Detective Comics #27 hit the stands in In May, 1939. In it we saw the first appearance of Batman. While Superman was pure and clean, Batman was grim and gritty. In this comic, the villain fell into a vat of acid, which killed him. Not showing any remorse for causing the death, Batman observed A fitting end for his kind. Batman was created by Bob Kane and has always remained in print.
During a time when superhero comics were not so popular, Batman survived by focusing on his detective abilities, making his comic stories more of a mystery series than a superhero book.
The reason Batman is so popular is because he is a compromise between the two types of heroes. He didn't have superpowers, but he did have an intellect, a costume, and neat gadgets that would put him on par with the superheroes. Batman has been put on the big and small screen several times in T.V series, movies, and cartoons.
Batman made his first appearance as a comic book superhero in DC Comics “Detective Comics No. 27, May 1939”.
Bob Kane has been credited with the original creation of Batman. Kane was a twenty-two year old comic book artist creating fill-in cartoons about dogs and cats for DC Comics when he was selected to create a hero as powerful and appealing as Superman, DC Comic’s year old phenomenal success. Kane’s inspiration for Batman reportedly came from three sources—a Leonardo da Vinci sketch of a man trying to fly with attached bat-like wings, a 1930’s silent mystery movie titled “The Bat Whisperer” about a bat faced villain, and the masked heroes from “The Shadow and Zorro”.
Although Kane had skills as both a cartoon artist and writer, Kane indicated that he “didn’t have the time to literally write and draw the (Batman) strip at the same time.” As a result, Kane worked with writer Bill Finger, who wrote the scripts from ideas Kane and Finger collaborated on.
Batman has existed as a character since 1939, with his first appearance in Detective Comics #27. Since then the character has been revamped several times, with the most recent changes occurring after the DC universe event known as Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths (Cover dates 4/85 to 3/86) is generally regarded as _the_ breakpoint in DC continuity.
After Crisis finished, many characters had their histories changed. The most significant change happened to Superman, who got a complete rewrite in the Man of Steel (late 1986) miniseries. New stories followed in his regular titles, with absolutely _no_ links to the pre-Crisis stories.
Batman, however, never got a full rewrite from scratch. The process was slow and gradual, with several additions and alterations over the years. Due to this process, there is no 'official' cutoff point between the 'old' and 'new' continuities. A general rule of thumb is that all stories are part of the new continuity, until contradicted by a later story.
It all started with the limited series Dark Knight (3/86 to 6/86) (aka The Dark Knight Returns), appearing shortly after Crisis finished . Set in the future, it covered the return of Batman following ten years of retirement. The story is now generally regarded as an Elseworlds story (DC's line of stories set outside the normal continuity). It has been considered as the start of a darker or 'Grim `n Gritty' Batman.
The real changes began in 1987, with the Batman: Year One storyline (BATMAN 404-407, 2/87 to 5/87).
This story provided a new, darker, realistic image, and the definitive Batman origin. The basics of the Batman character generally remained intact.
Year One told the story of Batman's first days as a hero. When it starts, Bruce is not in costume, and as it progresses he learns how to instil fear in criminals; for a while, no one knows whether he is human, bat, or demon. While the story did not have an immediate effect on present-day continuity, a few elements like a redefined origin for Catwoman and new love interest for Gordon popped up later. This storyline is still largely in continuity.
While this was running in BATMAN, an issue of DETECTIVE dealt with the gunshot wounding of Jason Todd (DETECTIVE 574, 5/87). This was similar to the incident which led to the leaving of Dick Grayson - the first Robin (BATMAN 408, 6/87). These two issues helped define the relationship between Batman and Robin, as well as that between Bruce and Leslie Thomkins. Leslie was the one who, with Alfred, took care of Bruce after the death of his parents.
This was followed immediately by Batman: Year Two (DETECTIVE 575- 578, 6/87 to 9/87). It featured a new villainous vigilante - the Reaper - and Batman's confrontation with Joe Chill (the guy who murdered his parents). This story also showed the reasons behind Batman's refusal to use firearms. It has now been taken out of continuity, since post-Zero Hour Batman does not know the identity of his parents' murderer.
Did Robin Die Tonight (BATMAN 408, 6/87) also contained the new origin and first meeting with Jason Todd. This differed markedly from the previous origin, as Jason was now a street kid, who stole the tires off the Batmobile. Formerly, Jason was a circus performer, whose family knew the Grayson family.
This previous storyline is now invalidated.
In 1994, DC celebrated the (almost) 10th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths with another universe revamp, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time. Following Zero Hour, several changes have been made to the Batman mythos. These include:
Batman has never caught his parents' killer. [This invalidates Year Two]
Batman never slept with Talia (the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul. [This invalidates the BRIDE/SON OF THE DEMON storylines to some extent.]
Batman was never in the Justice League. [This invalidates most of the early issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA, and is currently the subject of some controversy].
Dick Grayson was officially adopted by Bruce Wayne
Dick failed to save someone from being killed by Two Face in an early encounter. This has caused him to be more uncertain and unsure of himself - especially in dealings with Two Face. [This was addressed in the Prodigal storyline].
Catwoman's origin was heavily altered in Catwoman #0.
Batman latest reviews
Comic Reviews: Batman - Detective Comics Vol. 2: Scare Tactics hardcover/paperback (...
10 Jun 2013 at 3:02pm
Tony Daniel's Batman -- Detective comicbooks Vol. 2: Scare Tactics offers some exceptional moments, but unfortunately not enough for me to recommend this book to anyone except a very certain kind of Batman reader. For me, this volume of Detective comicbooks failed to impress enough that I might be inclined to drop the series entirely, except for my curiosity about what new writer John Layman (Chew) might bring to the series.
[Review contains spoilers]
Through a couple of exceptional collections in the Dick-Grayson-as-Batman era, Tony Daniel has made his Batman run synonymous with the villain Black Mask, and the best part of Scare Tactics is getting to see Daniel recreate Black Mask for the New 52. As I mentioned in my Night of the Owls review, Daniel takes advantage of the tie-in issue collected here to smooth over some of the unexplained jumps between the old continuity and the New 52 -- how Jeremiah Arkham can be back running the asylum, how Roman Sionis is alive and remembers his time as Black Mask, etc. Daniel handles all of this well and establishes the new mind-controlling Black Mask as a credible threat for Batman in the New 52.
Daniel takes the unusual step of continuing that story into the included Detective comicbooks annual. Too often what happens in a crossover tie-in stays in a crossover tie-in, such that the tie-in is more about the crossover than the characters affected. The annual struggles from too much comic books pseudo-science -- whether science or magic gives Black Mask his mind-control powers isn't quite clear -- but pairing Black Mast with the also mind-controlling Mad Hatter is interesting, and the story reads like a "classic" Batman story with the hero crashing down on the villains from the ceiling.
Indeed what might most attract some readers to the first and second volumes of Detective comicbooks is that Daniel's stories are very much "iconic" and continuity-light. Aside from in the "Night of the Owls" crossover, the main characters here are just Batman, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon; this is a collection any "Dark Knight" movie fan could pick up and understand. If one wanted "just a Batman story" to read on a plane ride, Scare Tactics might be the thing, but for most readers, the book will lack the significant heft of Scott Snyder's Batman work, for instance.
This is not necessarily a pro-continuity argument that all "good" Batman stories have to "matter." Rather, what irked me about Scare Tactics was the extent to which I could tell that these stories didn't matter at all.
The book starts positively with a one-issue follow-up to Dark Knight: Knight Terrors that also forwards the Hugo Strange storyline from Detective: Faces of Evil. But after the "Owls" crossover, the meat of Scare Tactics is a three-part story where Batman fights the villain Mr. Toxin, whose appearance is just as ridiculous as his name. This story, too, follows from Faces, but the end is terribly sudden (as if maybe Daniel had his issue count shortened, thought the annual peters out like this, too) and the reader is pretty much guaranteed they'll never see Mr. Toxin again.
Again, a story need not tie to ten years of continuity nor change Batman's life irrevocably, but the Mr. Toxin story changes Batman not at all; there's no emotional resonance to the story really, more than simply Batman stopping a bad guy. There are certain similarities between Daniel's Mr. Toxin story and Scott Snyder's Batman: City of Owls too, that only underscore how City really got to the core of who Batman is and the Mr. Toxin story only flits along the surface.
The book finishes with the Detective comicbooks back-up stories. I'm glad DC included these, and the two by James Tynion -- about Alfred and about the Joker's severed face respectively -- acquit themselves well enough, though Daniel's Two-Face story is a mess. This is Two-Face's first major New 52 appearance and the story fails to explain his status quo; apparently Two-Face is some sort of semi-legitimate businessman, in that the Gotham DA is suing him in open court and then later even offers Two-Face his old job as DA back, though how exactly that would work is never quite explained.
Daniel stretches even comic book book credibility by introducing a group of monks with a monastery in downtown Gotham; they are the worst hitmen ever given that they judge their victims before execution and then don't kill them if the vicim is deemed "good." Artist Szymon Kudranski provides some nicely dark, shadowy art at times, but late in the story it gets crowded and it's hard to tell how many actors there are in the scenes.
Gregg Hurwitz contributes the Detective comicbooks Zero Month issue; again, I'm glad DC has collected these with the various series, though the issue and its predictable ending didn't move me, and I was left to wonder whether Snyder will pick up or ignore the events of these issues in the upcoming "Zero Year" storyline.
What issues Daniel draws are consistently good throughout, with echoes of David Mazzucchelli and also Jim Lee; inker Sandu Florea must certainly share some credit here. Ed Benes also contributes a perhaps unusually strong issue, with inks by Rob Hunter, whose images to me resembled Bernie Wrightson's in Batman: The Cult. Colorist Tomeu Morey contributes a muted color palette that I found distracting at first, but felt ultimately worked with Daniel's iconic approach to the Batman character.
Detective comicbooks Vol. 2: Scare Tactics is an uneven book, caught as it is between two Bat-crossovers and, for that reason, containing seemingly more filler than it does actual story. There is purpose for filler or one-off tales (certainly plenty of good has come out of Legends of the Dark Knight over the years), but I just don't think it's for me. If you've been enjoying John Layman's Detective work, let me know; otherwise it might be time for Detective comicbooks and I to part ways.
[Includes original and variant covers]
Later this week, Paul Levitz's Legion of Super-Heroes: Secret Origin. Don't miss it!
This post was syndicated from Collected Editions, the chronicles of a "wait-for-trade-er" -- the new breed of comic book book fans who forgo monthly "floppies" for trade paperbacks and collected editions -- reviews, commentaries, low price alerts, news, and the occasional scoop. Visit collectededitions.blogspot.com.
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