Billionaire Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, the crime fighting Batman (also known as the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, and, together with his sidekick Robin, the Dynamic Duo), first appeared in Detective Comics (DC) #27 in May, 1939, and have since appeared in TV series, games, animated series, and a number of movie franchises. Most notably, Batman was played by Adam West in the 120-episode TV series "Batman" (1966-1968); Michael Keaton starred in the 1989 film Batman
and the 1992 film Batman Returns
, both directed by Tim Burton; and Christian Bale has held the lead role in the most commercially successful Batman venture to date, including the 2005 reboot Batman Begins
, the 2008 film The Dark Knight
, and the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises
Batman, created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, made his first appearance in Detective Comics (DC) #27 in May 1939. As a child, billionaire Bruce Wayne watched helplessly as his parents Thomas and Martha were shot and killed by a petty mugger named Joe Chill. Upon witnessing their deaths, the young Wayne took an oath of vengeance against crime so that no one else would have to suffer the tragedy that he had.
Wayne spent years venturing the world, learning many forms of combat and training himself to physical and intellectual perfection. Upon his return to Gotham, Wayne delved into crime-fighting, with disastrous results. As the injured young man sat alone in his study dwelling upon his dilemma and the fact that criminals are a "cowardly, superstitious lot", he figured that the best way to get to them was through sheer terror. At that moment, as if a sign from God, a huge bat flew in through his study window.
This bat provided Bruce with the inspiration he had been searching for. He donned a costume complete with a long, black cape and a cowl with huge, pointed ears and became the creature the criminals of Gotham would now know and fear: The Dark Knight... Batman.
In early years. Batman's career as a vigilante initially earns him the ire of the police. Wayne takes in an orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America, although he, like Superman, is an honorary member and thus only participates occasionally. Batman's relationship with the law thaws quickly, and he is made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department. During this time, butler Alfred arrives at Wayne Manor and after deducing the Dynamic Duo's secret identities joins their service.
One Year Later...And So Forth...
Following the Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne chose to step out of the superhero spotlight and go on a year long trip to rediscover himself as Batman. Alongside Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) and Tim Drake (modern Robin) they traveled to Asia in preparation for advanced training. While there, Wayne faced more of the demonic thoughts and situations that plagued him over the past few years as the Batman. Through trial and tribulation, Bruce Wayne finally stepped out of the shadows and became Batman once again.
Upon his return to Gotham City, Jim Gordon returned to the mantle of the city's Police Commissioner. Meanwhile, District Attorney Harvey Dent served as the crime-fighting hero of the city. Batman's return caused Dent to feel unneeded as a hero, and as his perceptions of justice became distorted, he soon turned to a criminal career as Two-Face.
As Bruce learned how to be Batman in Asia, he returned to Gotham and had to relearn how to be Bruce Wayne. During his "training" on becoming "BRUCE WAYNE BOY MILLIONAIRE" he was astonished to learn that he had a son, Damien. Mothered by his arch rival's daughter Talia Al'Gul, Damien resembled the appearance of Bruce, but had his grandfather's inner demons. Bruce accepted Damien into his life and tried to train him in the light side of heroism, but this was quickly cut short when jealousy overtook the young boy and he struck down Tim Drake (who now was Bruce's legally adoptive son). Damien returned to his mother and the League of Assassins, only to have Batman defeat them once again, causing the possible deaths of both Damien and Talia.
Another daring confrontation came when the magician Zatanna came to Batman for help following the death of a former assistant. Batman aided in stopping the murders, revealing that the magician responsible for the staged deaths was the Joker. After Zatanna was shot in the throat and almost died Batman had the decency, in his own way, to forgive Zatanna for her actions that caused her to mind shift Batman's memories.
Following these events, Batman reunited with Superman and Wonder Woman in the efforts to reform the Justice League, alongside such heroes as Red Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado, Green Lantern, Vixen, Flash, Geoforce, Black Lightning, and Hawkgirl. They have since reinstated the team and currently have the obligation of protecting the world once again.
Final Crisis and Batman Inc.
During the events in Final Crisis, Batman is seemingly killed by the alien villain known as DarkSeid. After attempts by other characters to resurrect him, Batman is pronounced dead. Following this event, Dick Grayson takes up the mantle of Batman and promotes Damian Wayne (the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul) to Robin. Later it is discovered that Bruce Wayne is not dead, but has been sent back to prehistoric time, where he must travel all the way back to the present day. Bruce Wayne returns and reclaims his title as Batman. However, he allows Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne to remain as Gotham City's Dynamic Duo, as he travels abroad to train new "Batmen" for his newly launched branch of Wayne Enterprises: Batman Inc.
Joined the JL
Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997)
Batman Begins (2005)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)