ByHouston Smith, writer at Creators.co
Insta: killer_americano Snap: MadKarmaBlack:[Houston] Thanks again for the support everyone. And that photo cover above. Courtesy of me.
Houston Smith

For seventy-five years, he has swooped in on his grappling hook, amazing the masses. From comic panels to Christian Bales's incarnation, we've all dawned the love for the dark knight. But, who is he under the cape and cowl? In my first ever blog post, I want to discuss how the caped crusader has been reincarnated throughout the years. From the campy 1970's Adam West Batman, to the dark and brooding Tim Burton's Batman that revolutionized a generation of fans, one man has shown us the true definition of a hero.

(WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN AN INDIVIDUAL BATMAN SERIES. ALSO NOT INCLUDING THE NEW BATMAN, "BATFLECK" SINCE THAT INCARNATION IS NOT FULLY DEVELOPED. ALSO NOT INCLUDING ALTERNATE BATMEN; Example: Thomas Wayne or Azrael)

Born May 1939, artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created the prodigal son of Gotham, Bruce Wayne. At the time of his creation, there were various re-designs of the famous "Bat-suit".

Bob Kane's Original "Bat-man" Concept
Bob Kane's Original "Bat-man" Concept
Bill Finger's "Batman" Redesign Concept
Bill Finger's "Batman" Redesign Concept

The "Bob Kane" suit was a red unitard, with a yellow cape in the shape of two batwings. The cowl was a green domino mask with black oval shades around the eyes with pointed tips. For the first year of publication, Bruce appeared in Detective Comics stopping muggers and bank robbers. As the new year came, the 1940's spawned the look that has inspired the rest of the suits down the line. The "Bill Finger" suit that we've all come to know and love, took a very different approach than Bob's did. Instead of Batman being a vigilante, he based his Batman off of characters like Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow and became the scientist like detective we know him as today.

After thirty years of silence, the bat emerged into the sun. And this time, he wasn't alone. Sporting the iconic blue and grey 70's bat-suit, Hollywood stars Adam West and Burt Ward dawned the tights and fought side by side. Before the revenge driven fight against crime, Bruce was an enigma. Neither the city of Gotham nor their police department truly knew if he was a force for good or evil. At this stage in the Batman Legacy, there was an unbreakable balance of his morality that stood out in every episode.

As the early 70's came to an end, so did the caped crusader. He hung up his cape and cowl until June 23, 1989. Batman was resurrected. The cult classic Tim Burton's "Batman" starred Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, as they reincarnated the classic comic book bout. But, the uniform wasn't the only thing that changed.

Tim Burton's Batman (1989) Played by Michael Keaton
Tim Burton's Batman (1989) Played by Michael Keaton

This version of Bruce Wayne was a dark, brooding sociopathic megalomaniac. He wasn't a hero. He was a vigilante that had a supernatural vendetta against the criminal underworld. There was a mental note that reminded him no matter how hard he fought, it would never make up for the death of his parents.

Three years after two monumental films were released, Warner Bros. Studios created "Batman: The Animated Series". Two episodes out the entire genre have done such an exemplary job in showing us the agony and grief that Bruce Wayne goes through. The Episode I Am The Knight, depicts a very distraught and broken Bruce, perched at the edge of the Bat-cave, questioning whether or not he can go on as Batman. This was the first televised and publicized display of true human emotion. Fans could not believe what they saw. For an animated series, this was very powerful. For thirty minutes straight, Kevin Conroy (Bruce Wayne/Batman) pined and debuted on his existence and usefulness as a hero.

One of the greatest series ever created.
One of the greatest series ever created.

The second episode Epilogue continues into the series' predecessor "Batman Beyond". This episode was set sixty-four years into the future. After years of crime fighting, the now retired Bruce Wayne is trying to explain to his estranged son Terry McGinnis, that Batman is an ideal. The gadgets, the cars, the suit; It didn't matter. As long as you have the heart and conviction, anyone can be Batman. But, Terry had his own idea of what Batman was. To him it was a curse. A curse that destroyed the lives of any good man. At the end of his rope, Terry sneaks into the home of Amanda Waller; former adversary of Bruce. Looking for a definitive reason to retire the mantle, Amanda sets Terry straight by reminding him that the world will always need a Batman.

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And, those words rang true. On June 16th, 2005 Warner Bros., DC Comics, and Christopher Nolan came together and gave the world a new born Batman. Not only was this a new incarnation, this was the first "grounded" Batman. Now we all know that Bruce uses his money to buy custom cars and gadgets to be Batman. But in the Dark Knight Trilogy, we see Bruce (Christian Bale) with the aid of Dr.Luscious Fox (Morgan Freeman), had to build his equipment. And, it didn't always work when needed. The trilogy made it more relatable to the audience. You could actually feel like you could be Batman.

Batman Brave and The Bold logo
Batman Brave and The Bold logo

Three years later, Warner Bros. took all the resources of every series and film and made a very retro series that fans didn't agree with at first. The "Brave and the Bold" series portrayed a very "Adam West" like Batman fighting crime week to week with a different partner every episode. Fans became angry with series, as it didn't properly lead into his origins as a crime fighter and lack of depth in it's happy-go-lucky tone. But, that all changed with one episode. The series savior, Chill of the Night, showed the dark and distraught Batman we had been waiting for. And on top of that, the cameos were bloody spectacular. Adam West plays Thomas Wayne, Spectre is voiced by Mark Hamill, and Kevin Conroy plays the Phantom Stranger.

On the anniversary of his parents death, supernatural entities Spectre, the Spirit of Vengeance and the Phantom Stranger, make a bet on the future of Batman. If he finds the murderer of his parents and strikes vengeance, Spectre gets to own Batman to be his personal agent of vengeance for eternity. If the Phantom Stranger wins, it proves his point that even the darkest person can overcome personal pain to enact justice. As Batman scours the city, he finally tracks down Joe Chill. And, a tough decision must be made. Justice or Vengeance?

Now before we get into the New 52 Section of Batmen, lets take a stroll down the hall of batsuits. Cause really, there all badass.

Jason Todd, "Battle For the Cowl" Batsuit
Jason Todd, "Battle For the Cowl" Batsuit

After escaping prison, Jason Todd wanted to be first pick for the Bat-mantle. He wore the black and grey Batsuit Bruce wore, but with two handguns and mouth-plate.

Dick Grayson, "Batman:Reborn" Batman Suit
Dick Grayson, "Batman:Reborn" Batman Suit

Still not feeling worthy enough to wear the mantle of the Bat, Dick Grayson puts aside his doubts and becomes the new protector of Gotham. As if fighting a guy called Professor Pyg wasn't bad enough. Try dealing with Bruce's bastard son, Damien. Who also happens to be one of the world's greatest assassin.

James "Jim" Gordon, New 52 Batsuits
James "Jim" Gordon, New 52 Batsuits

Following the death of Bruce Wayne, Gordon takes up the mantle in the GCPD issued Batsuit and Combat Mech to follow. Even though Batman doesn't use guns, a supercharged taser and a box of cigs will do over a utility belt any day.

Terry McGinnis, Batman Beyond Suit
Terry McGinnis, Batman Beyond Suit

Just like everyone before Terry, stumbling on to the Batcave means your in. Whether your Robin, Batgirl, or somewhere in between. Your in. The fan favorite estranged son of Batman, Terry McGinnis takes up the mantle to protect Gotham once again from the Jokerz, an occasionally brainwashed Superman, and a evil A.I bent on reform. Because high school, wasn't hard enough.

As the New 52 comes to an end, the best storylines were forged. From "Futures End" where Terry has to travel back into to stop the end of the world. To "Endgame", where Joker and Batman have their final fight to the death. Then, there are the gripping testimonials to the new Batmen. Jim Gordon becomes the new protector of Gotham city for 10 issues after Endgame. Dick Grayson retires the Batsuit at the beginning of the new 52 to reunite with the Nightwing suit in the "Court of Owls" where he learns the origin of his family. And last but not least, "Zero Year". Riddler takes over the city by cutting all forms of energy. Leaving Batman, to go back to his training days to save Gotham.

Thank you for making it this far down in my first post. I promise you this is the end. But, not for Bats. Not by a long shot. Fictional or not, the world does need someone like Batman. With everything going to shit in our country and the rest of the world, oddly enough a colorfully dressed beacon of light could be something that people need. But, just putting on a costume isn't enough. The fact is that we live in reality. The world of villains with bad puns and sidekicks with corny one liners doesn't exist. But, like an old, angry man once said "It's an ideal, the world will always need a Batman". Remember when the chips are down and things look bad, stay calm and be Batman about it. I think the world would be a better place if everyone picked up an issue of Detective Comics or Batman every once in a while. And, let me know who your favorite Batman is at the bottom.

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