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Tania is currently the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker and an Associate Editor at Womanista. With past writing credits as a freelance writer and journalist with Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), and NBC News' Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. As a writer by vocation and entrepreneur by nature, Tania is a life long learner who enjoys traveling and meeting new people. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley, and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and road-tripping across the great United States. She is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and studying journalism. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

The Importance of Batman

First look at the IMAX poster for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, releasing 2016. {Image Credit: Warner Brothers/DC Comics}

First look at the IMAX poster for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight. {Image Credit: Warner Brothers/DC Comics}

Happy Batman Day! Seventy-six years ago today, Batman (created by artist, Bob Kane and writer, Bill Finger) made his first ever appearance in Detective Comics #27. On account of those early comic book appearances that catapulted the Caped Crusader into stardom, today Batman has become one of of the most well known characters in the history of our American pop culture. As one of the world’s beloved and recognizable fictional characters, the Dark Knight has become a mega icon that embodies what it means to be a hero and someone that truly matters.

Up until he watched his parents get gunned down during a mugging in Gotham City, like Richie Rich, Bruce Wayne was just a young boy living a privileged life, unaware of the realities in the world around him. However, that incident changed him, opening his eyes to a life he never imagined. Crime would soon define his life and set him up for altruism, as the millionaire would dedicate himself to becoming the weapon known as Batman. Over the years, he would prove that a single man doesn’t need to have superpowers to be a superhero, just a moral compass and dedication to what is right.

Batman’s first official appearance in DC Comics, May 1, 1939. {Image Credit: DC Comics}

Over the years, Batman’s presence expanded through the comic book world. In many ways, the superhero became a cultural artifact for the 21st century, continuously reinvented with a spotlight on the core of his good. During WWII, the superhero became a symbol of hope for readers at home and on the battle field as the focus for one of the comics dealt with Batman fighting Nazi saboteurs visiting Gotham City. Though the cover of the comic at the time depicted Batman beating Adolf Hitler with tennis balls, the actual comic itself steered clear of ever mentioning The Führer.

From comic books to graphic novels, Batman reigned supreme for years and continues too, with a diverse narrative. In 1986, writer and artist, Frank Miller’s limited series, The Dark Knight Returns depicted the tale of a 55 year-old Batman coming out of retirement and reconsidering putting the cape and mask back on. The series recharged the character and was a financial success, becoming one of the medium’s most notable benchmarks in quality storytelling. The series created a comeback for the aging superhero, skyrocketing him into mass popularity.

The superhero first appeared in two serial films made for television from the 1940s, titled Batman and Batman and Robin. It was nearly twenty years later that Batman would get his own  TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Robin. The two would go onto star into a spin-off film of the series in 1966. It was towards the end of the 1980s that Warner Brothers would begin producing films of the Dark Knight for the big screen. Batman directed by Tim Burton, starred Michael Keaton and was the first in the mega franchise to set a tone of what audiences can expect from the comic books.

While the last few live-action films of the 1990s failed to meet box office expectations (lest we forget George Clooney’s nipples in Batman & Robin), the animated feature length, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (a spin-off of Batman: The Animated Series) released on December 17, 1993 and became a fan favorite that Christmas, soon developing a cult following over the years and hailed as one of the best Batman (and animated films) of all time.

Once again, the winged superhero met with a reboot in 2005 as a trilogy over a span of eight years directed by Christopher Nolan with Christian Bale as the Dark Knight in Batman Begins. The three films went on to gross more than $1.2 billion at the box office, breaking all records of any Batman franchise. Though the films stood the test of time and were regarded as cinematic masterpieces by many, it was announced in 2013 that Batman would receive the Hollywood treatment and start up, yet again but this time with Superman.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (directed by Zack Snyder) would be the follow-up sequel to 2013’s Superman reboot of Man of Steel, setting in motion the first of its kind for DC Comics: A shared film universe, similar to Marvel’s The Avengers. Batman will be joining his fellow Justice League alum in a larger crossover film come 2018. Though elements of Miller’s comic The Dark Knight Returns can be seen in The Dark Knight Rises, it was reported by Snyder that though the film is inspired by the limited series, the Batman depicted in his film (portrayed by Ben Affleck) will not be based on any material from the comic books.

In 2014, Batman made the leap back to the small screen with Gotham, an origin series chronicling Bruce Wayne as a child and under the mentoring and guidance of Commissioner Gordon. No matter how many films get made and who stars as Batman, there is a genuine love for the comic book hero and his longstanding ethics.

BatKid and Batman fighting crime. {Image Credit: Trisha Leeper/Getty Images}

In 2013, the world met BatKid also known as Miles Scott, a child and cancer survivor currently in remission. Scott’s wish was to become “Batkid,” the sidekick to Batman. As part of the Make-A-Wish foundation, the young fan’s request was met with the largest and most elaborate project ever staged by the organization. The story warmed audiences around the country as the boy took part in staged events including several crime scenarios in and around San Francisco (known for the day as “Gotham City”), ultimately receiving the key to the city. Elected officials and law enforcement took part in the project, along with President Obama.

San Francisco’s main newspaper even went so far to produce an edition of the “Gotham City Chronicle” in honor of BatKid’s efforts with the headline (written by the Clark Kent), “Batkid Saves City: Hooded hero nabs Riddler, rescues damsel in distress.

The event showed that Batman matters because he represents the apex of humanistic achievements, and is the very definition of what makes a superhero. Hardships molded the young character into someone who sees the world for what it is. In a comic book world riddled with supernatural abilities and aliens, he is someone who harnesses his greatest strengths from all that he is and can ever be. Though fictional, Batman in many ways is an excellent portrait of someone who has made themselves into a superhero from commitment, determination, and great discipline. He is only man, but made himself the best one there is.

Through the comic books, the films, the animated cartoons, the action figures, Halloween costumes, video games, and much more, this fictional character isn’t far fetched in what our belief should be: that we can be anything we want to. He raises the bar on our own limitations, pushing us to achieve more than we can. His story and journey rings true for so many of us today. In the way the world is with war, civil unrest, famine, heartbreak, disease, Batman matters because he shows us our own potential. We are all Batman, we just need to be able to put that mindset to good use.

And that’s a lesson we can all take from this 76 year old. Happy Batman Day!

Dean Winchester of Supernatural: “I’m Batman.” Aren’t we all? {Image Credit: Winchesterland/The CW}

* * * * *

Are you a Batman fan? What’s your favorite Batman film? Who’s your favorite Batman? Share with us in the comments below why you love the Dark Knight so much.

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3 Comments on “The Importance of Batman”

  1. basicbubbles May 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    Reblogged this on basicbubbles.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy Batman Day! | westlifebunny - May 25, 2015

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  2. Movie Review: An Impressive Battle Royale in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” | The Hudsucker - March 31, 2016

    […] already know the history of Clark Kent/Superman and Bruce Wayne/Batman, but in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we are given a peek into the preliminary coupling […]

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