We all know and love Batman. The caped crusader who disappears in the blink of an eye. The vigilante who says that his superpower is being rich. The businessman by day who scouts the city of Gotham to keep the people safe.
I could go on and on. But the point is that we do not know much about the origin story. No. I’m not talking about how he got afraid during a theatre show and forced his parents down an alley called ‘Crime Alley’. I mean, come on. It’s called Crime Alley. What were you thinking, Bruce? Could you not have strolled down a lane called dark chocolate or brownie?
Anyway. No. His origin is not that tragic tale explained rather callously above. Sorry about that, though. We still sympathize with what he’s been, though. And are huge fans. Until Superman flies along, of course. Sorry, I’m digressing again.
When we talk about a dark-clad always-brooding shoots-before-asking-questions crime-fighting trillionaire, you would think of Bruce Wayne. But this formula was earlier used on someone else. Another hero. The Shadow.
Bob Kane, along with co-creator Bill Finger, based Batman on the best-selling pulp spy of the 1930s. He first debuted on the radio. His rather creepy voice was astonishingly loved by many. The magazine that followed became a hit. Given the powers of hypnosis and invisibility, he was also gifted with four movies.
The connections between the two cannot be missed.
- Both were born to money. Loved the ladies. Had a lot of free time on their hands despite supposedly being busy.
- Both are rather nocturnal. Participate in vigilantism. Protector of the innocent. Nightmare of the guilty.
- Masters of disguise, using the night along with the mask as a cover, both work alone. Well, Batman grudgingly took Robin as his side-kick later on.
We have all grown to love and admire The Batman. But it’s only fair we acknowledge where the idea came from.
Thank you, Shadow. You might not be around anymore, but the idea still lives. And How!