S ince the publisher's inception in 1934, DC has given rise to a cast of revered superheroes and reviled supervillians – many of which continue to earn starring roles in contemporary film, television and literature. But one of DC's most famous comic characters is also the most complicated: the Batman, and his non-super alter-ego Bruce Wayne.
Batman is unlike many other 'supers' in the DC universe, which perhaps explains the character's prevailing draw. Unlike Superman, the Flash or Wonder Woman, Batman is a mere human; his superpowers are limited to wealth, skill and determination, and his battles take place in the streets and alleyways we recognize in our own lives.
Here, in honour of Batman's anniversary – the character first appeared in print March 1939 – we take a look at the history of the character. The DC Batman comics seen below are available to purchase in DC Complete: The Ian Levine Collection, a private sale comprising every comic book published by DC from its inception through the end of 2014 – more than 40,000 editions in all.
Click through the timeline below to relive Batman's greatest moments, and be sure to view the sale page for more information on how to purchase.
Batman Actor Kevin Conroy on The Enduring Power of the Caped Crusader
The History of Batman
24 March 1939
(left) A promo for Batman that appeared in Action Comics #12
30 March 1939
(left) Batman appearing in Detective Comics #27
(left) Detail from Batman #1
(left) Batman and Robin, his trusty sidekick, appearing in Detective Comics #38
(left) The cover of Batman #1
(left) A still from Batman, 1943
(left) The cover of Superman #76
(left) Adam West as Batman from the 1966 ABC Television series
(left) A more 'grim' Batman story, appearing in September 1973
(left) A cover from The Dark Knight mini-series
1989 – 1997
Three sequels to Batman followed: Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman and Robin (1997). Different actors, including George Clooney, took over the role of Batman in these subsequent films.
(left) Jack Nicholson as The Joker (photo: Atom D./Flickr)
2005 – 2012
(left) A still of Christian Bale as Batman
2016 – Present
(left) A still of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman
For further information on how to purchase, please contact William Lucy, Richard Austin or Selby Kiffer.