On this day in 1940, DC Comics published Batman #1, which, as well as being the first appearance of The Joker, also featured the first appearance of the character we would come to know as Catwoman. Selina Kyle has been one of the most versatile characters in not only Batman’s canon, but the whole DC Universe. She’s been a hero, a villain, an ally, a lover, and for over twenty years she has been a leading lady in her own right.
With the Deadpool movie arriving in cinemas this week, media attention has turned to the character's co-creator Rob Liefeld, and it’s already caused a fair share of controversy. As part of an interview with the New York Times, Liefeld stated that he did “all the heavy lifting” in the creation of Deadpool, and even more bluntly, “I chose Fabian [Nicieza], and he got the benefit of the Rob Liefeld lottery ticket. Those are good coattails to ride.” Liefeld has called the article a "hit piece," but has made similar assertions on Twitter.
Liefeld’s words raise interesting questions about who gets to call themself the true creator of a character. Is it just the initial concept, idea, or design that warrants a creator credit, and does time spent defining a character count for anything?
In 1939, Superman kicked open the doors of a brand new genre, and an entire generation of young creators did their level best to shape the future of superheroes. In that spirit, in an office in New York, a 24-year-old artist brought his creative partner an idea --- a name, really: "Bat-Man." Beyond that, there wasn't much to it. The artist was toying with the idea of a blonde, lantern-jawed hero in a domino mask who could fly, but his partner saw a little more to it.
Instead of the artist's bright red costume, the writer suggested a darker color scheme, something reminiscent of The Shadow, but with a cowl designed to mimic the ears of a bat, and give him a more fearsome appearance; and instead of super-powers, he could be a man who fought crime through his own strength and wits, driven by the tragic murder of his parents to spend his life in an endless war on crime. That writer was Bill Finger, born this day in 1914, and while his name rarely appeared on the comics he created, he remains one of the most influential creators in comic book history.
The Penguin has always been one of the hardest Batman villains to get a handle on. While the Dark Knight's other foes are usually built around these simple, evocative traits that mirror Batman's own obsessions, the Penguin suffers from an embarrassment of gimmicks. He's got the birds, the umbrellas, the pretensions of high society, the veneer of legitimacy and the nightclub with the giant iceberg in it --- he's even had a gimmicked monocle on more than one occasion. It all creates a complicated set of motivations and themes, and any other character who was saddled with all of that would've fallen into obscurity within a few years.
But for the Penguin, who made his first appearance on this day back in 1941, it only made him a much more complicated and interesting character.
This week's Batman comics mark a major change for the character, but unless you're a sharp-eyed reader who pays close attention to the credits pages, you might have missed it. As the Red Hood and Cassandra Cain threw down on the opening spread of Batman and Robin Eternal #3, Bill Finger finally received a credit as the co-creator of Batman after 76 years without proper recognition.
Last weekend marked the official Batman Day, and while I hope I've made it clear over my years of writing about comics that I strive to keep Batman in my heart the whole year 'round, I think we can all agree that it's nice to take some time and talk about the many wonderful things that he's done in his 76 years of crime-fighting. The thing is, you always hear about the same stuff. It's always "Dark Knight" this, and "Year One" that, and "that time he fought Bane and got knocked out of comics for like two years because of an actual professional wrestling move."
Don't get me wrong, those are important events, sure, but they're a tiny, tiny fraction of what Batman has done, and I think it's time that we honor some of the more unloved --- but just as deserving --- examples of heroism from his considerable career. Like, say, that time that he saved Gotham City from having all of its metal stolen by a giant green hand from another dimension by proving that aliens should be able to speak foreign languages.
For the past 75 years, every Batman story across all media has carried one --- and only one --- credit with regards to the character's origin: "Batman created by Bob Kane." Now, that's going to change.
Today, DC Entertainment announced that when Gotham returns to television next week, and when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters next year, they'll both feature a credit for Bill Finger, who co-created Batman with Kane in 1939 and was responsible for some of the most enduring elements of the character.
Many of comics’ most popular characters have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most significant characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Joker comics.
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Catwoman comics.
The next installment of DC's digital-frist reprint Jiro Kuwata's Bat-Manga involves Batman and Robin facing off against a trio of mechanical ne'er-do-wells known as the Robot Robbers, and let's be real here: if you're anything at all like me, that's all you need to know.
If, however, you'd like a little more information, then I've got good news for you! We have in our hands an exclusive preview of the next issue, available on Comixology and other digital outlets this Saturday. And not only does it feature Batman duking it out with a robot robber, it also features the wondrous technology of his crime sensor.