DC and Warner Bros. will release 1.5 million bats at this year's SXSW to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Batman. Batman, created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane, first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 as "The Bat-Man," which eventually got shortened to Batman. The superhero is the alter-ego of Bruce Wayne, who, as a boy, witnessed the murder of his parents. That incident left an indelible mark on the wealthy boy, leaving him to swear to fight crime in his city of Gotham. He eventually took on the persona of Batman.
Batman has been reinvented numerous times, not just in comic books, but also in movies and TV shows, both live-action and animated. He has become one of the most iconic superheroes of all time and has most recently appeared in the DC Extended Universe in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, as portrayed by Ben Affleck. Most recently, though, Affleck stepped down from the role, leaving it open to whoever must suit up as the Caped Crusader next. Rumors about the next Batman run rampant, with the latest theories casting Armie Hammer in the role, though the actor has since denied those rumors. Whoever takes on the part of the World's Greatest Detective next, though, does have his work cut out for him since he has historical shoes to fill.
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The year 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Batman and DC and Warner Bros. have some big plans to celebrate. The official anniversary kick-off begins at SXSW in Austin, Texas, which takes place March 8-17. The event will feature exclusive merchandise and the unveiling of a new mural in the city at 807 E 4th St., on Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m. Also on March 15, DC and Warner Bros. will release 1.5 million bats to fly over the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at 7:30 p.m. Online, fans can help celebrate by using the hashtag #LongLiveTheBat. Later this month, WonderCon will honor Batman with a birthday panel.
Other Batman celebrations will happen at Six Flags locations across North America in August, a special MONDO gallery exhibition in May, Madame Tussauds locations in Orlando and Sydney and on the Cartoon Network and DC Universe. In April, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will have a Batman-themed campaign to encourage kids to make change in their communities. DC will also release two special anniversary comic books, including an extended Detective Comics #1000, which will feature Arkham Knight from the Batman video games. Although it is probably coincidental, the TV series Gotham will also finally show Batman, as fans know him, in its series finale.
It seems like Batman might live forever, and so far, 80 years later, so good. Fans will continue to see the character in comics, on TV and in movies, including a new Batman Beyond animated film currently in development. Bruce Wayne may have a tortured psyche that drives him to dress up as a bat to beat up criminals, but he will always remain an essential part of American pop culture.