The Batman haunts the dreams of evil doers everywhere – or at least he does in the comic books. He is, without argument, one of the most enduring icons from comic books in the past three quarters of a century.

Today’s video selection is a short subject created by Bruce Timm for DC Nation on Cartoon Network, and tells a forgotten tale of Batman that seems to be from about the same era as the Max Fleischer Superman animated shorts from the ’40’s.  In it, Batman tracks what appears to be Solomon Grundy to the lair of Dr. Hugo Strange, who was one of the very first villians ever to appear in the Batman comics.  It’s a beautiful homage to the Dark Knight, and it marks the kickoff week for the new book from DC, Batman Eternal, a fast paced weekly title that will be setting the tone for the entire Batman universe.

Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).  He got his own book in 1940.

In his 1989 autobiography, Kane detailed Finger’s contributions to Batman’s creation:

One day I called Bill and said, ‘I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I’ve made some crude, elementary sketches I’d like you to look at’. He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman’s face. Bill said, ‘Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?’ At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: ‘Color it dark gray to make it look more ominous’. The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action, and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn’t have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn’t leave fingerprints.

We hope you enjoy today’s presentation.  Like the Batman himself, it’s a classic.

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