I think today’s the day. March 30th. Eighty years ago, Detective Comics No. 27 introduced the world to the Bat-man with the May 1939 issue, released at the end of March. Not that I was around then, of course. You either, I assume.
Still, Batman was my introduction to comics, and I was immediately hooked. No superpowers, magic rings or intergalactic hijinks. Still a fellow in a cape and tights, but a driven, dark, vengeful fellow, born from unspeakable tragedy. The character’s gone through many different evolutions, from downright silly periods in the 1950’s to the campy mid-60’s ABC television series, then reimagined some years later in a homage to Bruce Wayne/Batman’s original roots, though driven still deeper and darker.
Used bookstore shrink-wrapped bundles of older late 60’s-early 70’s era Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams stand-alone story issues were what really lured me in, and even if they were already dated, the lonely detective-warrior of that era got to me. Still does. Time-Warner-DC marketing mavens turned everything into ‘events’ at some point in the late 80’s and early 90’s, with instant collectible alternate covers, mini-series, spinoff’s and other manipulative nonsense. And now I enjoy other denizens of Gotham City a bit more — Selina Kyle/Catwoman and various incarnations of Batgirl – when I buy superhero comics at all.
But it’ll always be The Batman for me, ‘cuz that’s where comics first hooked me, and there’s just no suitable way to thank Bob Kane and Bill Finger, then Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, Frank Miller, Irv Novick, Denny O’Neil, Jerry Robinson, Marshall Rogers, Dick Sprang, Bruce Timm and so many other writers and artists for eighty years of dark and brooding thrills with The Dark Knight.