It's the eve of San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest source of entertainment news between the industry and fans, and DC Comics has declared July 23, 2014, Batman Day. And writer Brad Meltzer's retelling of the origin story in "Detective Comics #27" for the event. It's free online and in stores.
Batman's the company's draw for general audiences, not just comic fans, and they're acknowledging the impact. But why today?
The free Detective Comics #27 Special Edition we'll be handing out. Come in early and get one before they're gone. pic.twitter.com/MyFdCjWe5T— Jack Mavericks (@MavericksComics) July 23, 2014
Well, 2014 is the 75th anniversary of Batman's first appearance in May 1939. And SDCC is…well, SDCC. Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice's filming for a 2016 release. And news means a captive audience to amp up the press and buzz in San Diego.
But that's not the only reason.
So much tension and pain means the world needs something or someone to cling to, a bastion of safety and humanity. Meltzer describes the importance to Michael Cavna in the Washington Post article "COMIC-CON 2014: DC Comics marks ‘Batman Day’ Wednesday with national celebration–and retail sales."
"What resonates today is, as we look around at this scary world, we want someone to come save us."
The world is facing conflict after conflict. The news bombards viewers with information about Malaysian Airlines MH-17, how the pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government look to be starting a civil war, the Gaza Strip is lighting up in another war, and Central American refugees as the cause of a political divide.
And as a major project and brand for the company, Batman's everyday man turned superhero message is really important right now. The Caped Crusader was born right before the beginning of World War II. He was born of blood and battle--quite literally, considering the death of his parents and the rise of the need for Batman.
A Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939) CGC graded: Very Fine, 8.0, (Golden Age: 1938-1955) Sold For: $1,075,500.00. pic.twitter.com/BIPKU7Eno9— Michael (@Ephemeritor) July 21, 2014
When Tim Burton made 1989's Batman with Michael Keaton people remembered the depth. In fact, Jim Lee, DC publisher and comic writer, reminisced to the Post on just how important Batman became in a short amount of time. "After the first Keaton film, everyone at Comic-Con had on a Batman T-shirt."
Look around the convention now and you'll see so many costumes and clothing from the Batman universe and eras. From Adam West to Keaton to George Clooney's nipple suit, the world paid attention. Christian Bale's gravely voice is recognizable and spawned Kermit meme. Though, Val Kilmer's the odd actor out that no one really talks about. Ben Affleck's already being criticized because of Batman fans' strong feelings.
There's a reason why Bats connects with so many people. And thanks to the support of comic consumers, his message has remained strong.
Batman Returns' interpretation of Catwoman and Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) still resonates with a global audience. Her vulnerability and anger at being disposed of while falling for Bruce Wayne and Batman showed a deep look into a fractured view of life. A missed chance based on circumstance.
Look around the world. How many cases of that do we see a day? Of someone looking for a future with a person who has trouble reconciling public and private persona? Or even knowing which is the real person. Of what can be trusted.
Yet Batman offers a gritty reality, but a hopeful future.
Meltzer describes the Gothamite's influence outside of comics.
“For 75 years, Batman has been a cultural shield, protecting us from our deepest fears.” And Batman has "a core that never changes" in a world of change and upheavals. Something about that dependability is very comforting in the global world where nothing ever seems quite so safe.
Cavna reports "on Thursday, Lee and DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns will share the stage with fellow comics creators Neal Adams, Grant Morrison, Denny O’Neil and Scott Snyder, as well as the Maryland-sprung legend Frank Miller, for the panel 'Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight.'"
That's quite a collection of Batman writers to offer a deep look into what makes Gotham's bat-signaled superhero so legendary.
Meanwhile, Saturday'll see a panel with Lee and John spotlighting "the many incarnations of 'the world’s greatest detective,' from the record-setting Christopher Nolan films starring Christian Bale to popular video games and animated shows."
However, the celebration goes beyond San Diego. DC says it'll team up with 1,000 American libraries to celebrate with publisher Random House for events and books.
Happy 75th birthday today, Batman. Thanks for all you taught me. And for all I'm still trying to learn (and teach). pic.twitter.com/DVVHa0uapY— Brad Meltzer (@bradmeltzer) March 31, 2014
Not bad for a character meant to compete with Superman's epic origin and helped to cement DC Comics' multibillion industry centered on two orphaned superheroes.
Sources: Washington Post