Batman Vs. Superman is now in theaters and fans are excited! For the many people who are just being introduced to these awesome characters, many of these bits of trivia will help solidify your understanding of the characters and the people who have played Batman and Superman.
Batman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Bob Kane and others have acknowledged the contributions of Bill Finger for giving life to Batman as he wrote many of his early stories and created Batman’s origin story. Batman was introduced in Detective Comics 27 in 1939. Originally named “The Bat-Man”, he became popular soon after his comic introduction and gained his own comic book titled Batman in 1940. Other notable Batman creators are Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Batman has been played on television and film by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Currently by Ben Affleck.
Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June 1938. The success of Superman helped in creating the superhero genre and established its no. 1 status in the world of comics. His appearance is very distinct with his blue costume, red cape and the stylized red and yellow S shield on his chest. Superman is considered an American cultural icon and has fascinated many scholars, commentators, critics and cultural theorists exploring the character’s impact and the role of the US worldwide. Superman has been adopted extensively in many forms of media including television, films and video games. Actors who have portrayed Superman include George Reeves, Christopher Reeves, Dean Cain, Tom Welling, Ben Affleck, Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill.
1. Batman Used To Kill Criminals
Yes, you read it right. For many people, they know batman as a hero who never kills and never used guns to fight crime, but there was a time when The Dark Knight had no problem with brutally dispatching criminals that got in his way. This version of Batman was popular during the 30s up to the 50s. Batman would often throw gangsters off rooftops or push them into tanks of acid. He even disposed of mob henchmen using a machine gun in Batman #1.
2. Jim Gordon as Batman
The most recent iteration of the Dark Knight finds Commissioner Jim Gordon under the Batman cowl. Jim Gordon has been a friend of Bruce Wayne since the early days in comics. In Divergence #1 we see a younger Jim Gordon take on the Role of the Caped Crusader while thinking that Bruce Wayne is dead. He recognises that Gotham needs The Dark Knight thus, he decided to take on the responsibility as the Batman.
3. The Dark Knight Was Not So Dark
In the beginning, Batman was not known as the Dark Knight. His original costume was red with black trunks and a yellow utility belt. He was barely disguised with his blonde hair showing and a mask similar to Robin’s with bat wings that will be hard to manage when fighting crime. This was due to the popularity of Superman in 1939; more superheroes were required to follow suit in the growing trend. Bob Kane started working on the character with the red suit. Fortunately The Batman creators listened to suggestions on changing the look with the now familiar cowl, cape, gauntlets and boots. Plus the red color was scrapped and was changed to dark gray and black to give it a more mysterious look.
The original Batman design sported a pair of bat wings, but the change in design favored the conventional black cape. The original design was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machine sketches. The Joker, batman’s arch-nemesis was inspired by the 1928 mystery film, The Man Who Laughs.
5. Kevin Conroy as Batman
There have been many actors who had played Batman on film and on TV, but no other actor has owned the character for so many years as Kevin Conroy. Kevin Conroy became Batman in many animated features over the past 25 years. Kevin has portrayed the Dark Knight 20 times throughout his career and no other actor has come close to portraying the character like him. He has also uttered the greatest Batman line that was ever heard in the Batman Animated Series – “I am vengeance. I am the night. I am Batman!”
6. Batman And Robin Are Not Gay
The first few decades of Batman’s existence were pretty innocent times, however there’s a very real story where insinuated that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were gay or have a questionable relationship. This gay story was concocted by one Dr. Fredric Wertham. This therapist was hell bent on destroying the comic industry. It nearly happened, though with the formation of the Comics Code and argued that as a therapist, he had seen “individuals with maladjusted sexuality”. He stated that these patients who read Batman comics has expressed romantic feelings towards the Dark Knight.
7. Batman Creator Credits
Bob Kane planted the first Batman seed, but the man responsible for much of the character and history was writer Bill Finger. For many years, Bill Finger was not credited as co-creator of Batman as compared to Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. After being shown Kane’s first sketches, Bill Finger’s influence was immediately clear in his suggestions to change the color of the suit and the addition of a cowl instead of just a plain mask and his cape should be scalloped to resemble bat wings. Bill Finger came up with the name Bruce Wayne, his back story, invented the city of Gotham, had a hand in creating Robin, Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon and the Joker.
8. Bruce Wayne/Batman Is Not Afraid To Punch Anyone
The Caped Crusader is known for his high tech gadgets, but he also has two very convincing weapons to make people do what he wants – his fists. We all know that Batman trained under Ra’s Al Ghul and The League of Shadows, thus he is a master of fist fighting and other martial arts. Plus, he is also known as one of the most fearless men in the comic world and he is not afraid of putting anyone in their place. He has punched the New God Orion, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner and one boy scout in a blue suit called Superman.
9. Martha Wayne Became The Joker
An alternate reality shown in the “The Flashpoint Paradox” altered many superhero storylines and Batman was one of those changed. When the Flash altered reality by saving his mother from being killed, it sends a ripple of changes in their reality as well. It was also revealed in that storyline that it was the young Bruce Wayne who had been shot that night in Crime Alley. With his parents surviving him, Thomas became a much more brutal version of Batman, even using guns to defeat and kill criminals while Martha Wayne became depressed and crazy, transforming into The Joker. When Batman told Martha/Joker that he will be able to fix their reality, she committed suicide when she realised that Bruce would become the Batman when he grows up.
10. Ol’ Blue Eyes Wanted To Play The Joker
Frank Sinatra wanted to play the Joker in the 1960s TV version of Batman. The TV series became a pop cultural phenomenon with their top notch guest stars and over the top antics. Batman fan Sinatra was heartbroken when the part of The Joker was given to Cesar Romero. According to Burt Ward, who played Robin alongside Adam West as Batman, Frank Sinatra was truly upset that he couldn’t play The Joker.
11. Batman Became A God
In the newest issues of “Justice League: Darkseid War”, Batman became a god and this is the strongest version of Batman ever created in comics. The #42 issue of Justice League showed that the superheroes have removed Metron from his Mobius chair. Batman jumps on and instantly transforms into an all-powerful and all-knowing God. With great power comes great corruption, but Bruce Wayne is well equipped to handle the awesome mental powers the chair brought. Bruce is mortal as we know, but he has proven that his mental strength has handled and owned the power of the chair that has put him through the transformation.
12. True Transformation
When you compare a lot of Marvel and DC characters, many of their most defining looks and traits were introduced almost exactly the same time as they appeared. Some things were obviously changed and added over the years, but the basic design was always there. For example, Superman for DC and Wolverine for Marvel. For Batman, it took quite a bit of time to become close to what he is now. The changes were mostly suggested by writer and co-creator Bill Finger. Gotham City was introduced in 1940, the bat-signal in 1942 and the Batcave in 1948. The 1940s introduced many aspects of what makes Batman iconic.
13. Robin Was Intended To Appear Only Once
The Robin Hood inspired sidekick was originally planned to appear only once in a single issue of Detective Comics, but it proved to be very successful with young readers. All Batman-related comic book sales doubled because of Robin/Dick Grayson. Through the years there have been many stories behind the team of Batman and Robin. Eventually Dick Grayson went solo and became the character Nightwing.
14. Batman As A Yellow Lantern
The Yellow Lanterns of the Sinestro Corps are all powered by the fear and yellow battery. So when a yellow ring attempted to choose the best person on Earth to wear it, it chose Batman. Batman was almost a Yellow Lantern but because of his will power, Bruce was able to reject it. Sinestro also stated that Batman could have been a good Yellow Lantern if only he embraced fear more.
15. Batman’s Contingency Plans For The Justice League
One of the main reasons why many fans think that Batman can win against his Justice League buddies in a fight is because he has a contingency plan for each of them. This story line was presented in Justice League #43-46 called the Tower of Babel and DC/Warner bros animated movie called Justice League: Doom. Batman created these contingency plans as a precaution in case any Justice League members became rogue. He vowed to make sure the safety of the world will be fulfilled and Batman knew he could not allow any member of the Justice League to rule humanity. Ra’s al Ghul was able to get hold of Batman’s file and was able to use it against the Justice League. Even though Batman was able to defeat Ra’s and save the Justice League, the trust they all once had for Bats was tarnished. Because of this Batman resigned from the Justice League.
1. Superman Was Created Evil
The very first version of Superman was evil. Jerry Siegle and Joe Shuster first collaborated in 1932 with an illustrated story called “The Reign of The Super-Man”. It’s about a homeless bald man named Bill Dunn, who became a test subject of a mad scientist. Bill Dunn actually resembles Lex Luthor back in the day when the Lex was created as a mad scientist and the arch nemesis of Superman. The chemical of the mad scientist made Bill into a Superman who has the ability to control and read the minds of other people. He murdered the scientist and went on getting rich by manipulating stocks, gathering racetrack winnings and getting rich enough to control the world. He lost his power and eventually became homeless again. In a later version of Superman, the hero is from a future Earth that’s about to be destroyed and went back to the present using a time machine.
2. Superman Did Not Fly At First
Superman at the beginning could only jump at great distances, thus the famous original Superman introduction “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” that was used in the cartoons and radio series in the 1940s. This power was based on the idea that the planet Krypton was a planet with great gravity. It parallels the story of “John Carter of Mars”. However, the jumping power was hard to animate. Max Fleischer Studios that produced the Superman cartoons made a request to DC Comics to change Superman’s abilities and allow him to fly. This flying ability is much better suited for live action scenes as the character could be shown soaring against a screen. This is easier as compared to jumping which needs many scenery changes.
3. Why People Couldn’t Tell Between Clark Kent and Superman
It was revealed that the glasses used by Clark Kent are made of a special type of Kryptonian lenses. When used and worn, it makes Clark look more frail and human-like as compared to his alter ego. Other reasons why nobody recognises him is the extreme shift in mannerism between Clark Kent and Superman. Clark acts feeble, he slouches and is very ordinary so no one can expect him to be Superman, except for Margot Kidder of course in Superman The Movie and Superman II starring Christopher Reeves.
4. Christopher Reeve as Superman
For a generation, Christopher Reeve was Superman. With film made by Richard Donner and the thematic theme by John Williams, it was the quintessential Superman movie for many years. Richard Donner and the Salkinds were in fact searching for Reeves since 1975 before finalising him for the role with just 35 days before the start of filming. More than 200 actors auditioned for the role. David Prose who played the physical Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” supervised the intense bodybuilding regime of Christopher Reeve. They trained for 2 months where Reeves doubled his food intake and followed a strict protein diet for his role. He refused to wear fake muscles under his suit and continuously worked out all throughout the filming. Reeves hair was also brown and he dyed his hair with a black liquid shoe polish to look the part for his Superman role.
5. Superman Fought The Ku Klux Klan
The American white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan had a quick resurgence after WWII. The author Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the Klan and learned of their secrets and was really disconcerted because the authorities were not interested in his findings. So he just decided to bring his information to the Superman radio serial staff. The writers created a 16 episode story titled “Clan of the Fiery Cross”. The program exposed the many secrets of the Klan and turned them into a laughing stock. Klan membership dropped drastically.
6. The Introduction of Kryptonite
In the beginning, Superman had no weakness, he was truly invulnerable. Bud Collyer, the voice actor who played Superman wanted some time off, thus the writer needed to formulate a compelling storyline to give Collyer some vacation. In June 1943, the episode “The Meteor From Krypton” where a meteor crashes to Earth. Clark Kent was sent to the crash site to investigate. While investigating, Kent felt the negative effects of the green kryptonite The green kryptonite left him weak and put Superman temporarily out of commission. This allowed Collyer a bit of vacation time while other voice actors took over.
7. There Are Different Types of Kryptonite
Green kryptonite is the most popular and the most powerful of all, but there are other kryptonites in the Superman universe.
- Green Kryptonite. This is the most common type of kryptonite and has profound negative effects on Kryptonians. Its radiation can be shielded by lead. Superman and other Kryptonians have shown loss of superpowers, pain, weakness, nausea, and veins will look dark and pop out. The skin will also turn slightly green. Prolonged exposure to kryptonite is fatal and can even cause death.
- Black Kryptonite. It’s a varietal kryptonite. It’s made by heating green kryptonite to very high temperatures in extreme pressures. Black kryptonite can split kryptonians into two separate beings, one good and one evil.
- Blue Kryptonite. This varietal Kryptonite is deadly to Bizarros and has no effect on Kryptonians.
- Pink Kryptonite. This kryptonite seemingly turns kryptonians into homosexuals. It’s also unknown what it would do to an already homosexual kryptonian. This pink kryptonite only appeared once in the comics and was used as a form of satire during the Silver Age comic stories.
- Red Kryptonite. This type of kryptonite has different effects in different timelines and Superman universes. In the TV series “Smallville”, it removes the inhibitions of Superman and other Kryptonians. Batman made a synthetic red kryptonite before the story arc “Tower of Babel” as a contingency in case Superman went rogue. Exposure to red kryptonite made Superman’s skin become transparent and caused him to feel intense pain. It also overloaded his solar absorbing powers to the point where his super senses went overdrive.
- Gold Kryptonite. Removes all kryptonians powers. In the pre-crisis world, the loss of power is permanent. In the post-crisis world, it lasts for a short amount of time.
- White Kryptonite. This is only lethal to plant life on any world.
- X-Kryptonite. It’s a modified type that was created by Supergirl in her experiments.
8. Casting Perry White
In the current Superman cinematic universe, Lawrence Fishburn is cast as Perry White but did you know that he was not the first African-American to be considered to play the Daily Planet Editor-In-Chief? The producers of the TV series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” wanted to have James Earl Jones play as Perry White. As many of you know, Mr. Jones provided the original voice of Darth Vader, but the studio and the advertisers did not approve of the idea because America was not ready for an African-American Perry White.
9. Lois Lane Has Been There Since The Start
Lois Lane, Superman’s personal kryptonite has been around since 1938 in the Action Comics #1. Her looks were originally based on 1930s model Joanne Carter and Lane’s personality was influenced by actress Torchy Blaine. In their more than 70 years of relationship, Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane have had many ups and downs. They got married for 15 years at one point in the Superman universe. Lois has supported Clark/Superman until the Superhero’s death at the hands of Doomsday.
10. The Clark Kent Inspiration
Every name, fiction or not, has to come from somewhere and this holds true with the name Clark Kent which was inspired by real individuals. It was reported that the name was taken from two famous actors at the time when Superman was being created. The name was inspired by Clark Gable and Kent Taylor. It was also stated that the image of Superman was based on the Hollywood actor Douglas Fairbanks and the mannerisms were inspired by Harold Lloyd.
11. Superman and Wonder Woman Have Hooked Up
Yes you’ve read it right, Diana and Clark have been romantically linked in the past. In fact a comic series Superman/Wonder Woman was released in 2013 and it was positively received. Many people think that this love relationship is more logical than Clark’s relationship with Lois.
12. He Recently Gained A New Super Power
In “The New 52”, there has been a lot of changes to the character of Superman. One recent change that happened in the comics was the addition of the solar flare power which Superman discovered after he pushed his heat vision to the maximum in a battle with a new villain called Ulysses. When the stored solar energy is released, it can incinerate everything within a quarter mile radius. But this power has its limitations, after using all stored solar energy, Superman is left without any powers for 24 hours. This makes him really vulnerable.
Long live Batman and Superman!