To his fans, Batman is an ideal Superhero. The iconic protector of Gotham City has a story that melts hearts and a range of villains who can strike fear in any heart. The Bat himself is an example of a man’s endless pursuit of justice and exemplary displays of bravery that outshines any other comic book Superhero.
Creative people have never stopped trying to portray the Batman in their hues which are more often than not utterly different from the elements that our favorite Batman is made of. Their imaginations run wild, and they try to portray Batman in every possible, ‘What if Batman was ..?’ scenario.
While it is impossible to create a compilation of all the creative variations of Batman that have come up over the years, we have tried to short-list the weirdest of them in this list. It is quite likely that we might miss out on any other peculiar Batman concept that you know of, but, then as we said, you can’t possibly list them all anyway.
10) Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh
After the formation of Comics Code Authority in 1954, the Batman comics were toned down to become more kid-friendly and replete with Sci-fi elements that showed Batman in great, colorful combats with all sorts of villains. During this crazy period, came out the story of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh which featured an alien scientist Tiano creating his version of Superhero based on Earth’s Batman. This same character was reinvented in 2009 by Grant Morrison in Batman R.I.P. arc which had a storyline where the Zur-En-Arrh served as a backup Batman in case the original Batman ever went bonkers.
9) Steampunk Batman
1989 saw the start of a DC ‘Elseworlds’ label wherein the DC released numerous storylines exploring the ‘What if’ possibilities related to DC characters. Since these had no bonding with the original plot, they explored hitherto unknown angles and took on the standard DC storyline. Batman invariably featured in a major percentage of them.
First such story ‘Gotham By Gaslight,’ featured a Steampunk version of Batman set in Victorian era. This Brian Augustyn story supported by Hellboy artist Mike Mignola, showed Batman chasing Jack the Ripper who had started operating in Gotham after running away from London.
8) Nazi Batman
Another outlandish plot of these comics featured a scenario where the Nazis win the world war 2 and Hitler captured the whole world which he kept under his domination with the aid of his Superhero squad titled JL Axis. This squad had Uberman (Superman) and Leatherwing (Nazi Batman). This team was tasked with eliminating weak and infirm humans and to force breed the stronger ones under Nazi controlled breeding centers. The only difference between the Nazi Batman and his opponent is the Swastika on the bat-symbol.
7) Green Lantern Batman
Breaking away from the main narrative, Abin Sur gave his power ring to Bruce Wayne instead of Hal Jordan in ‘Darkest Knight’ Initially Wayne uses his powers under the guise of Bat-Lantern for good deeds such as arresting the Red Hood and preventing him from becoming the Joker. Later when Yellow Lantern becomes uncontrolled and embarks on a killing spree, Guardians of the Universe request Wayne to give up his powers, but, he refuses and turns evil. Thus, it is apparent that while he can do good things with their help, great powers are bound to make Batman unruly, and he is a better Superhero without any such superpowers.
6) Superman Batman
While their take on the world is entirely different, it would be fascinating to see how Superman would have reacted if put into Batman’s shoes? The 1993 comic Superman: Speeding Bullets, showed Kal-El’s pod land into Gotham City and discovered by the billionaire couple Thomas and Martha Wayne. They raise him as their son, but, are brutally murdered in front of his eyes when he was just ten. In a fit of rage and blessed with his powers, the little Bruce obliterates their killer with his heat vision and thereon embarks on fighting various villains like the Joker. He becomes the Superman after being convinced by his lady love Lois Lane.
5) Vampire Batman
The 1991 comics Batman and Dracula: Red Rain featured Batman in a Vampire version. This concept was so appealing and fruitful that the Batmvamp adventures were recreated in 1994 comics Bloodstorm as well as in Crimson Mist that came out in 1999.
The premise was based on an incident where Batman received a Vampire bite during his battle with Dracula and slowly turned into a Vampire. Initially, he used him Vampire superpowers to a good end, but, once he became a full fledged Vampire, he went out on a killing spree that saw him kill Alfred as well. The comic ended with Batman committing suicide by walking out in the sunlight, but, by that time every other character was dead as well.
4) Stan Lee’s Batman
Stan Lee had a relatively long and fruitful stint with Marvel until 2001 when he unexpectedly switched over to DC and created the fascinating ‘Just Imagine’ series to give a glimpse into how DC’s heroes would appear if they were created by Lee! His effort at recreating Batman was at best ‘goofy’ and the premise lackluster. He was called Wayne Williams who was an African-American wrestler who turned a vigilante under the title Batman and created a Kevlar suit with wings.
3) Wolverine Batman
Have you ever been intrigued by the thought of merging the Batman and Wolverine into one entity? Let me tell you that it has already been done.
In 1996, Marvel and DC came together for a one of a kind ‘Amalgam Comics’ which created a new universe of Heroes by fusing iconic superheroes from both companies. Captain America merged with Superman to make Super-Soldier, Captain Marvel with Captain Marvel to create none other than ‘Captain Marvel,’ Lobo and Howard the Duck merged to create Lobo the Duck. However, the most appealing of the all was Logan Wayne a.k.a. Dark Claw whose sidekick Sparrow resembled (apparently none other than Robin and Jubilee) while his enemy was Hyena (a cross between Sabretooth and Joker).
Owlman is more than just an odd one-off take on the Batman, rather, it is Batman’s evil version from the Crime Syndicate which is a mirror version of the Justice League. Owlman’s real name is Thomas Wayne Jr, older sibling of Bruce. In this version, the Waynes including Bruce Wayne were killed by a cop, and Thomas was raised by Joe Chill (the killer of Bruce’s parents in the standard version). Thomas also embarks on adventures fighting evil Ultraman and simultaneously having a fling with his wife Superwoman (copy of Wonderwoman).
1) Flashpoint Batman
In The New 52, Barry Allen went back in time to save his mother and in the process changed the DC Universe. This series pitched Aquaman against Wonder Woman, and Superman was put in jail while Bruce Wayne was killed as a child. In this world, it was Bruce’s father Thomas who donned the role of Batman to kill his enemies and cutting deals with criminals. What’s even more fantastic about this series is the appearance of Martha Wayne as Joker as she had become insane after Bruce’s murder. This Thomas Wayne version of Batman has become so popular that there are calls for a film adaptation of the same by DCEU featuring Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The actor has expressed his willingness, and it remains a possibility that the movie might be produced some day.