Since his comic-book debut seven decades ago, Batman — created by Bob Kane and William Finger — has undergone myriad evolutions, becoming along the way a vigilante, a detective, a comic foil, a fashion plate, a nocturnal beast and an action hero. As this month’s hotly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters, we take a look back at the history of one of America’s favorite comic characters.
1940: Robin is introduced as a Watson to Batman’s Holmes, while the Joker and Catwoman appear as arch nemeses.
1986: Frank Miller’s four-issue series, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, widely considered one of comics’ finest moments, finds a wizened 55-year-old Caped Crusader (aka Bruce Wayne) emerging from retirement in a near-future dystopia.
1997: Batman & Robin — the film-franchise nadir in the opinion of most — debuts, featuring George Clooney and a much-discussed Batsuit with rubber nipples.