bat­man time­line

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1939

Is­sue 27 of De­tec­tive Comics ap­peared with a new hero no­body had ever seen be­fore on the cover. Bob Kane had been in­spired by pulp mag­a­zines such as The Shadow, and a 1926 silent film called The Bat.

1940

With Bob Kane on pen­cils and Bill Fin­ger writ­ing the sto­ries, Bat­man got his own comic in spring 1940. Robin and The Joker par­tic­i­pate as Bat­man kills three gi­ants ma­raud­ing in Gotham.

1943

Drawn by Jack Burn­ley, the cover of Bat­man is­sue 16 dis­plays Bat­man and Robin in an iconic pose that has since been recre­ated by artists such as Alex Ross. The is­sue in­tro­duced Bruce’s but­ler, Al­fred Pen­ny­worth.

1954

Artist Dick Sprang loved to draw gi­ant-size ob­jects. Here he plays on Two-Face’s fa­mous coin toss mo­tif, only the coin is mas­sive and Bat­man and Robin are strapped to it. Some iron spikes com­plete the scene!

1958

Pretty much any­thing could hap­pen to Bat­man dur­ing the Sil­ver Age – as long as it didn’t in­volve overt sex or vi­o­lence. In De­tec­tive Comics is­sue 251, with cover art by Shel­don Mold­off, he was turned into an alien.

1966

In Au­gust 1966, is­sue 183 of Bat­man was re­leased to co­in­cide with the tele­vi­sion se­ries that started on ABC that month. Carmine In­fantino and Mur­phy An­der­son went to town on the small-screen tie-in.

1978

It had hap­pened time and again, but with is­sue 300 of Bat­man, Dick Gior­dano and writer Dave Vern Reed threat­ened an end to the char­ac­ter. In it, Bat­man and Robin bat­tle a crim­i­nal band called Spec­trum.

1980

The Un­told Leg­end of Bat­man was a three-is­sue limited se­ries drawn by John Byrne and writ­ten by Len Wein. It was one of the very first limited se­ries in comic books – an idea taken from tele­vi­sion.

1986

Chunky and hag­gard, 55-year-old Bat­man re­turned un­der the pen­man­ship of Frank Miller in The Dark Knight, a spe­cial limited se­ries that changed comics for­ever. This is the cover to the sec­ond is­sue of six.

1988

Dur­ing Mike Mig­nola’s time on the ti­tle, DC held a phone-in vote on whether or not Robin should live or die. Read­ers nar­rowly elected to kill the char­ac­ter off, hence Mike’s iconic Death in the Fam­ily cover.

2002

Orig­i­nally drawn in is­sues 608- 611 of Bat­man, the Hush sto­ry­line by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee made an im­pact thanks to the lat­ter’s de­tailed pen­cil work and shad­ing, and Bat­man’s ro­mance with Cat­woman.

2008

In May 2008, writer Grant Mor­ri­son gave the comic world the smelling salts with his RIP story, drawn by Tony S Daniel. The first is­sue, Bat­man 679, fea­tured an out­ra­geously slick and un­usual-look­ing cover.

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