With Batman v Superman landing in theaters on March 25th, we’ve seen a lot of the pick your side type promotions going on, which includes popular breakfast cereals getting in on the act. Not one to be left behind, we have our own Batman v Superman debate for your consideration this week.
Originally, there was only a secret tunnel that ran underground between Wayne Manor and a dusty old barn where the Batmobile and Batmicrolite were kept. Later, in Batman #12 (August–September 1942), Bill Finger mentioned “secret underground hangars.” In 1943, the writers of the first Batman movie serial, titled Batman, gave Batman a complete underground crime lab and introduced it in the second chapter entitled “The Bat’s Cave”. The entrance was via a secret passage through a grandfather clock and included bats flying around.
Bob Kane, who was on the movie set, mentioned this to Bill Finger who was going to be the initial scripter on the Batman daily newspaper strip. Finger included with his script a clipping from Popular Mechanics that featured a detailed cross section of underground hangars. Kane used this clipping as a guide, adding a study, crime lab, workshop, hangar and garage. This illustration appeared in the Batman “dailies” on October 29, 1943 in a strip entitled “The Bat Cave!”
The Batcave made its comic book debut in Detective Comics #83 in January 1944. Over the decades, the cave has expanded along with its owner’s popularity to include a vast trophy room, supercomputer and forensics lab. There has been little consistency as to the floor plan of the Batcave or its contents. The design has varied from artist to artist and it is not unusual for the same artist to draw the cave layout differently in various issues.
FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE
The Fortress of Solitude is the place of solace and occasional headquarters for Superman in DC Comics. Its predecessor, Superman’s “Secret Citadel”, first appeared in Superman #17, where it was said to be built into a mountain on the outskirts of Metropolis. By issue #58 (May–June 1949) it is referred to as the Fortress of Solitude, seems at a glance to be a freestanding castle, and is said to be located in a “polar waste.” However, when the Fortress finally reappears in 1958 and for the first time takes center stage in a story (“The Super-Key to Fort Superman”, Action Comics #241), it was once again an underground complex in a mountainous cliffside.
Traditionally, this Fortress of Solitude is located in the Arctic, though more recent versions of the Superman comics have placed the Fortress in other locations, including the Antarctic, the Andes, and the Amazon rainforest. The general public in Superman’s world is either unaware or at best only vaguely aware of the existence of the Fortress, with its location kept secret from all but Superman’s closest friends and allies (such as Lois Lane and Batman). A trademark of the Fortress is that it contains a memorial statue of Jor-El and Lara, Superman’s Kryptonian parents, holding a large globe of Krypton. Although Superman has living quarters at the Fortress, his main residence is still Clark Kent’s apartment in Metropolis. The arctic Fortress of Solitude concept was first created for pulp hero Doc Savage during the 1930s.