In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman. Future installments will deal with Batman creators and stories, but this month will be about Batman’s allies and his villains. Here is a list of all the characters revealed so far.
You all voted, now here are the results! Here are the good guys! For the first day of the allies, we’ll open with ten characters and the installments will get smaller as we countdown to #1.
Amusingly enough, the first three characters were all members of the Outsiders with Batman…
Created by Bob Haney and Ramon Fradon, Metamorpho was known for years as the superhero who just didn’t fit in with other superheroes. He was just too oddball. He even turned down a chance to join the Justice League, the first person to do so! So that was why Mike Barr felt that he was the perfect member for Batman’s new group of Outsiders, as he wouldn’t fit anywhere else…
34. Black Lightning
Black Lightning, created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, ALSO turned down the Justice League when they asked him to join. Black Lightning had teamed up with Batman in the past and Batman admired him. So when Batman needed someone to go undercover on a rescue mission to save Lucius Fox, he thought of Black Lightning (who had retired and stopped using his powers after a young girl was tragically killed in the crossfire of a fight he was in). Batman got Black Lightning past his fears and he became a longtime member of the Outsiders…
One of three original Outsiders created for the title (by the book’s original creative team, Mike Barr and Jim Aparo), Katana and Batman had a lot in common (they were both dark loners). Katana was haunted by the fact that her husband’s soul was possessed by her katana. Recently, a variation on the Katana character appeared as Batman’s sort of sidekick on the Beware the Batman cartoon series.
Katana and Batman oddly enough didn’t exactly have a ton of scenes together during their time as teammates on the Outsiders, so instead I’ll just give you some awesome early Alan Davis pages featuring her…
32. Harold Allnut
Harold was a technological genius who got caught up with the wrong crowd (after debuting in Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s The Question series) and ended up working for the Penguin. Harold was mute and was a hunchback. After Batman foiled Penguin’s scheme (as Batman is wont to do), Harold ended up on the run. Batman ended up taking Harold in…
He then spent the next few years assisting Batman, building gadgets and machines for him. He sort of disappeared for a while and then he was killed off during the Hush crossover (let us not speak of what happened to Harold in that storyline).
Deadman (created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino) has a very special place in Batman history. When he appeared in Brave and the Bold #79, that was the first time that Neal Adams had ever drawn Batman. Awesome, right?
Deadman and Batman have teamed up many more times over the years, as they have a similar vibe (both pretty dark characters, but with a certain amount of light to them). Doug Moench, Kelley Jones and John Beatty had a great three-parter with Deadman during their run on Batman…
The magical hero Zatanna (created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson) and Batman were teammates on the Justice League for many years. However, during his time on the Batman: The Animated Series, Paul Dini (who was a huge Zatanna fan) introduced her into the Batman universe by showing that she and Batman spent a lot of time together while he was traveling the world training to become Batman. They definitely had a sort of chemistry together. When Dini took over writing Detective Comics, he revealed that Bruce and Zatanna knew each other as children through their respective parents. This made it all the more troubling for Batman when Zatanna wiped his memory during the Identity Crisis crossover (the Justice League used Zatanna’s powers to mess with the minds of some bad guys and Batman walked in on them and the League felt that they had to wipe out Batman’s memory as he never would have let them do what they needed to do – boy, Identity Crisis…oh, Identity Crisis).
Dini had her pop up from time to time in Detective Comics and she and Batman definitely still had some chemistry.
29. Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Created by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Bob Layton, Helena Wayne is from the alternate Earth known as Earth-2, where she was the daughter of that world’s Catwoman and Batman. When he mother is killed, Helena decides to become a hero herself to bring her mother’s murderer to justice. She had been trained by both of her parents, so she had a lot of skills and a little bit more of an edge than her straightlaced father. She became a member of the Justice Society of America. She had her own back-up series in Batman Family for a while (written and drawn by her original creative team) where we see her status quo on Earth 2, where she worked in a law firm with Dick Grayson but could not keep herself from her vigilante roots…
She served as a hero for many years. She eventually died during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Recently, during the New 52 reboot, she was reintroduced by her original writer, Paul Levitz, as a new Earth 2 character, stranded on the main DC Earth with her best friend, Power Girl (this version of Huntress was originally known as Robin).
28. Vicki Vale
Vicki Vale was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Lew Schwartz and Charles Paris in the late 1940s and served as a longstanding member of Batman’s supporting cast for the rest of the 1940s, all of the 1950s and the early part of the 1960s. She never really developed much further past being a Lois Lane knockoff, but you can’t deny the fact that she was one of the longest-tenured love interests Batman ever had.
Batman #73’s “Vicki Vale’s Secret” is a good example of how she was used in most of her stories. In the story, she tells Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson about some threats made against her. Since she is sure that Bruce and Dick are Batman and Robin, she figures that when they go to her apartment she will record them and they’ll be bound to say something incriminating. It’s a really sleazy trick, especially when she legitimately IS in trouble. And, of course, her plan goes awry at the end…
After being excised during the Silver Age revamp of the Bat-titles under Julie Schwartz’s editorship, it’s possible that Vicki Vale would have sort of faded into memory, but then she got a huge boost from being the love interest in the blockbuster 1989 Batman film, played by Kim Basinger.
Still, while the comics did bring her back around that time (she had appeared in some 80s comics already), she never really regained a recurring role again.
27. Silver St. Cloud
Silver St. Cloud is sort of the anti-Vicki Vale, in the sense that her time as the love interest of Bruce Wayne was very brief, but it was SO significant that she is still well-regarded to this day. She was introduced by Steve Englehart, Walter Simonson and Al Milgrom, but gained her prominence during the Englehart, Rogers and Austin issues that were to follow. She even figured out that Batman was Bruce Wayne (but didn’t reveal that she knew to Batman), leading to some awesome sequences…
Silver St. Cloud more or less became an Englehart-only character, as she would primarily be used only when Englehart came back to do Batman stories over the years.
At least that WAS the case until Kevin Smith decided to use her during his Batman mini-series The Widening Gyre. The less said about that series, the better.
26. Batwoman (Kathy Kane)
Introduced by Edmond Hamilton, Sheldon Moldoff and Stan Kaye (although Bob Kane likely did play a role in her creation behind-the-scenes), Kathy Kane was a rich socialite that decided to become a vigilante…
She appeared a number of times over the next decade or so and she was featured prominently in a couple of imaginary stories where she and Batman got married.
After she was retired during the Silver Age (another “victim” of Julie Schwartz’s revamp of the Bat-books) she eventually was killed off by Denny O’Neil in the pages of Detective Comics by the Bronze Tiger (during a period where he was a mind-controlled killer).
Grant Morrison recently revamped Kane’s origins and used her really well in Batman Incorporated…
He also revealed that she faked her death.