“The ‘Bat-Man,’ a mysterious and adventurous figure, fighting for justice and apprehending the wrong-doer, in his lone battle against the evil forces of society…
His identity remains unknown…”
March 30th, 1939: The first appearance of everyone’s favorite caped crusader!
Here we are, 75 years later, and Batman’s still kicking all kinds of ass.
He’s been portrayed in comics and film, on radio and TV and in video games. Like those of his closest comics relative, Superman, Batman’s portrayals are all over the map, and he’s been re-imagined on numerous occasions, often with multiple interpretations available simultaneously to different target audiences. To me, at least, this speaks to the character’s strength and enduring appeal (as I’ve babbled about once or twice).
When I was a kid, Batman was one of the Super Friends, and Adam West from the classic 1960s TV show. When I did read Batman comics, they of course offered a different, darker slant on the character. At the time, I didn’t think much of the character’s disparate portrayals. It was Batman, so it was all good, right? As I got older, there was a period when I didn’t follow comics, but then something happened in 1986 that revived my interest in the medium in general and Batman in particular: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.
Yeah. I was pretty much a lost cause after that. Once Miller started piling on with stuff like Batman: Year One, I was hopeless.
Since then, I’ve continued to enjoy Batman on the page and on the screen. My daughters are both fans, too, albeit of the “tamer” versions you find in fare like the aforementioned Super Friends cartoons, or more recent offerings like Batman: The Brave and the Bold. They also like the 60s Batman series, which remains an unrivaled cult classic. Finding age-appropriate ways to share stuff like this is part of the fun for me, so we’ve picked up books like Ralph Cosentino’s Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight (a very cool book, whether you’re a kid or just act like one). Of course, such activities also lead to things like this:
Besides, I know this sort of thing also makes hardcore fanboys twitch, which is really just added entertainment value for me.
Meanwhile, more serious takes on the character in keeping with his storied past continue to achieve success at the box office, so I doubt Batman’s going anywhere anytime soon. You have to wonder what we’ll be saying about him around his 100th anniversary.
Well, I guess we’ve time to work all that out.
For now, though? Happy 75th, Batman. Keep on Crusadin’.