75 Years of Batman

Batman, the world’s most famous detective (sorry, Sherlock) celebrates his 75 year anniversary this week.

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From comic books, early radio serials, TV shows, and movies, the brooding deliverer of justice has endured since Bruce Wayne/Batman first leapt into our imaginations in 1939 via Detective Comics #27.

Artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created one of the most popular and iconic of all American literary figures. While Superman extolled the virtues of “truth, justice, and the American way,” Batman has appealed to the darker, divided morality that exists within many of us.

A far more nuanced character, psychologically, than Superman, the “Batman” has consistently delved into the darker parts of human nature. As a result, for many fans, Batman is the ultimate hero. No special alien powers, and not impervious to physical harm, Batman uses his skills (and considerable bank account) to thwart evil and protect the common man.

That Batman has remained relevant for seven decades is a testament to the personal connection that so many fans feel to the character.

Reelz Channel compiled a fun retrospective on the history of ‘The Dark Knight’ and the actors who have played him.

For example, when film director Zack Snyder cast relative unknown Henry Cavill for the role of Superman for his ‘Man of Steel,’ there were many who simply questioned who Cavill was. When it was announced that Batman would be a key role for the film’s sequel, the internet was abuzz about who could possibly be cast as ‘The Caped Crusader.’

When it was later revealed that ‘The Dark Knight’ would be played by Ben Affleck, fans went berserk in social media outlets voicing their opinions on the casting choice. The furor and impassioned response (largely negative early on) from fans became front page news and goes to prove that we Batman fans take the character personally.

Whereas the filmed versions of Superman have largely overshadowed the careers of the actor himself, the “Superman Curse” doesn’t appear to apply to actors who become Batman. Even George Clooney’s unfortunate turn as Batman/Bruce Wayne couldn’t kill the movie franchise. We love the character more than the actor portraying him.

Thanks to film director Christopher Nolan, in 2005, Christian Bale donned the Batsuit in a franchise “reboot” which essentially reset the quality standard by which other Superhero films are currently measured. ‘Batman Begins’ reinvigorated the ‘Batman’ franchise and its sequel ‘The Dark Knight’ set the U.S. opening weekend box office record with $158 million in ticket sales.

For a glimpse at the creative talent behind the ‘Batman’ reboot, click below to view the Charlie Rose interview with Bale and Nolan from 2005.

In appreciation of this week’s 75 year anniversary of Batman, Flixnerd offers a ‘Nerdtastic  “Thank you!” to it’s creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a hero with cool powers in Superman, but Kane and Finger gave life to the most badass detective character ever.

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