With over 75 years of history under its belt, there’s a lot of nifty bits of trivia surrounding the Batman franchise that the average fan doesn’t know. Usually it’s related to the stories within the comic books, cartoons, and movies, but some of the most interesting ones go a little bit behind the scenes.
#5. The REAL First Batman Movie Depiction
Most new fans believe that the first Batman depiction in a film was in Tim Burton’s 1990 blockbuster, which starred Michael Keaton. On the other hand, more astute fans will point out that there’s a movie in 1966 that starred then-TV Batman Adam West in the titular role. However, the truth is that Batman was depicted in a slightly older film: Batman, Dracula, which was made in 1964.
Why isn’t it known by most? It’s because it was produced and directed by eccentric artist Andy Warhol, who chose not to release it commercially. It was only screened for a select few friends and was not approved by DC Comics. The only proof that it ever existed was through a number of footages that appeared in the later Warhol film “Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis.”
#4. It was Originally Intended to Take Place in New York
Batman was given the fictional city of Gotham as its setting because that will make it easy to craft stories without resulting in factual inaccuracies, but before they thought of Gotham, they were planning to have it take place in New York City. The oft-told story goes that a writer opened a New York phone book on a random page and picked “Gotham Jewlers” out of the entries.
#3. Kevin Conroy is the Longest Running Batman
The identity of the first person who wore the cape and cowl in an official capacity is subject to debate or further investigation, but with regard to who’s represented the World’s Greatest Detective for the longest time, the answer is easy: Kevin Conroy.
Kevin Conroy has lent his voice to the Caped Crusader for 3 cartoon series, five animated movies, and six video games spanning more than a decade – and he’s not done yet, if fans will get their way (which they tend to do most of the time.)
#2. All Batman Comic Stories are Connected
With such a long history and with so many writers having their way with the character, it is normal for the Batman mythos to have inconsistencies. He used to wield a gun, but now he’s averse to killing is a great example. With most other franchises, both the owners and the fans just accept this as part of having something stand the test of time. They don’t consider every story as canonical or even connected to the conflicting ones.
Not so with Grant Morrison. During his tenure on the batbooks, he envisioned that all the various stories actually took place in different time periods and can be explained. For example, the gun-wielding Batman is not averse to killing criminals because he’s young, brash, and inexperienced but meeting Robin and seeing the innocence he has lost in pursuit of justice has led him to “soften” a bit and become a more moral role model. The silly 60s TV show were only silly because of numerous mind-altering chemicals, and the playboy bachelor Batman who’s had a fling with Talia Al Ghul was the result of Batman finally being free from the burden of being Robin’s mentor when Dick Grayson set out on his own as Nightwing.
#1. Jason Todd was Killed by an Unknown Phreaker
Every Comic book fan knows that Jason Todd originally died when he was beaten half to death by a crowbar-wielding Joker and then left to die in an explosion. But what’s really responsible for his death is a phone in poll where fans could vote whether Jason Todd lived or die. There were more votes on the side who wants Todd dead, so DC killed the 2nd Robin.
However, Batman scribe Dennis O’Neil revealed that the vote may have been rigged by one person who programmed a computer to automatically dial the number at regular intervals, in order to stack votes for Robin’s death once every 90 seconds within an 8 hour duration. The clincher is that the votes towards Robin’s death only outnumber the votes for his survival by 28 votes, so without this unknown phreaker, Todd would have survived the ordeal.