Batman turns 75; yearlong party planned

It's been three-quarters of a century since the world first met Batma-, uh we mean, Bruce Wayne, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

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Batman: Older, wiser, and more of a money maker than ever. DC Comics

Some guys must just have good genes. Take Batman, for instance. The dude turns 75 on Monday and he still doesn't look a day over 40 -- full head of hair, ripped build, super-cool karate moves, and all his original teeth. He doesn't even moan when he gets up from a chair!

Batman first made his debut in Detective Comics No. 27 on March 30, 1939 in an issue titled "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate," in which the villain winds up in a vat of acid at the end. A year later, he got a comic book of his very own with the release of Batman No. 1 in which he first battled the Joker and Catwoman. Since then, he's had quite a career, not only racking up an impressive list of vanquished bad guys (and girls), but also quite a bit of cash as a franchise for DC and Warner Bros. Entertainment. According to a just-released statement from DC Comics:

"Batman is the single most successful Super Hero film franchise in history and there have been more theatrical movies released based on Batman than any other comic book character. In video games, the Batman Arkham franchise is also the most successful Super Hero game concept ever. Batman consistently breaks records in every incarnation of his character and remains the gold standard by which all other comic book sales are measured."

Not bad for a kid who grew up without parents.

So how do you give such a super superhero a fitting 75th birthday party? First off, you give him a new logo (seen above) based on the famous "bat signal." Then, you give him a fashion makeover. Warner asked futuristic fashion designer Asher Levine to create a cape and cowl based on the Batsuit the Caped Crusader wears in the newly released "Batman: Arkham Knight." They're then inviting 20 contemporary artists to riff off the design to make their own interpretations of Batman's getup. Their creations will be unveiled at the "Cape/Cowl/Create" art exhibit at San Diego's Comic-Con in July.

For those who just can't get enough of the Dark Knight, there will also be a series of new and old entertainment options released throughout the year. Warner is releasing the original 1966 TV series on DVD for the first time ever, as well as the animated film, "Son of Batman," on May 6. It will also be putting out a 25th Anniversary Edition of Tim Burton's "Batman" (yes, it has been that long) in the fall. Additionally, it's distributing two brand-new animated short series. Although details haven't been released, they're being produced by Bruce Timm who did "Batman: The Animated Series" and Darwyn Cooke of "Batman Beyond" fame.

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DC Entertainment

Finally, there's a new TV series coming up called "Gotham," which will air on Fox and explore commissioner Gordon's back story as he meets "a familiar cast of characters -- including a young Bruce Wayne -- as he fights to keep the city safe." The premiere date has not been announced, but Fox has a Web site up about the project and it sounds like it might be a pretty cool origin story for all of the characters -- good and bad -- we've come to know so well.

"Batman is one of the greatest characters ever created, in comics or elsewhere, and even after 75 years he continues to wildly fascinate fans. He is an integral part of pop culture and has successfully captured the imagination of the entire world," Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement. "The origin of Batman, Bruce Wayne and the famous citizens of Gotham are legendary and likely a story you know inside out, even if you've never picked up a comic book in your life, and that speaks volumes to the character's immense popularity and the constructs of the original mythology."

You've certainly come a long way, Batbaby. Kapow!

About the author

Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for Crave and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.

 

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