Superman was a big hit in 1938.
By 1939 , fans started asking what would happen if Superman fought criminals ?
Of course it could not be Superman himself.
An alien would not come to Earth just to fight petty criminals.
So who would it be ?
Of course , we wanted our hero to still wear cape and have underwear outside, since people loved Superman so much!
The symbol of hero could not have ‘S’
Symbol should invoke fear in the hearts of criminal.
But why are criminals scary ?
Because petty thugs come out of dark in night to attack
By the way what other things does that ?
Oh yeah – Bats !!!
Our hero did not just have symbol of Bats, he looked like one
But it could not have been a bat itself.
You see, unlike Superman’s villain , criminals were a problem faced by common man.
Common man did not need any force from outside. He could fight criminal himself. He just needed hope.
In 1939, it was then decided that a comic book character named Bruce Wayne would dress as Bat to scare criminals, give hope to fictional city of Gotham and call himself Batman.
Bruce Wayne, in some way was more relatable than Clark Kent. Not only was he a human being of Earth like comic book reader but also like his reader he felt something Clark Kent did not – fear. Also unlike Clark ; he was not a boy scout!
Some may say that Bruce is not relatable as he is rich. But the truth was that he was made rich to make it logical for Batman to have so many gadgets. Otherwise , beside his dealing with Alfred, he did not have attitude of a rich guy.
Now you may wonder why 30s being era of “celebrity gangsters” like Al Capone, John Dillinger , did Hollywood did not have any Batman movie in 1940s?
Well, most of the big criminals like Al Capone , Bonnie & Clyde were finished in early 1930s by real cops, so they did not deserve to be beaten by Batman in 1940s
And for small criminals, Humphery Bogart was enough!