10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About BATMAN

10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About BATMAN

We've already taken a look at some fascinating facts about the Dark Knight's greatest villain, The Joker, but now it's Batman's turn! Who was Bruce Wayne named after and why was Robin only supposed to appear once? Read on for all the details!...

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Is Batman the greatest comic book character of all-time? An argument could certainly made that he is, but however you feel about that, there's no denying that the Dark Knight is among the most iconic. He's a character with a very long history and more critically acclaimed stories under his utility belt than perhaps any other superhero ever, while his rogues gallery is without a doubt the best there is. 

Taking that into account, it's understandable then that there's a lot you probably don't know about the Caped Crusader. From the story behind both his and Robin's creation to where Bruce Wayne got his name and the truth behind where theories about the Dynamic Duo's "unhealthy" relationship came from, what you'll find here is a look at ten amazing Batman facts you almost certainly never knew.

Once you're done here, be sure to check out our look at facts about The Joker by clicking this link


10. Batman Originally Had A Very Different Costume

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Batman debuted in the pages of Detective Comics #27 in 1939 wearing a costume which really isn't all that different to the one he fights crime in now. Like most comic book characters, it's gone through various iterations over the years, but the basic idea of what Batman should look like hails from that first appearance. However, things could have been very different for the Dark Knight.

As you can see from the image above, Bob Kane's original idea for The Batman's costume was drastically different. Clad in a bright red outfit, he was going to have blonde hair and a domino mask, while there's no sign of any sort of logo on his chest. In fact, the only thing which makes this version of the hero feel like Batman is the cape, but it's somehow hard to imagine this interpretation of the now iconic hero having the same sort of longevity as the one we ultimately ended up getting. 


9. Batman Was Originally A Killer

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Many comic book fans were upset to see the Dark Knight casually dispatch of goons with lethal force in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the source material depicted the hero as a killer long before he established a no-killing policy. For a time, he was perfectly fine with using lethal force, and did so throughout most of the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Him hurling gangsters off rooftops or shoving them into vats of acid was a fairly common occurrence, and he even took out an entire group of henchmen with a machine gun in Batman #1, shouting "Much as I hate to take human life, I'm afraid this time it's necessary!" as he did so. Hell, the Caped Crusader kicked one guy so hard that he broke their neck, and the only reason he stopped carrying a gun was because Bob Kane later decided that Batman doing so simply didn't "feel right" to him. 


8. The Origin Of Those Rumours About Batman And Robin Being Gay

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Because Batman was created during a far more innocent time, many panels now exist featuring him and Robin which were perfectly acceptable back then, but are now downright inappropriate. As a result, there's a seemingly never ending joke that the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder are gay, but it turns out that there was a very real reason for people at one point genuinely believing that these two were more than just friends.

The insinuations that Bruce Wayne and his sidekick had a "questionable" relationship came from Dr. Fredric Wertham, a therapist who was convinced that comic books were corrupting the minds of youngsters. That belief was a result of "sexually maladjusted individuals" visiting him who claimed that reading Batman comics had caused them to have romantic feelings towards the Caped Crusader. It was of course all nonsense, but this is where the theories about the two characters being gay actually originated. 


7. Robin Was Only Supposed To Appear Once

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Whether it's Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Carrie Kelly, or Damian Wayne, the young heroes to have held the Robin mantle over the years have become synonymous with Batman. However, the Boy Wonder was initially meant to make just a single appearance. Bob Kane wanted the hero to have a young sidekick, but the comic book's editor at the time was firmly against that idea as he believed, "Batman was doing well enough by himself."

Kane resigned himself to Robin being a one off until the sales figures for Detective Comics #38 came in. That sold twice as much as previous instalments, and the youngster was made a regular part of the series as a result. Decades later, comic book fans would decide they'd had enough of Robin as it was in 1988 that they phoned a hot line to vote for the Boy Wonder (Jason at the time) to be killed off. 


6. Critics Hated The Dark Knight Returns Upon Release

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These days, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is widely hailed as one of the greatest Batman stories ever told. That's why fans were so excited when it was revealed that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be based on it, but it may surprise you to learn that it was nowhere near as well received upon release. In fact, The New York Times for example dismissed it in 1987 as "convoluted, difficult to follow and crammed with far too much text" and criticised the "grotesquely muscle-bound Batman and Superman".

That's just one of many bad reviews from the time, and it appears as if this is one of those comics which has become more appreciated as time has passed. Of course, the overwhelmingly terrible reviews for sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again were well deserved and haven't changed remotely in the years which have followed.


5. It Took Two Years To Animate Batman's Cape In Arkham Asylum

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The Arkham video games were a mind-blowing experience, but the sheer amount of work which went into them may still surprise you. The quality of storytelling and gameplay in the Rocksteady series has ensured that they've become the benchmark for everything a superhero video game should be, but if you need proof of just how much effort went into making that the case, look no further than this factoid.

Over 700 people in total worked on Batman: Arkham Asylum (the first instalment), but one of those team members was tasked with the animations for the cape. The poor guy spent a solid two years working on that and nothing else in an effort to ensure the Caped Crusader would look as realistic as possible when walking, running, and gliding throughout this iconic Gotham City location. It's fair to say that it paid off, as that cape looked pretty damn good. 


4. It Took A Long Time For Him To Become THE Batman

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While pretty much every hero has had new elements added to their stories over the years, a surprisingly large amount still retain many of the personality traits, supporting characters, and accessories which they were first introduced with (take Spider-Man and his web-shooters or Captain America and his shield). The point is that the basic blueprint was always there. Batman however was a little slower in gaining all the things which are now synonymous with him.

Gotham City for example wasn't introduced until 1940, and the Bat-signal didn't shine in the skies until two years later in 1942. The Batcave meanwhile came particularly late and didn't show up in the Dark Knight's comic books until 1948 (up until that point, a hangar in a deserted barn served as Bruce's hideout). So, despite being introduced in the 1930s, it was the 40s which arguably helped to make Batman iconic. 


3. Alfred Pennyworth Underwent A Major Makeover

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Alfred Pennyworth was always part of Batman's adventures, but he didn't get his refined appearance and attitude until the 1943 Batman serial was released and DC editors decided that the comic book version should resemble his big screen counterpart. Before then, he was portrayed as a comedic foil for Batman and Robin as a portly, bumbling oaf often making foolish attempts to be a detective in his own right (amazingly, he even had a four page feature of his own which ran for thirteen months).

The comics didn't have him make a sudden transformation overnight though. Instead, he took a trip to a health resort where he slimmed down and grew a moustache. It took a while for him to become the Alfred we all know and love today, but his journey to that point was certainly an interesting one, and a much better role for the character than comedic relief. 


2. Bruce Wayne Is Named After Two Historical Figures

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When it came to naming Marvel's heroes, Stan Lee went for alliterative names like Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, Peter Parker, and Sue Storm (though there obviously were some exceptions; Tony Stark for example). However, a little more thought was put into coming up with Batman's alter-ego as co-creator Bill Finger named the hero after two historical figures.

Scottish patriot King Bruce I of Scotland (who led the Wars of Scottish Independence) provided the Caped Crusader's first name, while brigadier general Anthony Wayne (a hero of the American Revolutionary War) is responsible for the surname. The name obviously hasn't made a significant difference to the hero's adventures over the years,  but it certainly goes some way in informing his adventures and motivations and provides some interesting insight into how his creator's initially envisioned the Caped Crusader. 


1. You Can Thank Hugh Hefner For The 1960s Batman TV Series

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During the 1960s, Batman's comic book adventures became pretty camp, and it was that tone which ended up informing the TV series. However, the story behind how that became a reality is probably a lot different to what you might expect. You see, as well as spending his time hanging around beautiful naked women, Hugh Hefner is a big comic book fan, and he threw a Batman themed bash at the Chicago Playboy Club in 1965.

That saw him and his guests dress up as the campy characters from the Batman comics of the time. By chance, an an ABC executive (Yale Udoff) also happened to be at the party, and after seeing how much the guests loved these silly versions of Batman and his supporting characters, he rushed to the nearest pay phone and immediately pitched the idea of a similarly camp television series to his superiors at the network. 


Which of these facts about Batman is your favourite? Have we missed any you know about? As always, be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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