Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are pulling out all the stops for Batman as the Caped Crusader celebrates his 75th anniversary this year.
The year-long celebration will involve every division of the companies, including the film and TV studio, animation, interactive, home entertainment and consumer products. WB and DC released a new logo (see above) Thursday to kick off the events.
“Batman is an incredibly important property with multi-generational appeal across all of the studio’s businesses, and we’re proud to celebrate this milestone anniversary,” said Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment. “From billion-dollar blockbuster films to TV, home entertainment, video games and consumer products, the Dark Knight continues to resonate with audiences worldwide and rightfully deserves his place as a global pop culture icon for the ages.”
Batman first appeared in the “Detective Comics #27″ comicbook on March 30, 1939, with artwork by Bob Kane and story by Bill Finger. His first adventure, “The Bat-Man,” followed in May. “Batman #1″ was published in 1940, introducing the Joker and Catwoman to readers for the first time. He’s since become the most successful character on the big screen, featured in more movies than any other superhero.
To celebrate the anniversary, WB and DC will:
■ Produce the “Cape/Cowl/Create” art exhibit, featuring 20 contemporary artists’ interpretations of Batman’s cape and cowl from the upcoming “Batman: Arkham Knight” videogame. The work will be showcased at San Diego Comic-Con in July.
■ Publish new Batman comicbooks, commemorative issues and variant covers, including the recently released special edition of “Detective Comics #27″ and the upcoming weekly series “Batman Eternal” in April. DC Comics has also launched Batman75.com, a site dedicated to the character’s anniversary.
■ Host Batman Day, with DC partnering with thousands of comicbook retailers, book stores and libraries on July 23. Each location will host a Batman 75th anniversary celebration and offer fans a free, special edition Batman comic.
■ Offer the “Batman” TV series from the 1960s for the first time on homevideo, as well as the animated films “Son of Batman” on May 6 and “Assault on Arkham” later this summer from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. A 25th anniversary edition of Tim Burton’s “Batman” is also planned for the fall.
■ Release two new Batman animated shorts in April, created by Bruce Timm (“Batman: The Animated Series”) and Darwyn Cooke (“Batman Beyond”) through Warner Bros. Animation.
■ Have Warner Bros. Television produce the pilot episode of “Gotham,” a one-hour drama for Fox, that explores the origin stories of eventual police commissioner James Gordon and Gotham City’s infamous villains.
■ See Warner Bros. Pictures start production on Zack Snyder’s still untitled film that will bring Batman and Superman together in one movie for the first time. Ben Affleck plays the Caped Crusader in the pic.
■ Have Warner Bros. Consumer Products release a line of special edition and limited-release products with everything from toys and apparel based on the classic 1960s TV series to modern day comics.
“Batman is one of the greatest characters ever created, in comics or elsewhere, and even after 75 years he continues to wildly fascinate fans,” said Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment president and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment president and COO. “He is an integral part of pop culture and has successfully captured the imagination of the entire world. The origin of Batman, Bruce Wayne and the famous citizens of Gotham are legendary and likely a story you know inside out, even if you’ve never picked up a comic book in your life, and that speaks volumes to the character’s immense popularity and the constructs of the original mythology.”