Comic-strip character created in 1939 by US cartoonist Bob Kane (real name Robert Kahn, 1915–1998) and writer Bill Finger (1914–1974). A crime-busting superhero, disguised by a black bat-like mask and cape, Batman and his sidekick Robin were long a staple of the DC Comics group.
Batman's secret identity is that of millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. His youthful aide, former circus performer Dick Grayson, is known as Robin the Boy Wonder. Together they zoom around in their ‘batmobile’ and combat the criminal activities of (among others) the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, and the Catwoman.
Adaptations include several films, most notably serials from Columbia Pictures during the 1940s, a four-film series by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films 1989–97, and a trilogy by Christopher Nolan 2005–12, as well as a a pop-art-inspired television series in the 1960s and animated series in the 1990s and 2000s.
In 1986 US comics writer and artist Frank Miller re-examined the legend in his graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns; his treatment of the ageing superhero as psychopathic vigilante proved highly influential.
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