Batman and Co.
Batman was created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and debuted in the 27th issue of Detective Comics on March 30th, 1939. Batman is the alias of Bruce Wayne, a wealthy playboy and philanthropist living in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is also the owner of Wayne Enterprises. Son of Martha and Thomas Wayne, he witnessed his parents murder when he was ten years old. This tragedy is what eventually led him to take on the mantle of Batman. From a young age he begins to travel the world, training himself in multiple forms of martial arts, as well as increasing his intelligence and learning how to become a successful inventor and detective. After returning to Gotham he begins to go out each night in an attempt to rid Gotham of crime, working outside the law due to Gotham’s corrupt police force.
Alfred Thadeus Crane Pennyworth first appeared in Batman #16 in April 1943, originally as Alfred Beagle. He is loyal butler to the Wayne family. Inheriting the job from his father after his death. Alfred became legal guardian to Bruce Wayne after his parents death. Over the years Alfred remains Bruce’s loyal butler, close friend, confidant, and father figure. Alfred is a retired intelligence agent and uses his many skills to aid Batman with his war on crime in Gotham.
Barbara Gordon is daughter of James Gordon, commissioner of Gotham Police. She first appeared in Detective Comics #359 in January 1967. Barbara has a doctorate in library studies and is head of Gotham City Public Library. A successful crime fighter in her own right, she aids Batman in his fight against crime. In the 1988 Comic, The Killing Joke, she is shot and paralyzed by the Joker. After being paralyzed from the waist down she ends her stint as Batgirl. This doesn’t stop her in her fight against crime, instead leading her to fight behind the scenes as Oracle. As Orcacle Barbara uses her genius-level intellect and computer skills to become an information broker, dismantling information and sending it out to superheroes.
Batwoman as we know her now was first introduced in Batwoman Vol 2 #1 in November 2011. Katherine “Kate” Rebecca Kane is a socialite, adventurer, and business woman by day, and the vigilante Batwoman by night. Born to Colonel Jacob Kane and Captain Gabrielle Kane, the family moved from place to place before eventually moving to Brussels, Belgium. While there Kate, her twin sister Beth, and their mother were kidnapped by terrorists. While military intelligence were able to track their location, by the time Jacob Kane arrived Gabrielle and Beth were already dead. Kate managed to deal with the grief of witnessing her mother and sisters death by emulating her father’s cool headedness demeanor. Growing up she continued to excel in school, both academically and athletically. She joined West Point Military Academy, excelling and earning herself multiple prestigious awards. Her senior year she was anonymously accused of homosexual conduct and was given the option to accept a demotion and stay at the Academy. In order to prevent an investigation and save the identities of her girlfriend Sophia, along with other closeted cadets, Kate instead decided to come out as a lesbian. She resigned from the Academy and was expelled under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. After this she decided to travel the world before settling back in Gotham City. One night while out drunk, she was attacked by a mugger and saved by Batman. After this experience Kate realized that she felt most alive while fighting crime, and decided to dawn the mantle of Batwoman.
Richard John “Dick” Grayson first debuted as Robin in Detective Comics #38 in April 1940. Dick was the youngest in the family of circus acrobats known as the “Flying Graysons”. He witnesses the murder of his parents my mafia boss, Tony Zucco, and soon after he’s taken in by Bruce Wayne as his legal ward. Batman trains Dick to fight alongside him, and he’s given the mantle of Robin. Eventually Dick becomes the leader of his own team of young superheroes known as the Teen Titans. As he grows older and becomes a young adult he abandons the name Robin, and becomes Nightwing. He later moves out of Gotham in a desire to become independent, and becomes the protector of Bludhaven. Dick has also taken on the mantle of Batman from time to time, usually when Bruce goes missing.
Jason Peter Todd first appeared in Batman #357 in March 1983, and was made to succeed Dick Grayson as Robin. Jason was found by Batman while living homeless on the streets of Gotham. Bruce took the young boy in and decided to mentor him in an attempt to keep him out of a life of crime. Jason eventually joined Batman in fighting crime, becoming the second Robin. However, in the 1988 comic Death in the Family, Jason is killed by Batman’s nemesis The Joker. Jason doesn’t appear again until 2005, where he is resurrected and brought back as the Red Hood. As the Red Hood Jason acts as an antihero, willing to use lethal force in an attempt to stop crime.
Timothy Jackson Drake first appeared in Batman #436 in August 1989. In Tim’s first appearance he introduced himself to Dick Grayson, impressing him with his own skills. Grayson went to Bruce and, along with Alfred, expressed support in Tim’s desire to become Batman’s new sidekick. Because of what happened to Jason, Bruce put Tim through more extensive training than the previous Robins. Tim trained with Bruce for a year before finally joining him as Robin. Tim Drake continued to be a regular appearing character, even joining Young Justice and Teen Titans in certain comics. In 2009 during Battle for the Cowl Tim took the mantle of Red Robin, leaving room for the next Robin.
Damian Wayne was introduced in Batman #665 in September 2006, but also appeared as an unnamed infant in Batman: Son of the Demon (1987). He was genetically created using the DNA of his mother Talia Al Ghul, as well as DNA stolen from Batman. He was genetically perfected and grown in an artificial womb, created to be the perfect soldier. He was raised by his mother Talia, grandfather R’as Al Ghul, and the League of Assassins. He becomes well trained in martial arts, and is eventually dropped off at Batman’s door after Talia tells Bruce of Damians existence. Damian strived for his fathers approval, but due to his upbringing believes the only way to get it is by killing his rivals. This includes current Robin, Tim Drake. The various violent actions by Damian cause discord between him and Batman. After Batman’s disappearance Dick Grayson take’s on the mantle of Batman, choosing Damian to be his Robin. Around this time Talia starts to clone Damian, realizing he is now firmly sided with Dick Grayson and the bat family. She confronts him and shows him the clone, stating she cannot put aside his imperfections, and that from then on he is an enemy to the House of Al Ghul. The bat family continue to look for Bruce, eventually leading them to Graysons confidant, Oberon Sexton. Oberon turns out to be the Joker in disguise, and Damian begins to torture him with a crowbar. The Joker ends up incapacitating Damian and captures him and Dick. They are eventually rescued by Bruce Wayne as he helps them defeat the villains. After his return Bruce accepts Damian, as well as his position as Robin.
The Joker first appeared in Batman #1 on April 25, 1940. The Joker is one of the longest standing Batman villains, as well as one of the only ones whose background is a mystery. In 1951 Bill Finger wrote a backstory for the Joker in which he was a criminal known as the Red Hood. A fall in a vat of acid was said to have caused his bleached white skin, green hair, and permanent grin. Over the years the Joker has changed from being a homicidal maniac, to a goofy villain for comedic relief, and then back to his homicidal origins.
Two-Face debuted in Detective Comics #66 in August 1942. Harvey Dent was originally the District Attorney of Gotham City, and close friend of Bruce Wayne. However, during a court trial, mob boss Sal Maroni threw a vat of acid at him. This caused half of Harvey’s face to be disfigured, causing him to go insane. He then adopts the persona of Two-Face, a violent criminal obsessed with duality. He carried a trick coin that was scratched on one side and often uses it to make decisions. All of his crimes incorporate the number two, and he typically leaves people’s lives up to chance.
Poison Ivy first appeared in Batman #181 in June 1966. Formerly known as Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, she was a promising botanist who had a deep love for nature. While helping Marc LeGrand to steal an egyptian artifact full of rare herbs, he turns on her and uses the herbs to poison her. Pamela miraculously survives, however the herbs change her physical make-up. Gaining an immunity to all poisons and toxins, as well as control over plants, she takes on the alias of Poison Ivy. Believing plants are the superior life form, she is often willing to destroy all human life so that nature may thrive.
The Riddler first appeared in Detective Comics #140 in October 1948. Edward Nigma became obsessed with puzzles at a young age, entering a contest in school and cheating his way to first place. With his cheating rewarded his obsession with puzzles grew. As he gets older he begins to crave a bigger challenge, and more attention. He dons the persona of the Riddler in order to challenge Batman, who he deems a worthy adversary. Unlike other villains he doesn’t seem to have any motive other than challenging what he believes to be his own genius intellect.