Batman is turning 80 on March 30, and it’s time we celebrate the man, the bat, the legend.
Welcome to day nine of this series as we tackle Batman in the 2000s. We will break it down by comics, TV, films, and general culture. Because of the breadth of his impact on the world, there is no way we can hit every landmark moment, but we’re going to try our best to bring you an overall history of the infamous Batman.
Batman in the 2010s
After two decades of animated hits, the lone new animated series to begin this decade has been Beware the Batman. Launching in 2013, the series lasted for two seasons and a total of 26 episodes while airing on the Cartoon Network.
After The CW was having success with DC-based shows such as Arrow, a Batman series was finally decided on, but it wasn’t quite what anyone was expecting. Gotham launched on Fox in Sept. 2014, and told the story of a young version of Bruce Wayne immediately following the murder of his parents, as well as the early days of Jim Gordon. As we write this, the series is drawing to a close with the end of its fifth season.
Batman kicked off his cinematic adventures in this decade with the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises opened on July 20, 2012 and went on to earn $1.085B globally off of a $230M budget. While not as critically acclaimed as the first two films, it brought the series to a definitive end for that version of the caped crusader.
Just under a year later the new DC Extended Universe of films would launch with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel on June 14, 2013. And then we went through the news that not only had Ben Affleck been cast as Batman, but that the next film in the series would be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The idea of seeing Batman and Superman on the big screen together was just a bit too much to handle for a lot of fans as our collective brains melted. All those years of World’s Finest comics were going to come to life.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters on March 25, 2016 and went on to gross $873.6M globally off of an estimated budget between $250 and $300 million.
Affleck’s next appearance as Batman consisted of a cameo in 2016’s Suicide Squad, but his next and – unknown at the time – last time playing Batman would come in 2017’s Justice League. The film hit unfortunate stumbling blocks following the untimely passing of director Zack Snyder’s daughter, and it was left to Joss Whedon to finish up. The film released on Nov. 17, 2017, and went on to gross $657.9M globally off of a $300M budget.
Affleck was next set to write, direct, and star in a solo Batman film. In January 2017 he announced that he would not be directing the film, and Matt Reeves was stepping in. Eventually the scripting duties also fell to Reeves, and then in January 2019, Affleck announced he was departing the role.
Where we stand as of right now (March 30, 2019) is it is unknown who will be taking over the role, but we’ll deal with that when we’re back here in five years for the 85th anniversary.
Kicking off Batman’s latest decade was the addition of Batman, Inc. This series essentially asked what would happen should Batman choose to globally franchise his brand. The first volume ran for eight issues because DC decided it was time to freshen up the DC Universe again, and everything relaunched with The New 52. After the refresh, the series returned with 13 additional issues.
With the New 52 being in full swing, it was time for a new take on the origin of Batman. Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV did just that with their story, Zero Year. This was a whole new take on the origin of Batman and those early days when he first returned to Gotham after his absence. The story was told across Batman #21 – #27, #29 – #33, and numerous tie-in issues.
In 2013, DC brought back the 1960s Batman TV series with Batman ’66. Told in the style of the Adam West and Burt Ward series, the comic brought back to life the pop culture icon that first brought the Caped Crusader into so many homes. It even saw the dynamic duo teaming up with the likes of the Green Hornet, Wonder Woman ’77, and more.
In 2014, a storyline ran across Batman #35 – #40 called “Endgame.” This storyline ended with the apparent death of Batman and led directly into the next storyline, “Superheavy.” This story saw Jim Gordon acting as a sanctioned Batman by the GCPD until, of course, the actual Batman was able to come back.
In 2015 it was announced that Frank Miller would be co-writing a third entry in his Dark Knight Returns series entitled, The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. Comprised of nine issues, and several tie-ins, DK III was co-written with Brian Azzarello with art by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson. This was originally said to be the conclusion of the storyline when it ended in 2017, but Miller has since said he would like to do a fourth.
Dark Knights Metal may have the most lasting impact on the overall Batman mythos as we met six evil versions of Batman. Without question it has been the Batman Who Laughs that has jumped to the forefront of this evil family. With his own title and growing history, it feels as though this amalgamation of the Joker and Batman will be with us for years to come.
Of course, most recently, there was the wedding that didn’t happen. In Batman #50 published in the summer of 2018, Batman and Selina Kyle finally almost made it to the altar, but at last, it wasn’t meant to be.
And here we are… March 30, 2019. 80 years to the day since Batman first swung into the pages of Detective Comics #27. It’s a milestone to be saluted and honored. Not many characters can say they’ve had such a long and storied career that touched so many different forms of media.
No matter how he may get knocked down by the world from attacks in books to declining sales, Batman has always found a way to come back and keep the city of Gotham, and the comic racks safe.
Here’s to another 80 years of Bob Kane’s and Bill Finger’s creation.
Jay Yaws contributed research to this post.
Check out the other installments in this series:
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1930s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1940s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1950s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1960s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1970s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1980s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 1990s
- Batman 80th Anniversary – The 2000s
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