Batman has been entertaining audiences for 80 years. He's been a dark, brooding avenger of justice, a whacky crime-fighter who competed with the Joker in a surfing contest, and a self-absorbed lego figure with attachment issues. With such a long-lasting legacy, it's easy for younger generations to forget about the silly adventures and interesting events that the Dark Knight has had in his life.
For this little history lesson, we decided to take you back to the Golden Age of Super Hero comics (1938-1956) and tell you ten things that you didn't know about Batman during this era in comic books.
10 A lot of the Key Mythos wasn't introduced until the 40s
Most non-comic readers know a thing or two about Batman. He lives in Gotham City, his childhood incident, and has a secret cave under his home. However, a lot of these elements weren't introduced until the 40s. Back then, Batman either lived in Metropolis or New York City and had a secret hanger for him to do most of his detective work. It wasn't until Detective Comics #48 in 1940 when Gotham became Batman's home and in 1948 where Batman had first used the Batcave.
9 Robin was originally going to be a one-off character
While he has been in that many live-action movies, Robin has always been attached to the Bat-Mythos. First introduced in Detective Comics #38, Robin was the former circus kid who's family was murdered by Tony Zuko and trained in the ways of crime-fighting by the Dark Knight.
However, Robin wasn't always supposed to be Batman's side-kick. Editor Jack Liebowitz was against the idea since "Batman was doing fine on his own." However, after issue #38 doubled in sales, Robin became a permanent fixture in the Bat-Family.
8 People thought Batman and Robin were a couple
Batman and Robin are the most recognized dynamic duo in comics. They've been busting criminals in the face with their gadgets and fists for 70+ years. Even Robin's origin clearly states that Batman took him in after his parents died. However, there was a time where Batman and Robin were thought of by certain people as more than Father and Son. German Psychologist, Fredric Wertham, once wrote in his novel, Seduction of the Innocent, that "The Batman type of story may stimulate children to [gay] fantasies, of the nature of which they may be unconscious." Open sexuality wasn't widely accepted as it now, so when the claims were published in the 50s, the Comics Code Authority came into effect to prevent anything like this happening again.
7 His Suit was originally going to be red
While Batman's suit has gone through some small changes, each one remains the essence of the original costume that Bill Finger drew back in the 30s.... or so we thought. While Batman has always had a cape, cowl, and utility belt, Bob Kane's original idea for Batman was to dress him up in red spandex, have a bat mask cover up his eyes, and wear Batwings as a cape. For pretty obvious reasons, Bob and Bill decided to scrap it for something else.
6 Batman's greatest Comedy Failure
The Gold and Silver Age of comics are known for just how silly they were by today's standards. From Superman being turned morbidly obese to Wonder Woman being defeated by having her hands tied up, there's no shortage of goofy moments from the two eras. Batman has had plenty of ridiculous escapades that he partook in. Batman #66 saw the Joker after having his robbery stopped by Batman and Robin, trying to recreate some of history's most famous accidents so Batman can slip up and suffer a humiliating defeat.
While not too silly, even by today's standards, the reason this comic is here is because The Joker keeps saying, "Boner." Back in the '50s, "Boner" wasn't meant as it was today, but instead was used to describe “a mistake that causes embarrassment to the person who makes it." Still, it's a funny story, if you have the humor of a 13-year-old. We're not judging.
5 Batman drove around in a car
Batman has plenty of modes of transportation. He's got the Batwing, the Batboat, the Batcopter, but none are as infamous as the Batmobile. From the Tank-like design found in the Nolan and Snyder films to the thin and slick looks of Both Tim Burton and Bruce Timms takes on Batman, you can't have Batman without the Batmobile. However, there was no Batmobile when Bats first started. He just used an everyday car like everyone else. It wasn't until the 40s that Batman first used the Batmobile.
4 His meeting with Superman was the first Super Hero crossover
With the popularity of the Avengers and Justice League, we all know that Super Heroes can come together and beat' up the bad guys. That wasn't always the case until Batman and Robin first met Superman. It was a massive deal for audiences back in the day to learn that the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder were in the same universe as the Man of Steel.
So, what did these iconic heroes do for their first team-up? Did they fight against the Joker and Lex Luthor? Nope, they stopped a robber stealing a woman's purse.
3 Batman killed people
While Micheal Keaton and Ben Affleck aren't afraid to get some blood on their hands, most audiences know about Batman's "No Kill" rule. He doesn't use guns and will never resort to taking another life as he would be no different than the criminal from his past. It turns out that Batman didn't always have that rule, as Batman straight up killed his foes. During his early adventures, Batman would push guys off buildings and hang them till they choked. It's a far cry from what we know of Batman today.
2 Batman's origin wasn't revealed until Detective Comics
Everyone knows about Batman's origin story. It's been interpreted and re-told in several comics, movies, cartoons, tv shows, thesis articles, and much more. It's just an iconic tale that's incredibly tragic and relatable that we don't even need to remind you of what happened. However, it's shocking to learn that Batman's tale of his childhood wasn't immediately told right out of the box. It wasn't until Detective Comics #33 (six issues after his debut), where audiences were first introduced to the now-famous story of Batman's past.
1 Batman used to use a gun
As mentioned before, Batman has a thing against using firearms. While Ben Affleck wasn't afraid to use an AK-47 to mow down some dream demons or machine bullets to take down some criminals in Metropolis, Batman has a no-gun policy. However, Batman wasn't always afraid of using guns. One of the more infamous comic covers from the Golden Age has Batman with a pistol in hand, and he even used a machine gun in Batman#1 to kill some of Hugo Stranges men. It wasn't until 1940, due to strict editorial mandate, that Batman stopped these violent acts. In Bob Kane's autobiography, Batman and Me, he stated, “The whole moral climate changed in the 1940-1941 period. You couldn’t kill or shoot villains anymore. DC prepared its own comics code, which every artist and writer had to follow. He wasn’t the Dark Knight anymore with all the censorship.”