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iFeature | BATMAN Celebrates 85th Anniversary

Updated: Apr 1

A Pop Culture Feature


The Dark Knight celebrates a milestone! The DC Comics hero that appeared in Detective Comics Issue #27 turns 85 and continues to champion justice, protecting the innocent citizens of Gotham City across all forms of media!


Batman 85

If only we could all look this good at 85! On this day, March 30, 1939 Detective Comics #27 debuted a new kind of Super Hero. Following in the flight path of the success of Superman, who made his first appearance the year before in Action Comics #1, Gotham City’s winged avenger was a stark contrast to the Man of Steel. Batman, created by Bob Kane, who provided the artwork, and Bill Finger who worked on the script, was unlike any other pulp fiction character introduced at the time, and the Golden Age of Comics, had plenty.


Batman would emerge as a cornerstone of DC Comics’ publishing, and one of the publishing imprint’s most popular heroes. Alongside, Superman, and Wonder Woman, the Caped Crusader would provide the trinity of characters by which all other heroes would be compared. Throughout his career, Batman would emerge as the most dominant character in publishing to crossover into all media, including feature films, radio, and TV shows, and video games, commanding a windfall in merchandising. What made Batman so special?


The hero wasn’t an alien, last son of a dying planet, or a mythological demigoddess, emissary sent to our world to protect us from our own destruction. Bruce Wayne was just a man, who through unfortunate circumstances witnessed the tragedy of losing both of his parents to a murderous gunman. The trauma of sends young Bruce on a crusade to become the most perfect of human specimens, the most intellectually curious at detecting crimes and through his immense inheritance and wealth, create a myriad of gadgets to help him in his apprehension of the criminal underbelly of his home city of Gotham.


Wayne becomes a dark figure to strike fear in the hearts of evil men, after all, the corrupt are often the most superstitious and paranoid. Bruce Wayne becomes, Batman - “a mysterious and adventurous figure, fighting for righteousness and apprehending wrongdoers!”


Batman through the decades.
Batman first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #27.


Sign of the Times


Through the years, Batman continued to evolve and often reflected the social change of tides. While Batman fought crime and corruption in an urban setting, he faced a rogues gallery of villainy that would prove popular with his readership, before emerging onto the more colorful corner of television in a campy, more light-hearted depiction. In the ‘60s comics, the character took his crusade internationally fighting against terrorist syndicates that sought to dismantle democracy and threaten the world, and in the late ‘80s Batman would once again return to his core mission for his first blockbuster feature on the big screen.


At the same time, Frank Miller rewrote the hero’s future, forever influencing the character’s direction with the landmark graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. From Adam West’s whimsy crusader to Michael Keaton’s emergence from the shadows, every actor who has taken on the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne has captured the essence of the hero that has inspired creatives for generations and only continues to capture our imaginations.


Batman 85

Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s creation would continue to spread his influence into the new millennium and has only developed a richer mythology, a more textured array of supporting cast members, and a mission that has only become more relevant in our trying times. Batman is celebrating 85 years, but in truth, this is a pop culture character that will always remain one for the ages. His battle is our battle. Bruce Wayne’s effort to protect the weak and triumph over corruption continues — and one that we must prevail.


Here's looking forward to the next 85 years and beyond, Batman!


DETECTIVE COMICS #27 85th Anniversary Special Edition | featuring the very first appearance of Batman written by Bill Finger with pencils and inks by Bob Kane, also includes a retelling of Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s first published story “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” by Brad Meltzer and Bryan Hitch |  is available as a free issue and can be read on the DC Universe Infinite Digital Platform here and read with an Ultra subscription.


Batman 85

Batman Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of September of every year and will be landing on September 21st, 2024. Follow @batman and visit www.dc.com/batman to stay up to date on more activations and celebrations of Batman’s 85th anniversary taking place around the world this year.


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