This Day In History: March 30

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On March 30, 1939, Detective Comics No. 27 appears on the nation’s newsstands, introducing the world to a new superhero, the Batman. Dated May 1939, the comic book featured the caped crusader on its cover, swooping through the air on a rope, while holding a bad guy in a headlock. “Starting this issue,” the cover announced, “the amazing and unique adventures of the Batman!”

Batman’s first adventure, a six-page story drawn by Bob Kane and written by Bill Finger, also introduced the character’s alter ego, millionaire Bruce Wayne. In subsequent issues, his creators would begin to equip him with the famous gizmos that became part of his crime-fighting arsenal—the Baterang boomerang and the Batgyro one-man helicopter in the September 1939 issue and the Batplane in March 1940.

Robin, the Boy Wonder, a.k.a. Dick Grayson, came on board in Detective Comics No. 38, dated April 1940. Soon after that, publisher Detective Comics (now better known as DC) spun off a new comic book with Batman’s name in the title. Batman No. 1, dated as the “Spring Issue,” appeared on newsstands on April 25, 1940, with both Batman and Robin on the cover. Batman No. 1 also marked the debut of two of Gotham City’s most colorful villains: the Joker and Catwoman (then called the Cat). Meanwhile, Batman continued his adventures in the issues of Detective Comics, as well.

The character would later branch out into other media, including a campy 1960s TV show and multiple movies. Batman’s enduring popularity has made original copies of Detective Comics No. 27 one of the most coveted comics around. A copy sold at auction in April 2024 for $1.825 million.