The Batman is the newest film reboot in a long series of retellings of Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, so we thought now would be a good time to delve into some of the history of the Dark Knight, who has appeared in different media as everything from a witty do-gooder to a brooding sociopath and any number of combinations in between. What do you expect from a hero who looks scary and whose main enemies are clowns?
Batman first appeared in Detective Comics- the namesake for all of DC- in issue 27, which came out in March of 1939. Famously created by artist Bob Kane, and somewhat less famously by writer Bill Finger, the caped crusader was introduced as the alter-ego of socialite Bruce Wayne, an unlikely ally of Commissioner Jim Gordon from the very beginning. He got his own comic in 1940, with the premier issue featuring the first appearance of the Joker and “The Cat” who would become Catwoman. Alternately called “Batman”, “The Batman”, or even “The Bat-Man,” one can argue that “The” seems to be included by more down-to-earth characters, while fellow superheroes and supervillains call him “Batman” like it’s the first name of a peer.
Rebooted and retold time and time again, there are some things that recur in every Batman tale and timeline: Bruce Wayne is a millionaire industrialist genius, heir to the Wayne fortune and stately Wayne Manor. As a boy, he saw his parents, Thomas and Martha, murdered- almost always in a way involving a spilled pearl necklace*, and has vowed to fight crime. He has no superpowers, his weapons are a combination of training and ingenuity, matched with assorted high-tech gadgets and gizmos facilitated by his wealth. His costume and general branding are based on bats being- or at least thought to be- scary creatures of the night, something that probably has a personal anecdote.
Of course, from there, differences between presentations. Sometimes Batman has a sidekick named Robin (much like Sherlock Holmes has Watson, and thus a fictional Detective needs someone in-story to explain things to.) Sometimes the existence of Robin leads to various other sidekicks. Thomas and Martha’s death might have been the result of a random crime, or targeted assassination, and/or somehow tangled up with the Joker, depending on which comic or movie or show you’re seeing. While Batman always has a “rogues gallery” of costumed foes, this can range from a few eccentric highlights in a crowd of otherwise down-to-earth villains (see The Dark Knight, for example) or might have a never-ending lineup of monsters, mutants, aliens, and superpowered adversaries, usually when he’s teaming up with the comparable heroes in the Justice League. Sometimes Batman is universally loved as a hero, sometimes he has mixed appreciation as a needed vigilante, sometimes he’s an outright anti-hero. He could be wearing anything from spandex to body armor, over a physique that might represent a life of leisure to intense decades of physical training. But he’s always cool, and no matter how dark and gritty someone told his story, someone else is going to be telling the story even darker and grittier down the line.
For now, the darkest and grittiest on-screen Batman, because the comics get really dark sometimes, is also the newest, The Batman, which also keeps up with DC’s new trend of rebooting a movie by adding “THE” to the title. The Batman includes a few instances of actors who have now been in both Marvel and DC movies; Barry Keough, who is better shown in a deleted scene than in the final film, is also in Eternals; Zoe Kravitz was in X-men prequels and Into the Spider-verse, and she’s also voiced Catwoman before; Colin Farrel was in Daredevil; Andy Serkis was Klaue in the MCU, etc…(Not really related, but just to share, here’s a picture of Andy with fellow Alfred the Butler actor Michael Caine.)
Not only is the film, the villains, Gotham, and Batman darker, even Bruce Wayne is, being described as Emo, if not Goth, and canonically being inspired by Kurt Cobain. So…what better to represent this film than black on black fashion accessories? Specifically for the new film, we have this new Batarang Keychain and Batarang Necklace! While created for other Batman stories before this film came out, we feel it’s appropriate to remind everyone of our popular Arkham Asylum Pin…and if you haven’t gotten a chance yet, to remind you about the cool bonus scene featuring Batman’s old friend.
Not a fan of THAT much darkness and insanity? How about some classic campy batman, such as this set of 4 pins based on the 60’s TV show? Of course, we do have a full collection of Batman Logos and cowls through the years, as well as other Batman-themed superhero jewelry.
*Bonus fact: A quality pearl necklace has a knot between each pearl. This prevents the pearls from rubbing against each other, but also means that even if the string breaks, only 1-2 pearls should fall off. We hope this information does not ruin the character’s origins for you.
** Bonus bonus fact: Many people know of Robert the Bruce as a less heroic figure in the film Braveheart. His role was one of many historic inaccuracies.