What Is Batman Day?
Is it Really the Anniversary of Batman’s First Appearance?
According to DC Comics, Batman Day is September 17. Ok, that is nice, but what is it supposed to really mean? While any event celebrating the Dark Knight is worthy of celebration, September 17 is not, in reality, the anniversary of Batman’s First Appearance.
First, let us look at what DC Comics is saying about Batman Day:
Get ready for the celebration of a legendary superhero who we all love, the Dark Knight himself, Batman. DC Entertainment has made it official, Saturday, September 17th 2016, will be BATMAN DAY.
The annual fan-favorite event, now in its third year, was first introduced to honor the iconic character’s 75th anniversary.
Based on that statement, you typical Batman fan would naturally assume that Batman first appeared on a September 17 long, long ago. Unfortunately, reality, and historical evidence, does not support this idea.
Batman’s first appearance was in the pages of a comic book called Detective Comics. In issue #27 of that title, DC Comics (then called National Comics), introduced a frightening vigilante in a Bat costume who called himself The Bat-Man. The cover date on this comic is May, 1939. So, does that mean that Batman Day should be in May?
No, since the official cover date on comics is more an indicator of when the comics should be pulled from the shelf, rather than the actual publication date. Multiple sources (including the Library of Congress Copyright Office’s Catalog of Copyright Entries for Periodicals for 1939), show the actual publication date of Batman’s first appearance as March 30, 1939! That is the date that this now-historical issue of Detective Comics was copyrighted.
Thanks to Mark Seifert at Bleeding Cool for the original research on this topic.
So, while the geek in us loves the idea of Batman Day, the historian in us wishes that DC had picked a date that actually meant something. Oh well, at least they got the year right!
Happy “Batman Day!”