnight. Other times, it takes a lot of work and finding what fits to make a character into a global phenomenon. When it comes to Bruce Wayne/Batman, both of these statements are true as Bob Kane and Bill Finger knew right off the bat (Hah! See what I did there?) that they had something truly special in the character, but it took numerous adaptations, re-boots, and a lot of work to turn him into the pop culture icon that he is today. There are 75 years of comic book stories that I could sit here and write about, but I think it’s more fitting that we tell you guys about some of our favorite arcs, stories, shows, movies and even games and how they’ve affected us!

Mr. Bob Kane had an idea for a new superhero that was just like us. He was mortal and had absolutely no super-powers. Kane’s original character design wasn’t quite the vigilante we know and love today though. His original character, as described by Kane himself,

”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.”

Could you imagine if Batman had ended up looking like this?

 On March 30th, 1939 in Detective Comics #27, the world was introduced to a new superhero. A young man named Bruce Wayne, also known as The Bat-Man swung into our lives. He was an absolute maniac at the beginning of his career. He carried a gun and had no remorse for what happened to criminals, killing and maiming them whenever he saw fit. Boy how things have changed!

Batman in the comics (Jake)

The Dark Knight Returns (1986)

This is the quintessential Batman story. This is the tale of an aged Bruce Wayne, long retired from his time as the Bat, getting the urge to get back into the game. The city has been overrun with gangs and crime, and even though most of his rogues have long-since retired, there’s always enough left in the tank for one last great fight!

Not only is this a classic Batman story, it’s a tale that completely changed the landscape of the way comics were written and its influence is still felt in our medium today.  It even set the tone for the Tim Burton movies!

This was the book that made me really fall in love with comics. I never knew how dark and gritty a comic book story could really be and this one hooked me in from the very first panel. When I think of Frank Miller’s iconic imagery throughout the panels of TDKR, I can’t help but think to myself that this is MY Batman. He’s obsessive, calculated, and totally egotistical but you can’t help but feel that extreme sense of responsibility that makes him The Dark Knight. In a book filled with action, we get to see Bats take down a thug nearly half his age and even the conclusion of the ongoing battle between Batman and The Joker. There’s even a fight at the end of the book that could easily be argued as the greatest one-on-one battle between two iconic comic book characters of ALL TIME. That’s right, Batman vs. Superman. This fight is in the upper echelons of the greatest moments in all of comics and they even used a quote from it to announce the upcoming Man of Steel sequel.

“You’re beginning to get the idea, Clark. We could have changed the world…now…look at us…I’ve become a political liability…and…you…you’re a joke. I want you to remember, Clark…in all the years to come…in your most private moments…I want you to remember…my hand…at your throat…I want…you to remember…the one man who beat you.” –Bruce Wayne/Batman

The first time you read it, it’s very plausible that Bruce may not make it through to see the end of the story, but in true Rocky Balboa fashion, the underdog proves that every great fighter has a puncher’s chance.

Batman: Year One (1987)

Most people today, thanks largely in part to the Nolan films, know Bruce Wayne/Batman’s origin story. It was nighttime in Gotham and the Wayne family was leaving the theater and they were mugged in an alley by a man named Joe Chill. Things go bad and Mr. Chill ends up killing both Martha and Thomas, leaving a young Bruce Wayne orphaned and left under the care of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth. In Year One Frank Miller builds on that premise and shows us Bruce’s journey to become The Dark Knight. He wasn’t always the cold, calculated, always-prepared crime fighter we know him as. In fact, things were pretty rough for the Caped Crusader when it all started.

My favorite thing I took away from this story was that Bruce Wayne died alongside Martha and Thomas that night in Crime Alley. While he may have not been physically harmed, it can’t be argued that he was never the same after the events of that fateful night. I love that this book showed us that even though tragic things may happen, we can rise from the despair to become something great.

TDKR gets a lot of shine as a book that influences the Bat as we see him today, but Year One isn’t far behind it. Not only was Batman Begins adapted heavily from Year One, but even the fantastic Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo arc Zero Year lends from the classic Miller tale.

It’s great that you can read this story and see the moment that Bruce truly becomes Batman and seals the deal with this iconic quote:

“Ladies. Gentlemen. You have eaten well. You’ve eaten Gotham’s wealth. Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on…none of you are safe.”-Batman

If you didn’t get chills when you read that panel for the first time, you might want to check for a pulse!

Batman: The Killing Joke (1988)

Every great hero needs a great arch-nemesis. There isn’t a better known superhero/super villain dynamic in comics than Batman and the Joker. Not only does this book give us the widely accepted “origin” for The Joker, but it also gives us the narrative of their last encounter. (Non-canon of course, just like in TDKR) It’s true, this book is considered a Joker book, but any fan of Batman will tell you, you can’t have one without the other.

That’s exactly what I love about Killing Joke. It really displays the relationship between Bats and Joker. Batman, who is always thinking ahead, even admits, “This is only going to end with one of us killing the other and I don’t want that.” I think the most important thing anyone looking for great Batman moments can pull from this classic graphic novel is the fact it shows Batman’s never-ending spirit. He believes absolutely anyone can be fixed; even a monster like Joker.

Batman: Hush (2002-2003)

Bruce has learned a lot of lessons the hard way since he started fighting crime as the Caped Crusader. Perhaps none of those lessons came as hard as the one taught to him by childhood friend, Thomas Elliot. As childhood friends, Bruce and Tommy were inseparable. They travelled together, played chess, and always challenged each other to be better. It isn’t until Tommy’s mom is saved via emergency surgery by Bruce’s dad that the young Mr. Elliot starts to go a bit off the deep end, spending his entire life and dedicating himself to get revenge on the Wayne family once and for all as the villainous Hush.

I don’t think Bruce learns more about himself in any other arc throughout his history than he does when he’s matched up against Hush and the true puppet master behind everything, The Riddler. With two brilliant minds working against him, Bruce has to use he and Tommy’s history together in order to understand his opponent and gain the advantage!

Not only did this arc match Bruce up against his intellectual and physical equal, but Riddler finally learns the secret identity of Batman!

Riddler:  ”Riddle me this who is that under Batman’s mask? And now the world is my oyster right Bruce?”
Batman: ”What time is it when an elephant sits on a fence?”
Riddler: ”What?”
Batman: “What time is it when an elephant sits on a fence?”
Riddler: “Time to get a new fence everyone knows that one it is worthless!”
Batman: “Thats why I have nothing to fear from you. You had to tell Elliot but no one else; not even Clayface when he was playing Robin. I know you Edward Nigma maybe better then you know yourself. Riddles are your compulsion, your addiction and a riddle that everyone knows the answer to is worthless.”

This might be one of my favorite moments in all of comics. It just goes to show you that Batman has literally thought of EVERYTHING!

The Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Run (2011-Present)                                           

This run has been critically acclaimed and deservedly so. The dynamic duo of Snyder and Capullo set the bar high right out of the gates with their storyline about the Court of Owls. Snyder told people that in making the Court of Owls, a totally new group of villains, he wanted it to seem like Bruce knew the city from top to bottom only to come to the realization that he didn’t know it as well as he thought he did when he was caught in the grasp of the Court.  What ensued was a gripping, suspenseful story about Batman being tested physically, mentally, and emotionally as he tried to escape from the clutches of the evil Court of Owls.

In between the Court of Owls storylines (there were two!) we were given the treat of Death of the Family. After a year-long sabbatical The Joker has returned to Gotham in a horrifying fashion. His face was removed at the hands of the Dollmaker which he then reattached to himself using various belts, straps, and bungee cords. Joker then manages to capture every member of the Bat-Family and promises Batman that he’ll remove them from the Bat’s life.

“That day, when they’re all dead and buried in their cold Bat-Graves…but look! There’s me and my friends, and…why we’re still alive and kicking! And there you are Bats…chasing us, forever chasing! And why? Because it’s what you want to happen. It’s what you need. Because you see, with us you’re MORE! With us, you transcend! With us, you’re always!”-The Joker

These two arcs and the current arc, Zero Year are responsible for bringing me back into comics. Snyder just seems to get the psyche of the Bat and paired with Capullo’s amazing art, this is a run for the ages!

Batman in movies (Andy)

Batman Begins is the 6th most successful Batman movie (adjusted for inflation) of all time, taking in almost $100 million less than the neon nightmare that was Batman Forever. Katie Holmes has a starring role, the Full Monty guy is a mob boss, an origin story (zzzzz), and a superhero movie where we don’t see the hero much in costume until the final third of the movie. Despite this, Batman Begins stands tall at the summit of Nolan’s trilogy.

Firstly, the billion dollar elephant in the room, The Dark Knight…without a doubt the most iconic moments of the franchise reboot belongs to Heath Ledger’s stunning turn as The Joker; his performance is flawless. At no point, even after repeat viewings, does it feel like you are watching the same man who came to the public forefront with his quiet reserve and simmering frustration in Brokeback Mountain (or singing “I Love You Baby” in 10 Things I Hate About You, for that matter). However, Ledger’s clown prince of crime aside, The Dark Knight is an uneven piece of work.

Stunning set pieces mask gaping plot holes. Every cell phone in Gotham as a camera!? Harvey goes full evil…why, exactly? The Harvey Dent Two-Face character is one of the most complex and tragic in the Batman mythology, handled to heartbreaking effect in the animated series, yet created and disposed of here in a matter of minutes.

The final confrontation between Batman and the Joker does not feel like the confrontation between the world’s most popular hero and villain combo; a bastardized version of The Killing Joke, involving boats followed by a 10 second fight involving dogs, is hardly the way to resolve the conflict between these two greats. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for 40 minute Man of Steel levels of wanton destruction, but I feel these two colossi of comics deserved more gravitas.

From the outset of Begins, it plays with a confidence and patience in its storytelling that is missing from the sequels. Characters talk to each other in conversations for more than just exposition. Ducard’s and Bruce’s conversations and confrontations in the mountains give depth to characters that in most other superhero movies would be dispatched with a 2 minute training montage (ahem, Green Lantern).

As a result of this, when Batman finally does begin, we care about the man under the cowl and see him as a vulnerable human being, as opposed to an indestructible superhero.

The fight scenes, which were heavily criticized for being too shaky and incomprehensible, fail to see the crux of the Batman. He is a myth, or to paraphrase Keyser Soze, “A spook story criminals tell each other. Be careful or the Batman will get ya.” He is a normal human being who must live in the shadows in order to strike fear and intimation into men not used to being afraid or intimated.

He tells Alfred, “as a man he can be ignored, but as a symbol he can be everlasting.” This can be seen in full effect during Batman’s introduction to Gotham. He breaks up Falcone’s drug ring at the docks in a scene that would not look out of place in a horror movie. It involves half glimpses, eerie whispers and lights being shattered in a set piece that would have tickled Hitchcock.

The casting of Bale was a master stroke, especially given the names considered before he got the part, such as Joshua Jackson and Ashton Kutcher. He is the first actor to play a superhero as a role and not a “comic book role.” He throws himself into the part of both Bruce Wayne and Batman with an equal mix of intensity and vulnerability (also with a restraint he had all but abandoned by The Dark Knight Rises), a man of ferocity but also at his core a man who was terrified as a boy and never fully recovered.

Many writers and readers alike say that Bruce Wayne died in Crime Alley with his parents, but this film dares to say the opposite; he was born there. Would he have grown up an entitled rich kid? Considering his parents’ moral character and their determination to help Gotham’s less privileged citizens, probably not. There is no doubt that he would not have become such a powerful force for justice in Gotham had he not been so painfully on the receiving end of his own injustice.

Bale is not alone in taking a straight-faced sincerity to what traditionally had been a genre with one eye on the material and one eye winking at the camera. Gary Oldman is not the first name to come to mind if you were looking for an incorruptible beacon of hope surrounded by a police force more worried about putting their hands out then putting hands in cuffs.

However, Oldman is a revelation, and in a career where he has constantly reinvented himself, he adds another string to his bow here by bringing a sure sensitivity mixed with unbridled heroism; a man who is both not afraid to confront Batman, but also to accept he is necessary. The final scene on the rooftop is a perfect example, as he scolds and thanks Batman within a matter of seconds and with a sincerity that convinces the viewer he means both equally.

The film hits a series high in both storyline and dialogue. The origins of everything, from the suit to the Batmobile, are handled perfectly with all the style and emotional resonance of a great filmmaker hitting his stride.

The characters are presented as a whole, and each decision they make is in keeping with the tone, something that cannot be said of the later films; Batman head-scratchingly disappearing for 8 years because he is sad, or Alfred and Bruce abandoning a seemingly unbreakable bond so easily.

Here, Batman is forced to rely on his wits to evolve as opposed to the fantastical Bond-like technology of the later movies. We also see glimpses of the man Ra’s al Ghul simply referred to as “Detective,” along with methods and a storyline more grounded in realism then any that came after it. There are no fantastic flying machines whisking nuclear bombs away or cities cut off from the rest of the world.

Here, Batman has to confront a threat right on his doorstep. Comic book purists will argue that the books contain a batwing and the No Man’s Land story showed a Gotham siphoned off from the rest of humanity. This is true, however in Begins, Nolan understands his medium perfectly – what works on a comic page doesn’t necessarily work on a cinema screen (do you really want to see Bat-Mite on screen? Well, actually kinda, now that I say it).

The film is definitely one of the most earnest superhero movie ever made, yet it does not do so at the expense of both fun and spectacle. It straddles the line between both perfectly. Yes, The Avengers was bombastic fun, but did you take any of it seriously? On the flip side, Man of Steel was almost sterile in its tone, with no element of fun.

The tone of Begins hits it out of the park, mixing exciting set pieces, like the heart racing rescue of Rachel from Arkham, with the heart-breaking and uplifting moment were a bloodied and almost beaten Bruce Wayne is literally watching his life come crashing down around him, and is set right by Michael Caine’s wonderful Alfred with four simple words “Why do we fall?”. These words could be the mantra for the Batman franchise after watching it crash and burn so badly with the execrable Batman and Robin.

However, without that spectacular failure, the landscape of comic book movies would look very different. This was the film that made people realize that superhero movies could be simply great movies as opposed to great comic book movies.

Would names like Shane Black and Kenneth Branagh have helmed comic book adaptations had Nolan not shown they can be used to enhance your credibility, not damage it? As Christopher Reeve found, it’s impossible to escape from the shadow of Superman’s cape, to be seen as anything other than the last son of Krypton, yet the genre has now come full circle, with superhero roles becoming some of the hottest and most sought after by some of the biggest and most respected names in Hollywood.

Batman Begins was the blue touch paper that sparked the modern comic book revolution into life and into mainstream credibility, something that seemed unimaginable after Schumacher’s nipple-sporting Knight. As Batman Begins teaches us, “we fall so that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Batman in television (Todd)

It is by no means a stretch of the imagination to say that I grew up on Batman cartoons. Cause I did. I didn’t read comic until I was 18, I had little to no video games for a long time, so to get my superhero fix, I turned to television. I never really knew what a superhero was until I watched Power Rangers and Batman: The Animated Series. Both were awesome (to me) and both just kept getting better. And to this day I watch both. For Batman though, it wasn’t just Batman: TAS, it was Justice League, and Batman Beyond, The Batman, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman, and yes, Batman ’66. Every time I heard a new Batman cartoon was out, I knew I had to watch it. Why? Because every single one of them were epic, yet totally unique. Comic book characters are very multi-layered. You’ll never have two writers write a character the same way, and two artists will never truly draw a character the same. Thankfully for many, the shows didn’t take the same approach every time either.

Batman TAS, took a dark look at the character, while also having some fun, light moments. Many feel it’s the definitive Batman series, even when comparing them to the movies. Its slick design, fantastic voice actors, and deep storytelling made this a series to remember. Many Bat-villains owe their popularity to Batman TAS, including Harley Quinn, Ra’s al Ghul, and Mr. Freeze, whose introductory episode “Heart of Ice” won an Emmy. He was in Justice League which was set in the same universe as Batman: TAS but it was Batman in a team setting with a bunch of great DC heroes. Batman Beyond put Terry McGinnis in the suit, while Bruce Wayne was a mentor to him. The Batman took a modern and anime approach to the characters. Brave and the Bold and Batman ’66 took Batman to a more on-the-nose and campy place, with one-liners, and hilarious stories. Beware the Batman took a look at more the detective side of Batman, and the training of Bruce. Regardless of which one you look at, it’s all true to Batman, which is important, and probably the reason the shows keep coming. Cause there are so many ways to tell a Batman story.I could give you countless stories about how I loved these shows and how they impacted me. But for me, it really comes down to two.

When I was in College, I had a long break between two classes. So I would play some games, then go to a spot and sleep for a little while. One day, I started sleeping and a familiar tune started vibrating through the walls around me. It was the Batman TAS theme song; I sprang up and looked around, trying to find where it was coming from. A man across from me said, “Yep, it’s Batman, they’re playing it in the band room.” I smiled and laughed. But I was also a little sad that I wasn’t in there playing it myself. When a roughly 20-year-old song is being played in a band room? You know you’re doing something right.

My second is a more recent one. Batman: Brave and the Bold was a very risky choice in regards to how the other shows had depicted Batman. Going back to the campy style that Adam West made popular kind of scared a lot of fans. But despite reservations, it worked. And it worked quite well. The highlight for me was the “I Can’t Believe They Just Did That” episode called “Mayhem of the Music Meister” starring Neil Patrick Harris. Essentially, it was a Batman musical. And everyone was wondering why this was happening, “Batman doesn’t sing!!!” we cried. So the episode came on, I watched it from beginning to end, and it was awesome! The next day I went to YouTube and watched it again, and again, and again. It was just so fun, the songs were amazing, I memorized them all. And technically, Batman didn’t sing, so all was well in the world. No matter what show is your favorite, Batman is ingrained in TV culture. It’s just a fact. And even today, many other media are inspired by what the cartoons did and take notes on how they did things. And with the upcoming Gotham set to hopefully air, Batman won’t be off TV for quite some time.

Batman in games (Todd)

The subject of Batman in video games is tricky. Because people (l think that there have only been a few, when that’s not true. My first Batman video game was actually one based off of Batman TAS, it was great….until I couldn’t get past the opening to the second level (no walkthroughs back then), anyway, then there were games like Batman: Vengeance, The Rise of Sin Tzu, Dark Tomorrow, all good in their own right. But when you say “Batman Video Game”, 9 out of 10 times someone will talk about the Arkham titles. It was a time, when superhero video games were “cursed”. They were awful! For every good one like Ultimate Alliance and Batman Begins, you’ll get an awful one like Fantastic Four and Superman 64 (let’s never speak of it again!). So when it was announced that a new Batman game was coming out, hot off the heels of The Dark Knight hitting theaters, many were worried. That didn’t last long though. Arkham Asylum was the video game version of the classic Grant Morrison graphic novel. About what would happen if Batman because trapped in the place where all his enemies resided. Dubbed, “The Longest Night of His Life”, the game had us fighting numerous thugs, many memorable villains, all the while collecting clues and trying to unfold Joker’s evil plot. The game was a revelation! It was richly detailed, and absolutely a joy to look at. The game play was tight, and intuitive. The voice acting was incredible they brought back many of the voice actors from Batman TAS to reprise their roles. Finally, the boss battles, story, and loads of hidden treasures and Easter eggs made this a game you had to play over and over again. The ending was a little rough, but it wasn’t the last we would see of this universe…because we got a sequel!

Due to the success of Arkham Asylum, we were soon treated to the bigger and better Arkham City. More enemies to fight, more stuff to do, more city to explore, more treasures to explore, it had it all! Oh, and did I mention you can play as Catwoman? I didn’t? Well you could! If Asylum was the leap of faith to see if it could work, City was the epic adventure you had once you knew you could fly. It was everything we loved about the original and then some. It was amazing, and it held many shocks that would make fans wonder what was to come next. And what we got was a prequel.

Arkham Origins showed a younger, more brutal Batman as he began to make his name in Gotham, and showed the rise of many of the villains he would face later in life. It wasn’t as good as Asylum and City, yet it did have numerous fantastic moments, including an epic boss fight with Deathstroke.

Now though, many look forward to the arrival of Arkham Knight, the final chapter in the Arkham Saga. Teasers and trailers are abound, and we here at FTN are pumped!!! Who all will be in it? What all can we explore? What new treasure will there be to find? No one knows…..except for the game people that is. For me, the Arkham series is full of memories I enjoy. I loved getting every single game and playing them until they were beat. They were just so cool! I loved finding all the Riddler trophies, finding every little clue and hidden tidbit to grow my knowledge of the Batman universe; it was an experience I hold dear to this day.

The FTN gang’s favorite Bat-moments!

Todd: When I reflect back on my life, and try to find how Batman has affected it, I see numerous examples.

I may have gotten into comics because of a Marvel event, but it was Batman that made me get a lot of comics. At one point in time I was reading 6 different Batman books, and there were more than that out there! There’s just something about the character, and the Bat-Family, and the villains, and the world that just draws me in. It was because of Batman (and other influences to be fair) that I really thought about writing TV shows, and movies, and eventually the comic I write now.

It’s because of Batman that I react to every piece of news that has to deal with the character; it’s because of Batman that I wear comic book T-Shirts, and hoodies and the like. It’s because of him that I wrote two different school reports about the character, including one on how Batman was my role model. It’s all because of Batman!

Why? Because a 4-year-old boy turned the channel to Cartoon Network and saw a commercial of a caped man standing on a dark building saying “I am Vengeance, I am the Knight, I am Batman!” *lightning strike* The rest, as they say, is history.

Legendgerry: Batman taught me a couple of things as I grew up

1) Fortune favors the prepared

2) There is no one that can’t be beaten if you put some thought into it.

3) The man makes the suit not the other way around, looking at you Stark.

Derek: This particular memory is important to me as it shows how ‘Batman’, in any medium, can bring family together in the name of entertainment. It also proves how–in my opinion–the greatest superhero of them all can be passed down from generation to generation. It was a family day out at the cinema, and me and my family were psyched about going to see Tim Burton’s ‘Batman Returns’ (which although set at xmas, was actually a summer release I believe). Well, as there was controversy surrounding the fact that it might be deemed too dark for a child (Michelle Pfeiffer’s catsuit and her sexual undertones et al.,), my old man had to stand at the box office and stand his ground for us to get in to see the film. We eventually got in after a pretty long stand-off and had a great day out. That’s what Batman is all about for me…the longevity in the psychology and mythos behind the character – and the fact it can be looked at as blockbuster entertainment, and also as a deep psychological character study.

Chris: Everybody loves Batman. He’s an awesome character who has stood the test of time as one of the greatest superheroes ever. However, aside from watching reruns of Batman ’66 when I was a kid, one of my earliest Batman memories isn’t even of Batman. Instead it’s of one of my favorite characters, Robin. When I was about 12 or 13 my folks took me to the comic shop and bought me my first book. I went immediately for the holographic cover of Robin #1, Tim Drake’s very first solo adventure.

I remember being confused as hell at who this Tim Drake fellow was as the whole Jason Todd fiasco had completely passed me by. But all I could focus on was how cool his costume was. I cherished that book and read it over and over again. Since then we’ve seen a Wayne take the mantle of Robin, a past Robin resurrected from the grave and the New52 shake up all the roles of past Robins. But through it all the role of Robin will forever endure.

It was recognized recently in the pages of Batman, in a discussion between Alfred and Bruce, just how essential Robin really is to Batman’s survival. Not only does he have someone to watch his back, but because it’s not just Bruce’s life on the line, Batman has to plan more thoroughly, think more clearly and take every step more cautiously. If not for Robin Batman may not have survived some of these grueling encounters. Plus, it gets no cooler than Nightwing.

Zach: When I was a kid, I loved Saturday Morning cartoons. I mean, who doesn’t? Even as an adult I still love cartoons. The benefit is that I don’t have to wait until Saturday to watch them. I wasn’t much into comic books as a kid. But I always loved watching Batman Beyond. It was so different compared to the other shows on TV. It was dark and futuristic. Bruce Wayne was a pretty gruff person who just didn’t care about what other people thought. Terry McGinnis was my first main introduction to Batman. While he may not be the Dark Knight everyone knows and loves. He is still Batman, and he is one of the more unique ones. Batman Beyond was not only my first introduction into the Batman saga, but also my first love for Cyberpunk. As much as I do not want to admit it, without Batman, we would not have many of the comics that are so popular today. Happy 75 Years Batman, it is well deserved.  

Marc: I was born in 1977, the year the world went into meltdown over a certain galaxy far, far away. I was eight when Ghostbusters came out in ’84 and it’s still the franchise I hold above all others. But when Tim Burton introduced me to Michael Keaton as Batman in 1989 it was a game changer. In fact, it made me the man I am today in many ways.

I was always aware of Batman of course but that world,designed as a gothic nightmare by the late Anton Furst, scored by Danny Elfman (and, to a lesser extent, Prince), directed by Tim Burton – a director at the peak of his vision – and haunted by Nicholson’s ghoulish Jack Napier/Joker, that world changed all my passions. I was ferocious after it. I devoured Batman comics which got me interested in different writers and artists, which in turn made me check out other titles. Same with Burton, I followed his work closely, and that led me to other actors and directors. Same with Elfman’s score, it really showed me how important music was to film… And you can imagine where it went for there.

Batman isn’t just the greatest hero and comic character of all time. He also turned that young boy into the man he is today. I read comics, collect toys, watch movies and game. And I’ll stand toe-to-toe with anyone who says an adult shouldn’t do these things; and often do. I got that strength in Gotham City. I learned from the best…

Jake: Batman has been a huge influence on my life since I was a kid. The character came into my life via the live-action movie, Batman, directed by Tim Burton and Batman: The Animated Series. I’ve always been kind of a loner and growing up it was incredible to me to see a man that not only spent a great deal of his time alone or with a few of the people closest to him change the world the way he did. As a hero he may be just a man but he sets the bar for those around him including the all-powerful types like Superman or Green Lantern. As a man, he’s not perfect, but he’s always tried to do right by those around him. This character has profoundly changed my life in so many ways; I know it’s hard for most people to understand it. Without him, I wouldn’t be writing this article because I would’ve never been drawn into comics the way I am now. He’s also helped me through a lot of tough times my life by giving me an outlet to lose myself in when life became too stressful. The Nolan Trilogy topped off my love of the character. My girlfriend got me tickets to see the entire trilogy the night The Dark Knight Rises came out and I even had the opportunity to sit next to a guy that was an extra in The Dark Knight. Those are the types of stories I can share with my daughter and maybe even my grandkids someday! So even though he may be a fictional character, I wanted to put together a piece for you guys that did a character that means so much to me justice! I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

What are some of your favorite Batman moments? Don’t be afraid to join the discussion and pay homage to this all-time great character in the comments below!

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I'm 25 years old and I'm hugely passionate about comic books and I also LOVE gaming. The birth of my daughter, Abby, rekindled my passion for comic book stories. I grew up on them and I want nothing more than to share that passion with her! I'm a pretty typical guy, I love sports. (NHL-Blackhawks, NBA-Lakers, MLB-Cubs, and NFL-Daaaa Bears!). I've been writing for a pretty big portion of my life, and I've been nominated for multiple awards for some of the poetry I’ve written! Happy reading and follow me on Twitter @xJatmanx.

  • Sallah

    I may be biased… But I believe as far as live-action films go, ’89 Batman had much more impact on the overall history and legacy of Batman than Batman Begins did. That film erased the stigma of the 60’s show, switched the public’s perception of Batman from camp to a dark hero, ushered in the era of serious comic book films, paved the way for Batman The Animated Series, and refreshed the Batman character after 50 years of existence. If I were to a pick a film that contributed most to Batman’s 75 year legacy, it would undoubtedly be Burton’s Batman.

  • Jake Tanner

    Burton’s Batman was definitely great, but as much as it lent to The Dark Knight’s legacy it also did some harm too. If it hadn’t been for Burton’s Bat we wouldn’t have gotten Schumacher’s Bat! The Burton films definitely hold a special place in my heart though! I grew up watching them! :)

    • Sallah

      …and Batman animated paved the way for Beware the Batman. That didn’t keep it off the list. The Dark Knight Trilogy birthed Man Of Steel… That didn’t keep it off the list. Everything on this list could be said to create harm as well as good if that is the rationale.

      Point is- Just because the Nolan films are so revered doesn’t mean that Batman Begins truly contributed so much to the legacy of Batman. Batman is still pretty muich the same in the eyes of the public as it was before Batman Begins. Not so with Burton’s Batman… That literally changed everything.
      Oh- And if it weren’t for Burton’s Bat there literally wouldn’t be a Nolan trilogy.

  • Jake Tanner

    I certainly hope you don’t think I’m disagreeing with you, I rather enjoy the Burton films. But Burton’s Batman didn’t bring back the “Dark” in The Dark Knight, that honor goes to The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller which Tim Burton drew heavily from for those films. But I welcome all the discussion and enjoy the fact you care enough to comment and state the case for the Burton films, because as I said before, I rather enjoyed them and they really introduced me to the character!

    • Sallah

      Oh, I don’t think you are… I am just a little sad to see Burton’s Batman always taking a backseat to the Nolan trilogy in these kind of lists. :(

      And while I wholeheartedly agree with you on Miller really reinvigorating the dark aspects of the character in the comics… I am referring to the public at large, not just the comic book audience. The public at large thought of Batman as camp before 1989… After ’89, camp was the anomaly and most folks then thought of Batman as the dark character.

      • Jake Tanner

        I agree, but it could definitely be argued that Nolan’s films are just as responsible for turning Batman back into the global icon that he is. They’re a big reason behind the success of the New 52 Bats initially (Snyder’s writing kept people coming back) and the tone of the Arkham games was definitely Nolanized!

      • followingthenerd

        I for one love Burton’s movies – especially the first – it looked, felt and sounded like nothing else. And it was darkly beautiful. I have issues with Batman killing goons in it, but overall i think it’s the best version of Batman we’ve seen so far on film. That said, my god i love The Dark Knight too – it’s just such a great movie (Marc)

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