To celebrate Batman day we’ve all gone a little batty at The–Arcade. So here’s my go at the A-Z of Batman. Let me know in the comments if you think a letter is better suited here guys because believe me there were many choices I had to make.
A: A is for Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler and arguably his best friend and confidant. The character first appeared in Batman #16 (1943) and in more modern interpretations Alfred served as Bruce Wayne’s legal guardian after the death of his parents.
In other media, Alfred has been played by Michael Gough, Michael Caine, and will next be played by Jeremy Irons.
B: B is for… Well I could be very lazy here and just say ‘bats‘ but, let’s dig deeper. B is for Bruce Wayne, Billionaire (duh) and of course ‘Batman Begins‘ Christopher Nolan’s 2005 reimagining of the caped crusader.
The film reboots the Batman franchise, delving into the origin story and Wayne’s initial fear of bats, and following his fight against Ra’s al Ghul and the league of shadows.
C: C is for Catwoman aka Selina Kyle. Selina Kyle, first appears in Batman #1 (1940) in which she is known as The Cat. Catwoman is usually either a villain, love interest or more often… she’s both. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman motion picture.
Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992’s Batman Returns, Halle Berry… nope. But then Anne Hathaway portrayed Selina Kyle in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.
D: D is for Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul. Damian originally appeared as an unnamed infant in the 1987 story Batman: Son of the Demon,which (at that time) was not canon. In 2006, the character was reinterpreted as Damian by Grant Morrison, and introduced back into main continuity in Batman #655, the first issue of the “Batman and Son” story arc.
Having served alongside Nightwing and Bruce Wayne as Robin, Damian met an untimely demise that was honestly devastating to read and still hurts to talk about…
E: E is for Batman Eternal, a year-long weekly limited series that kicked off in April this year. The series follows Batman, and the bat-family and a larger Gotham City cast. The series is written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley.
According to Snyder, the series should run for 60 issues until it takes a break in March 2015.
F: F is for Batman Forever, the 1995 Val Kilmer movie also stars Tommy Lee Jones as Twoface, Jim Carrey as the Riddler, and Chris O Donnell as Dick Grayson aka Robin. The plot for anyone who hasn’t seen it, follows Batman trying to stop the Riddler and Twoface using “3D television” to tap into the brains of everyone in Gotham City. That’s right, 3D TV in 1995 and they’re still trying it in cinemas today…
G: G is for Solomon Grundy, the zombie super-villain. Grundy’s clashed with many heroes over the years, including Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America. Grundy’s below average intellect makes him easy to fool and manipulate but with Grundy’s superhuman strength, stamina, mystical invulnerability and the ability to resurrect himself, makes Grundy one to watch out for.
H: H is for… Harley Quinn. I dare you to go to a convention and not see a Harley Quinn cosplay. Harley first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series and then later adapted into comic books, first appearing in Batman Adventures #12 (1993). As suggested by her name (a play on the word “harlequin“), she is clad in the manner of a traditional harlequin jester.
The character is a frequent accomplice/girlfriend of the Joker, and is also close to the super-villain Poison Ivy, from whom she gained her immunity to poisons and toxins.
I: I is for Batman Incorporated, a long running series from Grant Morrison in which Batman takes his war on crime to the next level, by “franchising” it and drafting, training and commanding a global team of heroes who answer to Batman himself called, Batman Incorporated.
J: I’d been waiting for this one since we got to B. As we all know, J is for Joker. Making his first appearance in Batman #1 (1940) the Clown Prince of Crime was actually supposed to be killed off in the same issue but managed to dodge the editorial axe and flourished as Batman’s longtime nemesis. A psychopathic criminal mastermind, the Joker is responsible for the death of former Robin Jason Todd and even the paralysis of Barbara Gordon.
K: Knightfall. Batman is systematically beaten down and then quite literally crippled by Bane. This results in Wayne being replaced as Batman by apprentice Jean-Paul Valley, who becomes far too violent and generally just mental, ruining Batman’s PR as he goes.
Naturally, Batman kicks ass and reclaims the cowl.
L: Lego. As in Lego Batman. Batman actually has a pretty strong Lego presence. With two successful Lego video games and a movie spinning off from the second.
Batman also stole the show in the 2014 Lego movie being voiced by Will Arnett.
M: M is for Mr Freeze. “Ice to meet you Batman.” Victor Fries aka Mr Freeze first appeared in Batman #121 (1959). Freeze is a scientist who needs to wear a cryogenic suit in order to survive, and bases his crimes around a “cold” or “ice” themes, with his handy “freeze gun” in tow he can freeze targets solid, he is a former cryo expert who suffered an accident while attempting to cure his terminally ill wife, Nora. Also Freeze is best known for the characters appearance in the 1997 Batman & Robin movie portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Terrible puns and all.
N: N is for New 52. DC Comics 2011 reboot. Where DC’s entire line of ongoing monthly superhero books and all of its existing titles were cancelled, and fifty-two new series debuted in 2011 with new first issues. Batman among the new series to debut. Within this New 52 continuity certain changes were made to Batman’s origin and timeline. Bruce has been Batman for 5/6 years now and former Robin Tim Drake was now not Robin and only the hero Red Robin.
O: Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin. Ok so maybe I’m cheating a little here but it works ok. The Penguin is another classic Batman villain first appearing in in Detective Comics #58 (1941). The Penguin is a short, fat little guy with a fixation for birds and his specialized high-tech umbrellas. A true “gentleman of crime;” his businesses provide cover for most of his criminal activity. Penguin is another long time enemy brought to the big screen, this time by Danny DeVito in the 1992 Tim Burton movie, Batman Returns.
P: Another letter and another villain, P is for Poison Ivy. Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley first appeared in Batman #181 (1966). Obsessed with plants, botany, and environmentalism, Ivy uses toxins from and mind controlling pheromones for her criminal activities, (generally aimed at protecting the environment.) Harley Quinn is also recurring partner and possibly Ivy’s only human friend. She was also featured in the 1997 Batman & Robin movie, portrayed by Uma Thurman.
Q: Q is for Quit. While Batman isn’t about to quit his war on crime, he did once quit the JLA in the most badass fashion. Enjoy.
R: R is for Robin, the name of several junior counterparts to serve alongside Batman. The character’s first incarnation Dick Grayson debuted in Detective Comics #38 (1940) before growing older and branching out in how role as Nightwing. Jason Todd then became Robin and debuted in Batman #357 (1983). Todd served with Batman until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in the storyline “A Death in the Family” (1989). Next up, Tim Drake who debuted in the 1991 Robin series before eventually becoming Red Robin. After that we’ve got a brief stint by Stephanie Browne before the aforementioned Damian Wayne.
S: S is for Bat-Signal, which made its first appearance in Detective Comics #60 (1942.) The Bat-Signal is primarily a distress device. It’s a specially modified searchlight with a stylized bat symbol attached so that it projects a large Bat emblem on the Gotham City skyline. The signal is used by the Gotham City Police Department as a method of contacting and summoning Batman to their in the event of a serious crisis and as a form of psychological intimidation to the villains of Gotham City.
T: I’m going to use T for ‘The Animated Series’. Batman: The animated series is another classic corner of the Batman Mythos that ran from 1992 to 1995 with a whopping 85 episodes. The series is widely praised for its themes and darker tone, artistic quality, and faithfulness to its title character’s crime-fighting origins. She also won four Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Animated Program.
But for many if us, this was our first step into the Batman universe with choice actor Kevin Conroy for many becoming THE Batman of a generation.
U: U is for Utility belt. Batman’s legendary utility belt made it’s debut in Detective Comics #29 (1939) and has continued to wow fans of the bat for years to come.
He’s always got just the right gadgets stashed away in his utility belt.
Honestly it’s almost like ‘this‘ is his superpower. Being prepared.
V: V is for Vicki Vale. Vicki first appears in Batman #49 (1948) Originally said to have been modelled on Marilyn Monroe Vicki is a long time character that seems to come and go quite a bit through the franchise but more often than not, she always returns. What the New 52 continuity holds for Vale remains to be seen after only a few brief appearances.
X: X will serve for Batman’s new XE suit. (Extreme environment) This new Batsuit is available as part of the Cold Cold Heart DLC for the Batman: Arkham Origins video game.
This suit is designed by Batman to even the odds as he goes up against Mr Freeze. The suit comes equipped with thermal-gloves and thermocharged Batarangs.
Y: Y simply HAS to stand for Batman: Year One. Year one is (for my money) the best Batman story ever told. In fact I’ve gone on record to say so in The-Arcade’s top 10 Graphic Novels. Frank Miller works to give Batman the definitive origin story he deserves, an origin so good it’s actually just been left alone for the most part by DC which in itself says a lot. Its Batman learning just how and what he must do to become the legendary Dark Knight we know he becomes. Jim Gordon plays an integral part in this book and it’s as much his story as it is Bruce Wayne’s. This is the book that Chris Nolan largely based his Batman Begins film from. Year One puts the focus on a young Bruce Wayne crafting the legacy of the Dark Knight alongside Jim Gordon’s crusade against corruption within the GCPD. This is the best Batman book there is. I stand by it!
Z: Z is for Zero Year. Kicking off in June of 2013 ‘Zero Year’ is a yearlong crossover event redefining Bruce-Man’s origin to better fit the New 52 and it is taking the bat books by storm. I should clarify it is NOT a retelling of the infamous Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli classic that is “Batman: Year One.” Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo are each doing the finest work of their careers on Zero Year, literally redefining what it means to be Batman. With Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham after his travels away and butting heads with the nefarious Red Hood One.
Seeing Batman cobble together his suit, cave and above all else, his strategy is the real treat here. I can’t say how many times I’ve finished an issue and found myself thinking “So THAT’S where he learned to do that” With early incarnations of Harvey ‘TwoFace’ Dent and The Penguin showing up, the birth of The Joker and the rise of The Riddler it is jam-packed with fan favourite characters all cast in a new light.
So there you have it, the A-Z of Batman. As always guys let is know what you think in the comments below.