We all know that Bruce Wayne is best know by his alter ego Batman. The Dark Knight of Gotham City is certainly one of the most famous superheroes ever and his adventures have been adapted in other media as well. And although everyone knows the name – Batman – many might not know how and why Batman is called like he is. In today’s article, we are going to dwell into the origins of Batman’s name, as well as some of his more famous nicknames, so keep reading to find out why is Batman called Batman.
Batman is called Batman because his appearance resembles that of a large, humanoid bat. He took on that role because he himself was afraid of bats and his fear inspired him to become a source of fear for Gotham’s criminals.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Why is Batman called Batman?
When Batman started out with his crime-fighting endeavours, he wasn’t known as Batman. He was just a regular guy in a mask trying to fight crime. Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One does a great job portraying Batman’s early crime-fighting career. But, at one point, Batman realised that a regular mask won’t be enough and one night, while he was pondering his plans, a bat flew in front of him.
This was a truly important scene in Batman’s development, as the bat symbolized fear. Batman already perceived criminals as being a “superstitious, cowardly lot” and the bat appeared to him as a symbol of that fear. Namely, due to a childhood incident, Bruce Wayne has been afraid of bats and when the bat appeared and frightened him, he saw it as a perfect symbol of his future career, saying: “I shall become a bat.”
And he did become one. He created a costume that resembled a bat and he became Batman, both an actual vigilante, but also a symbol of fear among Gotham’s criminals.
Why is Batman called the Dark Knight?
Batman is, like a lot of other superheroes, known for his nicknames. He has several of them, and we are going to talk about two of them and explain why he has them.
Batman’s most famous nickname is, without a doubt, the Dark Knight. The nickname has been popularised by Frank Miller in his comic book The Dark Knight Returns, and was also used in the title of two of Christopher Nolan’s live-action movies – The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
The Dark Knight is a rather obvious nickname for Batman. He is perceived as a knight-protector of Gotham City and he mostly works at night, which is why he is called the Dark Knight. Likewise, his costume is either black or (dark) grey, which additionally contributed to his nickname. There is no exact story behind this nickname, but the Dark (or Black) Knight is an Arthurian archetype and Batman is, in a way, an embodiment of that famous literary archetype.
Why is Batman called the Caped Crusader?
Namely, as a Gotham-based vigilante, Batman is on a mission to rid Gotham City of crime. In that aspect, his crime-fighting career can easily be interpreted as a crusade against crime, but without the literal meaning of the word, as his mission is not related to the medieval Crusades fought by the Christians. Batman is a crusader in the sense of his determination to rid the city of crime.
As for the caped part, that one is pretty much logical, is it not? Batman’s costume usually contains a cape and it always did when the nickname was coined. So, Batman is called the Caped Crusader because he is on a crusade against crime and has a costume with a cape – it’s that simple!