Batman Celebrates His 75th Anniversary

Caped Crusader first made appearance in DC Comics 75 years ago.

ByMichael Rothman and Ben Candea
May 17, 2014, 9:00 AM
PHOTO: 75th anniversary of DC Comics superhero Batman first appearing in Detective Comics #27, starring as The Bat-Man in a six-page story entitled 'The Case of the Criminal Syndicate!'.
DC Comics superhero Batman first appeared in Detective Comics No. 27, starring as The Bat-Man in a six-page story titled "The Case of the Criminal Syndicate."
DC Comics

May 17, 2014— -- intro: Happy 75th anniversary to Batman!

In May 1939, the Caped Crusader first appeared in DC Comics' Detective Comics No. 27, where he starred in "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate." The six-page story was written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane. It also marked the debut of Bruce Wayne and Commissioner James Gordon.

Batman quickly became a popular character after his introduction and some of the biggest names in Hollywood have fought crime in Gotham City wearing the mask of the bat. Here's a look back at who wore the cape and drove the Batmobile.

quicklist: 1

title: Lewis Wilson, 'Batman' 1943text: Wilson was the first actor to play Batman as part of a 15-episode series, in which he was pitted against a Japanese spy called Dr. Daka during World War II. In "Batman," Wilson had to stop Daka from taking over America.

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quicklist: 2title: Robert Lowery, 'Batman and Robin' 1949text: In another series "Batman and Robin," Lowery took over the reins from Wilson to face off against the Wizard, who had a device that could control cars. Lowery would go on to guest star in episodes of "The Adventures of Superman," "Perry Mason" and "Circus Boy."

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quicklist: 3title: Adam West, 'Batman' 1966-1968text: Before Kanye, Adam West dominated the headlines for his portrayal of Batman in the television series that ran from 1966 to 1968. The show used a lot more tongue-in-cheek comedy and was much lighter than the modern Batman films audiences have come to adore.

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quicklist: 4

title: Michael Keaton, 'Batman' 1989, 'Batman Returns' 1992text: Keaton, who has become a surprising cult favorite of Batman fans, donning the mask and cape twice, both for dark, gothic director Tim Burton in 1989's "Batman" opposite Jack Nicholson as the Joker and again in 1992 for "Batman Returns" with the sultry Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Keaton dropped off a third installment when Burton called it quits.

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quicklist: 5

title: Val Kilmer, 'Batman Forever' 1995text: Kilmer faced off against two huge celebrity villains in "Batman Forever." Tommy Lee Jones was cast as Two-Face and Jim Carrey became the Riddler. The movie was a commercial success -- Burton didn't direct it, and it was more family friendly -- and introduced a new generation to a campy Batman, like West 20 years prior.

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quicklist: 6

title: George Clooney, 'Batman & Robin' 1997text: Besides Clooney, this version also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman but was a critical failure, earned 11 Razzie Award nominations. Despite the rubbings, Clooney said, "Batman is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it."

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quicklist: 7

title: Christian Bale, 'Batman Begins' 2005, 'The Dark Knight' 2008 and 'The Dark Knight Rises' 2012text: Bale began his three-film run in 2005 as Batman in "Batman Begins." The follow up was "The Dark Knight," arguably the best comic film of all time, receiving eight Oscar nominations and earning Heath Ledger the award for Best Supporting Actor as Joker. Bale finished his epic trilogy in 2012 with "The Dark Knight Rises."

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quicklist: 8

title: Ben Affleck as Batman in 'Man of Steel' Sequeltext: Ben Affleck will be the latest actor to portray the Dark Knight. He has been cast as Batman in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel, where he's expected to star alongside Superman. Earlier this week, Zack Snyder, the director for the sequel, released the first look at the new Batman, along with the Batmobile.

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