by Phil Perich for the Before the Bat podcast
We saw the first glimpses of the Batcave in the season 2 premiere of Gotham. I figured this would be a good chance to go over the history of Batman’s headquarters. Originally Batman only had a tunnel from Wayne Manor to an old barn elsewhere on the property of Wayne Manor. The Batman serials of the 1940’s showed an underground lab for the character. It wasn't until Detective Comics #83 (January 1944) that the Batcave made its official debut.
The original origin of the Batcave was revealed in Detective Comics #205 (March 1954). In this version, Bruce Wayne is shown to have purchased Wayne Manor years earlier, not knowing that the Batcave was beneath it. He only discovers it when the floor of the old barn gives way.
The story also explained how frontiersman Jeremy Coe had used the cave as a headquarters 300 years earlier. We see a version of the Batcave in the 1960’s Batman TV show. This Batcave was accessed by 2 firemen’s poles behind a sliding bookcase.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries (1985-1986), the story of Bruce Wayne discovering the Batcave changes. Bruce falls into it as a child while exploring the grounds of Wayne Manor, which now had been his family’s home for generations. It is later revealed that the caves had been used before Bruce discovers them. His ancestors not only used it for storage, but also was part of the underground railroad during the Civil War. In most modern versions of the Batman story, the entrance to the Batcave is hidden behind an old grandfather clock. In many of these stories, it opens when the hands are set 10:47, the exact time Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered.
During the 1999 “No Man’s Land” storyline, in which much of Gotham City is destroyed by an earthquake including Wayne Manor and the Batcave, Bruce Wayne sets up 5 satellite Batcaves throughout Gotham including one under Arkham Asylum. In 2009, during the Batman Reborn storyline when Bruce Wayne was presumed dead, Dick Grayson (Nightwing) took on the role of Batman. Dick decided he needed to be Batman his way. He altered the costume to work with his fighting skills and emptied the Batcave underneath Wayne Manor. He set up a “BatBunker” under the Wayne Foundation Building while he lived in the penthouse on the top floor, much like Bruce Wayne had in the 1970’s Batman comics.
But it always comes back to the original Batcave. Here’s one last picture of the Batcave just because it’s a great one by the legendary artist Jim Lee.
So that’s your tour of the Batcave(s). What do you think young Bruce will fill his Batcave with on Gotham. Let me know:
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You can hear me and my friends discuss all things Gotham and Batman on our podcast Before the Bat: the Gotham podcast.
I also write for 2 other blogs, the Flash/Arrow blog and the True Believers (Marvel) blog. You can find all my podcasts, blogs, and those of the others at www.southgatemediagroup.com
Well that’s it for this week. Until next time, be good. Remember, a (Bat)man’s home is his castle!