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CAPED CRUSADER TO DARK KNIGHT
Batman Through the Years!

Hello reader! Batman here. You know, over the years I've had more different "looks" than probably any other major superhero. I mean, I've run the gamut from vigilante to kid-friendly cartoon to vampire-like psycho. Hey, what can I say? I rock with the times! I reflect the current state of mind of those who read my comic book ... my Bat-fans. Let's take a brief trip down memory lane, to a simpler time.

A time (pictured below) when heroes weren't embarrassed to wear Indian head-dresses over their uniforms (Batman #86 by Win Mortimer), allow their dogs to discover their secret identities (Batman #97), or turn into giant King-King-like creatures and climb tall buildings (Batman #162 by Sheldon Moldoff). Those were the days!
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.THE BATMAN SHOW TV YEARS
Bat-Mania Sweeps Nation!

From January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, the Batman TV show took the nation by storm, and Robin and I dominated the entire superhero community. Just take a look at these JLA covers: JLA #51, 53 and 61, all by Sekowsky/Anderson. The whole JLA is in the stories, but who gets the biggest figure on the cover? Who gets top billing? Little old Bat-me. JLA #51 actually says "Batman leads the Justice Leaguers!" Come to think of it -- look who's on that cover! Zatanna, the "hctib" (read it backwards) who wiped my memory, Elongated Man, whose wife was recently murdered, and the Atom, whose wife is now Eclips-ette. A strangely prophetic group of heroes, eh? Perhaps this cover was the inspiration for "Identity Crisis."

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AURORA BAT-KITS
Batman, Model Citizen

During "Bat-Mania," my merchandising exploded out the wazoo! I had model kits, Halloween costumes, toys, games, candy ... there was so much crap I lost track of it all. I mean, the Batcave is only so big, and I was NOT about to get rid of that giant penny or my life-size dinosaur. Anyway, the royalties actually out-grossed Wayne Enterprises! I was swimming in cash, I tell you.

I was even willing to say the God-awful phrase "Holy hobby kits!" in one of the ads. Robin even had to comb his hair into those two little spit-curls so he'd look more like the Bob Kane version of himself. So what! We're STILL living on the royalties from that crap. Move along, before you get jealous of my fabulous wealth.

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BATMAN MEETS BATMAN
Two Faces Has The Batman

Two-Face here. Batman isn't kidding about having many faces, and I ought to know! Above, we see him actually confronting another Batman (Detective Comics #376 by Irv Novick); making a grim face over a Bob Kane-era version of himself (Batman Adventures #27), and, finally, with his OWN face split in half and grossly distorted ... a lot like MINE! (Brave and Bold #99 by Neal Adams.) Hey, wait a minute. That's MY schtick! Where is that Bat-copy-cat?!?! I'll murder him! Wait. What does THE COIN say? Damn! It says to go to the next item.

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.SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY ISSUES
Batman by the Hundreds!

Hello, reader! "Dark Knight Returns" Batman here, to chronicle the Batman's descent into darkness. Just look at the covers above, reader, from Batman #100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600. Batman #100 features a compilation of landmark past issues, all brightly-colored and fun. Bats #200, by Neal Adams, shows a damn happy, smiling Batman and his equally-happy pal, Robin. #300 begins the fall, with "The Last Batman Story." I am NOT smiling on THAT cover!

Then, by issue #400, I'm downright weird. I look more like the Scarecrow than the Scarecrow does, and I'm surrounded by a freaky Joker face and other weird images. #500 doesn't even show ME at all, which is somewhat understandable since I did have a broken back at the time. But STILL. It WAS my 500th issue. And not even a cool cover blurb in sight! Disgraceful. Right, Cat-girl?

Finally, with #600, the transformation is complete. I've gone from a bright and happy crime-fighting adventurer to a deeply disturbed, angry psycho colored all in red, and ejecting a zillion bats out of my chest. Can you imagine the reaction this cover would have gotten if it had run on Batman #100? Riots in the streets! Congressional investigations! But today, "darkness" rules. Check back in a few decades to see my 900th and 1000th issues. I'll still be around, in SOME form, dark or light, forever! Why? It's simple: I rock with the times!
THE END
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Batman Begins Box Office Report!