“It is not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.”
And so it did. What he has done for 75 years and still continues to do, has defined ‘The Batman’ to us – a hero, a saviour, a deranged sociopath, a lover, a billionaire, a philanthropist, but above all, an icon, a symbol that tells us that even within this corrupt and broken world, there are people who always have and always will stand up for what is right, a symbol, that as Bruce Wayne puts in the movie aforementioned, “is incorruptible and everlasting”.
Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Originally referred to as “the Bat-Man” and still referred to at times as “the Batman”, the character is additionally known as “The Caped Crusader”, “The Dark Knight”, and “the World’s Greatest Detective”, among other titles. It is actually the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, a wealthy multimillionaire who had witnessed the murder of his parents at a very early age, and had sworn revenge on all criminals; but it was an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Bruce trains himself mentally and physically and dons a bat-themed Kevlar fitted costume to fight crime, and over the years we have seen him face an assortment of villains, including the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Ra’s al Ghul, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, among many others. However, the real charm of Batman lies in the fact that unlike all the superheroes of his age, he does not possess any superhuman abilities like The Superman, The Flash, and The Spiderman does. Rather, he uses his intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war against crime. He is ably assisted in his efforts by his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. Despite having been on the public scene for over 7 decades, the interest in Batman has not dropped, rather, has been buoyed by the likes of Frank Miller, whose 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns has been hailed as one of the best comic strips ever written, and lately by Christopher Nolan, whose 3 films on the Batman have lent a new face and edge to the character, with the 2nd film “The Dark Knight” having been rated by IMDB as the 6th greatest movie of all times with Heath Ledger, putting in a deliciously evil act as “The Joker”, which earned him a posthumous Oscar Award for Best Actor that year.In May 2011, Batman was also placed second on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman.
But for us fans, there is so much more to The Batman than his history or his charisma. Over the years, we have embraced him as somebody whose sense of righteousness and diligence has saved Gotham City, the fictional city in which he resides, time and time again. The fact that despite all his efforts, the residents of Gotham often misinterpret his sacrifices adds more to his charm. Batman isn’t simply a keep-your-brains-at-home kind of superhero who bashes up any villain with his superhuman strength, flies through and uses laser eyes to cut through metal or jumps around a town using spider webs; no, he forces you to find that lost sense of idealism in you, his stories keep asking you whether it is possible to stick to your conscience in a morally degraded environment. He is portrayed as somebody who keeps fighting his past while dealing with the present, as somebody who is constantly trying to exorcise his demons, as somebody who has had his mind, senses, spirit, hope, body and heart, all broken and tattered, but he just keeps coming back. It is that seemingly lost sense of uprighteousness; that sense of duty that has made The Batman, not only an American cultural icon but also one of the most loved adored and followed superhero of all times. Add to that a mix of dialogues like these, and you know why the famous Empire magazine also listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time.
“You will hunt me,
You will condemn me,
Set the dogs on me,
Because that is what needs to happen,
Because sometimes the truth isn’t good enough
Sometimes people deserve more,
Sometimes, people need to have their faith rewarded.”
“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves,
But not the one it needs right now.
So we’ll hunt him,
Because he can take it,
Because he’s not the hero,
He’s a silent guardian,
A watchful protector,
The Dark Knight.
From a personal point of view, Batman has always be someone I would always look up to in times of moral conflict or hopelessness. Ask any other Batman fan and he will definitely tell you the same thing. I will end this on another quote from Batman, the one in which he says “that you either die as a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself turn into a villain”. 75 years on, however, the caped crusader continues to be our hero, to be eternally placed in our hearts as the hero we both need and deserve. May you live forever, Batman!!