The Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader. The World's Greatest Detective. The iconicCowl. TheBadass NormalSuper Hero. TheGoddamnBatman.Batman is also one of the greatest Trope Makers and Trope Codifiers in not just comics, but all visual media; one of the oldest superheroes still in print — having debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) — Batman is one of the three best known Superheroes ever (alongside Superman and Spider-Man). The Batman mythos has expanded into numerous forms of media in the decades since the character's debut, and there's a damned good argument to be made for Batman being the most critically and culturally successful superhero in history. When veterans such as Superman have taken beatings in the zeitgeist for perceived problems, Batman's legacy and relevancy have never truly faded in the public eye, and his popularity across multiple sections of the mainstream remains as strong — if not stronger — than it was back in the 1940s. He's pretty much the only superhero to date who could pull out a lightsaberwith no explanation at all and get away with it.note Let it be known that Batman The Brave And The Bold actually has this happen in the very first episode.At the age of eight, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents at the hands of a mugger. Swearing vengeance against all criminals, Bruce used his parents' vast fortune to travel the world and hone his fighting abilities and detective skills. When he felt he was ready, Bruce returned to his beloved Gotham City, intent on removing the criminal element that had overrun the city in his absence. Donning a costume with a bat motif to strike fear into criminals, Bruce protects the streets of Gotham as "The Batman" at night while pretending to be a clueless playboy billionaire by day.Over time, Batman's swung between a bright, shiny Cape and a dark, nightmarish Shadow Archetype and the iconic Cowl; in modern times, it's usually the latter. A number of comic-book writers, most famously Frank Miller, love the contrast between Batman and Superman — darkness and light — and often play it up when the two are paired together.This series has a (very long) Character Sheet.
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Detective Comics - DC's longest-running still-published comic series (though not longest number in issue number, as Action Comics overtook it in the 70s when Detective Comics was occasionally bi-monthly), Batman debuted in issue #27 in 1939, and still headlined it up until 2009, when Batwoman briefly took over the book. Batman has since returned as the headliner. Various supporting characters, including the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and Black Canary, the Elongated Man, and the current Question have appeared over the years in various backup strips.
Batman - Batman's self-named monthly title, which debuted in 1940 (issue #1 featured the first appearances of the Joker and Catwoman). Considered to be the main flagship title.
World's Finest Comics - An anthology series that debuted in the late 1940s, originally it featured stand-alone solo stories involving Batman and Superman. However, with issue #71, the series switched formats to its now familiar "Superman/Batman" team-up stories. The series (which featured the first appearance of Scarecrow and Clock King) was cancelled in 1986.
The Joker - the Clown Prince of Crime starred in his own short-lived series in the mid-1970s. Largely forgettable.
Batman Family - Anthology title, focusing on the supporting cast.
Batman and The Outsiders. Batman leading his own team. Launched in 1983. The team has gone through several incarnations, typically without their original leader.
Legends of the Dark Knight - An anthology series that debuted in 1989, to tie into the release of the 1989 live action Batman movie. The series originally was a flashback book, focusing on past adventures of Batman, though by the early '90s (and the events of Knightfall), the book was revamped and took place in the here and now. Suffers from continuity issues, with several stories being considered non-canon.
Batman: Shadow of the Bat - Another Batman book, launched mainly as a vehicle for then Detective Comics writer Alan Grant. The series was much darker than the main Batman books at the time; in particular, the stories were often told from the POV of the villain.
Gotham Central - A series that starred Renee Montoya and members of the Gotham City Police Department, with Batman only playing a minor role. While receiving critical acclaim (most notably for the story where Montoya is outed as a lesbian), the series ran for only 40 issues.
Batman: Gotham Knights - A series focused on Batman, but heavily spotlighting and examining the rest of the Batfamily, his Rogues Gallery, and their relationships to each other.
Batman Confidential - Another anthology series that replaced Legends of the Dark Knight. The series features classic Batman villains (who rarely appeared in Legends of the Dark Knight) and early adventures between them and Batman. Most notably (and infamously) the series is known for it's Joker origin story, which uses the 1989 movie as it's template.
Superman/Batman - Mentioned above, this is a team-up series with Superman that is the Spiritual Successor to "World's Finest". But unlike "World's Finest", Superman/Batman features major story lines for both characters, most notably Superman with its first arc featuring the two bringing down President Lex Luthor (which was later spun off into the direct-to-DVD movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) and its second arc re-introducing the Pre-Crisis Supergirl to The DCU.
Batman and Robin - Grant Morrison, who wrote Batman's ongoing comic from 2006-2009, was given his own book in which to tell the further adventures of the new Batman (Dick Grayson) and Bruce Wayne's son Damian Wayne, the new Robin. The series focuses on the fall-out from Morrison's popular run on the main Batman book as well as Damian's attempt to adjust to being a hero. As of 2011, this Book contains the adventures of the Bruce Wayne Batman and his son Damian. Written by Peter J. Tomasi.
Streets of Gotham - A series written by Paul Dini that features the new Batman and Robin in the eyes of other characters. Also features a back-up feature starring Kate Spencer, the current Manhunter.
Year One - Flashback tale written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli which told of The Caped Crusader's first year in Gotham City and how he met then Lieutenant James Gordon. Critically acclaimed, it spawned a slew of sequels (Batman: Year Two, Batman: Year Three, the continuity of both being debatable) and mini-series that take place afterwards. It also created a massive Continuity Snarl (which was more-or-less, albeit uneasily, taken care of later), as far as erasing Batgirl from canon and introducing a new offspring for Commissioner Gordon, as well as a controversial new origin for Catwoman where she is a former prostitute. Many elements of the story were adapted into Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
A Death In The Family - Batman and Robin II (Jason Todd) go to the Middle East, to track down Jason's birth mother and stop Joker from stealing relief aid from the Red Cross for cash. In the process, Joker kills Jason Todd and his mom and ultimately finds immunity waiting for him in Iran, who offer to make him their ambassador in exchange for him poisoning the entire UN with Joker gas. Superman stops the gas attack and Batman beats the crap out of the Joker, who gets shot by a stray bullet from his Iranian henchmen, and his plane crashes into the ocean. Famous for the fact that Jason's fate was decided by a "1-900" call-in phone poll.
Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend - Introduces Bane, who after forcing Batman to run a gauntlet of his worst enemies, breaks Batman's back. This forces Bruce to promote his latest sidekick Azrael to Batman status, which backfires due to Azrael having still not shaken the effects of being brainwashed into becoming an assassin and ultimately forces Bruce (when he's recovered) to face him down to reclaim the cape and cowl.
Contagion & Legacy: Two arcs which pretty much go together back-to-back. In the former, Gotham has to deal with an outbreak of Ebola-A and chronicles Batman's attempts to help contain and cure the virus. After which, in the latter, Ra's Al Ghul makes his return to the Batman books as he unleashes a massive plague upon Gotham City, as a test run to unleashing the virus upon humanity. Batman is forced to call in all of his allies (Catwoman, Azrael, Nightwing, and Robin) to help stop Ra's Al Ghul. But victory ultimately depends on Poison Ivy (whose blood holds the cure for the virus) and Bane (who has been recruited by Ra's Al Ghul to marry his daughter) helping Batman and his crew in saving the world.
Cataclysm and Batman: No Man's Land - An earthquake hits Gotham and the U.S. Government, rather than rebuild, orders the city sealed off. As Batman and his crew struggle to keep the peace, it soon becomes apparent that Lex Luthor is behind the government turning its back on Gotham City. With no government in the city, Luthor plans on destroying all records of land ownership, to claim the city as his own but fails when Batman stops him (though he is unable to prove to the world what Lex did). Mainly known for introducing the third Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) and reintroducing Black Mask into the Batman books.
Officer Down - It's a normal night in Gotham City, until a lucky punk has shot Commissioner Gordon and all of Gotham City's finest are looking for the shooter. Notable for largely writing Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock out of the Bat-books until Infinite Crisis.
Bruce Wayne: Murderer?/Fugitive - Following the events of No Man's Land, Lex Luthor became President and Bruce Wayne, in retaliation, severed all business ties with the U.S. Government in protest. In retaliation, Lex orders Bruce Wayne's girlfriend murdered and Bruce framed for the deed. Making things worse for Batman, Lex Luthor hires the new Batgirl's dad to carry out the hit and since he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, he is able to turn Batman's friends & allies against him as Batman struggles to prove his innocence.
Hush and Under the Hood - "Hush" was a warmly received and massively hyped story written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee. The story deals with an alliance with new Bat-foe Hush and the Riddler after the latter figures out Batman's identity. While Hush had Batman run the gauntlet with much of his Rogues Gallery, a figure appearing to be a resurrected Jason Todd appears to confuse Batman. In the end, Hush's identity is revealed to be Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Thomas Elliot, who has decided to harbor a deep hatred over Bruce's "gifted childhood" (AKA the dead parents). The buzz over the appearance of the supposed Jason Todd lead to "Under The Hood" where Judd Winick detailed the rise of a new Red Hood, which was originally held by the man who would become the Joker. Upon the discovery that the Red Hood was indeed Jason returned from the dead, angry that Batman replaced him and didn't kill his "killer", Batman has to stop his adopted son and former ward's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Hush also saw Harvey Dent's face repaired and cured of his Two-Face persona until Infinite Crisis.
War Games and War Crimes - Spoiler decided to prove to Batman she was worthy of being the newest Robin by taking one of his plans and engaging in a massive Batman Gambit against all of Gotham's gangs that goes horribly wrong. The result? Black Mask becoming the top crime boss in Gotham and Stephanie Brown, AKA the fourth Robin, dying because Batman waited too long to get her medical treatment. The story was almost immediately followed up with War Crimes, which tried to retcon the story by saying it was longtime Batman ally Leslie Thompkins who withheld medical treatment from Stephanie, and then Infinite Crisis warped reality within months of the publication of War Crimes. War Crimes was erased from canon and replaced with a scenario where Thompkins, with Batman's permission, faked Stephanie's death to protect her from further reprisals from Black Mask.
Face The Face: Set during the One Year Later Time Skip after Infinite Crisis, Batman and the Tim Drake Robin return to action just in time to deal with someone killing off several of Batman's rogues gallery, with evidence pointing to Harvey Dent, who Batman left in charge of protecting Gotham while he was away after being cured. Notable for making the Great White Shark (introduced in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell) Gotham's top crime boss and the aforementioned returns of Commissioner Gordon, Detective Bullock, and Harvey Dent's Two-Face persona (including rescarring). Batman also adopts Tim Drake, who takes up a costume similar to his The New Batman Adventures incarnation.
Batman and Son: Batman discovers that his one-time sexual encounter with Talia Al Ghul left her pregnant. And now, several years later, she's dropping off her son on Batman's doorsteps so that he can teach the kid how to be a great man, as she prepares to take over the world with her army of Manbat Ninjas. Introduces Damian Wayne to the Batman universe.
The Black Glove: Batman's weekend vacation with a cadre of international superheroes he inspired takes a turn for the worst when the mysterious "Black Glove" destroys their transportation off an island, so that they can be killed off one by one.
The Three Ghosts of Batman: Bruce faces off against three psychotic Batman impersonators (a marksman, a steroid-fueled behemoth, and a raving Satanic killer) with ties to a cadre of corrupt police officers and a mysterious military experiment that Bruce himself took part in years ago. A prelude to Batman: R.I.P that introduces Dr. Simon Hurt, the leader of the Black Glove organization. Notable for giving us a glimpse of a possible future where Damian has become the new Batman.
Batman R.I.P. - The Black Glove makes its assault against Batman, and attempts to destroy his personality with long dormant mental triggers which were placed in Batman's mind years ago. Upon the activation of a mental safeguard in the case of such a scenario, the personality of "the Batman of Zurr-En-Arr" keeps Batman functioning until his mind repairs the damage and stops the Black Glove from killing him and invading Gotham City. Upon confronting the leader in an escaping helicopter, Batman becomes "cursed" to die the next time he wears the cape and cowl. After escaping the helicopter crash, Batman is summoned by Superman to investigate the death of a God...
Battle For The Cowl (not written by Morrison, but fits into the overarching story) - Bruce Wayne is dead, and a great void has been created in Gotham City. A war on two fronts has started that the Bat-Family must deal with: the recently escaped Rogues Gallery from Arkham, along with the various gangs and factions trying to claim Gotham as their own; and the appearance of a mysterious masked "Batman", who holds no qualms for murder (eventually revealed to be Jason Todd). After attempting to kill both Tim Drake and Damian Wayne, Jason fights Nightwing, and is defeated. Dick takes over the mantle of the Bat, and Damian becomes the new Robin while Tim heals from his injuries.
Batman: Reborn - Umbrella title for the various Batbooks dealing with Dick Grayson as the new Batman and Damian as the new Robin. Threats facing them are Jason Todd and a new Black Mask, along with new villains such as Professor Pyg and his army of circus freak show villains and the assassin known as "The Flamingo".
Batman, Inc.: After the events of the above storyline, Bruce Wayne decides to take the Batman operation international and train potential Batmen worldwide, leaving Dick and Damian to continue their roles as Batman and Robin in Gotham City.
Night Of The Owls: Batman as of the New 52. Bruce is Batman again, though Damian is still Robin, and Dick still operates as Nightwing. A shadowy organization known as The Court of Owls, basically Gotham City's Illuminati, are trying to take back Gotham City, using pseudo-immortal assassins as their footsoldiers.
The Killing Joke - With the help of Alan Moore, The Joker gets reinvented into the insane sociopath we all know and love. This book is a major influence over all adaptations of the Joker following it. Notable for featuring Batgirl being crippled, paving the way for her reinvention as "Oracle", super-hacker extraordinaire.
Batman The Cult - A man named Deacon Blackfire plans on using his secret underground cult to take over Gotham City. He kidnaps, tortures, and drugs Batman to convert him and use him against the very city he swore to protect. It's up to Robin (Jason Todd) to find Batman, escape Gotham, and together, put an end to Blackfire's reign of terror.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth - Grant Morrison's first Batman story, Arkham Asylum is what happens when the Batman's rogues gallery gets overdosed on horror, with a little of Lewis Carroll as well. An unholy force has taken over the asylum, forcing Batman to have to storm the place and save the staff. Notable for giving the back story behind the place, and it definitely wasn't pretty.
Arkham Asylum: Living Hell: A limited series that focuses on the hellish environment inside the walls of Arkham Asylum from the viewpoint of Warren White, a white collar criminal who declares himself insane to escape jailtime, only to find himself in Arkham, and is eventually driven insane by the other inmates, transforming him into the villain The Great White Shark. Also notable for focusing mostly on the C-list villains, as well as small time inmates created for the series, such as Humpty Dumpty, Death Rattle, Doodlebug and Lunkhead.
The Long Halloween: A sequel of sorts to Year One, detailing the origin of Two-Face. The story itself involves a serial killer named "Holiday" bumping off members of Carmine "The Roman" Falcone's mob on various holidays. Much like Year One, many elements were adapted into Batman Begins (as well as The Dark Knight).
Dark Victory - Written and drawn by the guys who did The Long Halloween, this limited series deals with the fall-out of Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face as another serial killer "The Hangman" attempts to kill off a number of former and current GCPD members - including Jim Gordon. It also features the story of how Bruce Wayne adopted Dick Grayson, who dons the Robin identity at the end of the story.
Batman: Thrillkiller - An Elseworlds limited series taking place in The Sixties, in an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne became a police officer after his parents' murder and Barbara Gordon inherited Wayne Manor after a penniless Bruce sold it. By 1960, Babs Gordon fights crime as Batgirl alongside her partner Dick Grayson (aka Robin, the Man Wonder) while Commissioner Wayne of the GCPD tries to put them both behind bars. Oh... and The Joker's a woman.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again - A sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, once again written by Frank Miller. Unlike The Dark Knight Returns, it features a cast of dozens, as Batman gathers an army of his former friends to free America from Lex Luthor and Brainiac, who have taken over the U.S. thanks to a sentient hologram president.
The Man Who Laughs - A one-shot issue written by Ed Brubaker and another intended sequel of Year One, detailing the Batman's first encounter with the Joker. (Mainly an attempt to re-write the original Joker story with the modern characterization of the Joker).
Gotham Underground - A limited series that focuses on the effects of the Countdown to Final Crisis on Batman's Rogues Gallery, not to mention the recent death of Black Mask. While the rest of the Bat-family struggle to prevent a gang war from breaking out, Batman - undercover as a henchman - winds up in prison. By the end of the series, Penguin finds himself Batman's informant - whether he likes it or not.
Joker - Another one-shot, written by Brian Azzarello, detailing the Joker's release from Arkham and his subsequent rise (and fall). The Bat himself makes only a short but effective appearance. Quite a few similarities between the Joker depicted within and Heath Ledger's portrayal in The Dark Knight, but this is coincidental, this being written a good bit before the film was released.
Batman Beyond - Based off the Batman Beyond animated series continuity. It started out as a six-part miniseries, but became an ongoing series in 2011.
Batman: Digital Justice - An Alternate Reality story set exty years from now, featuring the grandson of Commissioner Gordon taking up the mantle of Batman to fight cyber-crime in Gotham City. Written/illustrated by Pepe Moreno and created entirely on computer (a new idea in 1990).
Batman Detective No 27 - An "elseworld" where Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman, instead becoming Detective No. 27. Batman's debut was in Detective Comics #27.
Mad Love - Harley Quinn's origin story, which was later adapted for an episode of Batman The Animated Series. It received massive critical praise and won the 1994 Eisner Award for "Best Single Issue."
Batman Live: a big-budget arena show that premiered in the UK July '11 and toured Europe and North America. It focuses on the relationship between Batman and Robin, and is a fusion between theatre, circus, and hand-drawn animation.
DC Super Friends: a 17-minute short made for Fisher-Price's range of "DC Super Friends" toys.
Young Justice: Batman plays an important, recurring role in the series. He gives the central team their black-ops type missions, missions that the Justice League can't do themselves because of their high public profile.
Advantage Ball: Batman almost always has the advantage in direct conflict. Three guys with knives or a dozen Mooks with machine guns, it makes no difference. As such, the general method of his rogues gallery to deal with him is to attack him indirectly, especially by undermining what he believes in and threatening those he values.
Aesop Collateral Damage: As said above, in War Games, Leslie Thompkins purposefully let Robin die just to prove her point about the dangers of kids fighting crime.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: It's not so much that Bats is a bad guy, but compared to a lot of the other team members within his various groups, his dark, brooding act stirs up the loins of many a female, both superpowered and non.
Alternate Universe: Earth-Two, where Batman married Catwoman and had a daughter, the Huntress.
Ambiguously Gay: Aside from accusations on all sides, The Joker sometimes delivers Ho Yay, depending on the writer. After a while, some writers decided to incorporate that aspect of the character into their stories to create ambiguity on purpose.
Arkham's Razor: Not related to Arkham Asylum, but Riddler's riddles work this way. The obvious interpretation of his Riddles is almost never the answer. For a relatively grounded example, his first-ever crime used the clue "banquet," sending Batman and the police to a charity dinner. The real, and much less conventional meaning of the clue was that the Riddler had flooded a bank vault — gotten a "bank wet" — to defeat its pressure-sensitive locking mechanism and was looting it in scuba gear.
Artistic License - Biology: After getting a nasty cut during the "Cataclysm" storyline, Batman's internal monologue states that his belt has "anticoagulants to stem the bleeding." An anticoagulant actually makes blood thinner, and thus would make a cut bleed worse.
It often seems like a woefully understaffed Police Department. Chicago, one of the basis cities for Gotham, has nearly 15,000 officers. The most we ever see on one page at one time is about twenty for Gotham, no matter how big the crisis (until The Dark Knight Rises, where they move out of this trope and into Red Shirt).
Would you want to be a cop in Gotham? If you honestly want to "protect and serve" you will have precious few allies, and if you don't, there's the crazy winged lunatic (or one of his many allies) that just might hang you upside down off a roof one of these days. Plus the mafia. And all the gangs. And all the supervillains. And the Joker.
Bandaged Face: At least one the villains is bound to have this happen to them at some point. Hush in particular is known for this.
Bash Brothers: On occasions, Batman and Robin. This trope could have easily been called "Dynamic Duo".
Batman and Red Hood/Robin II: even after all the time that passed between Jason's death and his return, they're able to fall right back in to this and work together flawlessly.
Bat Scare: Generally associated with Batman, and clouds of bats often appear when he enters the Batcave. On at least a few occasions he has weaponised this, using bat-influencing ultrasound to set up a Bat Scare which distracts an opponent.
Becoming the Mask: Bruce Wayne adopted the identity of Batman as a means to fight injustice. As with most Batman tropes, this is the dark version. It's not that he loves being Batman so much he doesn't want to go back to being Bruce Wayne. It's that he IS Batman because he has to be even when dressed and acting like Bruce Wayne. It's a strong contrast to the modern version of Superman, who always thinks of himself as Clark Kent regardless of the costume.
Berserk Button: Anyone getting killed, whether by any fault of his own or someone else's. Bats is not good with death, for obvious reasons. If you've killed someone within his vicinity, he may not kill you, but you may wish he had.
Big Damn Heroes: Batman and his extended family make a regular habit of this trope.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: With Batman: Reborn and Gotham City Sirens, as well as Blackest Night, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy take on this trope respectively.
The three Batgirls: Stephanie, Cassandra and Barbara respectively.
Blood Bath: Garth Ennis once wrote a comic where the villain was a drug lord who got people hooked on a drug so he could kill them, fill a pool with their drugged-up blood, and get high by bathing in it.
In Batman: The Cult, Deacon Blackfire bathed in blood, supposedly to make himself immortal.
The Book Cipher: In the Detective Comics issue "And the Executioner Wore Stiletto Heels", the villain, Stiletto, uses an obscure book about shoes for a cipher. When Batman goes to the bookstore, the owner mentions how strange it is that he just sold several copies of a book nobody would buy normally. Batman asks him who bought the book in order to learn who's in on the plot.
Breakout Character: Alfred was originally intended to be a comedic foil to Batman and Robin, but eventually got more serious. The Post-Crisis version had him as an out and out Battle Butler, and surrogate father figure to the entire Bat-Clan.
Breakout Villain: The Joker is a big one. Originally he was supposed to be killed in his second appearance back in 1940. Fast-forward 70 years later and he's the most famous villain in all of comics.
The first appearances of Batman are notorious for him lacking a code against killing, although even then killing wasn't routine. For example, in his very first story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, he punches the villain into a vat of Hollywood Acid, and shows no remorse for it. In the Post-Crisis version of the event, the crook tries to flee, as he cannot stand the shame of being sent to prison, and falls into the acid by accident.
The Joker's first Golden Age appearance had him not as a comedy obsessed Evil Laugh happy nut job that people are likely to see and assorted later comics and adaptations depict him as (such as, Batman The Animated Series), but rather as a fairly straight forward killer and thief who just happened to be associated with the titular playing card. He also didn't do a noticeable Evil Laugh until his third-last panel in his debut issue, where (true to form) he thinks he's about to die.
Charity Ball: Bruce Wayne, being a wealthy playboy, attends a lot of these.
Chew Out Fake Out: Tim Drake/Robin, after losing nearly all of his biological family, sets up an actor to pretend to be his fake uncle so that he doesn't have to go into the foster care system. Batman, being Batman, naturally finds out, and Robin assumes he's about to be reamed out for going behind Bruce's back... but all Bruce can say is that he's so proud of Tim for taking the initiative, and gives him some tips on how to make the deception foolproof.
Chest Insignia: In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, he reveals that most of his armor is bulletproof, but he wears a chest insignia because he couldn't make his mask and cowl protective enough (in most versions, he leaves his mouth and chin uncovered). "Why do you think I wear a target on my chest?"
Batman himself is a heroic version of this trope due to being a brilliant tactician and superb analytical skills.
Clothes Make the Legend: You don't even need to see his emblem - Bats is so infamous and feared that he can be identified just by the silhouette of his cowl.
The Comically Serious: Because nothing's more hilarious than Batman singing karaoke, while still completely straight-faced. Though in the rare instance where he cracks a joke, it's all the funnier because of it. In Superman Batman #44, Superman has been hit in the eye with a shard of Kryptonite and has to wear an eyepatch until it heals.
Superman: I have a strange favor to ask you.
Batman: No, Clark. You can't borrow my pirate ship.
Criminal Doppelgänger: Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Thomas Elliot (a.k.a. Hush) got facial reconstruction surgery to look more like Bruce so that he can impersonate him and more easily get away with sapping Bruce's wealth.
Depending on the Writer: The Dark Knight Returns presented Batman as a dangerously-obsessed, deeply-disturbed, paranoid control freak who is possibly a mentally ill Sociopathic Hero as opposed to the stalwart Caped Crusader of the Golden and Silver Ages and the Adam West series. This interpretation is touched on Depending on the Writer and sometimes, it is the basis for whole story arcs.
One example is his creation of the Brother Mk I satellite, which was created by Batman to keep an eye on all of the meta-humans, hero and villain alike.
Another story, "Tower of Babel", centers on Ra's Al Ghul obtaining a file containing Batman's contingency plans to cripple each and every member of the Justice League "just in case" and using them to his own ends. The existence of the files and the secrecy under which they are kept infuriates The League and lead to his expulsion.
The Dreaded: Both Batman and The Joker are able to put the fear of god even into those FAR more powerful than they will ever be.
Dumb Muscle: Killer Croc, Amygdala and Clayface at times.
Averted with Bane, who has the mind of a criminal mastermind as well as the colossal strength to back it up, but played annoyingly straight in several adaptations. Though completely averted with The Dark Knight Rises.
Elemental Shapeshifter: Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength. He's one of the few recurring villains Batman admits to being no physical match for.
For starters, there's Prometheus (although he's more of a JLA-specific villain than a Batman villain) and Black Mask (or Roman Sionis) who has a similar back story to Bruce (son of wealthy parents who died to the unnatural causes, although in Roman's case his parents were Rich Bitches who were killed by Roman himself, and Roman ran his company into the ground with his own carelessness).
One of the origins of Catman tried to build him up as an evil mirror counterpart who was inspired by the death of his parents to become a supervillain complete with Catmobile and the like. The idea got dropped quickly.
Hush is a much more recent example, especially when you get into his backstory and how intricately entwined it is with Batman's.
While not to Black-and-white counterpart standards, most of Batman's rogues gallery reflect a part of Batman's characterization.
Killer Moth (of all people) was originally presented as an Evil Counterpart. His MO was that he was an anti-vigilante; he showed up to rescue criminals. He even had a Moth Signal criminals could use to summon him!
Then there is Bane, whom Chuck Dixon created from the idea of a "dark mirror" for Bruce Wayne. They both lost their parents at an early age, but instead of affectionate guardian raising him in comfortable wealth, Bane grew up in possibly the worst prison on earth. Nevertheless, he honed his intellect and body until he could escape and then return for payback. He's Bruce Wayne Gone Horribly Wrong.
An obscure character called The Wrath is gloriously over the top in how closely his backstory mirrors Batman's. His parents were career criminals who were gunned down by the police in front of him the same day as Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Thus, the Wrath dedicated his life to fighting law and order. Even his costume is almost just a Palette Swap of Batman's.
He actually had much more to do with The Shadow in his first stories. Even his first story was lifted from The Shadow pulp.
Face Car: The Batmobile sometimes has his masked face on it.
Face Your Fears: Whenever Scarecrow manages to get Batman with his Fear Gas, expect this to occur.
Felony Murder: One telling of Batman's origin has this law be the explanation for why Batman is a vigilante and not a badged police officer. One of Bruce Wayne's law professors poses a hypothetical situation where two teenagers steal a car for a joyride and end up hitting and killing a pedestrian. When Bruce states that only the driver should be held responsible for the death, the professor corrects him that both teens are responsible because they both participated in the felony that killed the victim. Bruce finds this shockingly unjust, leading him to decide to work outside the law.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Inverted. Bruce Wayne doesn't drink, afraid that it'll ruin his edge; however, a socialite like himself must on occasion be seen drinking, to erase any suspicion of being Batman. Thus, he will often drink non-alcoholic beverages, usually ginger ale, prepared to look to others as though they are made with alcohol. He'll even go so far as to act drunk, usually as an excuse for slipping out to chase after criminals.
Honest Advisor: Alfred, who knows Bruce Wayne better than anyone, isn't afraid to tell him when he's taking himself too seriously or when he's doing something that probably won't end well. He's also the person Bruce most respects, and probably the only person he trusts completely.
Horrifying Hero: Batman by Tim Burton is the first one to truly invoke this trope: A flawless combination of Bob Ringwood's theatrical costume design, Michael Keaton's performance and the visceral musical score of Danny Elfman, Bruce Wayne becomes a mythical, demonic figure that struck such raw terror into the heart of evil that the average petty thug could only incoherently scream to the police: "I'm telling ya man: A Giant Bat!!!"
Horror Hunger: Killer Croc is frequently depicted as being a cannibal, while one of the multiple versions of Clayface to appear exclusively in the comics had a case of Body Horror where not only was it contagious, but the only way to keep it from killing him was to kill other people with it.
Ink Stain Adaptation: In-universe. A three issue story arc in Detective Comics covered a Batman comic book being written by a publisher who managed to trademark the Batman name and costume because Bruce never did. The story's about how Batman is in fact Satan himself trying earn redemption by cleaning up the evil he let loose on Earth, using a mortal host named Simon Petrarch. The Joker is the manifestation of the demons who don't want evil to be wiped out, Robin is Simon Petrarch's guardian angel whose mortal host, a seven year old boy, is psychologically destroyed by the Joker, Catwoman's a spinster who sold her soul for beauty and power, Batgirl is Simon Petrarch's psychotherapist, and the Bathound's a devil dog that transforms into the Batmobile. The artist and writer based on the series on what he's seen and heard about Batman, but later ended the series when a serial killer was using the issues as the inspiration to kill as "Batman."
Loners Are Freaks: Even though most of his fellow heroes respect him, quite a few do take this viewpoint due to his standoffish and sometimes paranoid nature.
Love Cannot Overcome: This is why Silver St. Cloud broke up with Bruce Wayne in a famous 1970s arc: she can't handle knowing that he's risking his life against people like The Joker every night, so she abandons him and Gotham. This seems to be the source for many other examples of this trope from Batman adaptations in other media.
Moral Myopia: Villains operate on their own twisted morality.
Mr. Fanservice: Batman/Bruce Wayne. Also, Nightwing. Or more accurately, Nightwing's ass. Along with them Tim gets quite a bit of shower scenes to show off his very fine body.
Ms. Fanservice: On the other end of the pole, all the female villains, anti villains, and rogues, then most female supporting characters with Cassandra Cain being the most notable exception. Even there, some artists...
Multiple Demographic Appeal: In the 60's television show, Batgirl was added to attract two demographics that weren't watching the show — young girls and their fathers.
Never Smile at a Crocodile: Killer Croc. Depending on the writer, he's a man with a really bad skin disease (which makes him look like reptilian) or in some others a full-blown, hungry crocodile-man.
No OSHA Compliance: A lot of Gotham's buildings, warehouses and factories are like this, but the most glaring example is the Batcave. Platforms suspended over near-Bottomless Pits with nary a bit of railing in sight. The health hazards of all the moisture and wild bats have been pointed out from time-to-time as well.
Offing The Mouth: The number of times that Gotham City mooks have been killed by their bosses precisely for this reason could fill up a page in and of itself.
One Super One Powerset: Batman is the head of Wayne Enterprises, has fought against and alongside many superpowered beings that possess advanced technology, use magic, and have reliable and effective mutagens. Despite this, he has been, and most likely always will be, only a mere Badass NormalCrazy-Prepared genius detective.
Orphan's Ordeal: In most versions, Batman becomes who he is through witnessing the deaths of his parents as a child, leaving him to dedicate his life to ridding Gotham of crime.
Papa Wolf: Batman himself, and Commissioner Gordon when his kids' involved.
The Proud Elite: He is handsome, and, while charming, tries to be aloof enough that he makes people think he's a bit arrogant. However, when he catches criminals as Batman, he'll get them jobs at Wayne Enterprises. Even the Ventriloquist got a second chance once on an episode of New Batman Adventures.
Reckless Pacifist: Batman, on and off. Excluding incarnations that actually did kill people (or just refused to save them), The Bat has been known to get really, really rough with with his enemies despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy.
Red Baron: The Batman has been known as the Caped Crusader, the Gotham Guardian, the Masked Manhunter or more commonly, the Dark Knight.
Revealing Skill: In the backstory of the third Robin (Tim Drake), this is how he learned the secret identities of Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson): by watching news coverage of the Dynamic Duo's escapades, during which Robin performed a complicated gymnastics move (a quadruple somersault) — which it had been established could be performed only by orphaned circus artist Dick Grayson.
The Reveal Prompts Romance: Batman has unmasked himself as Bruce Wayne to various women in various continuities. Neither the reveal nor the romance has stuck, yet.
Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: When the stories first began, they followed the pulp magazine model. Things became Lighter and Softer shortly after Robin was introduced, and the Jack Schiff era relished in this trope. Julius Schwartz attempted Cerebus Syndrome when his term as editor started, but then the 1960's show debuted and the trope was forced to reverse itself for the comic to emulate the show. The syndrome has waved back and forth since then.
Say My Name: If you haven't figured it out by now, He's Batman
Science Marches On: The character's been around for over 70 years, so this is a given. For example, Batman started out in the 30's as a rich guy in actual tights with a Bullet Proof Vest, a silk rope, smoke bombs, and a souped up but otherwise normal car. Nowadays he wears a full suit of kevlar armor loaded with high tech gear, military level weaponry, and the Batmobile along with nearly every kind of vehicle he could need. Although as things like carbon nanotubes become more common in the future, it'll be interesting to see how the writers can maintain the dramatic tension when the batsuit seems damn near indestructible. The writers of Batman Beyond successfully maintained dramatic tension when Terry was going around in flying power armor. When technology reaches the point where the Bat-suit has carbon buckytube armor, that only means the Joker will be shooting at it with a rail gun.
On the flipside, Batman's aerial vehicles are rarely seen these days over Gotham, as the risen level of civilian air traffic and -surveillance would make that a safety and secrecy hazard much more than in the old days.
Secret Identity Identity: Depending on the Writer, and something of a Cyclic Trope. Bruce Wayne is a violent, obsessive loner who plays the dual roles of Batman (who gives him the power to instill fear in criminals and take revenge) and "Billionaire Playboy" Bruce Wayne (leading the carefree life he cannot truly enjoy, and actually disdains). He usually identifies more with Batman (to the point of calling himself such in his head), but not always. The one thing they all have in common is that they are self-absorbed misanthropes who cannot get over the murder of Bruce's parents in Crime Alley.
Shadow Archetype: Several of Batman's villains apply, such as The Joker (obsession and mental issues), Catwoman (night animal motif and skills with things like spying and thievery, was also a wealthy socialite in the Golden Age), The Penguin (was created as a parody of Bruce's image as a fop), and Two-Face (dual nature). Batman himself has served as a Shadow Archetype for Superman.
Shoe Shine, Mister?: In one early comic, Robin goes undercover as a shoeshine boy, and when the villain of the week stops to get a shine, Robin secretly applies a tracking device to his shoe.
Shout Out: The 1960's Batman series was generally held in disfavor by Batman's comic book creators, but prolific Batman writer Chuck Dixon was a fan of the show, and snuck in some tributes here and there. Most notably in a two-parter featuring pirate-themed villain Cap'n Fear, which was structured much like a two-parter for the show, and began "in the shadow of the Westward Bridge."
The original Earth-2 Grayson grew up, became a politician, and stayed Robin even after his Batman died. He himself died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Earth-1 Grayson was a founding member of the Teen Titans, was urged to retire by Wayne after nearly getting killed by the Joker, changed his supranym to Nightwing, and mended his fences with Wayne. He later took over the role of Batman when Wayne was apparently dead, and continued in the role for a while when he returned. Returned to being Nightwing in The New 52.
Robin IV: Stephanie Brown. The daughter of the Cluemaster (a minor Batman villain), she originally went by the Spoiler, and was Tim Drake's girlfriend. She was Robin very briefly (during a period when Drake and Wayne were arguing), before Batman faked her death. Later became the third (or fourth, or fifth, depending on how you count) Batgirl. In the World of The New 52, she's apparently Ret Gone and an Un-Person.
Small Steps Hero: Bruce could stop being Batman and use his fortune to clean up Gotham permanently, but that would mean ignoring the common crime that happen every night. The fact that he has the power to not only stop crime and save the world regularly is one of the things he admires about Superman.
Smug Snake: The Riddler. But significantly less so since his reformation in Detective Comics #822. Still smug, but a highly successful detective as well.
Socially Awkward Hero: It varies by the writer, but Bruce Wayne is often depicted as not really understanding how to behave like a normal Rich Idiot with No Day Job, and finds hosting a Wayne Foundation party more stressful than taking on the Joker.
Step Into The Blinding Fight: Often invoked by Batman with his use of shadows and smoke pellets to scare criminals. It disorients his enemies and make them easier to pick off one by one. In The Dark Knight Rises Bane was a member of the League Of Shadows and knows of their tricks of using darkness to distract enemies in battle, so when Batman tries to use these same tactics on Bane, he mocks him for it and goes into a Badass Boast about how he is made of Shadows.
Strapped To A Bomb: The story "And The Executioner Wore Stiletto Heels" has the villain going above and beyond by covering the victim in glue and sticking the bomb to their chest (and sticking the victim to the ceiling, too). By the time Batman finds them, there's not nearly enough time to do something about the bomb...
Stupid Crooks: "Rocket Scientist" in Detective Comics #704. The story details the career of one of Gotham City's most incompetent crooks. His actions included once disguising himself by painting his face red (following an earlier mishap due to his choice of masks) only to collapse because the paint was toxic.
Superhero Sobriquets: The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, the World's Greatest Detective, the Dark Knight Detective. Robin is the Boy Wonder and Joker is the Clown Prince of Crime, the Thin White Duke of Death, and the Harlequin of Hate.
Terror Hero: Batman seeks to put enormous fear into anyone he goes up against. Given that he's one of the most dreaded heroes in comics, even among superpowered villains despite having no superpowers himself, he is very good at it.
Thememobile: The Batmobile, the Batwing, the Batcycle, etc etc...
Most depictions for the past two decades have made it clear Mr. Wayne has... issues... lots of issues.
Bruce Wayne himself: "Any guy who dresses up as a bat... clearly has issues."
Double Subverted. There are numerous psychologists in Gotham City - just none you'd actually want helping you. Scarecrow and Hugo Strange would rather drive you mad for laughs, whereas Harley Quinn and Jeremiah Arkham couldn't even keep themselves sane. Then there's the crack staff of Arkham Asylum, who will probably be curing their first patient any day now.
How many levels of subversion did they reach when Arkham did successfully cure Cluemaster... of his obsessive need to leave clues. Now he's just a criminal genuis who doesn't give our heroes any way to anticipate his next crime.
Robin: "Gee, thanks, Arkham!"
The Tooth Hurts: In Detective Comics #832, Shark pulls out his own teeth with pliers to plant them as fake evidence of his supposed death by sharks. He mentions that it was very painful, but he's got lots of teeth (three rows!).
Joe Chill the mugger, who is seldom seen again after serving his narrative purpose of introducing us to and traumatizing Bruce Wayne. In some versions, notably Frank Miller's, he doesn't even have a name.
Joe Chill did appear again in a 1948 followup to the origin story, where it's revealed he eventually became a small-time gangster. Unfortunately for him, Batman soon found him out, leading to a classic confrontation. Chill also appeared post-Crisis in several stories. Post-Zero Hour he was specifically stated NOT to be the Wayne killer, bringing Batman's desire for vengeance back to the way Miller envisioned it.
Batman had to ally with Joe Chill when facing a legacy of The Reaper, a crazed slasher vigilante. At several points, Batman has the choice of whether to save Joe's life and each time, he does.
Joker sees Batman like this.
Tontine: The very first Batman story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, used this as a plot point.
And those who believe this of The Joker are often proven fatally wrong.
In The Animated Series, The Riddler just seems more lighthearted. The Joker applies to this more.
Tragic Dream: This is what motivates Mr. Freeze, wanting to cure his wife.
After an extenuating day being Batman, Jean-Paul Valley reflected that after being the Avatar of the Order of St. Dumas, who wanted to conquer Jerusalem back again to Christianity, and presently being the Temporary Substitute to Batman, who wants to stop crime in Gotham City, he finds the fanatical obsessive founder Dumas was the wiser: sure, Jerusalem was never conquered again, but it was a tangible goal that could be achieved... ending crime forever in Gotham is a madman’s dream.
Trickster: A role sometimes shared by Joker and Riddler, depending on the situation and motivation.
Tsundere: Damian Wayne is one of the rare male examples, and is type A towards... everyone. Dick Grayson, Stephanie Brown, Alfred...
Two-Headed Coin: A characteristic attribute of Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Played straight as Dent and then subverted by Two-Face.
Underestimating Badassery: Done constantly by superpowered villains who have never faced him before. After they do fight him, they figure out why he's one of the most feared heroes of them all.
Underwear of Power: Batman is one of the older examples, though nowadays (Post-Knight Saga and then Post-Return) his Underwear on the outside is usually either absent, not shown, or the same color as the rest of him (and thus hard to see). Also, the Robins wore this until Tim Drake came along.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Batman and Superman are sometimes depicted this way, as both Type 1 and Type 2 - while they respect each other and acknowledge there is a need for both of them, they would rather have as little to do with each other as possible.
Water Source Tampering: Deconstructed in one comic, where Bruce deduces the Villain of the Weekwon't put his hallucinogen into the water supply, because it's too easy to shut off. Instead, he plots to put it in the milk supply.
Who Even Needs A Brain: Rare dramatic example - new villainess "The Absence" has an enormous hole in her forehead and extending all the way through, with no visible brain, yet functions just fine, and may be smarter than before the hole happened. It appears to be a combination of a freak medical condition and Gotham City's water supply being seriously tainted.
Well Done Great-Nephew Guy: Silas Wayne, who, in his last moments of life, becomes proud of Bruce when he reveals himself as Batman, and happier that the rest of the family wasn't in the room to learn the secret identity, so he'll die proudly with the knowledge that a Wayne is Batman.
Wolverine Publicity: This is beginning to become a bit of a problem for not just Bats but his wider crew. In the New 52 line-up of titles, not only does Bats and his "family" have more individual titles than the any other superhero (only the combined Justice League matches), but counting characters with major recurring roles in other titles, the Bat-family shows up in twenty of the 52 current titles put out by DC. By comparison, Superman and Green Lantern, and related characters, only show up in six or so books each, total. Most people suspect this is due to the constant financial success Batman's had, especially in the past two decades (as noted above), and especially in the past half-decade or so, between the Arkham games and TDK.