To go along with all the Bat-week happenings, there will be one article a day on Batman’s history in comic books. I will focus on a legendary story arc or a major moment in Batman’s history every day. The history will be in what is considered cannon today with DC. For the first day of Bat-week I will give a brief overview of Batman and his beginnings.
Batman’s origin has been changed many times over the years. Different writers have different ideas and motives. Different eras in comic book history changed who and what Batman was. One fact, though, is always the same. The young Bruce Wayne saw his parents murdered in front of him on the streets of Gotham City. Bruce’s parents are shot to death for no rhyme or reason, it is simply a robbery gone wrong. At that moment Batman was born. Whatever the young Bruce Wayne might have become, was gone. From that moment he was destined to become the Batman, but he was still years from his destiny. Bruce decided that he will do everything in his power to stop the crime that took his parents. Instead of that dream fading away like most young kid’s dreams do, it grew into an obsession that would never go away.
Bruce knew that the only way to stop crime in Gotham was to do it outside of the regular police system. The Gotham City police could sometimes be as corrupt as the criminals themselves. As Bruce grew into a man he trained himself to the peak of physical and metal perfection. He made his body a lethal weapon and mastered many martial arts. He trained his mind to become a crime solving machine, becoming the world’s greatest detective. He idolized characters like Zorro, a man who stands up to the corrupt to protect the helpless. This might also have led to Bruce’s public identity. Just as Zorro pretended to just be a rich “fop”, Bruce made everyone believe that he was simply a millionaire playboy, having inherited his parents’ vast amounts of money and incredible successful business. He was really using his parents’ money to fund the equipment he would use to stop Gotham’s criminals. No one would suspect that Bruce Wayne would be cleaning up the streets while he could be sitting on his yacht with a playmate.
Bruce had the training, the money, the equipment, and the desire but he knew he needed more. He knew that one man, no matter how well equipped and trained, could stop Gotham’s ruthless thugs. They needed to be truly afraid of what they were going to fight. They needed to believe they faced a monster, not a man. When Bruce Wayne chose the bat to be his instrument of fear, the final piece of Batman was put into place. Fear would be the Batman’s greatest weapon in his war on crime and Gotham’s criminals would fear him. From that point on the Batman started his reign of terror on anyone who was doing wrong. The Batman was not just a person. The Batman was a force of nature that no one could stop and who would not let up until every square inch of his city was safe.
Thus Bruce Wayne turned into Batman. His war became his only focus in life. There was no personal life for Batman, he had to be everywhere and nowhere in Gotham. Every minute of his life would be devoted to pushing forward his war. Batman is the type of person who plans on having to fight every single person he meets. He has files on how to defeat even his fellow crime fighters. He documents every different type of pain he feels. He uses fear so effectively that when Green Lantern type rings are looking for people who inspire terror, one of them goes to him. Bruce Wayne became more then just a regular person. At some point Bruce Wayne stopped being his real identity and became the mask. At some point only Batman remained.
Despite all of his obsession and harshness, Batman remains the embodiment of hope. Everything he does is to make Gotham a better place. Batman, a person who lives in a cave and spends most of his time with the scum of the earth, never losses hope that he can prevent another little boy from getting his life taken away. It is because of his complete dedication to hope that Batman has remained one of the most popular characters in comic book history and why we at Platform Nation celebrate him with Bat-Week!