Batman was created by Bob Kane in 1939. His first draft of the character was based on a half-man, half-baseball-bat bat idea, but he was soon convinced by his wife that using the animal version of a bat would make it must more visually interesting. His first long, skinny drawing of the Baseball-Batman was recently sold at auction for over a million dollars US.
Over the years, the tone of Batman comics has ranged from as light as the Batman in Hostess Twinkie advertisements to the dark Batman of the late 1980s. That Batman got so depressed that he did nothing but sit at home in his underwear, drink beer and tell Robin how he would never amount to anything. Even the Joker was defeated by this version of Batman when Batman convinced him it wasn’t worth the effort to commit evil acts as nothing mattered in the end anyway. This era ended when Batman finally sought out therapy to deal with issues stemming from his abandonment feelings from the death of his parents.
There is rumored to be a lost Batman stories from the 1960s in which Batman hunted down the group that assassinated JFK. It turned out to be a plot by the Riddler and the whole thing was a complicated series of clues to lead Batman to the fact that the Riddler was going to steal the safe from the book depository. The editors thought that making the death of the president a clue to another crime trivialized it and pulled the story at the last second. Thought to be in particular bad taste was a panel with Robin examining clues in Texas and exclaiming, “Gosh Batman, the country needed this like it needed a hole in the head.”
During the late 1970s the editorial board of DC comics considered having Batman come out of the closet and admit that he was a homosexual. While this would have resulted in a huge amount of publicity and a burst in sales, it was decided that Batman should continue to keep his homosexuality a secret. Even today his gay proclivities are broadly hinted at, but never explicitly stated.
A 1963 issue of Detective Comics revealed that Batman has a Batflap int he back of his costume that allows him to expel bodily waste without having to undress completely. In the issue, the Mad Hatter takes over a Mexican restaurant called The Sombrero and Bruce Wayne goes undercover to eat there with disastrous results.
Grant Morrison’s recent run on Batman actually sent Batman back in time and had him live through various eras making his way to the future. The story ended up being so complicated that only three people completely understood it. However, so many people pretended to understand it that it ended up being one of the most popular comic plots of all time! Morrison has promised that his future plans will be so difficult to understand that they will be even more popular.
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Copyright 2011 David Wahl