Batman turns 75. Happy Birthday!
What better way to celebrate the 75 anniversary of the Batman character than to throw him a birthday party. That’s exactly what a compilation of artists and writers have done in the super sized issue of Detective Comics #27. My favorite entry comes from Peter J. Tomasi and illustrated by Ian Bertram.
It depicts an actual 75th birthday party as thrown by those closest to the Dark Avenger. It is a sweet and sentimental entry and is one of the strongest chapters in this must have compilation. I heartily recommend buying this issue.
As strong as this story is, it is the artwork that breathes extraordinary life into it. Bertram has a unique style but I dare say he has a little of the Frank Quitely and Gahan Wilson in him.
My favorite image is the one that leads off this post. It shows the 75 year old Batman at his “naughtiest” as he swings from the rooftops with a look of pure joy on his face. It seems Batman is to have left the crime fighting of Gotham City to his younger compatriots which include Tim, Dick, Barbara, and even Damien.
But that hasn’t stopped the septuagenarian from stretching his aching muscles and pushing the boundaries of his 75 year old soul. As he says, “I love it so.”
There is a couple of other illustrated frames of note that include the one seen immediately above. Wayne has descended to the Batcave to find his family waiting for him. He sensed they were there and he has a slight look of amusement on his face. It uncommon to see this joy in Batman especially after he was roused from a late nap while watching, “The Mark of Zorro” the movie that was playing when his parents were shot. Bruce is happy to see everyone and he usually isn’t patient with frivolities, least of all parties thrown on his behalf.
Bertram has Wayne dressed in a easy pullover sweater, comfy pants a cane and a pair of slippers. Hardly the gear of this classic crime fighter but certainly befitting anyone who reached the fine old age of 75. Despite his amusement Bruce’s left hand is coiled into a powerful fist. Just in case!
One last frame of note shows Batman at his orneriest. Alfred has drifted off into slumber and Bruce sees this as an opportunity to become one with the night. Defiantly, he breaks his cane as he prepares to step out. Both elbows and knees are wrapped reflecting the toll of innumerable battles. Scar tissue is etched across every inch of the Caped Crusader detailing a road map of sorts and providing a long history of struggle against injustice.
Despite his advanced years Batman remains eager for a fight. Naturally he finds one and as always he remains triumphant. He manages to return to the Batcave before anyone is the wiser.
Even at 75, the Dark Knight will not be denied.