Happy Batman Day

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

It's bat-day.

That's right, it's Saturday, September 17 - National Batman Day, according to DC Comics. 

Why today, you ask? An excellent question. Was Bruce Wayne born on September 17? Wast that the fateful day his parents were killed, setting him on a dark and vengeful path for the rest of the life? Perhaps it is the day that the iconic superhero first appeared in Detective Comics?

Actually September 17 is none of those things. It's just another Saturday, which means more people are off of work and available to buy things.

Art by Jack Burnley

Art by Jack Burnley

If you read my earlier post on Superman, you know that the Man of Steel is my favorite, and honestly I think I'd have to go with Spider-Man for #2, but Batman is definitely #3. There's no doubt that, at least in the latex-heavy pop culture consciousness of the modern day, Batman reigns supreme. I know that for many people he's the best, and I understand the appeal. The idea of a non-superpowered individual with enough training and smarts to join the Justice League is an appealing one. 

My issues with his origins and singular obsession with vengeance notwithstanding, there’s a lot to like about Batman. He’s a ninja. He’s the world’s greatest detective. He’s got lots of cool toys and vehicles. He really is the perfect foil to Superman, which is why the two characters have such a long history as frenemies. In honor of Batman Day, here’s a personal history of some of my favorite Batman stories. 

Over the years, there have been a lot of Batmans to love. I was a huge fan of the Cartoon Network's Animated Series that began in 1992, hardly missing an episode when I came home after school. I remember loving the zaniness of the Adam West series, before Batman became the dark and brooding character he is today. Tim Burton gave Batman new life in the 80s, and I even enjoyed the Joel Schumacher versions, because hey, I was ten and it was Batman. And of course, nothing can quite hold a candle to what Christopher Nolan accomplished in his Dark Knight Trilogy - especially in the middle film, The Dark Knight, sure to be remembered by posterity as one of the greatest superhero films (and films in general) of all time. Even the upcoming Lego Batman movie looks amazing (trailer below). And let's not forget the comics, where Batman got his start. I recently re-read The Dark Knight Returnsand it still holds up as one of the, if not the, quintessential Batman stories. Batman: Year One is a great origin story by the same guy (Frank Miller), and then there are two excellent crime graphic novels The Long Halloween and Hush

But quite possibly my favorite version of Batman is actually being him in the Arkham video game series. This series took all the elements of the animated series (including some of the voice acting, so it was like being a kid again), incorporated some of the heavier elements of the The Dark Knight Trilogy, and gave you a ton of cool weapons in your arsenal to take down criminals and super villains. The game uses Batman’s combat, detective, and ninja skills in such an interesting and fun combo that it’s probably the closest you will ever come to actually feeling like a superhero. 

Which, on Batman Day, sounds like a pretty good way to spend the day.