Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Originally named "the Bat-Man", the character is also referred to by such epithets as "the Caped Crusader", "the Dark Knight", and "the World's Greatest Detective".
Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, business magnate, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with a sense of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his butler Alfred Pennyworth, his crime-fighting partner Robin, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights a large assortment of villains, often referred to as Batman's "rogues gallery", which includes the Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Ra's al Ghul, Poison Ivy, the Scarecrow and Bane. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, martial arts skills, physical prowess, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, provocation of fear and intimidation, and an indomitable will in his continuous war on crime.
Batman became popular soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades progressed, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, followed by Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison. The success of Warner Bros.' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain public interest in the character.
An American cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world, such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists with many trying to understand the character's psyche. In May 2011, Batman placed second on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman. Empire magazine listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. The character has been portrayed on both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and soon by Ben Affleck. A number of voice actors have also portrayed Batman in various animated adaptations; including Olan Soule, Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, Rino Romano, Diedrich Bader and Will Arnett.