Episode 7: October 1939

Welcome to episode seven of Legends of the Batman, the show covering everything Batman — from the beginning! The show’s premise is a simple one. Each episode, we cover a month of Batman, be it comic books, television, movies, whatever, starting with his first appearance in 1939.

After six episodes of being shrouded in mystery, the epic tale of the Batman and how he came to be is at at long-last revealed as Michael Kaiser and Michael Bradley look at DETECTIVE COMICS #33!! The guys spend quite a bit of time discussing the tragic circumstances that lead to the creation of our legendary hero and various aspects thereof.

They then move on to the rest of the issue, where a would-be world dictator attacks the city, causing mass damage and the Batman to go into action. There’s excitement and explosions aplenty as “The Batman Wars Against the Dirigible of Doom!” Also, this episode: Listener emails and a follow-up on the merciless and mystifying Monk!


Things We Learned:

  • How the Batman came to be;
  • The public is rather accepting of death ray machines;
  • Napoleon impersonators garner a large fan following;
  • Batman has magical gas;
  • Neither Michael B or Michael K will win Oscars this year.

Images from Coverage:

“…and how he came to be!”:
Batman’s origin has been told in various media dozens of times. Here’s a small sampling of different takes on the story from various incarnations.

  • BATMAN #47 – No scans from this one, but we’ll be covering it soon.
  • “The Fear,” an episode of “The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians” (1985) – This is said to be the first time Batman’s origin was told in any media outside of the comic books!
  • “Batman,” directed by Tim Burton (1989)
  • A two-page spread by Paul Dini and Alex Ross from BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME (1999)
  • A two-page spread by Jeph Loeb and Alex Ross, originally posted at DCComics.com and later included in the collections of the “Hush” storyline (2003?)
  • “Batman Begins,” directed by Christopher Nolan (2005)
  • “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” the video game (2009)
  • “Chill of the Night!,” an episode of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (2010) – This version uses dialogue lifted nearly verbatim from DETECTIVE COMICS #33!

Reference Links:

  • SECRET ORIGINS OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER-HEROES, a trade paperback containing “The Man Who Falls” by Dennis O’Neil and Dick Giordano. The story reveals information about Bruce Wayne’s childhood and the creation of Batman.
  • “The Mark of Zorro” starring Douglas Fairbanks traditionally is the movie that the Waynes saw on that fateful night. Also, according to Bob Kane, the movie’s swashbuckling star served as an inspiration in the creation of the Batman.
  • Mark Tyler Nobleman, author of the excellent “Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman” (a biography on Superman’s co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) is currently working on a similar book about Batman’s co-creator, Bill Finger! The book is to be illustrated by Ty Templeton. Michael B. is a big fan of “Boys of Steel,” so we’ll keep you posted on updates about Nobleman’s book on Finger.
  • We didn’t mention it in the episode, but this advertisement promoting BATMAN: YEAR ONE echoes a critical panel in the origin of the Batman.

How to Get this Episode

There are a few ways you can get this episode. You can listen immediately by clicking on the player below. You can also download the episode directly or subscribe to the show via iTunes or the RSS feed! Questions or comments? Additions or corrections? Drop us a line! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, to send us your thoughts, as well! And don’t forget to check out our partners, Batman: Yesterday, Today and Beyond for all sorts of Batman goodness in non-podcast form.

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2 Responses to Episode 7: October 1939

  1. Glade Packer says:

    Though brief, I love the origin. My favorite version would have to be from “The Man Who Falls.” Denny O-Neil is one of the best writers, in my opinion, and has definitely made Batman awesome in my eyes. I was wondering, which writer or writers are your favorites? And which Batman comic do you enjoy reading over and over?

  2. What??!! No link to the source of that closing song, set to the Danny Elfman Bat-theme?

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