When it comes to superheroes, they’re all popular in their own right but there are a distinct two that have always been the frontrunners in the competition of who is the most popular. The Justice League’s dueling leaders Batman and Superman are on the top of every superhero list except the Bat always seems to get the edge thanks to his dark, “screw the world” attitude. Having been portrayed across all media and by several different actors from the small to big screens, there have been several tweaks and secrets behind the inherently mysterious Caped Crusader. Find Out 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Batman.
10. The Colorful Bat
The dark and brooding bat didn’t start out so dark. In some of Bob Kane’s original designs, Batman was a blondie sporting a red jumpsuit and a mask covering just his eyes. The drawing in fact kind of looks like Aquaman traded in his gills for a pair of wings, but thankfully that was all changed.
9. Batman, Turkey
There is an actual town called Batman in Turkey, the buzzkill however is that it is pronounced Bot-min. While many fans would love to live in a city called Batman, the mayor, Huseyin Kalkan is not pleased by the connection. After the release of The Dark Knight he tried to sue Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan for using the name without permission apparently stating, “There is only one Batman in the world.” Wrong, so very, very, wrong sir.
8. Thank Hugh Hefner For Batman’s Rise
Maybe Batman doesn’t live with a bevvy of beautiful women but he, like Hugh Hefner, is also a rich playboy, but it’s Hefner’s status as a fan that helped Batman rise to success on the small screen. Hefner screened marathons of the old Batman serials from the ’40s in The Playboy Theater in Chicago, an event that became very popular. So popular in fact that Columbia Pictures began running “An Evening with Batman and Robin” across the U.S. and accelerated the plans for ABC to produce a live action Batman television series. By 1966 The Caped Crusader played by Adam West was on the small screen and Batman was forever cemented as a pop culture icon. Thanks Hef!
7. Da Vinci Inspiration
From one old, impressive dude to another. It turns out Leonardo da Vinci had an unknown hand in inspiring Batman creators. Batman’s wings as it turned out were inspired by Da Vinci’s fifteenth century drawings of a human aircraft device that operated through the flapping of wings.
6. Christian Bale Could Have Been Robin
Remember 1995’s Batman Forever starring none other than Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, and Jim Carrey as the Riddler? Well it turns out the most impressive Batman yet, Christian Bale, auditioned for the role of Robin in the 1995 film but of course the role went to Chris O’Donnell.
5. Andy Warhol Directed A Batman Film
Before Leslie H. Martinson’s 1996 film Batman: The Movie, there was another lesser known Batman film. None other than Andy Warhol directed and produced his own silent black and white art film, Batman Dracula in 1964. As it was made without the permission of DC Comics, it was only viewed at Warhol’s exhibits.
4. Adam West’s Tribute
As the originator of Batman’s now decades long screen presence, actor Adam West has a strong tie to the superhero. His love for his on-screen alter ego from the ’60s goes so deep that the actor had a dental technician stain the Bat symbol on one of his molars. He revealed the work of art and tribute on the US game show I’ve Got a Secret.
3. Bill Finger’s Influence
Bob Kane has long been named as the ‘sole creator’ of Batman and while he was the originator, another man had a very large role in the character’s formation. Bill Finger was the man who nixed the colorful bat look, suggested Batman wear a full head cover rather than just a mask and his cape should be jagged to resemble wings. Basically all of the key parts in Batman’s look. Finger also apparently came up with the name Bruce Wayne, wrote many of Batman’s early stories, coined Gotham for the city name and created the back story of Wayne’s parents’ murders.
2. Robin’s Story
Dick Grayson/Robin may be Batman’s faithful sidekick but the poor little guy has had a rough time of it. Originally Robin was only supposed to appear in one issue because the editor didn’t like the idea of a kid fighting gangsters and “Batman was doing well enough by himself.” The issue with Robin however sold double so he was kept around. Then in 1954 German psychiatrist took his issue with comics to another level when he questioned the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his “young ward” Dick Grayson, an issue that has since been brought up time and time again. Finally in 1988, readers were allowed to vote whether Jason Todd, the second incarnation of Robin, would live or die in the four-issue arc,”A Death in the Family.” You guessed it, Todd was killed off.
1. Gotham City
As previously mentioned, Bill Finger came up with Batman’s famous dwelling, Gotham City, but how did he come up with it? Apparently he was simply going through a phone book when he saw the name Gotham Jewelers and it stuck with him, with the name first appearing in issue #4. The city was inspired by Nottingham village in England but according to the 1990 Atlas of the DC Universe, Gotham City is located in New Jersey, while Metropolis is located across the Delaware Bay. Then in 1966 Sunnyvale, California was almost renamed Gotham City after nightclub owner Joseph F. Lewis renamed his club from Whiskey-A-Go-Go to Wayne Manor, complete with dancers dressed as Batgirl and Catwoman and the place was furnished with Batman decor. He then lobbied city council for the city name change, but it didn’t happen.