Some Interesting Facts About Batman
I grew up on Batman comics. From the Justice League of America on Saturday morning cartoons to the live series starring Adam West to the comic books, Batman was always one of the best superheroes around. As a teenager and young adult, I even owned a comic book store with my parents where I had the opportunity to learn about all sorts of comics. Batman still remained one of my favorites. I thought I knew everything about Dark Knight, but I was wrong. Here is a list of interesting facts about Batman lore that I never heard of and I am betting that it will be new to you, as well!
Back in the day, there was none of this "Arkham Asylum" nonsense where the crazy criminals could escape time and time again to ravage Gotham City. Batman put a stop to criminals once and for all back in the 1930s and 1940s. If you were a bad guy and fought the Dark Knight, there was a good chance that you were going to get tossed off a rooftop or have your neck broken. In fact, Batman would even go as far as using a machine gun on evil henchmen like he did in Batman #1 (1940). Granted, he did say that he hated to take human life as he was re-loading, but he kept the Gotham coroner pretty busy with his crime fighting...
In the original issues of Batman, Gotham wasn't the name of the city where Bruce Wayne did his crime fighting - it was his home. The name was mentioned in Detective Comics #48 and the city that Batman protected was Metropolis or sometimes New York. It wouldn't be until 1942 that some of the things we associate with Batman started to appear. They renamed the town after Wayne Manor and he got the Bat Signal all about the same time.
That's right. Robin was never supposed to be the ward of Bruce Wayne and he was never meant to be around 80 years later. Back in the golden age of America, children weren't supposed to be subjected to fighting bank robbers and murderers. Bob Kane, Batman's creator, wanted to give the Boy Wonder a try, but editor, Jack Liebowitz thought it would send the wrong message. As it turned out, like most things in America, Robin made money. In fact, issue #38 of Detective Comics where Robin first appeared sold so well, he got a reserved place alongside Batman.
Alfred Pennyworth is Batman's butler and long-time servant. Beyond the Dynamic Duo and Commissioner Gordon, Alfred is possibly the most widely known of Bruce Wayne's companions. Originally, Alfred - who appeared in Batman #16 (1943) is overweight and clean shaven. He is there to add some comical relief to the series. Later, that same year, the Batman serial appeared in the theaters and the actor, William Austin, who portrayed Alfred was thin and had a mustache. Audiences and readers demanded that the comic book Alfred look the same and Batman writers sent him to a health resort and let him grow the 'stache. Everything changed for Alfred in 1964 in Batman #328 when he was killed by a falling boulder while protecting Bruce Wayne. He would not be seen again until Detective #356 (1966) when he was resurrected.
Batman came around from the creative genius of Bob Kane and Bill Finger. His alter ego, Bruce Wayne was made up of two historical figures. The first was Robert the Bruce of Scotland. You may remember him from the Mel Gibson movie, Braveheart (1995). The second half comes from an early American Revolutionary hero known as General "Mad Anthony" Wayne who was Pennsylvania. When coming up with the Batman character, they borrowed the dual identity from another popular sleuth, The Shadow. They made him rich like Douglas Fairbanks character in The Mask of Zorro. Finally, they used Leonardo da Vinci's Ornithopter (a type of early airplane with flapping wings) to create his cape. All of this turned out to be the Caped Crusader as we know him today!