An Ode To Batman And Robin

batman and robin old school

With over half a dozen major motion pictures, over seven decades of near continuous comic books and a dizzying array of television shows, video games and other storytelling mediums, DC Comics’ Batman franchise is among the most success of the past century. While contemporary characters such as Chandu the Magician (one of Bela Lugosi’s few heroic roles) and Solomon Kane (Robert E. Howard’s second most famous creation behind Conan the Barbarian) remain beloved by many vintage adventure fiction lovers, Batman and his companion, Robin, are among the few from the era who remain widely recognized even by those who do not follow comics.

Batman himself, and his secret identity of Bruce Wayne are something of an amalgamation of characters. Artist Bob Kane took in a great number of influences, ranging from the previous century’s iconic masked champion of justice, Zorro, to sketches from Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks to the secret identity complex of Superman to the genre tropes of the many of the pulp crime fighters of the 1930s and 1940s. The initial conception of Batman would probably be unrecognizable to all but a few of even the character’s most dedicated fans. The first idea for Batman was that of a gun-toting vigilante in an aggressive red costume who was at odds with the police.

Luckily, Bob Kane went to writer William Finger before pitching his character to National Comics (which later became DC Comics). William Finger refined the character into a less intense figure, a crime fighter who focused on his own abilities and was an ally of the police. Batman’s companion, Robin, was later added to the character’s mythos with the assistance of legendary comic book Jerry Robinson, who also co-created the duo’s icon enemy, the Joker. Robin was intended as a means by which the Batman character would better relate to the young comic book readers of the 1940s, but quickly branched out into his own archetype; the kid sidekick.

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