You might not read comic books, but you’ve definitely heard of him. Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite masked vigilante.
Not everyone reads comics or watches cartoons and that’s okay. Even still, most everyone knows who Batman is. He is, perhaps, the most iconic superhero to date. People might argue that Superman is more iconic, but I beg to differ. Even though Doctor Occult is the first real superhero of the New Fun Comics, now DC Comics, Batman is the vigilante hero that others were modeled after. From video games to film references, Batman has invaded every nook and cranny of pop culture.
Introduced on March 30, 1939 (cover date May 1939), Bruce Wayne was a bored, wealthy socialite by day; by night, he became the Batman, a crime-fighting dispatcher of Gotham City’s scum who dispatched thugs and foes with the most amazing toys. Seventy-eight years later, in addition to his own comic, cartoons, video games, and movies, Batman’s influence can be seen in non-related mediums. Actor and director Kevin Smith often references Batman in his films. In Mallrats, Jay (Jason Mews) referenced the Joker from the 1989 movie Batman after Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) uses his utility belt to escape the evil mall security guard LaFours. In the film Tank Girl, Rachel Buck—aka Tank Girl—shouts “To the Bat Cave!” while heading to their base of operations.
There are even intersectional Batman references between various Batman mediums. For example, the game Batman: Arkham Asylum makes many references to the cartoon Batman: The Animated Series. Many of the playable skins in the Arkham games also resemble the characters’ appearances from Batman: The Animated Series. In Arkham Knight, there is an auto repair shop called Earl Cooper. Earl Cooper designed and maintains the Batmobile.
The Lego Batman Movie gives lots of easter eggs and references from the various Batman films. In The Lego Batman Movie, when Batman saves the city—yet again—citizens of Gotham crowd around, holding up signs as Batman is carried like a king through the streets. One of these signs is a reference to the Joel Schumacher-directed Batman Forever.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the map Hijacked features Batman. To unlock it, you have to complete a series of events. This is, perhaps one of the coolest Easter eggs I have ever seen!
Another cool Easter egg is Batman: The Animated Series’ prediction of the BioShock plot. In Season 2, episode 19, “Deep Freeze”, Batman and Robin fight automatons in a dystopian ocean city. In this episode, Mr. Freeze is sprung from Arkham by aging billionaire Grant Walker, who is looking to freeze the world and recreate it according to his own design—no crime, no violence, no pain. Batman and Robin infiltrate the billionaire’s underwater city and combat both high-tech robots and Mr. Freeze himself, who has decided to do Walker’s bidding and cover the earth in a new ice age. BioShock is set during 1960 in Rapture, a fictional underwater dystopian city. The player learns Rapture’s history through audio recordings while exploring the city. Rapture was envisioned by the Randian business magnate Andrew Ryan; hewanted to create a laissez-faire state to escape increasingly oppressive political, economic, and religious authority on land.
In the original Fallout game, the thugs guarding the Brotherhood of Steel initiate prisoner say, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”, which is a line spoken by the Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman. Even The Sims 4 gets in on the Easter egg action by offering the Batman and Harley Quinn costumes as unlockable outfits.
Batman is everywhere and in everything, and we love it! When I see a Batman reference in a movie or in a non-Batman-related game, I get excited. What are some of your favorite Batman Easter eggs or references? By the way, Happy Batman Day!