Over 74-odd years, in an assortment of media, Batman, one of comic book’s first anti-heroes, has become one of America’s most beloved superheroes. Over the years, he has been the subject of blockbuster movies, video games and television series. While virtually everyone knows something about Batman, there’s a lot that many don’t know (well at least the everyday fan won’t). The Caped Crusader’s mysteries are much deeper than fathomed.
1. Batman Fights Dracula is a 1967 lost color Filipino film directed by Leody M. Diaz and written by Bert R. Mendoza. It is a parody of Batman films and the horror genre. Many fans have tried to find it, but unfortunately it seems lost to the world. It’s often mistaken for the black and white Andy Warhol Batman/Dracula film made in 1964. See a clip below:
2. While Batman has a reputation that given enough time and resources he can defeat anybody, a number of comic book characters have kicked his ass over the years. The list includes Superman, Bane, Deathstroke, Prometheus, Jason Todd, Shiva, Clayface, Bronze Tiger, a Predator, Wonder Woman, The Joker, The Reaper, Deacon Blackfire, Judge Dredd, Azrael, Mr. Whisper, The Talon, Jonah Hex, Grendel Prime, and many others.
3. The Arkham Asylum is named after the Sanatorium in the fictional city of Arkham, Massachusetts, found in many of H.P. Lovecraft’s short horror and science fiction stories, the first being “The Unnamable” (1923).
4. It appears that Batman fought Dr. Doom long before the Fantastic Four ever did. In Detective Comics #158 (April 1950), Batman and Robin are bringing their 1001st trophy into the Batcave, Dr. Doom smuggles himself inside. Go figure?
5. Bruce Wayne is named after Scottish hero Robert the Bruce and American Revolutionary hero Mad Anthony Wayne (who turns out to be an ancestor of Batman’s, according to the comics).
6. In the Flashpoint storyline, Martha Wayne turns out to be the Joker. In this alternative reality a young Bruce is shot that night in Crime Alley, with his parents surviving him. This leads to Thomas becoming a much darker version of the Caped Crusader (who uses a gun).
7. Heath Ledger initially met with Christopher Nolan to play Batman. Nolan has quoted Ledger as saying, “I would never take a part in a superhero film”. Thankfully, he signed on to play The Joker in The Dark Knight before the script had even been completed.
8. A version of The Beatles exists in the Batman universe – The Oliver Twists. They feature in Batman #222, published in 1970. The band are depicted on the front cover of the issue in costumes inspired by the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band artwork, with Robin clutching a copy of their LP Dead Till Proven Alive.
9. Batman/Bruce Wayne is perpetually 34 years old and is worth $10.4 Billion. He has a well-rounded history including Cambridge and Sorbonne education, FBI experience, martial arts training in Asia and lessons in stealth taken from real ninjas, just to name a few. In the comics, Batman has an online alias. It’s JonDoe297. He also has a favorite food: Mulligatawny soup.
10. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Batman: Arkham Asylum is the most critically acclaimed superhero videogame of all time. One member of the Rocksteady team spent over two years on nothing but Batman’s cape — creating 700 individual animations and sound effects. Wow!
11. Batman has several notable influences. The Shadow, a radio show character, inspired Batman’s cloak and dual identity. His wealthy alter ego was taken from The Mask of Zorro and his costume was influenced by The Bat Whispers, a 1930 film. His wings were based on Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Ornithopter’ flying machine and his science-based detective abilities were influenced by Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage.
12. Batman has also died a number of times. He was killed off (and usually resurrected) in Batman Vol. 1 #72 (1952), The Brave and the Bold Vol. 1 #115 (1974), Batman vol. 1 #291-294 (1977), The Dark Knight Returns #4 (1986), Batman – Birth of the Demon (1992), Batman – Legends of the Dark Knight #65 (1994), Action Comics Vol. 1 #770 (2000), Superman – Red Son #2 (2003), Final Crisis #6 (2009), Earth 2 #1 (2012), just to name a few.
13. Like the ending of The Dark Knight Rises hints, in one series of Batman comics, Bruce Wayne married Catwoman. Their daughter Helena Wayne grows up to be the Huntress.
14. Michael Keaton’s casting was initially a source of controversy, resulting in fanboys writing 50,000 letters to Warner Bros. protesting the decision. Other actors considered to play Batman included: Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Charlie Sheen, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, and Bill Murray. Batman creator Bob Kane said in a Cinescape interview that of all the actors to have played Batman up to that point (before the series was rebooted in 2005), he felt Val Kilmer had given the best interpretation. Kiefer Sutherland and Marlon Wayans were initially considered to play Robin in Tim Burton’s Batman movies.
15. Despite his stance on guns, over the years The Caped Crusader has collected a number of unique weapons (some by himself, some by Mr. Fox and others he has claimed from villains he has fought). Among the weapons he has used… Acid Flower, AK-47, Joker’s Balloons, Batarang, Catwoman’s Whip, Fear Gas, Grumpy’s handgun, Happy’s handgun, Joker Gas, Joker Venom, Joker’s Joy Buzzer, The Joker’s machine pistol, The Joker’s RPG, The Joker’s submachine gun, Chuckles’ machine pistol, Microwave Emitter, Nuclear Bomb, O-Mega Taser, Oceanic Repellent Batsprays, Penguin’s Umbrella, Pneumatic Mangler, The Riddler’s Batbombs, Smylex, Soultaker Sword, The Joker’s cane, Two-Face’s handgun and many others.