Bruce Wayne: "Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible... a... a..."
Caption: "As if in answer, a huge bat flies in the open window!"
Bruce Wayne: "A bat! That's it! It's an omen... I shall become a BAT!"

Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman is one of the most popular comic book characters in the world. He made his debut in Detective Comics #27 all the way back in May of 1939. The character is currently owned and published by DC Comics.

After seeing his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, gunned down by a mugger when he was a child, Bruce Wayne dedicated his life to fighting crime in Gotham City and donned a pointy-eared bat-like disguise to strike fear into criminals' hearts. He's more a detective than a superhero, as he solves puzzling crimes and captures (mostly) non-superpowered villains, but the cape and cowl mean he spends a lot of time hanging around the spandex-jockeys in the Justice League. As the Dark Knight, he fights twisted criminals like the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Killer Croc, the Mad Hatter, Bane, Harley Quinn, and many others.

Batman is completely obsessed with crimefighting, but he has no superpowers at all, so it's a good thing that he's also rich enough to afford all the fancy equipment (including Batarangs, supercomputers, surveillance equipment, disguises, a Batmobile, and several other vehicles) and training that he needs. He never kills people, and he never uses guns, since he's reluctant to use the same weapon that killed his parents. He also attracts a number of assistants who are similarly dedicated to eradicating crime in Gotham, including four different Robins, three Batgirls, and a butler named Alfred.

Several movies (the best ones directed by Tim Burton, the worst directed by Joel Schumacher), cartoons, and a campy 1960s television show, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, have been made about him.