It takes more than ignoring severe emotional issues to be Batman – you also need a Batsuit.
There are few things as recognizable as Batman’s suit.
Jubilee’s raincoat is similarly iconic, for instance – but only if you’re me.
Sometimes, there’s a good reason for a superhero changing their suit, such as Storm’s punk era (she was leading a bunch of underground mutant rebels). Sometimes there isn’t a good reason, such as Superman’s New52 outfit (or Batman’s New52 suit for that matter).
So here are a few Batman suits you might not have seen, and how they fit in with DC comic’s woefully-maintained continuity.
The first thing you’ll notice about the original Batsuit is probably the purple gloves, but we’re going to ignore them for now and concentrate on the rest of the suit.
While the belt definitely looks unwieldy, it’s comforting to see that yellow has always been a part of the Batsuit design vibe – most of the more iconic suits have yellow on the Batsymbol, and it’s good to see where that came from originally.
The ears are quite a bit larger than modern Batman fans are used to seeing. It’s not so much their height as much as the fact that they stick out on a very weird angle that makes them look kind of strange.
Let’s get talk to those gloves now – notice how they’re not a pair of gauntlets with sharp blades?
That’s because Batman didn’t rely so much on martial arts for his first few years. No, back then he used guns. To kill people.
Don’t believe me?
Feel free to look it up for yourself.
Batsuit: Gotham By Gaslight
Gotham By Gaslight is a story that places Batman in old-timey Gotham on the trail of a criminal you may have heard: Jack the Ripper.
Obviously, it doesn’t take place in modern times, so it’s not technically an actual Batman canon story.
Similar to Marvel’s What If? issues, some DC graphic novels (one-shot stories produced outside of regular comic issues) aren’t set in the standard universe. Some are based on already-existing literature, such as Castle of the Bat being a twist on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Gotham By Gaslight was the first of these new types of graphic novel for DC. Eventually, these would become known as ‘Elseworlds’ stories, but that phrase never appeared anywhere in the original print (including on the cover, where it’s found in modern reprints).
The suit itself used a lot of leather, presumably due to the fact that Gotham By Gaslight took place during the Industrial period, when leather could be mass-produced for the first time. Even his belt is made of leather.
In fact, this suit has so much leather that it probably means that this technically qualifies it as a furry costume, so let’s all agree to try not to think about that too much.
This suit, charmingly nicknamed Azbats by Batman fans, is from the time when another anti-hero (called Azrael) took over as Batman (due to Bane haven broken Bruce Wayne’s back).
However, it’s not as simple as all that.
Jean-Paul Valley (the Azrael in question) originally began with the classic blue-and-gray Batman suit. As he failed to live up to Bruce’s expectation, Jean-Paul added more and more technology to the suit, until it ended up looking like the suit you can see here.
The gauntlets – whose fingertips are razor-sharp – also housed tiny Batarangs that were used like projectiles (as opposed to boomerangs). The cape is minimalized because Jean-Paul found that his opponents kept grabbing his cape in combat.
Bruce’s Batman dealt with that particular challenge by changing his fighting techniques, Jean-Paul’s Batman dealt with it by changing the suit. That sums up the big difference between the two of them.
This suit is everything that’s wrong with the ‘90s, and everything that’s right with ‘90s comics: A mask covering the entire face, an unrequired amount of shiny metal, and most of all – 10 million leather pouches.
When Bruce eventually regained his Batman title, he retired the old blue-and-grey one and started wearing an all-black suit, which was inspired by the suit worn by Michael Keaton in Batman ‘89.
Batsuit: Earth 2 Dark Knight
Not to be confused with Earth-Two Batman (DC hates their fans, you see), this version of the Batsuit should really be called Flashpoint Batman.
In the Flashpoint universe, Flash has changed the past. In this version of reality, Bruce Wayne was killed and his father, Thomas Wayne became Batman. He didn’t have much in the way of ethical standards (the ultra-rich rarely do), so he dedicated his life to punishing criminals instead of seeking therapy, and generally using his riches to avoid the consequences of being a violent thug.
So far you’re thinking that’s like normal Batman, no big deal.
You’ll notice this version of the Batsuit has a lot of red on it, to let us know he’s so very very edgy and isn’t a nice man, not like our Batman who never ever used guns and has never killed anyone.
I kid, of course – but Bruce put away the guns and the murder after the first few years. Thomas, however, leaned into it and made it his whole schtick.
Bruce simply disgusts and disappoints me in equal measure but Thomas – that’s a Batman I can actually fear.
Everyone say it with me: Thomas Wayne isn’t real and can’t hurt you.