When you take a look back at the history of particular superheros, from creation to their current modern day incarnation, there are few figures that have evolved to quite the same extent as Batman.
In fact, when the DC Comics team of Bill Finger and Bob Kane sat down to come up with a new crime-fighting detective, they initially devised a character based on the success of Superman. The prototype was hoodless, had red tights and a simple domino mask, and a pair of stiff bat wings instead of a cape. It took almost six months of continual revisions between Finger and Kane before they settled on a character who was unique enough in terms of both appearance and personality to go to print.
Batman Spreads his Batwings
Batman was first introduced in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939, before going on to star in his own comic book saga the following spring. This brought the Caped Crusader to a national audience, and the series proved to be another instant success for DC. From here, the Batman franchise grew and grew, expanding into increasingly popular forms of media over the next few decades. Fast forward to 2017 and the Batman empire now spans print, TV, film and video games.
There’s even a line of superhero online slots hosted at bgo Vegas which pit Batman against a number of his arch-nemese. It’s a series of six licensed games, which include Batman and the Penguin Prize and Catwoman. In addition to bgo, the Batman and Mr Freeze game is also available at both Nova Casino and Casino City. The title is based on the 1960s TV show and offers a range of bonus features and progressive jackpots, and even features brief snippets from everybody’s favourite cryogenic supervillain. There seems to be no end to the platforms fit for a themed foray into the Gotham universe.
Key character development (1940-1943)
With the imminent release of the hotly anticipated Lego Batman feature film just around the corner, now is a perfect time to take stock of just how far Batman has come over the past 80 years. Let’s start at the very beginning.
The formative years for the Batman comic book series proved to be a particularly fruitful period. Usually, it’s not uncommon for major elements of the initial superhero storyline, such as villains and plot devices, to be reworked or even disposed of completely further down the line.
With Batman, some of the earliest characters remain among the most well-known: the Joker, Catwoman, Robin and Alfred, to name a few. When you consider these characters are still the focal point of most modern takes on the franchise – whether it’s one of the bgo slots games or any recent film adaptations – it’s fair to say they’ve stood the test of time better than many subsequent character developments, naming no names, of course. Cough, Killer Moth, cough.
Batman on screen (1966-1968)
In many ways, ABC’s decision to commission a TV adaptation of the Batman comics was a saving grace for the franchise. With comic book sales on a downward slope around the mid-60s Batman series kept the character alive and became an opportunity to experiment with the overall look and feel of the story.
Despite only running for three seasons, the Batman series – starring Adam West in the lead role – proved to be incredibly popular. The producers ensured a much more lighthearted atmosphere that was much more over the top and flamboyant compared with the comic books. To this day, it’s considered by many to be a bona fide cult classic and there’s even been recent talk of a modern revamp. Kapow!
The Tim Burton era (1989-1992)
Renowned for his gothic style as an auteur, the decision to place Tim Burton in charge of two major Batman films marked yet another change in tone for the franchise. Burton focussed on creating a quirky, slightly disturbing feel to the action, and added his own unique twists to the character backstories.
The marketing and merchandising campaigns around the two films were also massively successful, leading this period around the turn of the 1990s to become known as Batmania and leaving a sizeable impact on the film industry for years to come.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Viewed by many as the pinnacle of all Batman adaptations, the success of 2008’s The Dark Knight was largely down to Heath Ledger’s mind-bending portrayal of The Joker. His performance becomes an even greater feat when you consider he had to force himself out of the shadow of Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance 20 years earlier.
So, there you have it. If you now find yourself pining for some high octane Batman action then it won’t be long until the new Lego Batman movie hits the big screen. Keep calm and wait for the batsignal.