Batman was created by Bob Kane and debuted in 1939 in Detective Comics #27. DC Comics, a Time Warner Company, currently owns the rights to Batman.
Batman is probably the most well-known superhero of all time, after Superman. He is notorious, not for spiffy, superhuman powers, but for ingenious gadgets (Baterang, Batmobile, Bat-Shark-Repellant, etc.) and keen intellect.
Batman's most famous partner is Robin. There have actually been three different Robins. The first, Dick Grayson, went on to become Nightwing. The second, Jason Todd, was killed by the Joker in Batman #428. The third, Tim Drake, is still currently serving as the Boy Wonder.
The list of supervillains encountered by Batman includes:
In 1998 Batman took on as apprentice Jean Paul Valley, also known as the assassin Azrael. When Batman was defeated by Bane (Batman #500), Valley masqueraded as Gotham's Dark Knight. Valley eventually sank into insanity under the pressures of defending Gotham. A recuperated Bruce Wayne defeated Valley in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #63, wresting from him the Mantle of the Bat.