In 1964, editor Julius Schwartz took over stewardship of the Batman titles (which, to tell you how long ago this was, consisted of ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’) and brought in new artists and writers to usher in a new era of Batman tales. This ‘New Look Batman’ was one of the factors that led to the Adam West series of 1966, but it also became a major breaking point for Batman stories, in that they added the yellow oval around Batman’s black chest symbol. I’ve known far too many people who complain that this is an “unrealistic” choice for a creature of the night, and Frank Miller even made it a minor plot point in ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ (“Can’t armor my head…”). Still, by the time I started reading comics in the very early 80s, it was an accepted part of the Earth-1 Batman suit, to the point where I’ve never thought he looked quite right without one. These days, depending on the artist and the intent of the story, the oval seems to come and go, which leads us to today’s symbolic query.
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) should also point out the theory that the oval made the symbol somehow uniquely trademarkable is itself apocryphal, asking: How do you like your Batman – Yellow oval or No yellow oval?