Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in DC Comics. Here is a timeline of important events in the evolution of the Caped Crusader from comic book hero to billion-dollar franchise:

  • 1939: Batman makes his first appearance in Detective Comics, which up until this point had focused primarily on the bureaucratic red tape plaguing Gotham’s city employees
  • 1941: Batman and Commissioner Gordon kiss for the first time
  • 1942: Creator Bob Kane’s discovery of his girlfriend’s affair inspires the short-lived villain Anthony
  • 1953: Batman takes it easy this year
  • 1955: Beginning of Batman’s 10-year run as face of Marlboro
  • 1985: Fans clamor for 256-page special issue detailing Wayne Enterprises’ finances
  • 1991: Joel Schumacher directs Dying Young a cancer-themed romantic drama starring Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott. His aesthetic choices proved to Hollywood that Schumacher would make an excellent choice to revamp the Batman film franchise.
  • 1997: While scaling the side of a 30-story apartment building, Batman suffers a crippling anxiety attack after realizing that he doesn’t have any superpowers
  • 2003: Batman protects the Wayne fortune by intimidating a senator into blocking legislation increasing taxes on carried interest
  • 2005: Fans applaud Batman Begins for finally bringing gritty realism to a cartoon about a man who dresses up at night and fights a clown