June 8: the night a boy became a man. The night that man became a bat. The night that bat became a legend.
This is the day 75 years ago that comics fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief. The day that they realized a normal person could be a hero and didn't need to fly or shoot lasers from their eyes to be super. True Batman fans shouldn't need this, but for those not as familiar with the origins of Gotham's Dark Knight, here's a quick review of what happened that night and the events that followed.
Bruce Wayne, age eleven, was watching an opera with his parents. Having developed a fear of bats after falling into a well several years earlier and being attacked by a swarm of the creatures, Bruce is terrified when he sees actors on the stage dressed as bats and asks his parents to take him home. They leave the opera house and decide to take a shortcut through Crime Alley. Suddenly, a mugger named Joe Chill appears and asks for Martha Wayne's pearl necklace. Thomas Wayne steps in front of his wife to protect her, and Chill shoots him. Martha screams, and Chill fires on her as well. Young Bruce collapses next to his parents and begins to stare down Chill, memorizing his features. Chill, unnerved by Bruce's steely gaze and cries for help, turns and flees. Soon, Gotham police officers arrive on the scene and Bruce is taken to the police station, where he is picked up by the faithful family butler, Alfred Pennyworth, and taken back to Wayne Manor. Fast forward fifteen years and we see a much more mature Bruce Wayne contemplating a life of crime fighting. As he is deliberating over what symbol to use, a bat flies through the window. Taking this as an omen, Bruce becomes the Batman. Not long after this, he begins hunting a small-time crime boss, whom he discovers is the same Joe Chill that murdered his parents. Batman corners Chill in his hideout and states that he knows Chill is responsible for the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Chill argues that there is no way Batman could know this and says that he is bluffing. In response, Batman reveals that he is Bruce Wayne. Chill panics and runs out to his henchmen, begging for protection. His henchmen, however, discover that he is responsible for the creation of Batman, and turn on him, gunning him down. It is only after they shoot Chill that his henchmen realize the secret of Batman's identity will die with him. As Chill is about to reveal Batman's identity, Batman himself appears and knocks out the henchmen to protect his secret. Chill finally dies in Batman's arms, saying that Batman got his revenge after all.
There you have it. The story of how the greatest superhero of all time came to be. The story of the hero that reminds us all that from the ashes of tragedy can arise better things.