This is the timeline of Batman's publication history. It covers his debut in 1939 and changes/additions made to his backstory and activities until the present day.
- 1 Golden Age
- 2 Silver Age
- 3 Bronze Age
- 4 Modern Age
- 4.1 1980s
- 4.2 1990s
- 4.3 2000s
- 4.4 2010s
- 5 Post-Modern Age
- 6 References
In Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27, he is already operating as a crime fighter. Batman's origin is first presented in Detective Comics #33 in November 1939, and is later fleshed out in Batman #47. As these comics state, Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two very wealthy and charitable Gotham City socialites. Bruce is brought up in Wayne Manor and its wealthy splendor and leads a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents are killed by a small-time criminal named Joe Chill on their way home from the movie theater. Bruce Wayne swears an oath to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents' lives. He engages in intense intellectual and physical training; however, he realizes that these skills alone would not be enough. "Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot", Wayne remarks, "so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible..." As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to assume the persona of Batman.
In early strips, Batman's career as a vigilante initially earns him the ire of the police. During this period Wayne has a fiancée named Julie Madison. Wayne takes in an orphaned circus acrobat, Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick, Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America, although he, like Superman, is an honorary member and thus only participates occasionally. Batman's relationship with the law thaws quickly, and he is made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department. During this time, butler Alfred arrives at Wayne Manor and after deducing the Dynamic Duo's secret identities joins their service.
- July: Doctor Death debuts as the first recurring Batman villain. Meanwhile, Batman's utility belt is first spotlighted. (Detective Comics #29)
- September: Bruce Wayne's fiancée, actress Julie Madison, is introduced as Batman battles The Monk. Meanwhile, the Bat-Gyro, a precursor to the Bat-Plane, and Batarang are introduced. (DETECTIVE COMICS #31)
- October: In order to end The Monk's reign of terror, Batman destroys him along with his ally, Dala, by shooting them with silver bullets. (DETECTIVE COMICS #32)
- November: In "The Batman and How He Came to Be", the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne (Bruce's parents) are recounted. (DETECTIVE COMICS #33)
- February: Batman battles the evil Professor Hugo Strange. (DETECTIVE COMICS #36)
- March: Batman dons night-vision goggles for the first time. (DETECTIVE COMICS #37)
- April: After his trapeze-artists parents are murdered by gangster Tony Zucco, Dick Grayson joins Batman's war on crime as Robin the Boy Wonder. (DETECTIVE COMICS #38)
- Spring: The Joker and Catwoman (then, referred to as "The Cat") debut in the launch of Batman's own, self-titled series. Meanwhile, a Bat-plane that's armed with a machine gun is also unveiled. In another tale, Batman guns down the giants of Hugo Strange; hereafter, Batman vows to reject the usage of firearms (BATMAN #1)
- July: Robin tackles his first solo adventure/case, which Batman (nevertheless) winds up helping him wrap up. (DETECTIVE COMICS #41)
- Fall: Catwoman first appears in costume (BATMAN #3). Meanwhile, Batman shares top-billing with Superman in the debut of World's Best Comics (later becoming World's Finest Comics) with the publication of its second issue. (WORLD'S BEST COMICS #1)
- Winter: Batman's home base, Gotham City is first named. (BATMAN #4)
- February: Hinting at the Batcave to come, Batman and Robin race through a secret tunnel beneath Wayne Manor to a barn concealing Batman's roadster, referred to as "The Batmobile". (DETECTIVE COMICS #48)
- March: Julie Madison calls off her engagement to Bruce Wayne because of his playboy lifestyle. Meanwhile, using the name Portia Storme, Julie dons a Robin costume as the Dynamic Duo battle Clayface. (DETECTIVE COMICS #49)
- April: Robin acquires a pair of rocket-powered roller skates. (DETECTIVE COMICS #50)
- Spring: The Batmobile roars into action while sporting its own bat-headed battering ram. (BATMAN #5)
- Summer: Bruce Wayne's latest fling, Linda Page first appears. (BATMAN #6)
- Fall: The fear-mongering villain, Scarecrow is introduced. (WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #3)
- December: The Penguin is introduced. (DETECTIVE COMICS #58)
- February: The Batsignal summons Batman for the first time. (DETECTIVE COMICS #60)
- August: District Attorney Harvey "Apollo" Kent (later "Dent") and his devilish alter-ego Two-Face make their debuts. (DETECTIVE COMICS #66)
- August–September: A cavern beneath Wayne Manor is revealed as Batman's "secret underground hangars." (BATMAN #12)
- April–May: Alfred is introduced as the Wayne family valet. (BATMAN #16)
- November: Batman and Robin encounter the swashbuckling Cavalier. (DETECTIVE COMICS #81)
- January: Batman's underground lair is called "The Bat Cave" for the first time. (DETECTIVE COMICS #83)
- August–September: Batman and Robin journey to ancient Rome in their first time-travel adventure. (BATMAN #24)
- October–November: In the first major Batman villain team-up, the Joker and Penguin join forces to take on Batman. (BATMAN #25)
- December 1944-January: The Bat-Sled enables the Dynamic Duo and Alfred to enjoy some winter fun. (BATMAN #26)
- April: The first official Bat-Boat appears as Batman and Robin's water transportation in the "Marathon of Menace". (BATMAN #34)
- June–July: A blonde Catwoman appears in a prototype of her classic purple cat-eared costume. (BATMAN #35)
- June–July: Aliens appear for the first time on a Batman comic book cover. (BATMAN #41)
- Sep-Oct: The Giant Penny makes its first appearance. It will become an often seen trophy in the Bat-Cave. (World's Finest Comics #30)
- Feb-March: Superman is acknowledged for the first time by Batman. "What can Superman do that I can't do...with Balsa Wood?!" (BATMAN #45)
- June–July: The first detailed origin of Batman is published. In this tale, Batman tracks down Joe Chill, the man who murdered his parents. (BATMAN #47)
- October: The Riddler makes his debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #140)
- October–November: Mad Hatter joins Batman's rogues gallery. Meanwhile, photographer Vicki Vale, who was one of Batman's most enduring love interests (1948-1962), is also introduced. (BATMAN #49)
- February: After the Batmobile is totaled, Batman and Robin design a new model with a bat-headed grille. Action Comics has its first cameo when Robin reads it out of boredom. (DETECTIVE COMICS #156)
- June–July: Deadshot first takes aim at Batman. (BATMAN #59)
- October–November: Coinciding with the dawn of the Jet Age, Batplane II  is revealed. (BATMAN #61)
- December 1950-January: Catwoman's origin is chronicled. (BATMAN #62)
- February: In "The Man Behind the Red Hood", the Joker's origin is revealed. (DETECTIVE COMICS #168)
- February–March: Killer Moth's debut ends in defeat. (BATMAN #63)
- June: Batman and Robin battle The Firefly. (DETECTIVE COMICS #184)
- July–August: Batman and Superman finally meet. (SUPERMAN #76)
- August: The Flying Batcave takes to the air for the first time. (DETECTIVE COMICS #186)
- February–March: In Batman's first ape-themed cover, the Caped Crusader grapples with "The Gorilla Boss of Gotham City". (BATMAN #75)
- March: The origin of the Batcave is revealed. (DETECTIVE COMICS #205)
- July–August: Batman and Superman begin a series of team-ups in World's Finest Comics. (WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #71)
- September: The underwater Bat-Marine surfaces. (BATMAN #86)
- June: Ace the Bat-Hound makes his debut. (BATMAN #92)
After the introduction of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, it is retroactively established that stories from the Golden Age star the Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world. This version of Batman partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle (as shown in Superman Family #211) and fathers Helena Wayne, who, as the Huntress, becomes (along with the Earth-Two Robin) Gotham's protector once Wayne retires from the position to become police commissioner, a position he occupies until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman. Batman titles however often ignored that a distinction had been made between the pre-revamp and post-revamp Batmen (since unlike The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman comics had been published without interruption through the 1950s) and would on occasion make reference to stories from the Golden Age. Nevertheless, details of Batman's history were altered or expanded upon through the decades. Additions include meetings with a future Superman during his youth, his upbringing by his uncle Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, Jan./Feb. 1969) after his parents' death, and appearances of his father and himself as prototypical versions of Batman and Robin, respectively. In 1980 then-editor Paul Levitz commissioned the Untold Legend of the Batman limited series to thoroughly chronicle Batman's origin and history.
Batman meets and regularly works with other heroes during the Silver Age, most notably Superman, whom he began regularly working alongside in a series of team-ups in World's Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through the series' cancellation in 1986. Batman and Superman are usually depicted as close friends. Batman becomes a founding member of the Justice League of America, appearing in its first story in 1960s Brave and the Bold #28.
- June: The 100th issue of Batman is published.
- September: The origin of the Batsuit is revealed in a tale featuring Thomas Wayne as the "first" Batman. (DETECTIVE COMICS #235)
- March: Batman and Superman's greatest foes Lex Luthor and the Joker team-up for the first time. (WORLD'S FINEST #88)
- September: Professor Milo renders Batman terrified of bats and briefly forces him to adopt a new identity: "Starman". (DETECTIVE COMICS #247)
- December: Signalman makes his first appearance. (BATMAN #112)
- March: The Terrible Trio (The Fox, The Shark, and The Vulture) take on Batman and Robin. (DETECTIVE COMICS #253)
- April: The Bat-Copter is added to Batman's vehicle fleet. (DETECTIVE COMICS #254)
- July: Personal mini-copters called Whirly-Bats are deployed by Batman and Robin. (DETECTIVE COMICS #257)
- September: The Calendar Man challenges Batman. (DETECTIVE COMICS #259)
- November: Batman and Robin do battle with Doctor Double X. (DETECTIVE COMICS #261)
- February: Mr. Freeze (then called "Mr. Zero") makes his debut. (BATMAN #121)
- May: Batman first meets the inter-dimensional imp Bat-Mite. (DETECTIVE COMICS #267)
- March: To defeat the alien starfish Starro the Conqueror, Batman teams up with Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and The Martian Manhunter to form The Justice League of America. (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #28)
- April: In an imaginary tale, a married Batman and Batwoman appear with their son Robin. Meanwhile, Dick Grayson assumes the role of the Dark Knight. (BATMAN #131)
- December: Matt Hagen becomes the second Clayface. (DETECTIVE COMICS #298)
- February: The bizarre Polka-Dot Man debuts. (DETECTIVE COMICS #300)
- May: On its cover, Batman becomes a Bat-Baby in a tale declared "The Story of the Year!" (BATMAN #147)
- January: The Cat-Man takes on Batman and Robin. (DETECTIVE COMICS #311)
- May: Batman's "new look" debuts. (DETECTIVE COMICS #327)
- June: Alfred is temporarily "killed off". (DETECTIVE COMICS #328)
- June–July: Robin forms The Teen Titans with fellow superhero "sidekicks" Kid Flash and Aqualad. (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #54)
- December: The otherworldly menace The Outsider first appears. (DETECTIVE COMICS #334)
- March: Roy Reynolds, a.k.a. "the Getaway Genius", first encounters Batman. (BATMAN #170)
- November: Batman and Robin encounter Mark Desmond, otherwise known as Blockbuster. (DETECTIVE COMICS #345)
- January–February: Robin and his Teen Titans associates (now including Wonder Girl) gain their own comic book. (TEEN TITANS #1)
- May: Cluemaster first confounds Batman. (DETECTIVE COMICS #351)
- June: The alluring Poison Ivy makes her debut. (BATMAN #181)
- August: Batman meets the hypnotic Asian crime lord Doctor Tzin-Tzin. (DETECTIVE COMICS #354)
- October: Alfred returns to Wayne Manor, restored to normalcy after he is revealed to be the evil Outsider. (DETECTIVE COMICS #356)
- December: Batman first encounters Spellbinder. (DETECTIVE COMICS #358)
- January: Barbara Gordon dons a cape and cowl to become Batgirl. (DETECTIVE COMICS #359)
- October–November: Batman joins forces with the Metal Men. (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #74)
- January: The Batmobile from the Batman TV series briefly becomes the official Batmobile of the comics. (DETECTIVE COMICS #371)
- March: To celebrate the 200th issue of his self-titled series, the Batman does battle with the Scarecrow in "The Man Who Radiated Fear". (BATMAN #200)
- May: Batman celebrates his 30th anniversary in Detective Comics. (DETECTIVE COMICS #387)
- October: Private investigator Jason Bard is introduced. (DETECTIVE COMICS #392)
- December: In "One Bullet Too Many", Dick Grayson leaves the Batcave for Hudson University. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne and Alfred decamp to the penthouse of the Wayne Foundation building. In the process, a new Batcave is established beneath the Wayne Foundation skyscraper. (BATMAN #394)
- Batman abandons his previous Batmobile in favor of a turbo-charged sports car. (DETECTIVE COMICS #394)
In 1969, Dick Grayson attends college as part of DC Comics' effort to revise the Batman comics. Additionally, Batman also moves from Wayne Manor into a penthouse apartment atop the Wayne Foundation building in downtown Gotham City, in order to be closer to Gotham City's crime. Batman spends the 1970s and early 1980s mainly working solo, with occasional team-ups with Robin and/or Batgirl. Batman's adventures also become somewhat darker and more grim during this period, depicting increasingly violent crimes, including the first appearance (since the early Golden Age) of an insane, murderous Joker, and the arrival of Ra's Al Ghul. In the 1980s, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing.
In the final issue of Brave and the Bold in 1983, Batman quits the Justice League and forms a new group called the Outsiders. He serves as the team's leader until Batman and the Outsiders #32 (1986) and the comic subsequently changed its title.
- January: Under the guidance of writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, the campy hi-jinks of the past two decades' worth of Batman tales are retired. In its place, comes a more present-day tone and mood to the series. (DETECTIVE COMICS #395)
- June: Zoologist Kirk Langstrom transforms into Man-Bat, to the horror of his fiancée Francine Lee. Meanwhile, Robin and Batgirl team up for the very first time. (DETECTIVE COMICS #400)
- November: After debuting in the pages of Strange Adventures #215, The League of Assassins first appears in a Batman title. (DETECTIVE COMICS #405)
- January: In "Marriage: Impossible", Kirk Langstrom's bride Francine Lee Langstrom becomes She-Bat. (DETECTIVE COMICS #407)
- May: Predating the debut of her diabolical father, Ra's al Ghul, Talia al Ghul makes her first appearance. (DETECTIVE COMICS #411)
- June: Ra's al Ghul makes his debut. (BATMAN #232)
- August: After 17 years, Two-Face makes his return to Batman's rogues gallery. (BATMAN #234)
- August: On the cover of his 400th appearance in Detective Comics, Batman holds a gun to his temple, having written a suicide note to Robin, Batgirl, and Superman. (DETECTIVE COMICS #426)
- April: The Spook makes his debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #426)
- October–November: Batman joins forces with Manhunter Paul Kirk for the only time when Kirk sacrifices his life to destroy the evil cabal known as the Council. (DETECTIVE COMICS #443)
- April–May: The debut of Richard Dragon: Kung-Fu Fighter features the title character and Ben Turner (a.k.a Bronze Tiger), martial artists who will cross paths with the Batman family.
- May: The Joker appears in his own monthly series of misadventures, which lasts only nine issues (THE JOKER #1)
- September–October: The Batman Family, a series spotlighting the cast of Batman characters, debuts (lasting for 20 issues before its cancellation in 1978). (THE BATMAN FAMILY #1)
- December 1975-January: Man-Bat flies solo in his own monthly series, which lasts only two issues. (MAN-BAT #1)
- January: Lady Shiva, both a friend and foe to the Batman family in later years, is introduced. (RICHARD DRAGON: KUNG-FU FIGHTER #5)
- February–March: Cult leader Kobra, who soon will be a frequent foe of Batman, appears in his own series. (KOBRA #1)
- March: Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a kindly adult who befriends a young Bruce Wayne, debuts in "There Is No Hope In Crime Alley". (DETECTIVE COMICS #457)
- June: Pirate rogue Captain Stingaree first appears. (DETECTIVE COMICS #460)
- September: Batman battles Black Spider for the first time. (DETECTIVE COMICS #463)
- May: Dr. Phosphorus makes his debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #469)
- June: Platinum blonde bombshell Silver St. Cloud is introduced as Bruce Wayne's latest short-lived love interest. (DETECTIVE COMICS #470)
- April–May: Rebecca "Becky" Langstrom, daughter of Kirk and Francine Langstrom, is born. (THE BATMAN FAMILY #17)
- January: Lucius Fox is introduced as the financial wizard who guides Wayne Enterprises' day-to-day business operations in Bruce Wayne's absence. (BATMAN #307)
- April–May: In the 40th anniversary issue of Detective Comics, gangster Maxie Zeus first appears. (DETECTIVE COMICS #483)
- August–September: Kathy Kane is murdered by the Bronze Tiger. (DETECTIVE COMICS #485)
- October: The pyromanic Firebug makes his debut. (BATMAN #318)
- July: "Untold Legends of the Batman", the first Batman mini-series, premieres.
- August: Arkham Asylum is introduced. (BATMAN #326)
- September: The Crime Doctor prescribes death for Batman. (DETECTIVE COMICS #494)
- October: In a preview tale, Robin is joined by former Teen Titans Wonder Girl and Kid Flash, as well as new members Changeling, Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire to form The New Teen Titans. (DC COMICS PRESENTS #26)
- December: Batman first clashes with the powerful mob boss known only as The Squid. (DETECTIVE COMICS #497)
- January: The Electrocutioner makes his debut. (BATMAN #331)
- March: In the 500th issue of Detective Comics (in a tale entitled "To Kill a Legend"), Batman and Robin visit an alternate reality where they prevent the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
- February: The illusory villain Mirage debuts. (DETECTIVE COMICS #511)
- March: Dr. Death makes his return in the 45th anniversary issue of Detective Comics. (DETECTIVE COMICS #512)
- October: Batman battles Colonel Blimp. (BATMAN #352)
- March: Both young circus acrobat Jason Todd and reptilian villain Killer Croc make their first appearances. (BATMAN #357)
- May: Batman celebrates his 500th appearance in Detective Comics. Meanwhile, the murders of Jason Todd's circus aerialist parents (mirroring Dick Grayon's own origins) by Killer Croc leads to Jason inheriting the role of Robin from Dick. (DETECTIVE COMICS #526)
- August: After Batman quits the Justice League of America, he assembles his own team of superheroes called The Outsiders. (BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #1)
- December: Jason Todd makes his official debut as Robin. (BATMAN #366)
- February: Dick Grayson quits the role of Robin. (THE NEW TEEN TITANS #39)
- July: Dick Grayson dons the guise of Nightwing in order to rescue his fellow Titans from Deathstroke the Terminator and The HIVE. (TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #4)
- April: DC Comics' 12-issue long "Crisis on Infinite Earths" series begins. In the process, Batman's history is radically altered. As a result, Bat-Mite, Ace the Bat-Hound, and other Batman related characters are forgotten in the new mainstream continuity. Meanwhile, Jason Todd's origin story is revised.
- August: Crime lord Roman Sionis, otherwise known as Black Mask first appears. (BATMAN #386)
After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics rebooted the histories of some major characters in an attempt at updating them for contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retold Batman's origin in the storyline Year One from Batman #404-407, which emphasizes a grittier tone in the character. Though the Earth-Two Batman is erased from history, many stories of Batman's Silver Age/Earth-One career (along with an amount of Golden Age ones) remain canonical in the post-Crisis universe, with his origins remaining the same in essence, despite alteration. For example, Gotham's police are mostly corrupt, setting up further need for Batman's existence. While Dick Grayson's past remains much the same, the history of Jason Todd, the second Robin, is altered, turning the boy into the orphan son of a petty crook, who tries to steal the tires from the Batmobile. Also removed is the guardian Phillip Wayne, leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred. Additionally, Batman is no longer a founding member of the Justice League of America, although he becomes leader for a short time of a new incarnation of the team launched in 1987. To help fill in the revised backstory for Batman following Crisis, DC launched a new Batman title called Legends of the Dark Knight in 1989 and has published various miniseries and one-shot stories since then that largely take place during the "Year One" period. Various stories from Jeph Loeb and Matt Wagner also touch upon this era.
In 1988's "Batman: A Death in the Family" storyline from Batman #426-429 Jason Todd, the second Robin, is killed by the Joker. Subsequently Batman takes an even darker, often excessive approach to his crimefighting. Batman works solo until the decade's close, when Tim Drake becomes the new Robin. In 2005 writers resurrected the Jason Todd character and have pitted him against his former mentor.
Many of the major Batman storylines since the 1990s have been inter-title crossovers that run for a number of issues. In 1993, the same year that DC published the "Death of Superman" storyline, the publisher released the "Knightfall" storyline. In the storyline's first phase, the new villain Bane paralyzes Batman, leading Wayne to ask Azrael to take on the role. After the end of "Knightfall", the storylines split in two directions, following both the Azrael-Batman's adventures, and Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman once more. The story arcs realign in "KnightsEnd", as Azrael becomes increasingly violent and is defeated by a healed Bruce Wayne. Wayne hands the Batman mantle to Dick Grayson (then Nightwing) for an interim period, while Wayne trains to return to his role as Batman.
1994's company-wide crossover Zero Hour changes aspects of DC continuity again, including those of Batman. Noteworthy among these changes is that the general populace and the criminal element now considers Batman an urban legend rather than a known force. Similarly, the Waynes' killer is never caught or identified, effectively removing Joe Chill from the new continuity, rendering stories such as "Year Two" non-canon.
Batman once again becomes a member of the Justice League during Grant Morrison's 1996 relaunch of the series, titled JLA. While Batman contributes greatly to many of the team's successes, the Justice League is largely uninvolved as Batman and Gotham City face catastrophe in the decade's closing crossover arc. In 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline, Gotham City is devastated by an earthquake. Deprived of many of his technological resources, Batman fights to reclaim the city from legions of gangs during 1999's "No Man's Land." While Lex Luthor rebuilds Gotham at the end of the "No Man's Land" storyline, he then frames Bruce Wayne for murder in the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" and "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" story arcs; Wayne is eventually acquitted.
DC's 2005 limited series Identity Crisis, reveals that JLA member Zatanna had edited Batman's memories, leading to his deep loss of trust in the rest of the superhero community. Batman later creates the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over the other heroes. Its eventual co-opting by Maxwell Lord is one of the main events that leads to the Infinite Crisis miniseries, which again restructures DC continuity. In Infinite Crisis #7, Alexander Luthor, Jr. mentions that in the newly-rewritten history of the "New Earth", created in the previous issue, the murderer of Martha and Thomas Wayne - again, Joe Chill - was captured, thus undoing the retcon created after Zero Hour. Batman and a team of superheroes destroy Brother Eye and the OMACs. Following Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake retrace the steps Bruce had taken when he originally left Gotham City, to "rebuild Batman". In the "Face the Face" storyline, Batman and Robin return to Gotham City after their year-long absence. At the end of the story arc, Bruce adopts Tim as his son. The follow-up story arc in Batman, "Batman & Son", introduces Damian Wayne, who is Batman's son with Talia al Ghul. Batman, along with Superman and Wonder Woman, reforms the Justice League in the new Justice League of America series, and is leading the newest incarnation of the Outsiders.
- March: Frank Miller's four-issue long mini-series entitled "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" is published.
- October: The 400th issue of Batman is published.
- February: Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's four-part series "Batman: Year One", which redefines the early days of Bruce Wayne's crime-fighting career, is published.
- March: On the cover of the 50th anniversary issue of Detective Comics, Batman matches his sleuthing skills with Sherlock Holmes. (DETECTIVE COMICS #572)
- Detective Sarah Essen, future police commissioner and wife of James Gordon, first appears as "Batman: Year One" continues. (BATMAN #405)
- June: Jason Todd makes his first post-Crisis appearance as a troubled orphan of Crime Alley. (BATMAN #408)
- August: Kobra creates Lady Clayface. (THE OUSTSIDERS vol. 1 #21)
- October: Batman encounters the malevolent Mime. (BATMAN #412)
- In the graphic novel "Batman: Son of the Demon", Batman and Talia al Ghul's affair leads to the birth of a son. However, their relationship ends before Batman learns of his child.
- February: The Ventriloquist and Scarface debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #583)
- March: The KGBeast debuts. (BATMAN #417)
- April: Ratcatcher first embarks on a life of crime. (DETECTIVE COMICS #585)
- August: The four part series Batman: The Cult begins. This is the first appearance of Deacon Blackfire.
- November: Madman Cornelius Stirk debuts. (DETECTIVE COMICS #592)
- December: The "A Death in the Family" storyline begins. (BATMAN #426)
- February: As the "A Death in the Family" storyline draws to a conclusion, readers are asked to vote to decide Jason Todd's fate. By a slim margin, readers decree that Jason should perish. So in the end, he dies at the hands of the Joker. (BATMAN #428)
- Catwoman gains her own four-issue long mini-series (CATWOMAN #1)
- April: The Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) debuts in her own monthly series. (THE HUNTRESS #1)
- Ronald Desmond, brother of the late Mark Desmond, mutates into an all-new Blockbuster. (STARMAN #9)
- May: In the 600th issue of Detective Comics, the three-part, Sam Hamm written "Blind Justice" storyline (which introduced Bruce Wayne's mentor, Henri Ducard) concludes. (BATMAN #436)
- August: As the four-part "Batman: Year Three" storyline begins, Tim Drake makes his first appearance.
- September: The surviving Clayfaces unite to form The Mudpack. The Mudpack are part of Basil Karlo's scheme to unsurp their powers as The Ultimate Clayface. (DETECTIVE COMICS #604)
- November: Billed as "The first new 'solo' Batman book since 1940", "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight" is published.
- Gotham sees a new masked vigilante in the form of Lonnie Machin's authority antagonizing alter ego Anarky. (DETECTIVE COMICS #608)
- December: The five-part epic "A Lonely Place of Dying" is highlighted by Tim Drake's first official appearance, leading to his debut as the new Robin. (BATMAN #440-442, THE NEW TITANS #60-61)
- February: Barbara Gordon takes on the role of the all-seeing information broker Oracle. (SUICIDE SQUAD #38)
- May: The mute engineer-savant Harold Allnut makes his debut as one of the Penguin's henchmen. (BATMAN #447)
- July: The voodoo chieftain Obeah Man is introduced in a plot that leads to the death of Tim Drake's mother. (DETECTIVE COMICS #618)
- November: In the first of three mini-series chronicling the new Robin's adventures, Tim Drake battles British crime lord Sir Edmund Dorrance, a.k.a. King Snake. (ROBIN vol. 1 #1)
- December: Tim Drake officially joins Batman's war on crime as the third Robin. (BATMAN #457)
- January: Harold Allnut starts making his home in the Batcave as the resident mechanic. (BATMAN #458)
- February: The evil Abattoir makes his first appearance. (DETECTIVE COMICS #625)
- October: In Tim Drake's second mini-series, the new Robin does battle with the Joker. (ROBIN II: THE JOKER'S WILD! #1)
- May: Gotham police officer Renee Montoya makes her debut as well as the electrically-challenged Galvan. (DETECTIVE COMICS #644)
- June: In the first issue of the monthly title Batman: Shadow of the Bat, Arkham Asylum administrator Jeremiah Arkham and serial killer Mr. Zsasz make their first appearances.
- August: Stephanie Brown, becomes the vigilante called Spoiler in order to thwart her father, Cluemaster (DETECTIVE COMICS #647)
- The hulking man-child Amygdala makes his debut and the villainous Egghead makes his first comic book appearance. (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #3)
- October: Jean-Paul Valley and his alter-ego, the avenging angel called Azrael, first appear. (BATMAN: SWORD OF AZRAEL #1)
- December: In Tim Drake's third mini-series, he's teamed with the Huntress. (ROBIN III: CRY OF THE HUNTRESS #1)
- January: Bane makes his debut. (BATMAN: VENGEANCE OF BANE #1)
- Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, a.k.a. The General makes his debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #654)
- February: The multi-part "Knightfall" storyline begins as Bane sets out to destroy Batman. (BATMAN #492)
- July: As "Knightfall" continues, Bane manages to paralyze Batman after breaking the Caped Crusader's back. As a result, Bruce Wayne is forced to relinquish his role as Batman to Jean-Paul Valley (albeit, for a brief and tumultuous time). (BATMAN #497)
- August: Catwoman gains her own series. (CATWOMAN #1)
- September: The mentally-unbalanced Tally Man first appears. (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #19)
- October: In order to defeat Bane, Jean-Paul Valley adopts more formidable Bat-armor. (BATMAN #500)
- The Trigger Twins make their debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #663)
- November: Tim Drake's own ongoing series is launched. (ROBIN vol. 2 #1)
- June: The Huntress returns in her own four-issue long mini-series. (THE HUNTRESS vol. 2 #1)
- July: In "KnightsEnd", Bruce Wayne must battle to reclaim the Batman mantle from the maddened Jean-Paul Valley. (BATMAN #509)
- August: As the "KnightsEnd" storyline ends, Jean-Paul Valley returns the guise of Batman to Bruce Wayne. (BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #63)
- October: Batman's origins are recounted in zero numbered editions of his four flagship titles. In this revised history, Bruce Wayne never discovers the identity of his parents' murderer. (BATMAN #0, DETECTIVE COMICS #0, BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #0, BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #0)
- November: As the multi-part storyline "Prodigal" begins, Dick Grayson assumes the role of Batman while Bruce Wayne is busy attending to a secret agenda. (BATMAN #512)
- January: As "Prodigal" concludes, Bruce Wayne once again takes up the mantle as Batman. (ROBIN #13)
- February. In the launch of Azrael's own ongoing series, Jean-Paul Valley begins an odyssey to discover his true place in the world. (AZRAEL #1)
- The deadly Silver Monkey first appears. (DETECTIVE COMICS #685)
- July: Quarterly anthology The Batman Chronicles makes its debut.
- Modern-day privateer Cap'n Fear first appears. (DETECTIVE COMICS #687)
- September: Dick Grayson makes his solo debut with a four-issue long mini-series. (NIGHTWING #1)
- October: Firebug II sets Gotham City ablaze. (DETECTIVE COMICS #690)
- November: Killer Moth, previously identified as a perennial loser, forsakes his soul to become the insectoid monster Charaxes. (UNDERWORLD UNLEASED #1)
- Spellbinder II makes her debut. (DETECTIVE COMICS #691)
- December: Incarceration expert Lock-Up begins to inflict his own brand of justice on Gotham City's criminals. (ROBIN #23)
- January: The Allergent targets Gotham's flora, making enemies of Poison Ivy and Batman in the process. (DETECTIVE COMICS #693)
- February: The schizoid known as Schism makes his debut. (BATMAN #527)
- March: As the epic storyline "Contagion" begins, hundreds of thousands die as the Ebola Gulf-A virus (otherwise known as "The Clench") is let loose upon Gotham. (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #48)
- April: "Baby-Bat" Aaron Langstrom, the son of Kirk and Francine Langstrom first appears. (MAN-BAT #3)
- May: The nefarious Narcosis, who uses gas to turn his victims into a state of bliss, first appears. (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #50)
- August: As the multi-part "Legacy" storyline concludes, Batman races to stop Ra's al Ghul from unleashing yet another plague. (DETECTIVE COMICS #700)
- October: Dick Grayson graduates to his own monthly series of adventures with the launch of Nightwing.
- The Ogre and Ape make their debuts. (BATMAN #535)
- December: Commissioner James Gordon appears in his first solo mini-series. (BATMAN: GORDON'S LAW #1)
- The "Elseworlds" story called Kingdom Come offers a glimpse of a troubled future for Batman. (KINGDOM COME #1-4)
- March: Bruce Wayne's latest flame, radio host Vesper Fairchild, makes her debut appearance. (BATMAN #540)
- May: Anarky stars in hiw own four-issue long mini-series. (ANARKY vol. 1 #1)
- November: In the 100th issue of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Dick Grayson's origin as Robin is retold.
- The origin of Mr. Freeze is finally revealed. (BATMAN: MR. FREEZE)
- January: Cassius Payne, the fifth Clayface debuts. (BATMAN #550)
- April: Gotham City is devastated by an earthquake, thus beginning the "Cataclysm" storyline. (BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #73)
- July: The killer known as Brutale first appears. (NIGHTWING #22)
- October: Bat-rogues Ferak and The Answer first appear. (BATMAN VILLAINS SECRET FILES #1)
- Azrael's ties to the Batcave are reestablished, resulting in the title change of his series. Also, the evil Nicholas Scratch debuts. (AZRAEL: AGENT OF THE BAT #47)
- January: Barbara Gordon (as Oracle) starts appearing in her own monthly series, joining forces with Black Canary in the process. (BIRDS OF PREY #1)
- March: As the "No Man's Land" storyline begins, Gotham City is now made up of fiefdoms ruled by escaped Rogues. (BATMAN: NO MAN'S LAND #1)
- As Gotham slowly disintegrates, Nightwing joins a regrouped and older incarnation of the Titans. (THE TITANS #1)
- May: Anarky stars in his own eight issue long series. (ANARKY vol. 2 #1)
- July: Martial arts prodigy Cassandra Cain, who would ultimately inherit the mantle of Batgirl, makes her first appearance. Also debuting is the assassin Cain. (BATMAN #567)
- The covert agent known as Echo first appears. (LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #119)
- October: Harley Quinn (who first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series) makes her official Batman comic book continuity debut. (Batman: Harley Quinn #1)
- January: After a year of "No Man's Land", Metropolis mogul Lex Luthor spearheads the rebuilding of Gotham City. (BATMAN #573)
- February: In "Endgame", the penultimate chapter of the "No Man's Land" storyline, the Joker murders James Gordon's wife, Sarah Essen-Gordon. (DETECTIVE COMICS #741)
- March: Batman: Gotham Knights is launched. The series features back-up black-and-white stories. **The stability of a rebuilt Gotham is threatened by the patriotic zealot known as The Banner. (BATMAN #575)
- April: The new adventures of Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) begin with the publication of her own ongoing series. (BATGIRL #1)
- Ra's al Ghul's agents, Kyle Abbot and Whisper A'Daire first appear. (DETECTIVE COMICS #743)
- May: Batman encounters the undead spirit Samsara. (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #3)
- July: Batman battles Orca. (BATMAN #579)
- November: In the 750th issue of Detective Comics, Batman faces off with Ra's al Ghul yet again.
- December: The Joker's moll Harley Quinn gains her own ongoing comic book title, lasting 38 issues. (HARLEY QUINN #1)
- March: As the multi-part storyline entitled "Officer Down" begins, Commissioner Gordon is nearly killed by a mysterious gunman. (BATMAN #587)
- June: Batman first encounters the murderous Matota. (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #17)
- July: The optically enhanced villain known as Philo Zeiss makes his debut. (BATMAN #591)
- August: Gotham City gains a new hero in the form of Orpheus, in the first issue of the five-part mini-series "Batman: Orpheus Rising".
- Bruce Wayne confronts his bodyguard Sasha Bordeaux over her knowledge of his secret identity of Batman. (DETECTIVE COMICS #759)
- November: Following the publication of the hardcover graphic novel "Catwoman: Selina's Big Score", Selina Kyle adopts a new costume and lease on life.
- Sasha Bordeaux dons a mask and costume alongside Batman to continue serving as personal protection to Bruce Wayne. (DETECTIVE COMICS #762)
- December: After 15 years, writer/artist Frank Miller follows up his best selling "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" with three-issue long mini-series "Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again".
- March: The brutal killing of Bruce Wayne's love interest Vesper Fairchild in "Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure" serves as a prelude to the multi-part "Bruce Wayne: Murder?" storyline. (DETECTIVE COMICS #765)
- April: In the 600th issue of Batman, the storyline entitled "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" leads off with Bruce escaping from prison. Bruce later goes underground to prove himself innocent of the murder of Vesper Fairchild.
- May: Batman first feels the fiery touch of the crazed vigilante known as Nicodemus. (BATMAN #601)
- Robin reaches its 100th issue.
- June: Batman meets The Mortician, a foe who's capable of raising the dead. (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #28)
- October: The Tracker is the first of five new friends of Batman to be introduced in the five-part "Batman Family" mini-series.
- December: As the epic "Hush" storyline begins, Batman face old enemies who are enabled and embodied by a diabolical new foe. (BATMAN #609)
- January: The Huntress acquires a provocative new costume and updated weaponry courtesy of Hush. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Tommy Elliot first appears. (BATMAN #609)
- February: Barbara Gordon's beginnings as Batgirl are revealed in the launch of a nine-issue long miniseries entitled "Batgirl: Year One".
- An all-new ongoing comic book series focusing on the detectives of the Gotham City Police Department entitled "Gotham Central" makes its debut.
- The six-issue long "Dead Reckoning" storyline introduces Paul Sloan, a.k.a. Charlatan. (DETECTIVE COMICS #777)
- Batman meets the tortured tattoo artist known as Pix. (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #36)
- June: After manipulating Batman and his adversaries for months, Hush finally appears. (BATMAN #614)
- July: Batman reveals his secret identity to Catwoman (BATMAN #615)
- August: After being infected by the bats of the Batcave, Alfred succumbs to a form of the "Clench" and nearly dies. (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #42)
- September: The Huntress joins Black Canary and Oracle as a new "Birds of Prey" operative. (BIRDS OF PREY #57)
- October: The "World's Finest Team" of Batman and Superman are once again battling injustice in the debut of the monthly, ongoing "Superman/Batman" series.
- January: As the three-part storyline "Veritas Liberat" beings to commence, Bane learns that Sir Edmund Drake, a.k.a. King Snake is his father. (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #47)
- March: Batman meets the Japanese gangsters known as Fatman and Little Boy. (BATMAN #623)
- June: At his father's urging, Tim Drake quits the role of Robin. (ROBIN #125)
- July: Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. the Spoiler takes up the mantle left by Tim Drake as the first female Robin. (ROBIN #126)
- October: "Batman: The 12-Cent Adventure", a prelude to the "War Games" storyline, is published. It's a multi-part epic that pits Batman and his allies against Black Mask and the gangs of Gotham. (DETECTIVE COMICS #797)
- January: The publication of the landmark 800th issue of Detective Comics makes Batman's flagship comic book one of the longest running titles in comic book history.
- Stephanie Brown apparently dies after being tortured by Black Mask. (BATMAN #623)
- February: The Nightwing title reaches its 100th issue.
- March: The six-part "Nightwing: Year One" storyline appears twice monthly in the pages of Nightwing. (NIGHTWING #101)
- Before the familiar bat-finned cars, the title "Batmobile" was first used on a red convertible in Detective Comics #48 in February 1941. Most of the design was based on the 1936 Cord, though the nose of the car looked more like that of a Lincoln or similar car. The bat mask did not exist yet, but the car did sport a small "bat" hood ornament. Several "Proto-Batmobiles" had appeared in comics by this point, though this was the first to use the name. It was also the last car used before the now famous Batmobiles with the bat-masks and roof fins.
- Throughout the 1940s, the Batmobile was generally drawn as a late 1930s/early 1940s two door sedan with a bat mask over the front grille, and a large vertical bat fin on the roof of the car. Beyond that, there have been several variants of the car, including the presence (or absence) of front and rear bumpers, front and rear fender skirts, a horizontal stripe at the headlight level, exhaust headers, a roof-mounted spotlight, and vertical grille openings on either side of the mask. In addition, the shape of the car varied, and was shown with headlights both on the front and on top of the fenders (1940 Ford/1940 Chevrolet styling, respectively). The car was also sometimes drawn as an earlier 1930s sedan with wider, more sweeping fenders, a boxier midsection, and a longer hood. A "standard" Batmobile design wouldn't be adopted by the majority of artists until 1944.
- In February 1950, Detective Comics #156 showcased an all-new Batmobile. After the previous car was destroyed pursuing a gang, Batman revealed that he had plans for a new Batmobile, one that was going to be "ten years ahead of anything else on wheels." Though the shape of the car (the nose in particular) resembled a Studebaker, it was as long as a Chrysler Imperial; inside was a complete laboratory with cabinets, a work stool, and a counter. Other features on the car included a steel "knife edge" nose to cut through barriers, a roof mounted searchlight that could double as a Bat Signal projector, a plastic canopy/windshield, rocket thrusters, and on-board television and radar screens. Carryovers from earlier designs included the vertical roof fin and bat mask, though both were more integrated into the design. Though the basic design would carry on for several years, the specific details of the car would evolve through several permutations throughout the 1950s
- TEC 08 (2/46): Batman and Robin upgrade the Batplane to jet propulsion, adding at least "100 miles per hour" to its maximum speed. ?/DS
- WF 25 (11-12/46): Batman and Robin equip the Batplane with engineer Frank Folland's "aeraquamobile" devices, allowing the Batplane to travel on land and as a speedboat as well as an airplane. DC/WM
- Daniels,Les, Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes.Virgin Books, 1995. p78.
- Reed, David Vern (w); Sprang, Dick (p); Paris, Charles (i). "The Birth of Batplane II!", Batman #61, DC Comics, October–November 1950.
- The Batman TV series had a metoric rise in popularity, and quickly made its way into every facet off the Batman universe. The comics were no exception, and the first Futura-inspired Batmobile made its appearance in January 1968's Detective Comics #371. The transition was not exact, and a few artistic liberties were taken. Overall, the car was much simpler: the scalloped fin edges were now simple curves, and many of the hood & rear deck features were eliminated altogether. The complex red pinstriping and door bats were also dropped, opting for a monochromatic look. Finally, the nose was shorter and taller, making the comic car look more like toys based on the TV Batmobile than the actual TV car. The design did not last long, however, and after only four months it evolved again.
- The comic books of the late 1960s continued to move Batman back toward his detective origins, becoming darker and more serious. With this change, all of the campy elements of the TV show were finally lost, including the larger-than-life Batmobile. In 1969's Batman #217, Robin moved away to college while Bruce & Alfred locked up Wayne Manor and the Batcave to move into the heart of Gotham. The new Batmobile is a "nondescript" sports car with Diplomatic plates and mirrored windows. Batman refers to it as a car that will blend in to the background, but the yellow stripe and roof accessory still lack real subtlety. Though not as outrageous as previous cars, a truly nondescript Batmobile wouldn't appear for another couple of years.