Action Comics began with Superman as their lead superhero on April 18, 1938. After months of success, National Comics began to ask for more superheroes to fill the pages. Bob Kane and Bill Finger came up with the idea for Batman almost a year later. The early version created by Kane looked a lot like Superman with a small domino mask and two stiff-looking wings. Finger suggested that he should don a cowl instead of a mask and a cape instead of wings. Kane agreed with the idea that the cape should look like bat wings. Finger came up with Bruce Wayne as Batman’s secret identity who did his heroic deeds in secret as well.
The Dark Knight made his first appearance in the world on the pages of Detective Comics #27 on March 30, 1939 quickly becoming one of the most popular superheroes of all time. He has appeared in numerous variations in comics, animation, television, films, video games, toys and other products. This year marks his 80th birthday to be celebrated on what DC Comics has dubbed “Batman Day” this Saturday, September 21. Whether you are a causal Bat Fan or a diehard one, we’ve got the scoop on how to celebrate this iconic hero this month.
Before the Big Day
Batman Celebrates with Scooby-Doo?
Since Batman is turning 80 and Scooby-Doo is turning 50 this year, it only makes sense to pair them up in a new episode of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who. (Of course, if you are of a certain age, you know that that they have met before in 1972 during two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies.) When Scooby and the Gang come to Gotham City to visit Alfred Pennyworth, they stumble into a dangerous mystery! Alfred’s been kidnapped by the Man-Bat! Batman is on the case and he does not want any help from our meddling kids. The new episode airs on Boomerang on Thursday, September 19. Here’s a clip:
Batman Day Events
Run Like Batman
Los Angeles will be hosting a 5K Batman Run on Saturday, September 21st where runners can experience heroic race course entertainment, earn the limited edition 80th anniversary DC Batman t-shirt and finisher’s medal, and join an epic post race party! Learn more here.
Light the Night With the Bat-Signal
DC Comics and Warner Bros. will be lighting up the night skies by projecting the iconic Bat-Signal, as well as producing fan-tastic celebrations in major cities around the globe. To find out which cities will be celebrating, follow along with the interactive Bat-Tracker here.
Celebrate in Stores
All Barnes & Noble bookstores from coast to coast will be offering free storytime readings from Batman: 5-Minute Stories this Saturday at 11 a.m. followed by a special Batman Day event at 2 p.m. If you live in New York, you’ll want to visit the Union Square book store at 4 p.m. for a panel discussion and signings from Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker.
Look out Robin, Batman has teamed up with Amazon creating a few Batman pop-up shops, open for a limited time now through September 30 in Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The interactive shopping experience is designed for fans of all ages and features special-edition merchandise, daily giveaway items, and a photo standee so you can don the cape and snap a photo with the caped crusader himself.
LEGO Life fans will want to build their own Bat-Vehicle at 3 p.m. at their local LEGO store and not wanting to be outdone, Build-A-Bear Workshop is offering special edition Batman, Joker and Harley Quinn bears to add to your collection.
After the Big Day
Oracle Park in San Francisco will be celebrating their own Batman Day on Saturday, September 28. In honor of Batman’s 80th birthday, watch as the ballpark is taken over pre-game and in-game by Batman and Gotham City. Your Special Event ticket package includes a ticket to the game against the Dodgers, as well as a limited edition Giants themed Batman Bobblehead with working bat-signal.
Other Ways to Participate
Binge Watch Batman
Finding reruns of the classic Adam West TV series is hard to find these days, but we’ve found him at Filmrise. Every episode from Batman’s three seasons can be viewed for free from the Filmrise app looking crisp and clean. However, the app is a little wonky. You’ll have to search for “Batman” and finding the very first episode featuring the Riddler (“Hi Diddle Riddle”) will involve a little sleuthing on your part. However, seeing the show in all it’s technicolor color is worth the hassle and you can’t beat the price.
New this month, Warner Bros. has released the Batman 80th 18-Film Collection featuring a variety of animated Batman movies on Blu-Ray and DVD. Although, these can be considered “cartoons” most are not suitable for kids as the films’ ratings range from PG to R. This collection includes Batman: Gotham Knight, Year One, Under the Red Hood, Bad Blood, Batman vs. Robin, Son of Batman, The Dark Knight Returns (part 1 and 2), Assault on Arkham, The Killing Joke, Batman and Harley Quinn, Gotham by Gaslight, Batman Ninja, Return of the Caped Crusaders, Mask of the Phantasm, Mystery of the Batwoman, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
Get Bat Social
Celebrate Batman by adding this custom frame to your Facebook profile picture. Simply visit this link while logged into Facebook and type “Bat-Signal” in the search bar. You can also transform into Batman with Snapchat’s new Batman lens! Set against Gotham City’s skyline, users will experience the Bat-Signal, the Batarang, and much more. Unlock the Batman lens with this snapcode: #LongLiveTheBat
Learn the History of Batman
The new deluxe edition of Batman: The Definitive History of the Dark Knight in Comics, Film, and Beyond tells the complete story of Batman and the many forms he’s taken throughout the years across comics, TV, animation, film, video games, and beyond, to present a compelling portrait of one of the most recognizable and versatile characters in the history of fiction. Covering the complete history of Batman in vivid detail, the book features exclusive commentary from the key creatives who have been instrumental in building the Dark Knight’s ongoing legacy, including Neal Adams, Tim Burton, Paul Dini, Steve Englehart, Mark Hamill, Grant Morrison, Julie Newmar, Christopher Nolan, Denny O’Neil, Joel Schumacher, Scott Snyder, and Zack Snyder.
The Ultimate Batman Playlist
A Batman playlist? Why yes. Spotify has compiled what they consider the best music from Batman-related films, television and games. From Batdance to Hans Zimmer, this is the perfect soundtrack to set the mood during a cruise through Gotham City. Meanwhile, iTunes has created their own Batman Room with a huge collection of Batman stuff including graphic novels, TV shows, movies and more.
For more information on Batman Day, visit the Batman 80 website.
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.