Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still referred to at times as the Batman) is a fictional character, a comic book superhero co-created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger (although only Kane receives official credit), appearing in publications by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy industrialist, playboy, and philanthropist. Witnessing the murder of his parents as a child, Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his sidekick Robin and his butler Alfred Pennyworth, and fights an assortment of villains influenced by the characters' roots in film and pulp magazines. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation in his war on crime. Batman became a popular character soon after his introduction, and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore on, differing takes on the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series utilized a camp aesthetic associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in the 1986 miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by writer-artist Frank Miller. The successes of director Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman and Christopher Nolan's 2005 reboot Batman Begins also helped to reignite popular interest in the character. A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world.
- The Joker
- The Riddler
- The Penguin
- Harley Quinn
- Poison Ivy
- Mr. Freeze
- The Scarecrow
Batman's costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals.The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through various stories and media, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a scallop-hem cape, a cowl covering most of the face featuring a pair of batlike ears, and a stylized bat emblem on the chest, plus the ever-present utility belt. The costumes' colors are traditionally blue and grey, although this colorization arose due to the way comic book art is colored. Finger and Kane conceptualized Batman as having a black cape and cowl and grey suit, but conventions in coloring called for black to be highlighted with blue.This coloring has been claimed by Larry Ford, in Place, Power, Situation, and Spectacle: A Geography of Film, to be a reversion of conventional color-coding symbolism, which sees "bad guys" wearing dark colors. Batman's gloves typically feature three scallops that protrude from the sides. A yellow ellipse around the bat logo on the character's chest was added in 1964, and became the hero's trademark symbol, akin to the red and yellow "S" symbol of Superman. The overall look of the character, particularly the length of the cowl's ears and of the cape, varies greatly depending on the artist. Dennis O'Neil said, "We now say that Batman has two hundred suits hanging in the Batcave so they don't have to look the same . . . Everybody loves to draw Batman, and everybody wants to put their own spin on it."
When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens called the Bat-signal which shines into the night sky, creating a bat-symbol on a passing cloud which can be seen from any point in Gotham. The origin of the signal varies, depending on the continuity and medium. In various incarnations, most notably the 1960s Batman TV series, Commissioner Gordon also has a dedicated phone line, dubbed the Bat-Phone, connected to a bright red telephone (in the TV series) which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent cake cover on top. The line connects directly to Batman's residence, Wayne Manor, specifically both to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study and the extension phone in the Batcave.
The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his Wayne Manor. It serves as his command center for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for his war on crime. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. In both the comic Batman: Shadow of the Bat (issue #45) and the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cave is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad. Of the heroes and villains who see the Batcave, few know where it is located.
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Batman faces a variety of foes ranging from common criminals to outlandish super-villains. Many Batman villains mirror aspects of the hero's character and development, often having tragic origin stories that lead them to a life of crime. Batman's "most implacable foe" is the Joker, a clown-like criminal who as a "personification of the irrational" represents "everything Batman [opposes]." Other recurring antagonists include Catwoman, the Penguin, the Riddler and Two-Face, among many others.