Grab your cape and cowl because today is Batman Day!
On the eve of the first day of Comic Con, DC Comics is commemorating the Caped Crusader’s milestone 75th anniversary by giving the superhero his own day (although, he already has his own month...and year).
The company is also offering free, special editions of “Detective Comics #27,” featuring a retelling of the Dark Knight’s first appearance by author Brad Meltzer, available online and at comic book stores around the country.
While the pseudo-holiday is kind of silly and frivolous, it’s easy to see Batman’s wide appeal.
Since making his first appearance in the pages of “Detective Comics” back in May of 1939, the brooding hero (created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger) has become a cultural icon across the globe. He’s appeared in virtually every medium under the sun, from film franchises and television series to toylines and theme park rides.
The Bat-train doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon either, as Boston’s beloved Ben Affleck will take up the Caped Crusader’s mantle in the upcoming flick “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Synder.
The character’s world and mythos is so popular, that even the Batman-less “Gotham” series — featuring only the vigilante’s villains and lesser known allies — has been greenlit by Fox and will premiere this fall.
But after all these years, why is the Dark Knight still such a pop culture icon?
One likely reason is that he’s easier for fans to relate to than the more over-the-top, super-powered heroes.
Unlike his crime-fighting pals such as Superman or Wonder Woman, Batman doesn’t have freakish strength or the ability to fly. Bruce Wayne is just a man in a costume who uses anything at his disposal (including super fancy weapons) to fight for what’s right.
“Batman is the embodiment of the human spirit, but always in a way that he’s never more than human,” Meltzer, a writer of many works including comics, recently told the Washington Post.
“Every day he goes out, he knows he’ll fail: He’ll never stop crime. He’ll never bring back his dead parents. But every day, he steps into the ring and tries to fight again,” Meltzer continued. “Superman may be who we wish we could be. But Batman is who we secretly know we are.”
While nobody is going around swinging from rooftops, there’s no doubt that the Dark Knight contiues to inspire fans around the world to do good.
Just look at the frenzy surrounding last year’s Batkid story.
Even in the wake of a tragedy like the Aurora movie theater shooting, which occured during a screening of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” the bat symbol was able to be recclaimed for the forces good. Former Batman Christian Bale used his and the character’s star power to inspire hope while visiting victims of the tragic shooting back in 2012.
“For 75 years, Batman has been a cultural shield,” Meltzer also told the Washington Post. “Protecting us from our deepest fears.”
Stories like these show just how powerful of an effect this fictional character can have on actual people in real life. And in such a chaotic world, maybe we all need a little more Batman in our lives.
“As we look around at this scary world, we want someone to come save us,” Meltzer added.