Batman is a staple of pop culture and has been for 70+ years. The Caped Crusader is a legend and with such an influence in pop culture, it's only natural for the "world's greatest detective" to be celebrated.
Batman Day is coming up soon (September 17). During the celebration's third year, which was launched with Batman's 75th anniversary, there will be plenty of free goodies for fans to receive and amazing talent to meet all across the country, such as Scott Snyder, Frank Miller and Greg Capullo, to name a few.
But just because you may not be able to take part in the official festivities popping up in cities around the world doesn't mean there aren't plenty more things to do to celebrate Batman Day 2016. So, assuming you are a diehard Batman fan as I am, here are the things you should do to get the most out of this awesome day.
1. Re-experience The Dark Knight's Cinematic Journey
The pointy-eared superhero has a very interesting movie history in that, while there are several films about him, not all of them are...well, good. While we've had sure classics like Batman (1989) to The Dark Knight, we've also gotten Batman & Robin and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Despite not being the most constant cinematic superhero, a little-known fact is that a lot of what we understand as Batman came from his evolution on screen. The biggest examples of this are a more thorough and psychological exploration of the reasons behind Bruce Wayne's broodiness and his actions and Alfred Pennyworth's cosmetic shift from a chubby individual to the lean butler we are all familiar with, which came because of the 1943 movie serials.
From these serials (where his costume would have made criminals drop with laughter rather than with fear), to the hulking, older, and more aggressive Batman portrayed by Ben Affleck, most of the Caped Crusader's live-action adventures are a fascinating ride, one you should definitely take to realize how much the billionaire-turned-superhero has gone. My recommendations to experience on September 17 are Batman (1989), Batman Begins, Batman: The Movie (1966), and, of course, The Dark Knight.
2. Read His Most Amazing Adventures (Batman Cosplay Mandatory)
Batman's long and complex comic book journey was crafted throughout the years. And what better way to celebrate his very own day than to experience some of his greatest adventures in comics? To really get an understanding of the character, I'd advise you to read the Court of Owls, Knightfall, Hush and Zero Year storylines.
I chose these because they represent an exploration of every facet of the Dark Knight's personality. For example, Zero Year really delves into Bruce Wayne's motivations for becoming a crime-fighter and Court of Owls is a follow-up to the storyline of the man who, thanks to his unparalleled determination, is able to carry the burdens he's placed on himself.
Meanwhile, Hush and Knightfall delve into the character's psyche, greatly affected by the horrors he has to face every day as a crimefighter in the brutal city of Gotham. How does he come back from that and continue being one of DC's greatest heroes? Exploring these amazing and fascinating storylines would be a great addition to your to-do list on Batman Day to get a better understanding of who Bruce Wayne is.
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3. Learn About The Tumultuous Behind The Scenes History Of Batman's Creation
Batman has one of the most interesting and complex worlds in comic books, with rich characters and settings, cool villains and lovable allies. Years of stories may have led you to believe that the Dark Knight only came from the mind of a young man named Bob Kane...unfortunately, his real-world origin story isn't as cut-and-dry as you may have thought.
His tale is one of deceit, drama and intrigue (sounds like a John Grisham novel). To give you an idea of what happened, here's a quote from Jerry Robinson, a comic book artist who worked on Batman in the '40s, about the problems between fellow writer/artist Bill Finger and Bob Kane:
"Bob made him more insecure, because while he slaved working on Batman, he wasn't sharing in any of the glory or the money that Bob began to make... That was one thing I would never forgive Bob for, was not to take care of Bill or recognize his vital role in the creation of Batman. As with Siegel and Shuster, it should have been the same, the same co-creator credit in the strip, writer, and artist."
It's easy to go with the straight-up version of the story about the creation of one of the most popular superheroes out there, but if you want to appreciate the Caped Crusader even more, what better way to do it than to learn about his history? It will not only give you very interesting insight into who the character is but will also give recognition to all the people that gave their best to give us the icon we know as Batman.
4. Look Back At The Dark Knight's Silliest Moments
Yes, the Dark Knight is known as one of the darkest superheroes out there. His stories usually involve deep levels of suffering and villains so insane that they make you afraid to think of even the slightest possibility of said individuals existing in our world. Still, for all the darkness, there needs to be light-hearted moments that don't make the stories too hard to get through.
With Batman, though, you'll notice that he doesn't know how to balance seriousness with light-heartedness, and he goes for full silliness instead. This started in the 1950s, when DC characters were given a reinvention to try to appeal more to children. The result? Batman wearing different-colored Batsuits to (shown in the image above) even becoming part fish.
His silly moments weren't just for the comics though, as his '50s characterization also gave us the amazing 1960s Batman TV series, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Thanks to the show, we were able to see Batman in situations that are almost illegal for the character to be in today, such as dancing in a bar after being drugged and, believe it or not, getting into a surfing competition with The Joker (this happened on separate occasions by the way).
Given how rare these types of situations have become for the gritty, severe live-action Batman of recent years, getting to see the hero in sillier moments should be a welcome addition to your Bat-Activities during September 17.
Have A Batman-Themed Day!
Batman is an amazing character as a whole. Not only is he an interesting subject in his own fictional world but also in the real one, as the behind-the-scenes of his creation parallels the own complexity of his fictional universe.
The Caped Crusader's world offers a myriad of possibilities for anyone planning to spend a day entirely dedicated to him. You may be deciding which of these activities you would be able to complete, but the best part is that you can do them all in one day. Calculating an average reading time for all the comic books, and the duration of the episodes and movies suggested, it would take you approximately 14:07 hours to experience them all.
Adding the average sleeping time of eight hours, your Batman Day would last 22:07 hours. Will it be daunting? Most likely, but nothing beats the fact that you will celebrate Batman the way it needs to be done: by reminding yourself why he's such an amazing character and a staple in our culture. Remember, Batman Day arrives on September 17.
How will you spend Batman Day 2016?