Warner Brothers and DC Comics will celebrate 80 years of Batman at the SXSW Festival, with the release of 1.5 million live bats! On Friday, March 15, at 7 pm, the bats will be released to fly over the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. The entire festival runs from March 8-17 and exclusive anniversary merchandise is available to purchase, while the city of Austin, TX is unveiling a special mural at 807 E 4th St, also on Friday, at 5 pm, just prior to the bat flyover. (I’m not sure how I feel about this… sounds like it could go horribly wrong.)
Batman, one of the most iconic superheroes ever, made his debut in ‘Detective Comics’ #27, which arrived on March 30, 1939. (Although it is cover dated May.) The character was created by Bill Kane and Bob Finger, although until recently, Kane was credited as the sole originator. Kane’s original vision was this guy, with a red suit, a small “domino mask” and blond hair. Finger suggested altering him to the darker-hued night champion we know today. (If you haven’t checked out the Hulu documentary ‘Batman & Bill’ yet, definitely give it a view!)
SXSW is just the kick-off to a year’s worth of celebrations from WB and DC.
- On March 19, fans can purchase the hardcover book ‘Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman-The Deluxe Edition’.
- At Wondercon in Anaheim, CA, a “Happy Birthday Batman” panel will be held. That gathering occurs on March 29-31.
- An “immersive Batman exhibit” will be hosted at Rome, Italy’s Romics, a comic and gaming convention in April.
- June 23 marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 ‘Batman’ movie, directed by Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.
- Unspecified tie-ins and announcements will arrive via San Diego Comic-Con International, July 18-21.
- Shanghai will host a “major” Batman exhibit, but details are unknown.
- September 21 will be Batman Day, with events around the world, including cosplay marathon runs, and a synchronized lighting of Bat-Signals around the world.
- The touring LEGO exhibit ‘The Art of the Brick: DC Super-Heroes’ will kick off in São Paulo, Brazil in September.
In addition, Six Flags, and Madame Tussauds will host special events, while outlets Cartoon Network, Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, VRV, and Fullscreen all have Bat-plans. DC is also partnering with Mondo, Funko, LEGO, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, iTunes, Walmart, GameStop, and Google Play.
The following illustration, by José Luis García-López and digital artist Admira Wijaya will appear throughout the year at each event and on merchandise.