Batman turns 75

The famous Caped Crusader is still saving Gotham after three quarters of a century, and DC Comics has declared July 23rd 'Batman Day' to celebrate.

Batman, the superhero who swings through the city of Gotham to foil criminals wherever they may lurk, is looking pretty good for his age.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the character's first appearance in 1939.

DC Comics, which owns the iconic character, has declared today, July 23rd, "Batman Day," with Bat-celebrations set to happen across the US and around the world.

Batman was created for Detective Comics (later shortened to DC) issue #27, published in 1939. Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the superhero together, gradually giving the Caped Crusader an origin that would serve as the basis for a 75-year story that is still going strong today.

(A copy of that original issue sold in 2010 for $1,075,500, according to Tulsa World.)

Due to the quick popularity of the new superhero, Batman got his own series only one year after his debut, in 1940.

Since then the series has gone through a lot of changes. You can check out DC's official decade-by-decade descriptions of Batman's journey here.

DC is going all out for the celebration of Batman Day. Some comic book stores will be giving out free copies of a special edition of the original DC issue #27, featuring new expanded stories about Batman's origins, and various other exclusive new merchandise will also be premiered today, according to their website. Comic book stores, regular book stores, libraries, and other venues will have Batman-themed events happening this week across the globe.

The enduring legacy of a man who dresses up as a bat to fight crime is a legacy that seems to defy all odds.

Denny O'Neil is one of the most famous writers and editors of the Batman saga. According to the Tulsa World, he says that the key to Batman's success is in his original dark design.

"He looks like a medieval painting of a devil. He is all about darkness,” says O'Neil.

In an era of comics dominated by bright-colored superheros with supernatural powers, Batman, a brooding crimefighter with no superpowers, stood out. Being different attracted a steady stream of talented writers and artists to tell his story, which O'Neil told the Tulsa World was an important factor in the longevity of the "World's Greatest Detective."

Batman has spawned several movies, television shows, and even a now mostly-lost art film by Andy Warhol entitled "Batman Dracula," according to The Telegraph.

The superhero's influence has been felt in all avenues of popular culture and in various parts of the world. A map of locations participating in "Batman Day" on DC's website include shops and stores in every continent except Antarctica, implying that Batman's 75-year legacy won't be going away anytime soon.

In completely unrelated news, billionaire Bruce Wayne also turns 75 this year. What an odd coincidence.

Weston Williams is a Monitor contributor.

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