Takeaways, Sources, and Bonus Materials
When characters are still active and popular over 80 years after their creation, they didn’t get there by sticking with the initial formula that caught on in the first place. Batman and Superman made it out of the Golden Age of comics by constantly evolving and spreading into mass media. Radio, newspaper strips, TV, serials, animation, and films have all forced creators to look at these heroes in a new light and bring their own unique solutions to the table.
Smartly, the license holders have allowed non-comics media the flexibility to make Superman and Batman work in new formats. And if the changes and adaptations are successful, DC will make it official in the main comics canon (sometimes quickly and sometimes not for years).
But as we have revisited all of these changes, it’s notable that the most recent contributions from outside of the comics halt at the mid-1990s. Is it possible DC has gone too far locking down the rules on what new creators can do with Superman and Batman? Is their list of dos and don’ts so extensive that we’ll not see another iconic and lasting lore change, new character, or superpower?
It will take some bright and brave creators and flexible executives on the multi-billion-dollar corporate side to truly shake things up again. I would like to think the possibility is still out there.
Related Rally Assets
Sources, Extra Reading, and References
Kane, Bob et al. Batman: The Dailies, 1943-1946. New York: Sterling Pub., 2007.
Daniels, Les. Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle, 1999.
Siegel, Jerry, Joe Shuster, et al. Superman, The Dailies: Strips 1-966, 1939-1942. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2006.
Maslon, Laurence, and Michael Kantor. Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture. New York, NY: Crown Archetype, 2013.
Manning, Matthew K. Batman: The Ultimate Guide New Edition. New York, NY: DK Publishing, 2022.
Tye, Larry. Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. New York, NY: Random House, 2012.
Scivally, Bruce. Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2008.
Siegel, Jerry, Joe Shuster, et al. Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol 1. New York, NY: DC Comics, 2019.
Finger, Bill, Bob Kane, et al. Batman, The Golden Age Omnibus Vol 1. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, 2015.
McCulley, Johnston. The Bat Strikes Again And Again! Altus Press, 2012.
Page, Norvell W. (writing as Grant Stockbridge) “Death Reign of the Vampire King.” The Spider #26 November 1935, Radio Archives, 2012.
Lowther, George. The Adventures of Superman. Carlisle, MA: Applewood Books, 1995.
Best, Daniel. “1933’s ‘The Reign Of The Superman’ – The First Superman Story, EVER” 20th Century Danny Boy, June 27, 2012. https://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2012/06/1933s-reign-of-superman-first-superman.html.
Hillyer, Lambert, director. Batman (serial). Columbia Pictures, 1943. 4 hr., 20 min.