In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man".[9] Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that "Kane had an idea for a character called 'Batman,' and he'd like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN".[10] The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired as a child by Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch of an ornithopter flying device.[11]

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In various incarnations, most notably the 1960s Batman TV series, Commissioner Gordon also has a dedicated phone line, dubbed the Bat-Phone, connected to a bright red telephone (in the TV series) which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent top. The line connects directly to Batman's residence, Wayne Manor, specifically both to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study and the extension phone in the Batcave.
The perfect combination of the various Batman costume eras came at the turn of the 21st Century. With "No Man's Land" now over, Batman could get back to being a normal superhero again and he began to fight crime in a costume influenced by Alex Ross's Batman designs. It had a lot of the same feel of the Bronze Age Neal Adams' costume; however, it was much darker than that and did not have the yellow oval on it.

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Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any inhuman superpowers. He does, however, possess a genius-level intellect, is a peerless martial artist, and his vast wealth affords him an extraordinary arsenal of weaponry and equipment. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

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Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order".[92] Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting,[93] a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience.[94] Miller is often credited with reintroducing anti-heroic traits into Batman's characterization,[95] such as his brooding personality, willingness to use violence and torture, and increasingly alienated behavior. Batman, shortly a year after his debut and the introduction of Robin, was changed in 1940 after DC editor Whitney Ellsworth felt the character would be tainted by his lethal methods and DC established their own ethical code, subsequently he was retconned as having a stringent moral code.[35][96] Miller's Batman was closer to the original pre-Robin version, who was willing to kill criminals if necessary.[97]

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