When he was originally working on Batman for National Comics, artist Bob Kane was thinking of the character as being a brighter hero, with a costume that would have bat-wings. Eventually, Kane brought in writer Bill Finger to work on the character idea and Finger explained to him that they should go the other direction. Finger was a big fan of the shadowy pulp fiction hero, the Shadow, and Finger felt that they should take the character into the shadows with a dark costume and a cape and a cowl to make him look more like a bat. Kane agreed and Batman was born.
Over the years, though, in an attempt to lighten the character up, the black of Batman's costume became bluer and bluer and during the 1960s, DC even added a yellow oval behind Batman's bat symbol on his chest. In the 21st Century, however, artists have re-embraced that classic design and gone in the direction that Jim Lee took the costume during "Hush," which is to make it dark and have the chest symbol return to just a black one without the yellow oval, which brought a little too much lightness to the design. Frank Miller famously was initially stuck with the yellow oval look in Dark Knight Returns, but then had Batman shot in the chest. When he fixed the costume, the yellow oval was gone for the rest of the series!
By the end of the 1940s, superheroes had lost a lot of their appeal to the public. National Comics (now DC Comics) went from having dozens of superhero titles to only having a handful. Most of the members of the Justice Society of America fell out of sight in the world of National. Flash and Green Lantern went from appearing in multiple titles to not appearing in any books at all!

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