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Bat Man

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Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still sometimes as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional character and superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. He has since become, along with Superman and Spider-Man, one of the world's most recognized superheroes.[1] Batman was co-created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, although only Kane receives official credit for the character. Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, billionaire industrialist, playboy, and philanthropist. Witnessing the murder of his parents as a child leads him to train himself to the peak of physical and intellectual perfection, don a costume, and fight crime. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superhuman powers or abilities; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, technology, and physical prowess in his war on crime.

Publication history

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publications (later DC Comics; D.C. is short for Detective Comics, now a subsidiary of Time Warner) to request more superheroes for their titles. In response, Bob Kane created a character called "the Bat-Man". His collaborator Bill Finger offered such suggestions as giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, wearing a cape instead of wings, wearing gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume. Finger came up with the name "Bruce Wayne" for the character's secret identity.

In Jim Steranko's History of the Comics, vol. 1, Bill Finger reveals, "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."[2]

Finger wrote the first Batman story and Kane provided the art. The Bat-Man was a breakout hit, with sales on Detective Comics soaring to the point that National's comic book division was renamed "Detective Comics, Inc." Seen nowadays as having been one of the first examples of a classic comic book superhero archetype, Batman has been considered by some to have been the first comic book anti-hero, though Namor the Sub-Mariner, who debuted in the same year, is also a contender for that title.

Kane signed away any ownership that he might have in the character in exchange for, among other compensation, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics. This by-line 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 the artists and writers who actually worked on the stories. In the late 1970s, at the same time as Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began receiving a "created by" credit on the Superman titles, Batman stories began saying "created by Bob Kane" in addition to the other credits. Finger did not receive the same recognition. Although Finger did receive credit for other work done for the same publisher in the 1940s, he began to receive limited acknowledgement for his work on Batman in the pages of the comic book only in the 1960s, as a script-writer (for example, "Letters to the Batcave", Batman no. 169, Feb. 1965, where editor Julius Schwartz names him as the creator of The Riddler, one of Batman's recurring villains). However, his contract, in contrast to Kane's, left him only with his page rate for the stories he wrote and no by-line even on most of the Batman stories he had written. Finger, like Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, and some other creators during and after the Golden Age of Comic Books, would resent National's denying him the money and credit that, he felt, he was owed for his creations. At the time of Finger's death, in 1974, he had not been officially credited as a co-creator of the character. Kane himself, however, in later years willingly acknowledged Finger's contributions to the character while also insisting on his own role.

Evolution of the character

Inspirations for Batman's personality, character history, visual design and equipment include movies such as Douglas Fairbanks' The Mark of Zorro, The Bat, and Dracula; characters such as The Shadow, The Phantom, Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy, Jimmie Dale, The Green Hornet, Spring Heeled Jack, and even Leonardo Da Vinci.

Early Batman stories frequently use the grim tone of the film noir and gothic horror films of the day, with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals.

Batman #1 (Spring 1940). Art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.
Batman #1 (Spring 1940). Art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.

This interpretation of Batman softens in Detective Comics #38[3] in 1940. Dick Grayson/Robin (named after Robin Hood [3]) is introduced based on Finger's suggestion to Kane that Batman needed a "Watson". Kane, partly inspired by the Junior character from Dick Tracy, [citation needed] made the sidekick a young boy. The decision was controversial at first but proved revolutionary, and it led to a number of "boy wonders" in other superhero comics. In Batman #7, (1941) Batman is made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department, moving him even farther from his dark, vigilante roots. Batman's tone continues to stay light for the next several decades.

In Superman #76 (1952), Batman first teams up with Superman and learns his secret identity; following the success of this story, the separate Batman and Superman features that had been running in World's Finest Comics instead featured both together; this series of stories ran until the book's cancellation in 1986. The stories feature the two as close friends and allies, tackling threats that require both of their talents.

Starting in the mid-1950s, Batman's stories gradually become more science fiction-oriented, an attempt at mimicking the success of the top-selling Superman comics of the time. New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite (the latter two paralleling Krypto the Superdog and Mr. Mxyzptlk of the Superman titles) appear. Batman has adventures involving either odd transformations or dealing with bizarre space aliens. Batman is a highly public figure during the stories of the 1950s, regularly appearing at such events as charity functions and frequently appearing in broad daylight. In 1960, Batman becomes a member of the Justice League of America, which debuts in The Brave and the Bold #28.

Batman #227 (December 1970). An example of Batman's return to a more gothic atmosphere during the 1970s. Pencils by Neal Adams.
Batman #227 (December 1970). An example of Batman's return to a more gothic atmosphere during the 1970s. Pencils by Neal Adams.

Editor Julius Schwartz presided over drastic changes made to a number of DC's comic book characters, including Batman in 1964's Detective Comics #327. Schwartz introduced changes designed to make Batman more contemporary and return him to more detective stories, including a redesign of Batman's equipment, the Batmobile, and his costume (introducing the yellow ellipse behind the costume's bat-insignia), and brought in artist Carmine Infantino to help in this makeover. The space aliens and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. This makeover soon became known as the "New Look" Batman. Julius Schwartz created Aunt Harriet to live with Bruce and Dick. This influenced the campy Adam West Batman TV series in 1966, which ran until 1968.

Writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams made additional changes to Batman when they started working on the comic, reintroducing some of Batman's earlier grimmer elements, starting with Detective Comics #395's "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" (1970). Dick Grayson had been sent off to college in a story written by Frank Robbins, making Batman a loner once again. O'Neil's tone influenced Batman's comics through the rest of the 1970s and into the 1980s; 1977 and 1978's stories in Detective Comics written by Steve Englehart (with art by Marshall Rogers) are held by many as a high point of this era.

The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which redefined Batman in the 1980s. Pencils by Frank Miller.
The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which redefined Batman in the 1980s. Pencils by Frank Miller.

Writer Frank Miller grounded Batman further in his grim and gritty roots with the limited series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986), which takes place in a possible future, and 1987's four-issue "Batman: Year One". Batman: The Dark Knight Returns' popularity was nothing short of phenomenal and raised sales for comics across the board. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with 1988's Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker, attempting to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, cripples his daughter Barbara Gordon, kidnaps him, and tortures him physically and mentally. These stories and others like them helped to raise the image of comic books beyond mere children's entertainment. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and stories following it (such as John Byrne's Superman revamp) also severed the close friendship of Batman and Superman, replacing it with a more antagonistic relationship.

Stories like these, in turn, have set the tone for the last two decades of Batman comics. Tim Burton's Batman movies, Warner Bros' Batman and Batman Returns features a darker, more Gothic Batman; the popularity of those movies in turn led to the noir-ish Batman: The Animated Series. The ongoing comic book series, meanwhile, has continued in this gritty trend, and this tone inspired imitators in other comic books and films.

"Batman: Year One" is significant in that it is set in, and significantly revises, Batman's early days. Since the original publication of Year One, many creators have set their stories in Batman's formative years, and the Batman title Legends of the Dark Knight in particular often features stories that take place in Batman's early days. Many of the stylistic notes of Year One, specifically text captions designed to look handwritten on note paper, have also been used quite successfully by other authors. In addition, the general concept of a Year One book, taking a fresh look at the origins of an older character, as well as showing their learning process, has been embraced by the comics industry as a whole. Other comics which have since gotten a "Year One" treatment include Spider-Man and the Justice League.

Batman's evolution continues through the 2000s. 1988 saw Jason Todd, the second Robin, killed by the Joker, and in the years following this, Batman takes an even darker, often excessive approach to his crimefighting. 1993's "Knightfall" series introduces a new villain named Bane, who critically injures Batman. Jean-Paul Valley, known as Azrael, is called upon to wear the Batsuit during Bruce's convalescence. 1994's Zero Hour introduced Batman's status as an urban legend. In 1998, Gotham City is destroyed during the "Cataclysm" storyline, and Batman is deprived of many of his technological resources. DC's 2005 crossover event Identity Crisis has Batman discovering that JLA member Zatanna had edited his memories, which leads to Batman losing trust in the rest of the superhero community.

Character origins

Created in the time before the modern concept of the superhero, the creation of Batman was inspired by characters such as The Shadow, Zorro, The Phantom and other noir-style crimefighters (The Spirit, The Spider, etc.).

The Shadow, who debuted earlier in the 1930s in radio and pulp fiction, had at least two major similarities to Batman: his "wealthy playboy" alter ego, and his penchant for operating under cover of darkness and using fear to disarm his criminal targets. Despite being a "good guy", he was made in the vein of the noir anti-hero, and thus would not hesitate to gun down his enemies.

Zorro, who first appeared in pulp fiction in 1919, likewise has inherited wealth from his parents, and poses as a harmless gentleman of high society. Like Batman, he operates from a hidden cave near his home, and is known for fighting for justice for the common man. Great emphasis is placed on his acrobatics and education, two attributes which Batman possesses.

One could argue that certain of these traits were almost unavoidable in the crimefighters of the time. However, Batman's creators have routinely acknowledged these two characters as influences. Various retellings of the night Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered have depicted them as having just seen a "Zorro" movie, and, as far as The Shadow is concerned, Batman's creators specifically took care to distinguish their hero from the well-known crimefighter, taking away his gun early in his comic book adventures, and eventually giving Batman an anti-gun stance.

One can even trace Batman's roots further, though to lesser degrees of similarity, by looking at the influences for Batman's influences: Zorro was likely inspired by such characters as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Scarlet Pimpernel; the former was a wealthy man motivated by revenge over wrongs committed in his past, the latter a swashbuckler possessing an alter ego. Zorro may have been based upon real-life personas such as Joaquin Murrieta, a Mexican bandit sometimes compared to Robin Hood, and William Lamport, an Irishman who fought for Mexican independence in the 17th century.

Although those influences seem to bear little resemblance to the Caped Crusader, they all possess an aspect of vigilantism. Well before characters such as Superman, who boldly fought crime in broad daylight with their superpowers, the heroes of literature that youths admired were mortal and depended on cunning and wit to survive. Aside from occasional "reboots" by comic book writers, most of the above comic book and pulp characters are generally out of print. This makes Batman one of the last actively-published stories of an old-fashioned vigilante hero from the Golden Age.

Character biography

Over the years, Batman's origin story, history and tone have undergone various revisions, both minor and major. Some elements have changed drastically; others, like the death of his parents and his pursuit of justice, have remained constant.

Consistent across all versions of the Batman mythos, Batman is the alter-ego of Bruce Wayne, a millionaire or billionaire (depending on time period) playboy, industrialist and philanthropist who is driven to fight crime in Gotham City after his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha Wayne, are murdered by a mugger.

Golden Age

Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).
Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).

The Golden Age Batman first appears in Detective Comics #27, May 1939. Batman's origin is first presented in Detective Comics #33 in November 1939, and is later fleshed out in Batman #47, the 1985 four-issue limited series America vs. the Justice Society and 1986's Secret Origins (Vol. 2) #6. As these comics state, Bruce Wayne is born in the 1910s to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two very wealthy and charitable Gotham City socialites. Bruce is brought up in Wayne Manor and its wealthy splendor and leads a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents are killed by a small-time criminal named Joe Chill on their way home from the movie theater. Bruce is subsequently raised at Wayne Manor by his uncle, Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, Jan./Feb. 1969).

Bruce Wayne swears an oath to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents' lives. He engages in intense intellectual and physical training and studies a variety of areas which would aid him in his endeavors, including chemistry, criminology, forensics, martial arts, and gymnastics, as well as theatrical skills like disguise, escapology, and ventriloquism. He realizes, however, that these skills alone would not be enough.

"Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot", said Wayne, "so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible..." As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to assume the persona of Batman. His debut as the Caped Crusader in 1939 initially earns him the ire of the police; however, his relations with the law thaw by the early 1940s.

Detective Comics #38 (Apr 1940), the first appearance of Robin. Art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.
Detective Comics #38 (Apr 1940), the first appearance of Robin. Art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.

In 1940, Bruce takes in the orphaned circus acrobat Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick, Robin. In late 1940, Batman becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America (DC Special #29).

Batman continues to function in Gotham City through the 1940s and into the 1950s. After the introduction of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, it is retroactively established that the Golden Age Batman lives on the parallel world of Earth-Two. It is revealed that in the mid-1950s, after a brief flirtation and adventuring with Kathy Kane, Bruce Wayne partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle (as shown in Superman Family #211); the two have one child, Helena Wayne. Batman's activities soon lessen, as he goes into semi-retirement, only returning to action to engage in special cases, with Robin taking over much of his functioning in Gotham City. Upon the retirement of Commissioner Gordon, the Earth-Two Bruce Wayne takes over the post of Gotham City police commissioner.

In the late 1970s, Bruce Wayne's life becomes tumultuous, as he deals with the death of his wife Selina, who is fatally blackmailed by criminals into going into action one more time as Catwoman (as seen in DC Super-Stars #17). After Selina's death, Bruce permanently retires as Batman, but is forced to go into action again as Batman, when a criminal named Bill Jensen gains superpowers from a sorcerer named Frederic Vaux. Jensen and Wayne fight each other, Jensen eventually using his powers to destroy both himself and Batman[2]. Wayne is laid to rest next to his wife Selina; after Vaux is defeated, the sorcerer Dr. Fate uses his powers to erase the knowledge of Wayne's secret identity from human memory, making all think the two had perished at almost the same time. (Adventure Comics #461-463).

After the 1985 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version of Batman and all memory of his existence are retroactively erased from history (along with Earth-Two's Robin, Catwoman and Huntress), with various activities in his career being attributed to Flying Fox, Rex Tyler and/or Dr. Charles McNider in the new continuity. However, in 2006, after the Infinite Crisis, some of his friends and acquaintances remember him again. In a post-Infinite Crisis issue of JSA, the Earth-Two Batman returns in ghost-form with other dead members of the JSA to help Jakeem Thunder and his Thunderbolt battle the Gentleman Ghost. When Jakeem Thunder, unaware of the existence of a parallel universe version of the Dark Knight, asks the Thunderbolt how it is possible for someone like Batman, whom he knows not to be dead, to appear as a ghost, the Thunderbolt responds by saying, "It's complicated".

Silver Age

The Silver Age of comic books in DC Comics is sometimes held to have begun in 1956 when the publisher introduced Barry Allen as a new, updated version of The Flash. DC Comics gave several other superhero identities they had not used for a long time (such as Green Lantern) to other new characters but also updated characters they had published during the interim between the Golden and Silver ages. Batman is not significantly changed by the late 1950s for the continuity which would be later referred to as Earth-One. The lighter tone Batman had taken in the period between the Golden and Silver Ages led to the stories of the late 1950s and early 1960s that often feature a large number of science-fiction elements, and Batman is not significantly updated in the manner of other characters until 1964's Detective Comics #327, in which Batman reverts to his detective roots, with all science-fiction elements jettisoned from the series.

It is retroactively established within the pages of the 2006 limited series Infinite Crisis (when Bette Kane, a character from the pre-1964 era, is transferred to a re-created Earth-Two) that the pre-1964 Silver Age stories happen on Earth-Two, despite the fact that the year 1964 is years after the date of retirement of the Earth-Two Batman proposed in Superman Family #211, and that the Earth-One Batman has adventures with Superman, the Justice League of America, and other heroes in stories published before 1964. Much in the same way that many of the characters and creative concepts which remain after the 1964 revamp aren't given new origin stories (with some characters even seeming to recall some of their pre-1964 adventures), various new elements added to Batman's origin, background and history typically associated with the Silver Age were introduced as early as the 1950s, and are for that reason discussed in this section.

Batman and Superman; World's Finest. Art by Jim Lee and Alex Ross.
Batman and Superman; World's Finest. Art by Jim Lee and Alex Ross.

While the Golden Age and Silver Age distinctions are useful for discussing the character's evolution over the decades, said evolution is gradual, and the Silver Age Batman is in essence the same character as the Golden Age version. The character as he appears near the beginning of the Silver Age (in the mid-1950s) and after his 1964 revamp is different in many ways from how he appears near the end of the Silver Age (in the mid-1980s) due to many minor revisions and new directions in the character's publication history. As summarized in various later Silver Age stories, including 1980's Untold Legend of the Batman limited series that thoroughly retell Batman's Silver Age origin and history, Bruce Wayne is raised by wealthy socialites Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne in Wayne Manor. Eight year-old Bruce sees his parents murdered by small-time criminal Joe Chill, after which he is raised by his uncle Philip Wayne. Bruce swears to seek revenge on all criminals, and launches himself into a lifetime of dedicated training similar to the Golden Age Batman's training.

At some point early in his training, Bruce wears a costume similar to that of the future Robin's, in order to anonymously receive training from Gotham City police detective Harvey Harris (Detective Comics #226). He and his guardians visit Smallville, where he meets the youthful superhero Superboy, with whom he works on several cases. Bruce Wayne attends college, taking various criminology and law-related courses, but soon decides that being a police officer isn't the path he should take. After graduating, Bruce ponders how to handle criminals alone in his study when suddenly a bat flies through his study window; he decides to create a bat costume, and calls himself "Batman".

Sometime after the start of his crimefighting career, Bruce takes in orphan Dick Grayson, whose parents had been killed by gangster Boss Zucco and his henchmen, and trains him as his sidekick Robin.

In Detective Comics #235 (September 1956), Batman learns that his parents' killing had not been chance, but an assassination ordered by gangster Lew Moxon. Shown in flashback, while Bruce is a child, his father wears a bat costume similar to Batman's future costume to a masquerade party, where he encounters and stops the mobster. Moxon swears revenge against Dr. Wayne and hires criminal Joe Chill to arrange a mugging that will result in their deaths. Batman, wearing his father's bat costume (his usual costume having been torn while in action) tracks down Moxon, but the panicked mobster, recognizing the costume, inadvertently flees into the middle of traffic, where he is struck by a truck and killed.

Batman meets and regularly works with other heroes, most notably Superman, whom he began regularly working alongside in a series of team-ups in World's Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through 1986. Batman and Superman are usually shown as close friends. Batman becomes a founding member of the Justice League of America, appearing in its first story in 1960's Brave and the Bold #28. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brave and the Bold became a Batman title, in which Batman teams up with a different DC Universe superhero each month.

In 1969, Dick Grayson attends college as part DC Comics' effort to revise the Batman comics. Additionally, Bruce also moves from Wayne Manor into a penthouse apartment atop the Wayne Foundation building in downtown Gotham City, in order to be closer to Gotham City's crime. Bruce spends the 1970s and early 1980s mainly working solo, with occasional team-ups with Robin and/or Batgirl. Batman's adventures also become somewhat darker and more grim during this period, depicting increasingly violent crimes, including the first appearance (since the early Golden Age) of an insane, murderous Joker, and the arrival of Ra's Al Ghul. In the 80s, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing.

Modern Age

After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics "rebooted" the histories of some major characters in an attempt at updating them for then-contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retells Batman's origin in the storyline "Batman: Year One" (Batman #404-407), which emphasizes a grittier tone to the character. Many stories of Batman's Silver Age/Earth-One career remain canonical in the post-Crisis universe, with his origins remaining the same in essence, despite alteration. While Dick Grayson's past remains much the same, the history of Jason Todd, the second Robin, is altered, turning the boy into the orphan son of a petty crook, who tries to boost the tires from the Batmobile. Also removed is the guardian Phillip Wayne, leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred the butler. Additionally, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are no longer founding members of the JLA.

Most Batman stories written during this era either carry on from where the Crisis left Batman's life, or retold his early years. "Batman: Year Two" continued Frank Miller's work, and later stories such as Batman: The Man Who Laughs, Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory told of Batman's first encounters with the Joker, Two-Face and Robin respectively also following "Year One". A Secret Origins story also evaluated Batman's life before "Year One" in "Batman: The Man Who Falls". Beginnings to the careers of Robin and Batgirl are revised, and this era of Batmans solo time will be chronicled is the titles "Legends of the Dark Knight" and the upcoming "Batman Confidential".

Batman's evolution continues through the late 1980s, notably with the 1988's "Batman: A Death in the Family" storyline, for which DC Comics created a 900 number for readers to call to vote on whether Jason Todd lived or died. Jason was killed by a narrow margin of 72 votes.[citation needed] Batman works solo until 1989's A Lonely Place of Dying, in which Tim Drake becomes the new Robin. In the retroactive Elseworlds tale Batman: Son of the Demon, Batman marries Talia Al Ghul. The marriage is annulled and Batman is unaware that she bears his son.

In 1993, the same year that DC published the "Death of Superman" storyline, the publisher released the "Knightsaga" storyline. In the storyline's first phase, "Knightfall", new villain Bane critically injures Bruce Wayne, leading Bruce to ask Azrael to take on the role of Batman.

After the end of "Knightfall", the storylines split in two directions, following both the Azrael-Batman's adventures, and Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman once more. The story arcs realign in "KnightsEnd", as Azrael becomes increasingly violent and is defeated by a healed Bruce Wayne, returning the mantle of Batman to its creator. Bruce is not ready to return, however, and instead has Dick Grayson fill his shoes before returning once more.

1994's company-wide crossover Zero Hour, changes aspects of DC continuity again, including those of Batman. Noteworthy among these changes is that the general populace and the criminal element now considers Batman an urban legend rather than a known force. Similarly, the Waynes' killer is never caught or identified, effectively removing Joe Chill from the new continuity, rendering stories such as "Year Two" non-canon. Attempts in the 2000s have been made to reintroduce elements such as Joe Chill.

Art by Alex Ross.
Art by Alex Ross.

In 1998, Gotham City is destroyed during the "Cataclysm" storyline, depriving Batman of many of his technological resources. Lex Luthor rebuilds Gotham at the end of the "No Man's Land" storyline. Bruce Wayne is later framed by Luthor for murder in the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" and "Bruce Wayne, Fugitive" story arcs, although he is later acquitted.

Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee began a 12-issue run on Batman in 2003. Lee's first regular comic book work in nearly a decade, and the series became #1 on the Diamond Comics sales chart for the first time since Batman #500 (1993). The "Batman: Hush" storyline introduces Tommy Elliot, a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne's, who had signficant influence on him during his youth. As Hush, Elliot attacks Batman by coordinating many of the hero's enemies, and a large number of them appear, including the Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and the Riddler. Batman reveals his identity to Catwoman and the two became romantically involved for a brief time, until Batman's growing sense of distrust ended their relationship.

In 2004, DC published the War Games crossover, in which Stephanie Brown, initiates a gangland war that exposes Batman to the public and leads to her murder. The Black Mask rises to power and attempts to discredit Batman by impersonating him before he is stopped.

Although the Jason Todd whom Batman fights in the "Hush" storyline is revealed to be Clayface, later issues reveal that Batman does fight Todd during this encounter, but Clayface switches places with the former Robin mid-fight. Todd is shown to have been operating without detection for several years with the help of Talia al Ghul. Despite returning to life six months after his death, Jason does not reveal himself to Batman until he fights him as the Red Hood.

DC's 2005 limited series Identity Crisis, reveals that JLA member Zatanna had edited Batman's memories, leading to his deep loss of trust in the rest of the superhero community. Batman later creates the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over the other heroes. Its eventual co-opting by Maxwell Lord, Black King of the government organization known as Checkmate, is one of the main events that leads to the Infinite Crisis, which again restructures DC continuity. In Infinite Crisis #7, Alexander Luthor, Jr. mentions that in the newly-rewritten history of the "New Earth", created in the previous issue, the murderer of Martha and Thomas Wayne is captured, thus undoing the retcon created after Zero Hour. Batman and a team of superheroes, including the new Blue Beetle, destroy Brother Eye and the OMACs. During the Battle of Metropolis, Batman holds Alexander Luthor, Jr. at gunpoint, until Wonder Woman intervenes.

Following Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake retrace the steps Bruce had taken when he originally left Gotham City, to "rebuild Batman". Wonder Woman and a depowered Superman are also missing for the following year, the events of which are depicted in DC's weekly series 52.

In the "Face the Face" storyline, Batman and Robin return to Gotham City after their year-long absence. Batman has left Harvey Dent as the city's protector, but Dent becomes a murder suspect shortly after Batman's return, after several criminals are found murdered with Two-Face's trademarks. Although Dent is cleared, he re-embraces his Two-Face persona. Additionally, Bruce adopts Tim as his son. The follow-up story arc, "Batman and Son", features Talia al Ghul and a boy who believes Batman to be his father and brings elements of Son of the Demon into continuity.

In relation to other heroes one year after the Infinite Crisis, Batman helped create Wonder Woman's new identity, Diana Prince, and has begun screening other heroes for candidacy in the new Justice League of America along with Superman and Wonder Woman. Recently in Justice League of America #2, Superman and Wonder Woman privately conversed while Batman took a call from Commissioner Gordon and voted between the two of them whether Batman himself should be included in the new League. Their explanations and voting results have not been given, as the story is currently ongoing.


Like his close friend Superman, the prominent persona of Bruce Wayne's dual identities varies with time. Modern-age comics have tended to portray "Bruce Wayne" as the facade, with "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 act). Since Infinite Crisis, and following the portrayal in Batman Begins Bruce Wayne has been shown as somewhat of an amalgam between the two.

Wayne guards his secret identity well, as only a handful of individuals know of his superhero alter-ego. Several villains have also discovered his true identity over the years, most notably eco-terrorist Ra's al Ghul, as well as Hugo Strange, the Riddler, Bane, and Hush. In the 1990s Superman: The Animated Series, the reporter Lois Lane also discovers Batman's true identity in the episode "World's Finest", when his cape and cowl get stuck in a printing press, pulling them off to reveal his face.

Bruce Wayne

The name "Bruce Wayne" is an amalgamation of two historic figures: Scottish patriot Robert Bruce and American Revolutionary War General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

To the world at large, Bruce Wayne is an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lives off his family's personal fortune (amassed when Bruce's parents invested in Gotham real estate before the city was a bustling metropolis) and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, a major private technology firm that he inherits. Forbes Magazine[4] once estimated Bruce Wayne to be the 7th-richest fictional character with his $6.3 billion fortune. However, Wayne is also known for his contributions to charity, notably through the Wayne Foundation, a charity devoted to helping the victims of crime and preventing people from becoming criminals. Bruce creates the playboy public persona to aid in throwing off suspicion of his secret identity, often acting dim-witted and self-absorbed to further the act. Batman makes it clear that he considers keeping his secret identity a top priority; on various occasions he comes near death rather than use his skills in public as Bruce Wayne.

The Dark Knight

Bruce Wayne creates Batman to strike fear into the hearts of Gotham's underworld. The costume — and the way he acts while wearing it — are meant to be as imposing and intimidating as possible. While Bruce Wayne is lighthearted and irresponsible, Batman is stoic and driven. In addition to the change in costume and personality, Bruce Wayne also changes his voice significantly to become Batman. The Dark Knight's voice is low and raspy, for both disguise and intimidation.

In keeping with the "dark" theme of the comics and the nature of bats, Batman is usually presented as operating primarily at night. After Zero Hour, DC Comics introduced the idea of Batman as an urban legend; however, Batman is "outed" in the "War Games" crossover, when his live image is broadcast over the news during a brief daytime appearance in front of a high school under siege in Gotham. In The Long Halloween, Batman himself regards "his appearance to be more effective during the night".

Matches Malone

Main article: Matches Malone

Batman also occasionally goes undercover to infiltrate Gotham's criminal element. Matches Malone is a small-time thug who serves as Batman's snitch; when Matches is killed, Batman assumes his identity.

Skills, resources, and abilities

Batman is a superhero despite his not having super-powers. His resourcefulness, insight, and years of rigorous training make up for the absence of any other special abilities.

Physically, he is at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, notably martial arts, acrobatics, strength, and escape artistry. Intellectually, he is just as peerless; Batman is one of the world's greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise. He is regarded as one of the DC Universe's greatest detectives. Rather than simply out-fighting his opponents, Batman often uses cunning and planning to outwit them.


Being human, Batman's character flaws can be exploited. As opposed to the Silver Age Batman who shows moments of light-hearted humor and works well with others, he is currently portrayed as untrusting of other heroes, even ones he has known and worked with for years. Batman and Superman's relationship is often strained due to their differing ideologies. Some enemies use this to their advantage, isolating the Dark Knight. Batman is sometimes portrayed as arrogant, treating allies with various degrees of disrespect, for example, upsetting the resurrected Green Lantern Hal Jordan to the point that Hal punched him. Additionally, his childhood trauma makes him emotionally distant from even those closest to him, and a common theme among the younger heroes he often works with is how hard it is to gain his approval.


The 1966 television Batmobile was built by George Barris from a Lincoln Futura concept car.
The 1966 television Batmobile was built by George Barris from a Lincoln Futura concept car.

Batman designs or modifies the majority of costumes, equipment, and vehicles he uses as Batman, producing them through various divisions of Wayne Enterprises, including Kordtronics. At various times, characters such as Oracle, Harold, and Toyman III create, modify, or repair Batman's equipment. Additionally, sometimes Batman adapts or reverse-engineers the technology of other villains and heroes, such as Mister Terrific's T-spheres.

Over the years, Batman accumulates a large arsenal of specialized gadgets (compare with the later James Bond), the designs of which usually share a common theme of dark coloration and a bat motif. A notable example is Batman's primary vehicle, the Batmobile, usually depicted as an imposing black car with large tailfins that suggest a bat's wings; another is his chief throwing weapon, the batarang, a bat-shaped boomerang/throwing star. Batman's other vehicles include the Batplane (aka the Batwing), Batboat, Batmarine, 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 camp proportions. The 1960s television series Batman has an arsenal that includes such ridiculous, satirical "bat-" names as the bat-computer, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-cuffs, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, shark repellent bat-spray, and bat-rope. In one episode, Batman and Robin stop by an outdoor hamburger stand which sells "bat-burgers", beef sandwiches supposedly named in his honor. 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 signature piece of apparel, a utility belt. Over the years it is shown to contain a virtually limitless variety of crimefighting tools. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in either pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it.

In some of his early appearances, Batman uses side arms (see especially Detective Comics #32, September 1939), but he uses them less over time, later eschewing their use because a gun was used to murder his parents. Some stories relax this rule, allowing Batman to arm his vehicles for the purpose of disabling other vehicles or removing inanimate obstacles. In two stories, The Dark Knight Returns and The Cult, Batman used machine guns loaded with rubber bullets rather than live ammunition. In the 1989 Batman film, firearms figure more prominently in the Dark Knight's arsenal; machine guns and grenades are mounted on the Batmobile, and missiles and machine cannons on the Batwing.


Main article: Batsuit
Batman's current costume. Pencils by Jim Lee (2002).
Batman's current costume. Pencils by Jim Lee (2002).

The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through the character's evolution, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a black scallop-hem cape, a cowl covering most of the face featuring a pair of batlike ears, and a stylized bat emblem on the chest. His gloves also typically feature three scallops that protrude from the sides. The most significant costume variations over the years involve the chest emblem–a yellow ellipse was added in 1964, and has come and gone since then; and the color scheme, alternately lighter colors (medium blue and light gray) or darker (black and dark gray). The length of the cowl's ears and of the cape vary greatly depending on the artist.

In his earliest appearances, Batman wears a bulletproof vest, but it was dropped soon after, in order to make the character even more human. However with more informed writers who are aware bullet hits, even when armored, are undesirably painful and potentially dangerous, the idea of the hero having such protection and still endeavouring to avoid being hit has been reintroduced. To that end, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman explains that the bright yellow ellipse on an otherwise dark costume provides an attractive target, as drawing shooters away from a headshot and to a region of his costume that can better take the blow.


One of the best-known elements of the Batman mythos is the Bat-Signal. When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens that 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 phone line (the Bat-Phone), which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent cake cover on top. The line connects directly to Wayne Manor, specifically to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study.


Main article: Batcave

The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his residence, Wayne Manor. It serves as his command centre for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for his war on crime. It features the Bat Computer, which is powerful to the extent that in Batman & Robin, Alfred Pennyworth is able to program his brain algorithms into the system. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. The Batcave is considered one of the most advanced centers of intelligence and technology in the world. 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.

Gotham City

Main article: Gotham City

Modeled after cities such as Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Pittsburgh, Gotham is positioned on the northeast coast of the United States and is located in New Jersey, according to several sources. Suffering from urban blight, Gotham is generally portrayed as dirty, crime-ridden, and corrupt, in stark contrast to the bright, clean, futuristic feel of Superman's Metropolis. It has been said that Gotham is "New York at night", in reference to New York's former reputation as a city struggling with crime. Thomas and Martha Wayne are gunned down in 'Crime Alley', formerly Gotham's ritzy Park Row but now a slum.

Supporting characters

All Star Batman and Robin #1 (July 2005). Pencils by Jim Lee.
All Star Batman and Robin #1 (July 2005). Pencils by Jim Lee.

Despite his reputation as a loner, Batman works with many people in his fight against crime. For much of Batman's history, a teenager serves as the youthful sidekick Robin. The first Robin, Dick Grayson, eventually leaves his mentor and becomes the hero Nightwing. The second Robin, Jason Todd, is beaten to death by the Joker but later returns as an adversary. Tim Drake, the third Robin, first appears in 1989 and aspires to be as good a detective as Batman. Alfred Pennyworth is Bruce Wayne's loyal butler and father figure, and also aids Batman by maintaining the Batcave while Lucius Fox sees to his business and charitable interests. Police Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon works closely with Batman despite their differences on how to best enforce the law.

Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's daughter, was the second Batgirl (the first being Batwoman's niece Betty Kane, as "Bat-Girl"), and now, confined to a wheelchair due to a gunshot wound inflicted by the Joker, serves the superhero community at large as the computer hacker Oracle. As Oracle, Barbara directs the Birds of Prey team, among whose numbers is the Huntress. The Huntress' willingness to kill makes her alliance with Batman uneasy.

While primarily operating either alone or with Robin, Batman is at times a member of the Justice League of America or the Outsiders, though his status is often that of a part-time member. He even has a friendly rivalry with Mister Terrific.

Superman and Batman are featured together in both World's Finest comics and the current 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 crimefighting and justice. In recent years, Batman's relationship with Superman warms, making Superman his closest ally in the Justice League. Batman keeps a Kryptonite ring, given to him by Superman, in case the world's most powerful being is ever manipulated or goes rogue.

Azrael is a hero who works with Batman but not as part of his team. Azrael eventually becomes Batman after the events of Knightfall, when supervillain Bane cripples Bruce Wayne. He is very different from Bruce Wayne, and he rejects Robin. Eventually, Wayne recovers and takes back his Batman identity.

Cover to Batman Villains: Secret Files & Origins 2005. Art by Al Barrionuevo & Bit, color by Guy Major.
Cover to Batman Villains: Secret Files & Origins 2005. Art by Al Barrionuevo & Bit, color by Guy Major.

Batman is involved romantically with many women throughout his various incarnations. These include villainesses such as Catwoman, Andrea Beaumont, and Talia al Ghul; reporters Vicki Vale and Vesper Fairchild; superheroines Wonder Woman and Zatanna; former sidekick Sasha Bordeaux; and others, including Silver St. Cloud, Julie Madison, physician Shondra Kinsolving, nurse Linda Page and even Lois Lane. While these relationships tend to be short, Batman's attraction to Catwoman is present in nearly every version and medium in which the characters appear. Authors have gone back and forth over the years as to how Batman manages the 'playboy' aspect of Bruce Wayne's personality; at different times he embraces or flees from the women interested in attracting "Gotham's most eligible bachelor".

Onother characters in Batman's world include Batwoman, a young socialite who operates in Gotham City during Batman's absence following the Infinite Crisis; Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's pet dog; Batmite, an extra-dimensional imp who adores Batman; and Batman Junior.

Batman villains

Main article: Batman villains

Batman's foes form one of the most distinctive rogues galleries in comics. The most familiar Batman villains were created in the 1930s and 1940s: the Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, and Clayface. Other well known villains emerge in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s including Mister Freeze, Killer Moth, Poison Ivy, and Ra's Al Ghul. Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Black Mask, and the Ventriloquist first appear in the 1980s, and Bane and Harley Quinn in the 1990s. Enemies introduced since 2000 include Hush, David Cain, and Jason Todd.

Homosexual interpretations

See also: Seduction of the Innocent Psychologist Fredric Wertham's general assertion in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent is that readers imitated crimes committed in comic books, and that these works corrupt the morals of the youth. The most notorious charge in the book, however, is leveled at Batman, in a four-page polemic claiming that Batman and Robin are gay. "They live in sumptuous quarters, with beautiful flowers in large vases, and have a butler," Wertham wrote. "It is like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together." Wertham asserted, "the Batman type of story may stimulate children to fantasies"
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

Wertham became aware of this alternative reading through his conversations with fans of Batman in the fifties, who brought the comic book to his attention as an example of the idealization of a "homosexual lifestyle." Burt Ward has also remarked upon this interpretation, in his autobiography Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights noting the relationship could be interpreted as a sexual one, with the show's double entendres and lavish camp also possibly offering ambiguous interpretation.[5] This is despite the fact that the TV series was an attempt at a tamer version of Batman which tried to be less violent than the comic series — one of Wertham's arguments against comics.

The fact that the original Robin costume is made up of tiny green shorts and pixie boots also lead to some homosexual suggestions; however, Robin's costume was designed in the late 1930's, and he was meant to appeal to children as a colorful, fun character in contrast to the darker Batman. The current Robin dresses in a more modern costume that is not as skimpy as the original design.

Bat-girl, from Batman #144 (December 1961). Story by Bill Finger, art by Sheldon Moldoff.
Bat-girl, from Batman #144 (December 1961). Story by Bill Finger, art by Sheldon Moldoff.

Despite the lack of any concrete cause-and-effect link between reading comics and "deviance", these suggestions raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. It has also been suggested by scholars that the characters of Batwoman (in 1956) and 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.[6]

Julius Schwartz has said that when he became editor of the series he was conscious of the inferences that could be drawn from Batman's living arrangements, and that because of this he and writer Bill Finger had Batman's butler Alfred killed and his role in the stories filled by Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet, providing in effect a female chaperone at Wayne Manor. (Les Daniels, Batman: The Complete History, p. 99.) After the Batman television show debuted with Alfred as a recurring character, he was brought back to life in the strip in order to be consistent with the television version (ibid.)

Commenting on homosexual interpretations of Batman, writer Alan Grant has stated, "The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay. Denny O'Neil's Batman, Marv Wolfman's Batman, everybody's Batman all the way back to Bob Kane... none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view." Devin Grayson has commented, "It depends who you ask, doesn't it? Since you're asking me, I'll say no, I don't think he is ... I certainly understand the gay readings, though."[7]

While changing morals have made the issue less important today, popular culture and a number of artists continue to play off the homosexual connotation of the Batman-Robin relationship against the wishes of the publisher.[8] One notable example occurred in 2000, when DC Comics refused to allow permission for the reprinting of four panels (from Batman issues 79, 92, 105 and 139) to illustrate Christopher York's paper All in the family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s[9] Another happened in the summer of 2005, when painter Mark Chamberlain displayed a number of watercolors depicting both Batman and Robin in suggestive poses. DC threatened both artist and gallery with legal action if they did not cease selling the works and demanded all remaining art, as well as any profits derived from them.[10]

From Justice League of America #44, published in 1966. Story by Gardner Fox, pencils by Mike Sekowsky.
From Justice League of America #44, published in 1966. Story by Gardner Fox, pencils by Mike Sekowsky.

Most recently, George Clooney said in an interview with Barbara Walters that in Batman & Robin he played Batman as gay. "I was in a rubber suit and I had rubber nipples. I could have played Batman straight, but I made him gay." Barbara Walters after laughing then asked, "George, is Batman gay?" To which he responded, "No, but I made him gay." [11]

Batman, both as a superhero and in his identity as Bruce Wayne, has been portrayed throughout his years in comics and other media as having enjoyed a number of romantic relationships with women, and his encounters with his female adversaries have also occasionally used sexual tension to add to the narrative. Batman's sexuality is, as intended by most authors, predominantly heterosexual. Homosexual readings of the texts are the product of non-canonical reader interpretations.


Main article: List of Batman comics

The modern Batman of the DC Universe is the main character in current comic book series Detective Comics, Batman, Legends of the Dark Knight and Superman/Batman. DC Comics has announced another title, Batman: Confidential. Canceled series in which Batman starred included Batman Family, The Brave and the Bold and World's Finest Comics.

He appears regularly in many other DC titles, including Justice League of America, Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman.

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's notable Batman: The Killing Joke was intended to be non-canon, but the effects of its narrative have become canon. The revolutionary limited series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller is also notable and considered non-canon. Miller's current series All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is likewise not set in continuity.

In addition to Miller and Moore, comic book creators who have contributed significantly to the development of the Batman mythos are Bill Finger and Bob Kane's run on the series in the 1930s and 1940s; Denny O'Neil, Len Wein, and Neal Adams's work in the 1970s; more recent creators such as Grant Morrison and Dave McKean.


See also: Intercompany crossover

From time to time, Batman appears in crossovers with characters from other comic book publishers, most frequently with Marvel Comics. Many of these stories are not canon for the companies involved, although the events of the JLA/Avengers crossover appear to have affected both universes.

Batman's first intercompany crossover was the 1981 Marvel and DC Presents: Batman vs the Incredible Hulk, in which the two fight the Joker and the Shaper of Worlds. Jean-Paul Valley as Batman encounters the Punisher in Batman/Punisher: Lake of Fire, in which the two vigilantes fight Jigsaw and the Joker. Bruce Wayne as Batman encounters the Punisher in Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights, in which they fight Jigsaw and the Joker again.

Batman and Captain America fight each other for the sake of their worlds in Marvel vs. DC. The two ally against the Red Skull and the Joker in Batman and Captain America, which is set in the same universe as Superman & Batman: Generations. They meet again in JLA/Avengers, whose events are indirectly mentioned in the "Sydicate Rules" storyline of JLA. In all three team-ups, the two heroes meet for the "first" time.

Batman appears with Spider-Man twice, the first titled Spider-Man/Batman: Disordered Minds, with appearances from Marvel's Carnage and DC's Joker. The sequel, Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning, brings the two heroes together to face Ra's al Ghul, a DC villain, and the Kingpin, a Marvel villain.

Batman meets Daredevil in Batman and Daredevil: An Eye for an Eye in which they encounter Two-Face and Mr. Hyde and Batman/Daredevil: The King of New York in which they encounter the Kingpin and the Scarecrow.

In the Amalgam Comics titles, Batman is merged with the popular Marvel character Wolverine; the resulting character is called "Dark Claw". Bruce Wayne is a separate character merged with Nick Fury in Bruce Wayne Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Batman has been featured in inter-company crossovers with characters including The Darkness, Judge Dredd, Spawn, Grendel, Predators, Aliens, Tarzan, Planetary, The Spirit, and Scooby-Doo.

In other media

Main article: Batman in other media

In addition to comic books, Batman has appeared in newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television and several theatrical feature films. These include the campy television series of the 1960s and the 1989 film Batman starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. In 2005, the film Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale, took the character back to his early years. This series will continue with The Dark Knight, which will be released in 2008. A Broadway show called Batman: The Musical was set to premiere in 2005, with Tim Burton signed on to direct; however, the project was never produced. The Six Flags theme parks feature Batman stunt shows and rides.

As portrayed by Michael Keaton in the first Burton film, Batman is ranked at no. 46 on The AFI's Top 50 Heroes list. Coincidentally, ranked at no. 45 is Zorro from the film The Mark of Zorro; in most versions of Batman's origin story, this is the film young Bruce Wayne saw with his parents right before they were shot.

Batman is featured in several DC animated universe animated series, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited, all voiced by Kevin Conroy. In the future of that universe, seen in Batman Beyond, an aged Bruce Wayne passes on the mantle of Batman to a young man named Terry McGinnis, who is voiced by Will Friedle.

In 2004, an animated series titled The Batman, with a new voice cast and new continuity, made its debut. Rino Romano is the voice of Batman in this new series.

Given Batman's cultural ubiquity and long-standing iconic status, references to Batman — either as homage, influence, or parody — are common. Several other comic companies have created their own versions of the character, such as Marvel's Nighthawk and Image Comics' Shadowhawk. In the Amalgam Comics, Batman and Wolverine were fused to create Dark Claw.

Batman has appeared in both video games and board games, as well as Heroclix sets, the DC Overpower card game, and the DC Heroes roleplaying game. Both of the Raven NPCs from the Mutants and Masterminds role-playing game's Freedom City campaign setting are variant homages to Batman.

DC Comics has licensed Minimates figures and building sets for Batman characters. Lego currently produces a Batman building set theme that features several characters and locations from the Batman mythos