With so many great things to love about him, it is easy to see why Batman is one of the most popular comic book heroes around. For over 80 years now, the character has survived all sorts of insane challenges, proving to be one of the greatest heroes in the DC universe, despite his lack of any actual powers.
However, while it may not seem like it at times, Batman has actually grown a lot since he first made his debut. While some great things about the character will always remain the same, he has also come to change for the better in many ways as well. Looking at some of the more noticeable differences from where he began, here are 10 ways Batman has changed over the years.
10 Villain’s Scale
As Batman has aged, the villainous plots committed by the criminals of Gotham have definitely become more elaborate, and for the most part, far deadlier as well. From innocent hi-jinks and mildly harmful pranks to city-wide threats with death tolls in the millions, Gotham’s criminals have certainly upped their game.
Furthermore, while this isn’t exactly a change to Batman himself, the Dark Knight has still grown a lot as a character because of it. As his rogue’s gallery has gotten smarter and stronger, so has he, allowing the character to solidify his role as the World’s Greatest Detective.
9 No More Killing
While Batman is widely known for refusing to kill his opponents, he wasn’t always this way, even within the comics. In fact, there have been several moments where Batman was fairly brutal and unapologetic towards taking the life of a criminal in Gotham.
Thankfully though, Batman has since grown to the point where this is no longer a part of his character. Likewise, many modern Batman stories depict just how terrifying a Batman who kills can really be, making this change to the character’s personality for the better within the entire DC universe.
Thanks to the works of authors like Dennis O’Neil and Frank Miller, Batman was taken from a more campy and light-hearted tone to a much darker and more serious one. Considering the incredibly tragic nature of his origin story as well, it is safe to say that this shift in tone within the comics was probably for the better.
Likewise, this has essentially been the status quo for the character since the ’80s, and readers have really come to support this version of Batman overall. Furthermore, with many of his stories growing increasingly darker over time, it is easy to see how the Dark Knight has earned his namesake.
7 Other Media
While Batman himself has inspired countless other iterations beyond the comic books alone, some of these iterations have also inspired him. Especially with the popularity of the Adam West version of the character, Batman saw some significant changes within the comics to fit the personality as portrayed in the series, rather than the other way around.
However, sometimes these other interpretations can push Batman forward in different ways, exploring all sorts of themes with the character that even the comics have yet to do so. With so much Batman media out in the world, there is definitely some version of the character for everyone to enjoy.
6 Other Batmen
While Bruce Wayne will always be the main version of the hero, several others have actually managed to call themselves Batman over the years. At times, these have been alternate versions of the hero, typically explored in Elseworlds or other “What If?” type stories from DC Comics.
Occasionally though, the cowl will change within the main universe itself, with Dick Grayson and Jim Gordon being two of Batman’s biggest successors. Though Bruce always manages to come back, these have still been significant changes to Batman over the years, with each substitute bringing something entirely new to the character.
5 Relationship with Joker
As Batman’s greatest villain, Joker has also gone through several changes over the years that really affect his relationship with Batman. Especially after the New 52 relaunch, Joker came to view his relationship with Batman as one of friendship.
Showcasing just how truly insane he is in the process, Joker also makes some good points in that the two characters continually inspire and motivate the other to become better. For as much as Batman may hate the Clown Prince of Crime, Joker really draws some interesting parallels between himself and the Caped Crusader.
4 He Is A Father
One of the biggest changes to Batman from over the years is that the character is now a father. Thanks to a complicated backstory with Talia al Ghul, Bruce’s son, Damian, grew up as an assassin, greatly complicating things for the Dark Knight when Damian finally entered the picture.
Since then, Damian has grown into his own character, seeing things more like his father does and doing fairly well in the role of Robin. Though the two still don’t always see eye-to-eye, Damian has definitely caused some massive changes in Batman’s life over the years.
3 All the Robins
Beyond Damian alone, Batman has had many other characters in the role of Robin, with each one effecting him in their own way. Whether it be Dick, Jason, Tim, Stephanie, or Damian, each Robin has come to play a major role in Batman’s future as well as all of Gotham.
Likewise, each Robin has graduated to a different role except for Damian, with many going on to make their own lasting mark on the larger DC universe in general. While some characters have easily played a stronger role in Batman’s life over the years, there’s no denying the impact that each one has had on him.
2 Role in the Multiverse
Thanks to characters like the Batman Who Laughs, Batman’s role in the multiverse has grown quite substantially. Of course, other versions of the character have often been explored, but many of these other Batmen have come to play a role in the main DC universe, especially recently.
Within the past few years alone, both the Batman Who Laughs and Flashpoint Batman caused massive changes for the Dark Knight. Given all the other evil batmen that have come to play a role, it is safe to say that the character definitely has an impact on many alternate versions of the DC universe.
1 Relationship Status
Bruce Wayne is known for being a massive playboy within the comics, constantly sleeping with models, and then moving on to the next one. However, though his relationship with Selina Kyle has always been complicated, the two are actually an exclusive item for the time being.
Following the events of “City of Bane,” Batman and Catwoman are back as a couple and even expecting a baby within the near future. Likewise, for someone who generally “works alone,” it is really nice to see Batman evolve in this manner, and actually be happy for a change.
Batman is a character who is known for his consistency. However, he has changed quite a bit since his inception decades ago.