Batman’s 80th Anniversary: My Tribute to the Dark Knight

I ‘posed’ with the Batman Family at DC Comics’ booth at the 2018 New York Comic Con. (Photo property of DC Comics)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

The Dark Knight is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger debuted the character in Detective Comics, Vol. 1 issue 27. The story, “The Bat-Man: Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” introduced readers to millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. 

However, this was no ordinary millionaire. He had a secret that no one at the time knew…he was the mysterious Batman. Dressed like a giant bat, this uncanny vigilante began a one man war on crime. Batman’s actions intrigued Commissioner James Gordon, who also made his debut in that pivotal issue.

Readers ate up the Caped Crusader, and Detective Comics, Inc. (which became DC Comics) commissioned the duo to create more adventures starring Batman. Over the years, Detective Comics expanded Batman’s universe by adding allies such as Robin I (Dick Grayson) [issue 38], Martian Manhunter [issue 225], Batwoman [issue 233], and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) [issue 359].   Creative teams also introduced readers and the Caped Crusader to colorful and dangerous villains such as Penguin [issue 58], Two-Face [issue 66], Riddler [issue 140], Talia al Ghul [issue 411], and Rupert Thorne [issue 469].

Adam West autograph
I had the greatest pleasure of meeting Adam West at the 2002 Planet Comicon and received this article. (Photo property of “Jake’s Take)

My love for Batman began when my dad, Matthew, introduced me to Batman (1966 TV Series).  I truly enjoyed watching Adam West’s Batman and Burt Ward’s Robin tackle a plethora of guest starring villains. I ate up episodes starring Frank Gorshin’s outrageous Riddler, Burgess Meredith’s jovial Penguin, Julie Newmar’s sultry Catwoman, Eartha Kitt’s calculating Catwoman, and Vincent Price’s excellent Egghead.  For several Halloweens, my mom, Gloria, made me a Riddler costume that I wore at many Indian Valley Elementary School Halloween parties.

My childhood was full of memories of me playing Batman action figures, watching the DC Animated Universe cartoons, and reading the animated comic books. As I got older, I had the opportunity to read Batman comics, which opened the door for me to learn more about the other DC Comics heroes such as Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and the Justice Society of America.

Comics creator extraordinaire Rick Stasi and I have known each other for over 20 years. (Photo property of Jake’s Take)

I looked forward to sharing my love and knowledge of Batman at conventions such as Kansas City’s Planet Comicon and the New York Comic-Con.  Some of my favorite memories included meeting the people vital to Batman’s history. I will never forget meeting creators such as industry icons Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams, and the late Julius Schwartz, who revitalized the Batman comic book line. It is also through Planet Comicon that I met Rick Stasi, a longtime friend and mentor, who encouraged my love of Batman and the DC Comics mythology.

The celebrated creative team of Greg Capullo (sunglasses) and Scott Snyder guided the Dark Knight for a majority of the 2010s. (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)

I am also grateful that I met some of the comic book industry’s biggest names. I truly enjoyed my conversations with Tom King, Scott Snyder, and Greg Capullo, who are shaking up Batman’s world. Also, there are no words to describe the times that I met Kevin Conroy (Batman’s longtime voice), the late Adam West, Yvonne Craig (television’s first Batgirl), and two of my all-time favorite Batman writers: Grant Morrison and Greg Rucka.

To commemorate Batman’s milestone anniversary, Jake’s Take is celebrating with several special articles including CliffNotes version of 33 years of Batman’s publishing history, Batman’s 13 greatest villains, and a review of Detective Comics issue 1,000!

For more about DC Comics’ plans to celebrate Batman’s special anniversary, visit their website.

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar