Fans around the world are celebrating Gotham’s famed Caped Crusader this month as the iconic character turns 75. July 23 has officially been declared Batman Day. To mark the occasion, Hollywood’s Warner Bros has also organised a VIP studio tour that showcases everything from Batmobiles and masks to capes and other souvenirs of the Dark Knight.
Batman was born in May 1939, the creation of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, who were tasked by DC Comics with creating a new superhero in the wake of the success of Superman.
Unlike Superman, this new hero was given a dark side. He rapidly became a global pop culture icon, decades before the latest generation of superheroes like Captain America, Spiderman or Iron Man took to the big screen. While Superman represents the archetypal hero with super-human powers, a brightly coloured costume and appears in daylight, Bruce Wayne is a wealthy tycoon who changes into a mask and dark cape to bring justice to Gotham City.
Meanwhile, film versions have also played a key role in keeping the Batman brand alive. This includes the trilogy by Christopher Nolan — Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) — with Hollywood star Christian Bale in the brooding title role. Overall the seven Batman films — including Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) — have made $3.7 billion around the world, according to boxofficemojo.com.
In 2016, Batman will return to the big screen for the first time along with Superman, in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Ben Affleck will play the Caped Crusader, although some fans have reportedly been sceptical about his casting. It will be interesting to see how he plays the Dark Knight, three-quarters of a century after Batman’s birth.
Real name: Bruce Wayne
Powers: Exceptional martial artist, combat strategy, inexhaustible wealth, brilliant deductive skills, advanced technology
Occupation: CEO of Wayne Enterprises
Alias/AKA: Dark Knight, Caped Crusader, Matches Malone
First Appearance: Detective Comics #27 (1939)