Batman at 80: How the Dark Knight Became the World's Most Iconic Superhero

In early 1939, Superman soared over the comic book world. Editors at a nascent DC Comics (then known as National Comics Publication) charged young gag cartoonist Bob Kane with creating a follow-up to the hugely successful character. The illustrator wracked his brain, drawing upon diverse images from across the pop cultural spectrum: Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, pulp detective novels, a mystery film called The Bat Whisperer and Douglas Fairbanks’ portrayal of Zorro. He called on another young collaborator, Bill Finger, to fine-tune some of the details and zero in on their hero’s backstory.

Over the course of a weekend,
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