Batman Costume Changes From The 1940s Until Today
Batman appeared in comics in 1939 created by Bob Kane. From the beginning Kane set out to make character dark and mysterious but a crime fighter with a strong sense of justice and ability to do the right thing. But he wasn't quite the Dark Knight we've seen in the films of the 2000s. This article examines the changes in the Batman and his costume alterations over the years from the early days of the 1940s, the more comic 1960s through the return to the more dark stories of the 1970s - 1990s and today.
The Batman has a long legacy as a complex superhero part of his allure came from being a bit of an anti hero. Developed in the 1940s when many superheroes like Superman were squeaky clean the batman came from the darkness shrouded in mystery.
The original Batman was known as "the Batman" and was introduced in Detective Comics. The costume was very specific and Batman took on the ideals of a vigilante on a quest in search of justice fighting against a variety of different villains. Upon the appearance of the Batman there was no Robin as of yet. The costume had long ears the cape went through changes appearing in tow sections, and then as bat wings. Batman's gloves did not yet have spiked parts and the bat symbol was a simple black bat.
1950s - 1960s Batman
During the 1950s there was a rapid decline in the popularity of superheroes. But a rise in cartoon type comics as well as romance, western and other types. Many superheroes disappeared completely as comic book publishers switched to these formats. Batman didn't disappear but his comics began to contain many silly and campy stories taking on a more cartoon feel. He became very unlike the dark crime fighter we know today. It was during this time that things like the shark repellent bat spray and other silly things began to show themselves. Also the speeches of Adam West became quite funny as well as phrases that Robin would often say like, "Holy heart failure Batman!" But during the 1950s and throughout the 1960s this worked well to sell comics. During this period we begin to see the evolution of his suit. Shorter ears more bat-like shape, unusual white eyebrows and white lines around his nose. His black bat symbol now encompassed by a yellow oval and the appearance of the spiked ridges on his gloves.
1970s - 1990s Batman
During the 1970s after the television Batman series and silly comic stories had run their course many batman writers went back to the basics. They began to take a look at the old stories by Batman creator Bob Kane and wrote many stories returning the seriousness and darkness to the character. In some cases making him even more dark than he once was. The longer ears once again became part of the costume and his symbol became more rounded to fit within the yellow-gold oval. Throughout the comics this has remained the same many covers and in the films the costume has gone from the standard blue and grey to black. The only real exception in the comics was during the Knightfall story arc during the 1990s. At that time period Bruce Wayne had his back broken by Bane and chose another to carry on as the Batman. Unknown to Wayne the new batman had an insanity of his own. He made extreme alterations to the costume including a helmet, armor, additional weaponry and metallic claws.
2000s Batman And Beyond
Although the comic drawn batman has pretty much remained the same since the 1990s the films have altered the costume upon occasion. Other than the change of blue and grey to black beginning in the movies the costume symbol on the chest has changed. The first films of the 1990s had the symbol encompassed in the yellow oval but beginning in the late 1990s the symbol became more of a silhouette of the bat. During the 2000s the shape of the bat symbol itself also underwent shape changes to become more rigid. The mask also was changed and brow furrowed to appear more menacing.