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Fictional superhero

This article is about the fictional character. For other uses, see Batman (disambiguation).

Batman is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger,[1][2] and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man," the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.[5]

Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.[6]

Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any inhuman superpowers. He does, however, possess a genius-level intellect, is a peerless martial artist, and his vast wealth affords him an extraordinary arsenal of weaponry and equipment. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character's prominence in mainstream culture.[7]

Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Anthony Ruivivar, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Jason O'Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.

Contents

Publication history

See also: List of Batman comics

Creation

First published image of Batman, in Action Comics #12, announcing the character's debut in the forthcoming Detective Comics #27[8]

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man".[9] Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that "Kane had an idea for a character called 'Batman,' and he'd like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN".[10] The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired as a child by Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch of an ornithopter flying device.[11]

Finger suggested giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves; he also recommended removing the red sections from the original costume.[12][13][15] Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character's secret identity: "Bruce Wayne's first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock ... then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne."[16] He later said his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk's popular The Phantom, a syndicated newspaper comic-strip character with which Kane was also familiar.[17]

Kane and Finger drew upon contemporary 1930s popular culture for inspiration regarding much of the Bat-Man's look, personality, methods, and weaponry. Details find predecessors in pulp fiction, comic strips, newspaper headlines, and autobiographical details referring to Kane himself.[18] As an aristocratic hero with a double identity, Batman had predecessors in the Scarlet Pimpernel (created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 1903) and Zorro (created by Johnston McCulley, 1919). Like them, Batman performed his heroic deeds in secret, averted suspicion by playing aloof in public, and marked his work with a signature symbol. Kane noted the influence of the films The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Bat Whispers (1930) in the creation of the character's iconography. Finger, drawing inspiration from pulp heroes like Doc Savage, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, and Sherlock Holmes, made the character a master sleuth.[19][20]

In his 1989 autobiography, Kane detailed Finger's contributions to Batman's creation:

One day I called Bill and said, 'I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I've made some crude, elementary sketches I'd like you to look at.' He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman's face. Bill said, 'Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?' At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: 'Color it dark grey to make it look more ominous.' The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn't have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn't leave fingerprints.[17]

Golden age

Subsequent creation credit

Kane signed away ownership in the character in exchange for, among other compensation, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics. This byline did not originally say "Batman created by Bob Kane"; his name was simply written on the title page of each story. The name disappeared from the comic book in the mid-1960s, replaced by credits for each story's actual writer and artists. In the late 1970s, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began receiving a "created by" credit on the Superman titles, along with William Moulton Marston being given the byline for creating Wonder Woman, Batman stories began saying "Created by Bob Kane" in addition to the other credits.

Finger did not receive the same recognition. While he had received credit for other DC work since the 1940s, he began, in the 1960s, to receive limited acknowledgment for his Batman writing; in the letters page of Batman #169 (February 1965) for example, editor Julius Schwartz names him as the creator of the Riddler, one of Batman's recurring villains. However, Finger's contract left him only with his writing page rate and no byline. Kane wrote, "Bill was disheartened by the lack of major accomplishments in his career. He felt that he had not used his creative potential to its fullest and that success had passed him by."[16] At the time of Finger's death in 1974, DC had not officially credited Finger as Batman co-creator.

Jerry Robinson, who also worked with Finger and Kane on the strip at this time, has criticized Kane for failing to share the credit. He recalled Finger resenting his position, stating in a 2005 interview with The Comics Journal:

Bob made him more insecure, because while he slaved working on Batman, he wasn't sharing in any of the glory or the money that Bob began to make, which is why ... [he was] going to leave [Kane's employ]. ... [Kane] should have credited Bill as co-creator, because I know; I was there. ... That was one thing I would never forgive Bob for, was not to take care of Bill or recognize his vital role in the creation of Batman. As with Siegel and Shuster, it should have been the same, the same co-creator credit in the strip, writer, and artist.[21]

Although Kane initially rebutted Finger's claims at having created the character, writing in a 1965 open letter to fans that "it seemed to me that Bill Finger has given out the impression that he and not myself created the ''Batman, t' [sic] as well as Robin and all the other leading villains and characters. This statement is fraudulent and entirely untrue." Kane himself also commented on Finger's lack of credit. "The trouble with being a 'ghost' writer or artist is that you must remain rather anonymously without 'credit'. However, if one wants the 'credit', then one has to cease being a 'ghost' or follower and become a leader or innovator."[22]

In 1989, Kane revisited Finger's situation, recalling in an interview:

In those days it was like, one artist and he had his name over it [the comic strip] — the policy of DC in the comic books was, if you can't write it, obtain other writers, but their names would never appear on the comic book in the finished version. So Bill never asked me for it [the byline] and I never volunteered — I guess my ego at that time. And I felt badly, really, when he [Finger] died.[23]

In September 2015, DC Entertainment revealed that Finger would be receiving credit for his role in Batman's creation on the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the second season of Gotham after a deal was worked out between the Finger family and DC.[1] Finger received credit as a creator of Batman for the first time in a comic in October 2015 with Batman and Robin Eternal #3 and Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis #3. The updated acknowledgment for the character appeared as "Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger".[2]

Early years

The first Batman story, "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate", was published in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Finger said, "Batman was originally written in the style of the pulps",[24] and this influence was evident with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals. Batman proved a hit character, and he received his own solo title in 1940 while continuing to star in Detective Comics. By that time, Detective Comics was the top-selling and most influential publisher in the industry; Batman and the company's other major hero, Superman, were the cornerstones of the company's success.[25] The two characters were featured side-by-side as the stars of World's Finest Comics, which was originally titled World's Best Comics when it debuted in fall 1940. Creators including Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang also worked on the strips during this period.

Over the course of the first few Batman strips elements were added to the character and the artistic depiction of Batman evolved. Kane noted that within six issues he drew the character's jawline more pronounced, and lengthened the ears on the costume. "About a year later he was almost the full figure, my mature Batman", Kane said.[26]Batman's characteristic utility belt was introduced in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), followed by the boomerang-like batarang and the first bat-themed vehicle, the Batplane, in #31 (Sept. 1939). The character's origin was revealed in #33 (Nov. 1939), unfolding in a two-page story that establishes the brooding persona of Batman, a character driven by the death of his parents. Written by Finger, it depicts a young Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of a mugger. Days later, at their grave, the child vows that "by the spirits of my parents [I will] avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals".[27][28][29]

The early, pulp-inflected portrayal of Batman started to soften in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) with the introduction of Robin, Batman's junior counterpart.[30] Robin was introduced, based on Finger's suggestion, because Batman needed a "Watson" with whom Batman could talk.[31] Sales nearly doubled, despite Kane's preference for a solo Batman, and it sparked a proliferation of "kid sidekicks".[32] The first issue of the solo spin-off series Batman was notable not only for introducing two of his most persistent enemies, the Joker and Catwoman, but for a story in which Batman shoots some monstrous giants to death. That story prompted editor Whitney Ellsworth to decree that the character could no longer kill or use a gun.[33]

By 1942, the writers and artists behind the Batman comics had established most of the basic elements of the Batman mythos.[34] In the years following World War II, DC Comics "adopted a postwar editorial direction that increasingly de-emphasized social commentary in favor of lighthearted juvenile fantasy". The impact of this editorial approach was evident in Batman comics of the postwar period; removed from the "bleak and menacing world" of the strips of the early 1940s, Batman was instead portrayed as a respectable citizen and paternal figure that inhabited a "bright and colorful" environment.[35]

Silver and Bronze Ages

1950s and early 1960s

Batman was one of the few superhero characters to be continuously published as interest in the genre waned during the 1950s. In the story "The Mightiest Team in the World" in Superman #76 (June 1952), Batman teams up with Superman for the first time and the pair discover each other's secret identity.[36] Following the success of this story, World's Finest Comics was revamped so it featured stories starring both heroes together, instead of the separate Batman and Superman features that had been running before.[37] The team-up of the characters was "a financial success in an era when those were few and far between";[38] this series of stories ran until the book's cancellation in 1986.

Batman comics were among those criticized when the comic book industry came under scrutiny with the publication of psychologist Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent in 1954. Wertham's thesis was that children imitated crimes committed in comic books, and that these works corrupted the morals of the youth. Wertham criticized Batman comics for their supposed homosexual overtones and argued that Batman and Robin were portrayed as lovers.[39] Wertham's criticisms raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, a code that is no longer in use by the comic book industry. The tendency towards a "sunnier Batman" in the postwar years intensified after the introduction of the Comics Code.[40] Scholars have suggested that the characters of Batwoman (in 1956) and the pre-Barbara Gordon Bat-Girl (in 1961) were introduced in part to refute the allegation that Batman and Robin were gay, and the stories took on a campier, lighter feel.[41]

In the late 1950s, Batman stories gradually became more science fiction-oriented, an attempt at mimicking the success of other DC characters that had dabbled in the genre.[42] New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite were introduced. Batman's adventures often involved odd transformations or bizarre space aliens. In 1960, Batman debuted as a member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb. 1960), and went on to appear in several Justice League comic series starting later that same year.

"New Look" Batman and camp

By 1964, sales of Batman titles had fallen drastically. Bob Kane noted that, as a result, DC was "planning to kill Batman off altogether".[43] In response to this, editor Julius Schwartz was assigned to the Batman titles. He presided over drastic changes, beginning with 1964's Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), which was cover-billed as the "New Look". Schwartz introduced changes designed to make Batman more contemporary, and to return him to more detective-oriented stories. He brought in artist Carmine Infantino to help overhaul the character. The Batmobile was redesigned, and Batman's costume was modified to incorporate a yellow ellipse behind the bat-insignia. The space aliens, time travel, and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred was killed off (though his death was quickly reversed) while a new female relative for the Wayne family, Aunt Harriet, came to live with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.[44]

The debut of the Batman television series in 1966 had a profound influence on the character. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry, and Batman reached a circulation of close to 900,000 copies.[45] Elements such as the character of Batgirl and the show's campy nature were introduced into the comics; the series also initiated the return of Alfred. Although both the comics and TV show were successful for a time, the camp approach eventually wore thin and the show was canceled in 1968. In the aftermath, the Batman comics themselves lost popularity once again. As Julius Schwartz noted, "When the television show was a success, I was asked to be campy, and of course when the show faded, so did the comic books."[46]

Starting in 1969, writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and to return the character to his roots as a "grim avenger of the night".[47] O'Neil said his idea was "simply to take it back to where it started. I went to the DC library and read some of the early stories. I tried to get a sense of what Kane and Finger were after."[48]

O'Neil and Adams first collaborated on the story "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" in Detective Comics #395 (Jan. 1970). Few stories were true collaborations between O'Neil, Adams, Schwartz, and inker Dick Giordano, and in actuality these men were mixed and matched with various other creators during the 1970s; nevertheless the influence of their work was "tremendous".[49] Giordano said: "We went back to a grimmer, darker Batman, and I think that's why these stories did so well ..."[50] While the work of O'Neil and Adams was popular with fans, the acclaim did little to improve declining sales; the same held true with a similarly acclaimed run by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #471–476 (Aug. 1977 – April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992.[51] Regardless, circulation continued to drop through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting an all-time low in 1985.[52]

Modern age

The Dark Knight Returns

See also: Alternative versions of Batman

Cover art for the first issue of The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller's limited series The Dark Knight Returns (February–June 1986) returned the character to his darker roots, both in atmosphere and tone. The comic book, which tells the story of a 55-year-old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated interest in the character. The Dark Knight Returns was a financial success and has since become one of the medium's most noted touchstones.[53] The series also sparked a major resurgence in the character's popularity.[54]

That year Dennis O'Neil took over as editor of the Batman titles and set the template for the portrayal of Batman following DC's status quo-altering miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. O'Neil operated under the assumption that he was hired to revamp the character and as a result tried to instill a different tone in the books than had gone before.[55] One outcome of this new approach was the "Year One" storyline in Batman #404–407 (Feb.–May 1987), in which Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli redefined the character's origins. Writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with 1988's 48-page one-shot Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker, attempting to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, cripples Gordon's daughter Barbara, and then kidnaps and tortures the commissioner, physically and psychologically.

The Batman comics garnered major attention in 1988 when DC Comics created a 900 number for readers to call to vote on whether Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died. Voters decided in favor of Jason's death by a narrow margin of 28 votes (see Batman: A Death in the Family).[56]

Knightfall

The 1993 "Knightfall" story arc introduced a new villain, Bane, who critically injures Batman after pushing him to the limits of his endurance. Jean-Paul Valley, known as Azrael, is called upon to wear the Batsuit during Bruce Wayne's convalescence. Writers Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant worked on the Batman titles during "Knightfall", and would also contribute to other Batman crossovers throughout the 1990s. 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline served as the precursor to 1999's "No Man's Land", a year-long storyline that ran through all the Batman-related titles dealing with the effects of an earthquake-ravaged Gotham City. At the conclusion of "No Man's Land", O'Neil stepped down as editor and was replaced by Bob Schreck.[57]

Another writer who rose to prominence on the Batman comic series, was Jeph Loeb. Along with longtime collaborator Tim Sale, they wrote two miniseries (The Long Halloween and Dark Victory) that pit an early in his career version of Batman against his entire rogues gallery (including Two-Face, whose origin was re-envisioned by Loeb) while dealing with various mysteries involving serial killers Holiday and the Hangman. In 2003, Loeb teamed with artist Jim Lee to work on another mystery arc: "Batman: Hush" for the main Batman book. The 12–issue storyline has Batman and Catwoman teaming up against Batman's entire rogues gallery, including an apparently resurrected Jason Todd, while seeking to find the identity of the mysterious supervillain Hush.[58] While the character of Hush failed to catch on with readers, the arc was a sales success for DC. The series became #1 on the Diamond Comic Distributors sales chart for the first time since Batman #500 (Oct. 1993) and Todd's appearance laid the groundwork for writer Judd Winick's subsequent run as writer on Batman, with another multi-issue arc, "Under the Hood", which ran from Batman #637–650 (April 2005 – April 2006).

21st century

All-Star Batman and Robin

See also: All Star DC Comics

In 2005, DC launched All-Star Batman and Robin, a stand-alone comic series set outside the main DC Universe continuity. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Jim Lee, the series was a commercial success for DC Comics,[59][60] although it was widely panned by critics for its writing and strong depictions of violence.[61][62]

Starting in 2006, Grant Morrison and Paul Dini were the regular writers of Batman and Detective Comics, with Morrison reincorporating controversial elements of Batman lore. Most notably of these elements were the science fiction themed storylines of the 1950s Batman comics, which Morrison revised as hallucinations Batman suffered under the influence of various mind-bending gases and extensive sensory deprivation training. Morrison's run climaxed with "Batman R.I.P.", which brought Batman up against the villainous "Black Glove" organization, which sought to drive Batman into madness. "Batman R.I.P." segued into Final Crisis (also written by Morrison), which saw the apparent death of Batman at the hands of Darkseid. In the 2009 miniseries Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Wayne's former protégé Dick Grayson becomes the new Batman, and Wayne's son Damian becomes the new Robin.[63][64] In June 2009, Judd Winick returned to writing Batman, while Grant Morrison was given his own series, titled Batman and Robin.[65]

In 2010, the storyline Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne saw Bruce travel through history, eventually returning to the present day. Although he reclaimed the mantle of Batman, he also allowed Grayson to continue being Batman as well. Bruce decided to take his crime-fighting cause globally, which is the central focus of Batman Incorporated. DC Comics would later announce that Grayson would be the main character in Batman, Detective Comics, and Batman and Robin, while Wayne would be the main character in Batman Incorporated. Also, Bruce appeared in another ongoing series, Batman: The Dark Knight.

The New 52

See also: The New 52

In September 2011, DC Comics' entire line of superhero comic books, including its Batman franchise, were canceled and relaunched with new #1 issues as part of the New 52 reboot. Bruce Wayne is the only character to be identified as Batman and is featured in Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, and Batman: The Dark Knight. Dick Grayson returns to the mantle of Nightwing and appears in his own ongoing series. While many characters have their histories significantly altered to attract new readers, Batman's history remains mostly intact. Batman Incorporated was relaunched in 2012–2013 to complete the "Leviathan" storyline.

With the beginning of the New 52, Scott Snyder was the writer of the Batman title. His first major story arc was "Night of the Owls", where Batman confronts the Court of Owls, a secret society that has controlled Gotham for centuries. The second story arc was "Death of the Family", where the Joker returns to Gotham and simultaneously attacks each member of the Batman family. The third story arc was "Batman: Zero Year", which redefined Batman's origin in The New 52. It followed Batman #0, published in June 2012, which explored the character's early years. The final storyline before the "Convergence" (2015) storyline was "Endgame", depicting the supposed final battle between Batman and the Joker when he unleashes the deadly Endgame virus onto Gotham City. The storyline ends with Batman and the Joker's supposed deaths.

Starting with Batman vol. 2, #41, Commissioner James Gordon takes over Bruce's mantle as a new, state-sanctioned, robotic-Batman, debuting in the Free Comic Book Day special comic Divergence. However, Bruce Wayne is soon revealed to be alive, albeit now suffering almost total amnesia of his life as Batman and only remembering his life as Bruce Wayne through what he has learned from Alfred. Bruce Wayne finds happiness and proposes to his girlfriend, Julie Madison, but Mr. Bloom heavily injures Jim Gordon and takes control of Gotham City and threatens to destroy the city by energizing a particle reactor to create a "strange star" to swallow the city. Bruce Wayne discovers the truth that he was Batman and after talking to a stranger who smiles a lot (it is heavily implied that this is the amnesic Joker) he forces Alfred to implant his memories as Batman, but at the cost of his memories as the reborn Bruce Wayne. He returns and helps Jim Gordon defeat Mr. Bloom and shut down the reactor. Gordon gets his job back as the commissioner, and the government Batman project is shut down.[66]

In 2015, DC Comics released The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, the sequel to Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again.[67]

DC Universe

In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics' entire line of comic book titles. Batman was rebooted as starting with a one-shot issue entitled Batman: Rebirth #1 (Aug. 2016). The series then began shipping twice-monthly as a third volume, starting with Batman vol. 3, #1 (Aug. 2016). The third volume of Batman was written by Tom King, and artwork was provided by David Finch and Mikel Janín. The Batman series introduced two vigilantes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. Detective Comics resumed its original numbering system starting with June 2016's #934, and the New 52 series was labeled as volume 2 with issues numbering from #1-52.[68] Similarly with the Batman title, the New 52 issues were labeled as volume 2 and encompassed issues #1-52. Writer James Tynion IV and artists Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez worked on Detective Comics #934, and the series initially featured a team consisting of Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface, led by Batman and Batwoman.

DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger "DC Universe" banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continues across DC's comic book titles, including volume one of Detective Comics and the third volume of Batman.[69][70]

Characterization

Bruce Wayne

DC Comics concept art of Bruce Wayne

Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American industrialist. As a child, Bruce witnessed the murder of his parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne, which ultimately led him to craft the Batman persona and seek justice against criminals. He resides on the outskirts of Gotham City in his personal residence, Wayne Manor. Wayne averts suspicion by acting the part of a superficial playboy idly living off his family's fortune and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, his inherited conglomerate.[71][72] He supports philanthropic causes through his nonprofit Wayne Foundation, but is more widely known as a celebrity socialite.[73] In public, he frequently appears in the company of high-status women, which encourages tabloid gossip. Although Bruce Wayne leads an active romantic life, his vigilante activities as Batman account for most of his time.[74]

Various modern stories have portrayed the extravagant, playboy image of Bruce Wayne as a facade.[75] This is in contrast to the post-Crisis Superman, whose Clark Kent persona is the true identity, while the Superman persona is the facade.[76][77] In Batman Unmasked, a television documentary about the psychology of the character, behavioral scientist Benjamin Karney notes that Batman's personality is driven by Bruce Wayne's inherent humanity; that "Batman, for all its benefits and for all of the time Bruce Wayne devotes to it, is ultimately a tool for Bruce Wayne's efforts to make the world better".

Writers of Batman and Superman stories have often compared and contrasted the two. Interpretations vary depending on the writer, the story, and the timing. Grant Morrison[78] notes that both heroes "believe in the same kind of things" despite the day/night contrast their heroic roles display. He notes an equally stark contrast in their real identities. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent belong to different social classes: "Bruce has a butler, Clark has a boss." T. James Musler's book Unleashing the Superhero in Us All explores the extent to which Bruce Wayne's vast personal wealth is important in his life story, and the crucial role it plays in his efforts as Batman.[79]

Will Brooker notes in his book Batman Unmasked that "the confirmation of the Batman's identity lies with the young audience ... he doesn't have to be Bruce Wayne; he just needs the suit and gadgets, the abilities, and most importantly the morality, the humanity. There's just a sense about him: 'they trust him ... and they're never wrong."[80]

Personality

"I must have a disguise. Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible...a...a...a bat!"

– Bruce Wayne – Detective Comics #33 (November 1939)[81]

Batman's primary character traits can be summarized as "wealth; physical prowess; deductive abilities and obsession".[82] The details and tone of Batman comic books have varied over the years due to different creative teams. Dennis O'Neil noted that character consistency was not a major concern during early editorial regimes: "Julie Schwartz did a Batman in Batman and Detective and Murray Boltinoff did a Batman in the Brave and the Bold and apart from the costume they bore very little resemblance to each other. Julie and Murray did not want to coordinate their efforts, nor were they asked to do so. Continuity was not important in those days."[83]

The driving force behind Bruce Wayne's character is his parents' murder and their absence. Bob Kane and Bill Finger discussed Batman's background and decided that "there's nothing more traumatic than having your parents murdered before your eyes".[84] Despite his trauma, he sets his mind on studying to become a scientist[85][86] and to train his body into physical perfection[85][86] to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman, an inspired idea from Wayne's insight into the criminal mind.[85][86]

Another of Batman's characterizations is that of a vigilante; in order to stop evil that started with the death of his parents, he must sometimes break the law himself. Although manifested differently by being re-told by different artists, it is nevertheless that the details and the prime components of Batman's origin have never varied at all in the comic books, the "reiteration of the basic origin events holds together otherwise divergent expressions".[87] The origin is the source of the character's traits and attributes, which play out in many of the character's adventures.[82]

Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order".[88] Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting,[89] a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience.[90] Miller is often credited with reintroducing anti-heroic traits into Batman's characterization,[91] such as his brooding personality, willingness to use violence and torture, and increasingly alienated behavior. Batman's original character was changed in the 1950s when the now-defunct comic book codes went into effect, and DC editor Whitney Ellsworth reinvented Batman as having a stringent moral code which never allowed him to kill.[91] Miller's Batman was closer to the original, golden-age version, who was willing to kill criminals if necessary.[92]

Others

Main article: Alternative versions of Batman

On several occasions former Robin Dick Grayson has served as Batman; most notably in 2009 while Wayne was believed dead, and served as a second Batman even after Wayne returned in 2010.[58] As part of DC's 2011 continuity relaunch, Grayson returned to being Nightwing following the Flashpoint crossover event.

In an interview with IGN, Morrison detailed that having Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin represented a "reverse" of the normal dynamic between Batman and Robin, with, "a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, badass Robin". Morrison explained his intentions for the new characterization of Batman: "Dick Grayson is kind of this consummate superhero. The guy has been Batman's partner since he was a kid, he's led the Teen Titans, and he's trained with everybody in the DC Universe. So he's a very different kind of Batman. He's a lot easier; He's a lot looser and more relaxed."[63]

Over the years, there have been numerous others to assume the name of Batman, or to officially take over for Bruce during his leaves of absence. Jean Paul Valley, also known as Azrael, assumed the cowl after the events of the Knightfall saga.[58]James Gordon donned a mech-suit after the events of Batman: Endgame, and served as Batman in 2015 and 2016.

Additionally, members of the group Batman, Incorporated, Bruce Wayne's experiment at franchising his brand of vigilantism, have at times stood in as the official Batman in cities around the world.[58] Various others have also taken up the role of Batman in stories set in alternative universes and possible futures, including, among them, various former proteges of Bruce Wayne.

Supporting characters

Main article: List of Batman supporting characters

Batman's interactions with both villains and cohorts have, over time, developed a strong supporting cast of characters.[82]

Adversaries

Batman surrounded by his enemies. Art by Alex Ross.

Main article: List of Batman Family adversaries

Batman faces a variety of foes ranging from common criminals to outlandish supervillains. Many of them mirror aspects of the Batman's character and development, often having tragic origin stories that lead them to a life of crime.[93] These foes are commonly referred to as Batman's rogues gallery. Batman's "most implacable foe" is the Joker, a homicidal maniac with a clown-like appearance. The Joker is considered by critics to be his perfect adversary, since he is the antithesis of Batman in personality and appearance; the Joker has a maniacal demeanor with a colorful appearance, while Batman has a serious and resolute demeanor with a dark appearance. As a "personification of the irrational", the Joker represents "everything Batman [opposes]".[34] Other long time recurring foes that are part of Batman's rogues gallery include Catwoman (a cat burglar antiheroine who is an occasional ally and romantic interest), the Penguin, Ra's al Ghul, Two-Face, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bane, Clayface, and Killer Croc among others. Many of Batman's adversaries are often psychiatric patients at Arkham Asylum.

Allies

Alfred

Main article: Alfred Pennyworth

Batman's butler, Alfred Pennyworth, first appeared in Batman #16 (1943). He serves as Bruce Wayne's loyal father figure and is one of the few persons to know his secret identity. Alfred raised Bruce after his parents' death and knows him on a very personal level. He is sometimes portrayed as a sidekick to Batman and the only other resident of Wayne Manor aside from Bruce. The character "[lends] a homely touch to Batman's environs and [is] ever ready to provide a steadying and reassuring hand" to the hero and his sidekick.[93]

"Batman Family"

The informal name "Batman family" is used for a group of characters closely allied with Batman, generally masked vigilantes who either have been trained by Batman or operate in Gotham City with his tacit approval. They include: Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's daughter, who has fought crime under the vigilante identity of Batgirl and, during a period in which she was confined to a wheelchair due to a gunshot wound inflicted by the Joker, the computer hacker Oracle; Helena Bertinelli, the sole surviving member of a mob family turned vigilante, who has worked with Batman on occasion, primarily as the Huntress and as Batgirl for a brief stint; Cassandra Cain, the daughter of professional assassins David Cain, and Lady Shiva, who succeeded Bertinelli as Batgirl.

Civilians

Lucius Fox, a technology specialist and Bruce Wayne's business manager who is well aware of his employer's clandestine vigilante activities; Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a family friend who like Alfred became a surrogate parental figure to Bruce Wayne after the deaths of his parents, and is also aware of his secret identity; Vicki Vale, an investigative journalist who often reports on Batman's activities for the Gotham Gazette; Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's canine partner who was mainly active in the 1950s and 1960s;[94] and Bat-Mite, an extra-dimensional imp mostly active in the 1960s who idolizes Batman.[94]

GCPD

Main article: Gotham City Police Department

As Batman's ally in the Gotham City police, Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon debuted along with Batman in Detective Comics #27 and has been a consistent presence ever since. As a crime-fighting everyman, he shares Batman's goals while offering, much as the character of Watson does in Sherlock Holmes stories, a normal person's perspective on the work of Batman's extraordinary genius.

Justice League

Main article: Justice League

Batman is at times a member of superhero teams such as the Justice League of America and the Outsiders. Batman has often been paired in adventures with his Justice League teammate Superman, notably as the co-stars of World's Finest and Superman/Batman series. In pre-Crisis continuity, the two are depicted as close friends; however, in current continuity, they are still close friends but an uneasy relationship, with an emphasis on their differing views on crime-fighting and justice. In Superman/Batman #3 (Dec. 2003), Superman observes, "Sometimes, I admit, I think of Bruce as a man in a costume. Then, with some gadget from his utility belt, he reminds me that he has an extraordinarily inventive mind. And how lucky I am to be able to call on him."[95]

Robin

Main article: Robin (comics)

Robin, Batman's vigilante partner, has been a widely recognized supporting character for many years.[96] Bill Finger stated that he wanted to include Robin because "Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking."[97] The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was introduced in 1940. In the 1970s he finally grew up, went off to college and became the hero Nightwing. A second Robin, Jason Todd, appeared in the 1980s. In the stories he was eventually badly beaten and then killed in an explosion set by the Joker, but was later revived. He used the Joker's old persona, the Red Hood, and became an antihero vigilante with no qualms about using firearms or deadly force. Carrie Kelley, the first female Robin to appear in Batman stories, was the final Robin in the continuity of Frank Miller's graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again, fighting alongside an aging Batman in stories set out of the mainstream continuity.

The third Robin in mainstream comics is Tim Drake, who first appeared in 1989. He went on to star in his own comic series, and currently goes by Red Robin, a variation on the traditional Robin persona. In the first decade of the new millennium, Stephanie Brown served as the fourth in-universe Robin between stints as her self-made vigilante identity The Spoiler, and later as Batgirl.[98] After Stephanie Brown's apparent death, Drake resumed the role of Robin for a time. The role eventually passed to Damian Wayne, the ten-year-old son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, in the late 2000s.[99] Damian's tenure as du jour Robin ended when the character was killed off in the pages of Batman Incorporated in 2013.[100] Batman's next young sidekick is Harper Row, a streetwise young woman who avoids the name Robin but followed the ornithological theme nonetheless; she debuted the codename and identity of Bluebird in 2014. Unlike the Robins, Bluebird is willing and permitted to use a gun, albeit non-lethal; her weapon of choice is a modified rifle that fires taser rounds.[101] In 2015, a new series began titled We Are Robin, focused on a group of teenagers using the Robin persona to fight crime in Gotham City.

Wayne family

Helena Wayne is the biological daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle of an alternate universe established in the early 1960s (Multiverse) where the golden-age stories took place.

Damian Wayne is the biological son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul,[63][102][103] and thus the grandson of Ra's al Ghul.

Terry McGinnis is the biological son of Bruce Wayne in the DC animated universe, and has taken over the role as Batman when Bruce has become too elderly to do it.

Romantic interests

Writers have varied in the approach over the years to the "playboy" aspect of Bruce Wayne's persona. Some writers show his playboy reputation as a manufactured illusion to support his mission as Batman, while others have depicted Bruce Wayne as genuinely enjoying the benefits of being "Gotham's most eligible bachelor". Bruce Wayne has been portrayed as being romantically linked with many women throughout his various incarnations. The most significant relationships occurred with Selina Kyle, who is also Catwoman[104] and Talia al Ghul, as both women gave birth to his biological offsprings, Helena Wayne and Damian Wayne, respectively.

Batman's first romantic interest was Julie Madison in Detective Comics #31 (Sept. 1939), however their romance was short-lived. Some of Batman's romantic interests have been women with a respected status in society, such as Julie Madison, Vicki Vale, and Silver St. Cloud. Batman has also been romantically involved with allies, such as Kathy Kane (Batwoman), Sasha Bordeaux, and Wonder Woman, and with villains, such as Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Jezebel Jet, Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy), and Talia al Ghul.

Catwoman

Main article: Catwoman

While most of Batman's romantic relationships tend to be short in duration, Catwoman has been his most enduring romance throughout the years.[105] The attraction between Batman and Catwoman, whose real name is Selina Kyle, is present in nearly every version and medium in which the characters appear. Although Catwoman is typically portrayed as a villain, Batman and Catwoman have worked together in achieving common goals and are usually depicted as having a romantic connection.

In an early 1980s storyline, Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne develop a relationship, in which the closing panel of the final story shows her referring to Batman as "Bruce". However, a change in the editorial team brought a swift end to that storyline and, apparently, all that transpired during the story arc. Out of costume, Bruce and Selina develop a romantic relationship during The Long Halloween. The story shows Selina saving Bruce from Poison Ivy. However, the relationship ends when Bruce rejects her advances twice; once as Bruce and once as Batman. In Batman: Dark Victory, he stands her up on two holidays, causing her to leave him for good and to leave Gotham City for a while. When the two meet at an opera many years later, during the events of the twelve-issue story arc called "Hush", Bruce comments that the two no longer have a relationship as Bruce and Selina. However, "Hush" sees Batman and Catwoman allied against the entire rogues gallery and rekindling their romantic relationship. In "'Hush", Batman reveals his true identity to Catwoman.

The Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world, partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Selina Kyle, as shown in Superman Family #211. They have a daughter named Helena Wayne, who becomes the Huntress. Along with Dick Grayson, the Earth-Two Robin, the Huntress takes the role as Gotham's protector once Bruce Wayne retires to become police commissioner, a position he occupies until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman.

Batman and Catwoman are shown having a sexual encounter on the roof of a building in Catwoman vol. 4, #1 (2011); the same issue implies that the two have an ongoing sexual relationship.[106] Following the 2016 DC Rebirth continuity reboot, the two once again have a sexual encounter on top of a building in Batman vol. 3, #14 (2017).[107]

Following the 2016 DC Rebirth continuity reboot, Batman and Catwoman work together in the third volume of Batman. The two also have a romantic relationship, in which they are shown having a sexual encounter on a rooftop and sleeping together.[107][108][109] Bruce proposes to Selina in Batman vol. 3, #24 (2017),[110] and in issue #32, Selina asks Bruce to propose to her again. When he does so, she says, "Yes." [109]

Batman Annual vol. 3, #2 (Jan. 2018) centers on a romantic storyline between Batman and Catwoman. Towards the end, the story is flash-forwarded to the future, in which Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are a married couple in their golden years. Bruce receives a terminal medical diagnosis, and Selina cares for him until his death.[109]

Abilities

Skills and training

Batman has no inherent superhuman powers; he relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess".[30] Batman's inexhaustible wealth gives him access to advanced technologies, and as a proficient scientist, he is able to use and modify these technologies to his advantage. In the stories, Batman is regarded as one of the world's greatest detectives, if not the world's greatest crime solver.[111] Batman has been repeatedly described as having a genius-level intellect, being one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, and having peak human physical conditioning.[112] As a polymath, his knowledge and expertise in countless disciplines is nearly unparalleled by any other character in the DC Universe.[113] He has traveled the world acquiring the skills needed to aid him in his endeavors as Batman. In the Superman: Doomed story arc, Superman considers Batman to be one of the most brilliant minds on the planet.[114]

Batman has trained extensively in various martial arts, mastering many different types, making him one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the DC Universe. Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth", able to defeat an entire team of superpowered extraterrestrials by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates in Grant Morrison's first storyline in JLA.

Batman is strongly disciplined, and he has the ability to function under great physical pain and resist most forms of telepathy and mind control. He is a master of disguise, multilingual, and an expert in espionage, often gathering information under the identity of a notorious gangster named Matches Malone. Batman is highly skilled in stealth movement and escapology, which allows him to appear and disappear at will and to break free of nearly inescapable deathtraps with little to no harm.

Batman is an expert in interrogation techniques and his intimidating and frightening appearance alone is often all that is needed in getting information from suspects. Despite having the potential to harm his enemies, Batman's most defining characteristic is his strong commitment to justice and his reluctance to take a life. This unyielding moral rectitude has earned him the respect of several heroes in the DC Universe, most notably that of Superman and Wonder Woman.

Among physical and other crime fighting related training, he is also proficient at other types of skills. Some of these include being a licensed pilot (in order to operate the Batplane), as well as being able to operate other types of machinery. In some publications, he underwent some magician training.

In the comic, The Many Deaths of the Batman which focused on a former demolitions teacher of Batman who killed Batman's other teachers which included a race car driver, chemist, body builder, and gymnast all of whom were experts in their field.

Technology

Batman utilizes a vast arsenal of specialized, high-tech vehicles and gadgets in his war against crime, the designs of which usually share a bat motif. Batman historian Les Daniels credits Gardner Fox with creating the concept of Batman's arsenal with the introduction of the utility belt in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939) and the first bat-themed weapons the batarang and the "Batgyro" in Detective Comics #31 and #32 (Sept., Oct. 1939).[26]

Personal armor

Main article: Batsuit

Batman's body armored costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals.[115] The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through various decades, stories, media and artists' interpretations, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a scallop-hem cape; a cowl covering most of the face; a pair of bat-like ears; a stylized bat emblem on the chest; and the ever-present utility belt. Finger and Kane originally conceptualized Batman as having a black cape and cowl and grey suit, but conventions in coloring called for black to be highlighted with blue.[115] Hence, the costume's colors have appeared in the comics as dark blue and grey;[115] as well as black and grey. In the Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns films, Batman has been depicted as completely black with a bat in the middle surrounded by a yellow background. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy depicted Batman wearing high-tech gear painted completely black with a black bat in the middle. Ben Affleck's Batman in the DC Extended Universe films wears a suit grey in color with a black cowl, cape, and bat symbol.

Batman's batsuit aids in his combat against enemies, having the properties of both Kevlar and Nomex. It protects him from gunfire and other significant impacts. His gloves typically feature three scallops that protrude from long, gauntlet-like cuffs, although in his earliest appearances he wore short, plain gloves without the scallops.[116] The overall look of the character, particularly the length of the cowl's ears and of the cape, varies greatly depending on the artist. Dennis O'Neil said, "We now say that Batman has two hundred suits hanging in the Batcave so they don't have to look the same ... Everybody loves to draw Batman, and everybody wants to put their own spin on it."[117]

Batmobile

Main article: Batmobile

Batman's primary vehicle is the Batmobile, which is usually depicted as an imposing black car, often with tailfins that suggest a bat's wings. Batman also has an aircraft called the Batplane (later called the "Batwing"), along with various other means of transportation. In proper practice, the "bat" prefix (as in Batmobile or batarang) is rarely used by Batman himself when referring to his equipment, particularly after some portrayals (primarily the 1960s Batman live-action television show and the Super Friends animated series) stretched the practice to campy proportions. For example, the 1960s television show depicted a Batboat, Bat-Sub, and Batcycle, among other bat-themed vehicles. The 1960s television series Batman has an arsenal that includes such "bat-" names as the bat-computer, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-cuffs, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, bat-shark repellent bat-spray, and bat-rope. The storyline "A Death in the Family" suggests that given Batman's grim nature, he is unlikely to have adopted the "bat" prefix on his own. In The Dark Knight Returns, Batman tells Carrie Kelley that the original Robin came up with the name "Batmobile" when he was young, since that is what a kid would call Batman's vehicle. The Batmobile was redesigned in 2011 when DC Comics relaunched its entire line of comic books, with the batmobile being given heavier armor and new aesthetics.

Utility belt

Main article: Batman's utility belt

Batman keeps most of his field equipment in his utility belt. Over the years it has shown to contain an assortment of crime-fighting tools, weapons, and investigative and technological instruments. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in compartments, often as pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it. Batman is often depicted as carrying a projectile which shoots a retractable grappling hook attached to a cable. This allows him to attach to distant objects, be propelled into the air, and thus swing from the rooftops of Gotham City. An exception to the range of Batman's equipment are guns, which he refuses to use on principle, since a gun was used in his parents' murder.

Bat-Signal

Main article: Bat-Signal

When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens called the Bat-Signal, which shines into the night sky, creating a bat-symbol on a passing cloud which can be seen from any point in Gotham. The origin of the signal varies, depending on the continuity and medium.

In various incarnations, most notably the 1960s Batman TV series, Commissioner Gordon also has a dedicated phone line, dubbed the Bat-Phone, connected to a bright red telephone (in the TV series) which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent top. The line connects directly to Batman's residence, Wayne Manor, specifically both to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study and the extension phone in the Batcave.

Batcave

Main article: Batcave

The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his mansion, Wayne Manor. As his command center, the Batcave serves multiple purposes; supercomputer, surveillance, redundant power-generators, forensics lab, medical infirmary, private study, training dojo, fabrication workshop, arsenal, hangar and garage. It houses the vehicles and equipment Batman uses in his campaign to fight crime. It is also a trophy room and storage facility for Batman's unique memorabilia collected over the years from various cases he has worked on. In both the comic Batman: Shadow of the Bat #45 and the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cave is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad.

Fictional character biography

Batman's history has undergone many retroactive continuity revisions, both minor and major. Elements of the character's history have varied greatly. Scholars William Uricchio and Roberta E. Pearson noted in the early 1990s, "Unlike some fictional characters, the Batman has no primary urtext set in a specific period, but has rather existed in a plethora of equally valid texts constantly appearing over more than five decades."[118]

20th century

Origin

Thomas and Martha Wayne are shot by Joe Chill in Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939). Art by Bob Kane.

The central fixed event in the Batman stories is the character's origin story.[82] As a young boy, Bruce Wayne was horrified and traumatized when he watched his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, murdered with a gun by a mugger named Joe Chill. Batman refuses to utilize any sort of gun on the principle that a gun was used to murder his parents. This event drove him to train his body to its peak condition and fight crime in Gotham City as Batman. Pearson and Uricchio also noted beyond the origin story and such events as the introduction of Robin, "Until recently, the fixed and accruing and hence, canonized, events have been few in number",[82] a situation altered by an increased effort by later Batman editors such as Dennis O'Neil to ensure consistency and continuity between stories.[119]

Golden age

See also: Batman (Earth-Two)

In Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27, he is already operating as a crime-fighter.[120] Batman's origin is first presented in Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939) and is later expanded upon in Batman #47. As these comics state, Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two very wealthy and charitable Gotham City socialites. Bruce is brought up in Wayne Manor, and leads a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents are killed by a small-time criminal named Joe Chill while on their way home from a movie theater. That night, Bruce Wayne swears an oath to spend his life fighting crime. He engages in intense intellectual and physical training; however, he realizes that these skills alone would not be enough. "Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot", Wayne remarks, "so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible ..." As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to craft the Batman persona.[121]

In early strips, Batman's career as a vigilante earns him the ire of the police. During this period, Bruce Wayne has a fiancée named Julie Madison.[122] In Detective Comics #38, Wayne takes in an orphaned circus acrobat, Dick Grayson, who becomes his vigilante partner, Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America,[123] although he, like Superman, is an honorary member,[124] and thus only participates occasionally. Batman's relationship with the law thaws quickly, and he is made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department.[125] During this time, Alfred Pennyworth arrives at Wayne Manor, and after deducing the Dynamic Duo's secret identities, joins their service as their butler.[126]

Silver age

The Silver Age of Comic Books in DC Comics is sometimes held to have begun in 1956 when the publisher introduced Barry Allen as a new, updated version of The Flash. Batman is not significantly changed by the late 1950s for the continuity which would be later referred to as Earth-One. The lighter tone Batman had taken in the period between the golden and silver ages led to the stories of the late 1950s and early 1960s that often feature many science-fiction elements, and Batman is not significantly updated in the manner of other characters until Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), in which Batman reverts to his detective roots, with most science-fiction elements jettisoned from the series.

After the introduction of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, DC established that stories from the golden age star the Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world. This version of Batman partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle. The two have a daughter, Helena Wayne, who becomes the Huntress. She assumes the position as Gotham's protector along with Dick Grayson, the Earth-Two Robin, once Bruce Wayne retires to become police commissioner. Wayne holds the position of police commissioner until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman. Batman titles however often ignored that a distinction had been made between the pre-revamp and post-revamp Batmen (since unlike The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman comics had been published without interruption through the 1950s) and would occasionally make reference to stories from the golden age.[127] Nevertheless, details of Batman's history were altered or expanded upon through the decades. Additions include meetings with a future Superman during his youth, his upbringing by his uncle Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, Feb. 1969) after his parents' death, and appearances of his father and himself as prototypical versions of Batman and Robin, respectively.[128][129] In 1980 then-editor Paul Levitz commissioned the Untold Legend of the Batman limited series to thoroughly chronicle Batman's origin and history.

Batman meets and regularly works with other heroes during the silver age, most notably Superman, whom he began regularly working alongside in a series of team-ups in World's Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through the series' cancellation in 1986. Batman and Superman are usually depicted as close friends. As a founding member of the Justice League of America, Batman appears in its first story, in 1960's Brave and the Bold #28. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brave and the Bold became a Batman title, in which Batman teams up with a different DC Universe superhero each month.

Bronze Age

In 1969, Dick Grayson attends college as part of DC Comics' effort to revise the Batman comics. Additionally, Batman also moves from his mansion, Wayne Manor into a penthouse apartment atop the Wayne Foundation building in downtown Gotham City, in order to be closer to Gotham City's crime. Batman spends the 1970s and early 1980s mainly working solo, with occasional team-ups with Robin and/or Batgirl. Batman's adventures also become somewhat darker and more grim during this period, depicting increasingly violent crimes, including the first appearance (since the early golden age) of the Joker as a homicidal psychopath, and the arrival of Ra's al Ghul, a centuries-old terrorist who knows Batman's secret identity. In the 1980s, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing.[6]

In the final issue of Brave and the Bold in 1983, Batman quits the Justice League and forms a new group called the Outsiders. He serves as the team's leader until Batman and the Outsiders #32 (1986) and the comic subsequently changed its title.

Modern age

After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics retconned the histories of some major characters in an attempt at updating them for contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retold Batman's origin in the storyline "Year One" from Batman #404–407, which emphasizes a grittier tone in the character.[130] Though the Earth-Two Batman is erased from history, many stories of Batman's silver-age/Earth-One career (along with an amount of golden-age ones) remain canonical in the post-Crisis universe, with his origins remaining the same in essence, despite alteration. For example, Gotham's police are mostly corrupt, setting up further need for Batman's existence. The guardian Phillip Wayne is removed leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred Pennyworth. Additionally, Batman is no longer a founding member of the Justice League of America, although he becomes leader for a short time of a new incarnation of the team launched in 1987. To help fill in the revised backstory for Batman following Crisis, DC launched a new Batman title called Legends of the Dark Knight in 1989 and has published various miniseries and one-shot stories since then that largely take place during the "Year One" period.

Subsequently, Batman begins exhibiting an excessive, reckless approach to his crime-fighting, a result of the pain of losing Jason Todd. Batman works solo until the decade's close, when Tim Drake becomes the new Robin.[131]

Many of the major Batman storylines since the 1990s have been inter-title crossovers that run for a number of issues. In 1993, DC published "Knightfall". During the storyline's first phase, the new villain Bane paralyzes Batman, leading Wayne to ask Azrael to take on the role. After the end of "Knightfall", the storylines split in two directions, following both the Azrael-Batman's adventures, and Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman once more. The story arcs realign in "KnightsEnd", as Azrael becomes increasingly violent and is defeated by a healed Bruce Wayne. Wayne hands the Batman mantle to Dick Grayson (then Nightwing) for an interim period, while Wayne trains for a return to the role.[132]

The 1994 company-wide crossover storyline "Zero Hour" changes aspects of DC continuity again, including those of Batman. Noteworthy among these changes is that the general populace and the criminal element now considers Batman an urban legend rather than a known force.

Batman once again becomes a member of the Justice League during Grant Morrison's 1996 relaunch of the series, titled JLA. During this time, Gotham City faces catastrophe in the decade's closing crossover arc. In 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline, Gotham City is devastated by an earthquake and ultimately cut off from the United States. Deprived of many of his technological resources, Batman fights to reclaim the city from legions of gangs during 1999's "No Man's Land".

Meanwhile, Batman's relationship with the Gotham City Police Department changed for the worse with the events of "Batman: Officer Down" and "Batman: War Games/War Crimes"; Batman's long-time law enforcement allies Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock are forced out of the police department in "Officer Down", while "War Games" and "War Crimes" saw Batman become a wanted fugitive after a contingency plan of his to neutralize Gotham City's criminal underworld is accidentally triggered, resulting in a massive gang war that ends with the sadistic Black Mask the undisputed ruler of the city's criminal gangs. Lex Luthor arranges for the murder of Batman's on-again, off-again love interest Vesper (introduced in the mid-1990s) during the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" and "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" story arcs. Though Batman is able to clear his name, he loses another ally in the form of his new bodyguard Sasha, who is recruited into the organization known as "Checkmate" while stuck in prison due to her refusal to turn state's evidence against her employer. While he was unable to prove that Luthor was behind the murder of Vesper, Batman does get his revenge with help from Talia al Ghul in Superman/Batman #1–6.

21st century

2000s

DC Comics' 2005 limited series Identity Crisis reveals that JLA member Zatanna had edited Batman's memories to prevent him from stopping the Justice League from lobotomizing Dr. Light after he raped Sue Dibny. Batman later creates the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over and, if necessary, kill the other heroes after he remembered. The revelation of Batman's creation and his tacit responsibility for Blue Beetle's death becomes a driving force in the lead-up to the Infinite Crisis miniseries, which again restructures DC continuity. Batman and a team of superheroes destroy Brother Eye and the OMACs, though, at the very end, Batman reaches his apparent breaking point when Alexander Luthor Jr. seriously wounds Nightwing. Picking up a gun, Batman nearly shoots Luthor in order to avenge his former sidekick, until Wonder Woman convinces him to not pull the trigger.

Following Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson (having recovered from his wounds), and Tim Drake retrace the steps Bruce had taken when he originally left Gotham City, to "rebuild Batman".[133] In the Face the Face storyline, Batman and Robin return to Gotham City after their year-long absence. Part of this absence is captured during Week 30 of the 52 series, which shows Batman fighting his inner demons.[134] Later on in 52, Batman is shown undergoing an intense meditation ritual in Nanda Parbat. This becomes an important part of the regular Batman title, which reveals that Batman is reborn as a more effective crime fighter while undergoing this ritual, having "hunted down and ate" the last traces of fear in his mind.[135][136] At the end of the "Face the Face" story arc, Bruce officially adopts Tim (who had lost both of his parents at various points in the character's history) as his son.[137] The follow-up story arc in Batman, Batman and Son, introduces Damian Wayne, who is Batman's son with Talia al Ghul. Although originally in Son of the Demon, Bruce's coupling with Talia was implied to be consensual, this arc ret-conned it into Talia forcing herself on Bruce.[138]

Batman, along with Superman and Wonder Woman, reforms the Justice League in the new Justice League of America series,[139] and is leading the newest incarnation of the Outsiders.[140]

Grant Morrison's 2008 storyline, "Batman R.I.P." featured Batman being physically and mentally broken by the enigmatic villain Doctor Hurt and attracted news coverage in advance of its highly promoted conclusion, which would speculated to feature the death of Bruce Wayne.[141] However, though Batman is shown to possibly perish at the end of the arc, the two-issue arc "Last Rites", which leads into the crossover storylines "Final Crisis", shows that Batman survives his helicopter crash into the Gotham City River and returns to the Batcave, only to be summoned to the Hall of Justice by the JLA to help investigate the New God Orion's death. The story ends with Batman retrieving the god-killing bullet used to kill Orion, setting up its use in "Final Crisis".[142] In the pages of Final Crisis Batman is reduced to a charred skeleton.[143] In Final Crisis #7 Wayne is shown witnessing the passing of the first man, Anthro.[144][145] Wayne's "death" sets up the three-issue Battle for the Cowl miniseries in which Wayne's ex-proteges compete for the "right" to assume the role of Batman, which concludes with Grayson becoming Batman,[146] while Tim Drake takes on the identity of Red Robin.[147] Dick and Damian continue as Batman and Robin, and in the crossover storyline "Blackest Night", what appears to be Bruce's corpse is reanimated as a Black Lantern zombie,[148] but is later shown that Bruce's corpse is one of Darkseid's failed Batman clones. Dick and Batman's other friends conclude that Bruce is alive.[149][150]

2010s

Bruce subsequently returned in Morrison's miniseries Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, which depicted his travels through time from prehistory to present-day Gotham.[151][152][153] Bruce's return set up Batman Incorporated, an ongoing series which focused on Wayne franchising the Batman identity across the globe, allowing Dick and Damian to continue as Gotham's Dynamic Duo. Bruce publicly announced that Wayne Enterprises will aid Batman on his mission, known as "Batman, Incorporated". However, due to rebooted continuity that occurred as part of DC Comics' 2011 relaunch of all of its comic books, the New 52, Dick Grayson was restored as Nightwing with Wayne serving as the sole Batman once again. The relaunch also interrupted the publication of Batman, Incorporated, which resumed its story in 2012–2013 with changes to suit the new status quo.

Cultural impact and legacy

Batman has become a pop culture icon, recognized around the world. The character's presence has extended beyond his comic book origins; events such as the release of the 1989 Batman film and its accompanying merchandising "brought the Batman to the forefront of public consciousness". In an article commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the character, The Guardian wrote, "Batman is a figure blurred by the endless reinvention that is modern mass culture. He is at once an icon and a commodity: the perfect cultural artefact for the 21st century."[155]

In other media

Main article: Batman franchise media

The character of Batman has appeared in various media aside from comic books, such as newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television, a stage show, and several theatrical feature films. The first adaptation of Batman was as a daily newspaper comic strip which premiered on October 25, 1943.[156] That same year the character was adapted in the 15-part serial Batman, with Lewis Wilson becoming the first actor to portray Batman on screen. While Batman never had a radio series of his own, the character made occasional guest appearances in The Adventures of Superman starting in 1945 on occasions when Superman voice actor Bud Collyer needed time off.[157] A second movie serial, Batman and Robin, followed in 1949, with Robert Lowery taking over the role of Batman. The exposure provided by these adaptations during the 1940s "helped make [Batman] a household name for millions who never bought a comic book".[157]

In the 1964 publication of Donald Barthelme's collection of short stories Come Back, Dr. Caligari, Barthelme wrote "The Joker's Greatest Triumph". Batman is portrayed for purposes of spoof as a pretentious French-speaking rich man.[158]

Television

The Batman television series, starring Adam West, premiered in January 1966 on the ABC television network. Inflected with a camp sense of humor, the show became a pop culture phenomenon. In his memoir, Back to the Batcave, West notes his dislike for the term 'camp' as it was applied to the 1960s series, opining that the show was instead a farce or lampoon, and a deliberate one, at that. The series ran for 120 episodes; ending in 1968. In between the first and second season of the Batman television series, the cast and crew made the theatrical film Batman (1966). The Who recorded the theme song from the Batman show for their 1966 EP Ready Steady Who, and The Kinks performed the theme song on their 1967 album Live at Kelvin Hall.

The popularity of the Batman TV series also resulted in the first animated adaptation of Batman in The Batman/Superman Hour;[159] the Batman segments of the series were repackaged as The Adventures of Batman and Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder which produced thirty-three episodes between 1968 and 1977. From 1973 until 1986, Batman had a starring role in ABC's Super Friends series; which was animated by Hanna-Barbera. Olan Soule was the voice of Batman in all these shows, but was eventually replaced during Super Friends by Adam West, who also voiced the character in Filmation's 1977 series The New Adventures of Batman.

In 1992, Batman: The Animated Series premiered on the Fox television network; produced by Warner Bros. Animation and featuring Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman. The series received considerable acclaim for its darker tone, mature writing, stylistic design, and thematic complexity compared to previous superhero cartoons,[160][161] in addition to multiple Emmy Awards.[citation needed]The series' success led to the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993),[162] as well as various spin-off TV series; including Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited (each of which also featured Conroy as Batman's voice). The futuristic series Batman Beyond also took place in this same animated continuity and featured a newer, younger Batman voiced by Will Friedle, with the elderly Bruce Wayne (again voiced by Conroy) as a mentor.

In 2004, an unrelated animated series titled The Batman made its debut with Rino Romano voicing Batman. In 2008, this show was replaced by another animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, featuring Diedrich Bader's voice as Batman. In 2013, a new CGI-animated series titled Beware the Batman made its debut, with Anthony Ruivivar voicing Batman.[163]

In 2014, the live-action TV series Gotham premiered on the Fox network, featuring David Mazouz as a 12-year-old Bruce Wayne. In 2018, when the series was renewed for its fifth and final season it was announced that Batman would make an appearance in the show's series finale's flash-forward.

For the season 1 finale of Titans, Alain Moussi portrays Batman as a stunt double.[164]Iain Glen will portray Bruce Wayne for the show's second season.[165]

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the character, Warner Bros aired the television short film, Batman: Strange Days, that was also posted on DC's channel.

Film

Main article: Batman in film

In 1989, Warner Bros. released the live-action feature film Batman; directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the title character. The film was a huge success; not only was it the top-grossing film of the year, but at the time was the fifth highest-grossing film in history.[166] The film also won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.[167] The film's success spawned three sequels: Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997); the latter two of which were directed by Joel Schumacher instead of Burton, and replaced Keaton as Batman with Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively. The second Schumacher film failed to outgross any of its predecessors and was critically panned; causing Warner Bros. to cancel the planned fourth sequel, Batman Unchained,[168] and end the initial film series.

A man in a batsuit, with a cowl on his head, a utility belt, and a cape flowing behind him.
Christian Bale as Batman in the 2005 film Batman Begins.

In 2005, Batman Begins was released by Warner Bros. as a reboot of the film series; directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman. Its sequel, The Dark Knight (2008), set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time in the U.S., earning approximately 8 million,[169] and became the fastest film to reach the 0 million mark in the history of American cinema (eighteenth day of release).[170] These record-breaking attendances saw The Dark Knight end its run as the second-highest domestic grossing film (at the time) with 3 million, bested then only by Titanic.[171] The film also won two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for the late Heath Ledger.[172] It was eventually followed by The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which served as a conclusion to Nolan's film series.

Since 2008, Batman has also starred in various direct-to-video animated films under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner. Kevin Conroy has reprised his voice role of Batman for several of these films, while others have featured celebrity voice actors in the role; including Jeremy Sisto, William Baldwin, Bruce Greenwood, Ben McKenzie, and Peter Weller.[173] A Lego-themed version of Batman was also featured as one of the protagonists in the animated film The Lego Movie (2014), with Will Arnett providing the voice.[174] Arnett reprised the voice role for the spin-off film The Lego Batman Movie (2017).[175]

In 2016, Ben Affleck began portraying Batman in the DC Extended Universe with the release of the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder.[176] Affleck also made a cameo appearance as Batman in David Ayer's film Suicide Squad (2016).[177] Affleck reprised the role in the 2017 film Justice League,[178][179] also set in the DC Extended Universe.[180][181][182]

On October 23, 2018, Dante Pereira-Olson was cast as a young Bruce Wayne in the upcoming film Joker.[183][184]

Video games

See also: List of Batman video games

Since 1986, Batman has starred in multiple video games, most of which were adaptations of the various cinematic or animated incarnations of the character. Among the most successful of these games is the Batman: Arkham series. The first installment, Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009), was released by Rocksteady Studios to critical acclaim; review aggregator Metacritic reports it as having received 92% positive reviews.[185] It was followed by the sequel Batman: Arkham City (2011), which also received widespread acclaim and holds a Metacritic ranking of 94%.[186] A prequel game titled Batman: Arkham Origins (2013) was later released by WB Games Montréal.[187] A fourth game titled Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) has also been released by Rocksteady.[188] As with most animated Batman productions, Kevin Conroy has provided the voice of the character for these games; excluding Arkham Origins, in which the younger Batman is voiced by Roger Craig Smith. In 2016, Telltale Games released Batman: The Telltale Series adventure game, which changed the Wayne Family's history as it is depicted in the Batman mythos.[189] A sequel, titled Batman: The Enemy Within, was released in 2017.[190]

Interpretations

Gay interpretations

Further information: Homosexuality in the Batman franchise

Gay interpretations of the character have been part of the academic study of Batman since psychologist Fredric Wertham asserted in Seduction of the Innocent in 1954 that "Batman stories are psychologically homosexual ... The Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies, of the nature of which they may be unconscious."[191] Andy Medhurst wrote in his 1991 essay "Batman, Deviance, and Camp" that Batman is interesting to gay audiences because "he was one of the first fictional characters to be attacked on the grounds of his presumed homosexuality".[192] Professor of film and cultural studies Will Brooker argues the validity of a queer reading of Batman, and that gay readers would naturally find themselves drawn to the lifestyle depicted within, whether the character of Bruce Wayne himself were explicitly gay or not. He also identifies a homophobic element to the vigor with which mainstream fandom rejects the possibility of a gay reading of the character.[193] In 2005, painter Mark Chamberlain displayed a number of watercolors depicting both Batman and Robin in suggestive and sexually explicit poses,[194] prompting DC to threaten legal action.[195]

Creators associated with the character have expressed their own opinions. Writer Alan Grant has stated, "The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay ... everybody's Batman all the way back to Bob Kane ... none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view."[196] Frank Miller views the character as sublimating his sexual urges into crimefighting so much so that he's "borderline pathological", concluding "He'd be much healthier if he were gay."[197]Grant Morrison said that "Gayness is built into Batman ... Obviously as a fictional character he's intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay."[198]

Psychological interpretations

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This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2019)

Batman has been the subject of psychological study for some time, and there have been a number of interpretations into the character's psyche.

In Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight, Travis Langley argues that the concept of archetypes as described by psychologists Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell is present in the Batman mythos, such that the character represents the "shadow archetype". This archetype, according to Langley, represents a person's own dark side; it is not necessarily an evil one, but rather one that is hidden from the outside and concealed from both the world and oneself. Langley argues that Bruce Wayne confronts his own darkness early in life; he chooses to use it to instill fear in wrongdoers, with his bright and dark sides working together to fight evil. Langley uses the Jungian perspective to assert that Batman appeals to our own need to face our "shadow selves".[199][200] Dr. Travis Langley also taught a class called Batman, a title he was adamant about."I could have called it something like the Psychology of Nocturnal Vigilantism, but no. I called it Batman," Langley says.[201] Psychiatrists (e.g., Bender, Kambam, & Pozios, 2011; Wertham, 1954) and psychologists (e.g., Daniels, 2008; Dreyer, 2009; Killian, 2007; Langley & Rosenberg, 2011; plus others interviewed in the History Channel documentary Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight) analyze Batman more than any other superhero .[202]

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  119. ^ Bill Finger (w), Bob Kane (p). "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), DC Comics
  120. ^ Bill Finger (w), Bob Kane (p). "The Batman Wars Against the Dirigible of Doom" Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939), DC Comics
  121. ^ She first appears in Detective Comics #31 (Sept. 1939)
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  133. ^ 52 #30
  134. ^ Batman #673
  135. ^ Batman #681
  136. ^ James Robinson (w), Don Kramer (p). "Face the Face – Conclusion" Batman 654 (Aug. 2006), DC Comics
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    Bruce: "I remember being drugged senseless and refusing to co-operate in some depraved eugenics experiment."
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External links


Species of reptile

This article is about the North American turtle. For the summer camp, see The Painted Turtle.

The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the most widespread native turtle of North America. It lives in slow-moving fresh waters, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The turtle is the only species of the genus Chrysemys, which is part of the pond turtle family Emydidae. Fossils show that the painted turtle existed 15 million years ago. Four regionally based subspecies (the eastern, midland, southern, and western) evolved during the last ice age.

The adult painted turtle female is 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long; the male is smaller. The turtle's top shell is dark and smooth, without a ridge. Its skin is olive to black with red, orange, or yellow stripes on its extremities. The subspecies can be distinguished by their shells: the eastern has straight-aligned top shell segments; the midland has a large gray mark on the bottom shell; the southern has a red line on the top shell; the western has a red pattern on the bottom shell.

The turtle eats aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects, crustaceans, and fish. Although they are frequently consumed as eggs or hatchlings by rodents, canines, and snakes, the adult turtles' hard shells protect them from most predators. Reliant on warmth from its surroundings, the painted turtle is active only during the day when it basks for hours on logs or rocks. During winter, the turtle hibernates, usually in the mud at the bottom of water bodies. The turtles mate in spring and autumn. Females dig nests on land and lay eggs between late spring and mid-summer. Hatched turtles grow until sexual maturity: 2–9 years for males, 6–16 for females.

In the traditional tales of Algonquian tribes, the colorful turtle played the part of a trickster. In modern times, four U.S. states have named the painted turtle their official reptile. While habitat loss and road killings have reduced the turtle's population, its ability to live in human-disturbed settings has helped it remain the most abundant turtle in North America. Adults in the wild can live for more than 55 years.

Contents

Description[edit]

A painted turtle is swimming, apparently in an aquarium, and we see it front on at large scale, with its left webbed foot raised.
Painted turtle's yellow face-stripes, philtrum (nasal groove), and foot webbing

The painted turtle's shell is 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long, oval, smooth with little grooves where the large scale-like plates overlap, and flat-bottomed.[7][nb 2][8] The color of the top shell (carapace) varies from olive to black. Darker specimens are more common where the bottom of the water body is darker. The bottom shell (plastron) is yellow, sometimes red, sometimes with dark markings in the center. Similar to the top shell, the turtle's skin is olive to black, but with red and yellow stripes on its neck, legs, and tail.[11] As with other pond turtles, such as the bog turtle, the painted turtle's feet are webbed to aid swimming.[13][14]

The head of the turtle is distinctive. The face has only yellow stripes, with a large yellow spot and streak behind each eye, and on the chin two wide yellow stripes that meet at the tip of the jaw.[7] The turtle's upper jaw is shaped into an inverted "V" (philtrum), with a downward-facing, tooth-like projection on each side.

The hatchling has a proportionally larger head, eyes, and tail, and a more circular shell than the adult. The adult female is generally longer than the male, 10–25 cm (4–10 in) versus 7–15 cm (3–6 in). For a given length, the female has a higher (more rounded, less flat) top shell.[19] The female weighs around 500 g (18 oz) on average, against the males' average adult weight of roughly 300 g (11 oz).[20] The female's greater body volume supports her egg-production.[21] The male has longer foreclaws and a longer, thicker tail, with the anus (cloaca) located further out on the tail.[7][8][22]

Subspecies[edit]

Although the subspecies of painted turtle intergrade (blend together) at range boundaries[23] they are distinct within the hearts of their ranges.[24]

  • The male eastern painted turtle (C. p. picta) is 13–17 cm (5–7 in) long, while the female is 14–17 cm (6–7 in). The upper shell is olive green to black and may possess a pale stripe down the middle and red markings on the periphery. The segments (scutes) of the top shell have pale leading edges and occur in straight rows across the back, unlike all other North American turtles, including the other three subspecies of painted turtle, which have alternating segments.[24] The bottom shell is plain yellow or lightly spotted. Sometimes as few as one dark grey spot near the lower center of the shell.[25]
  • The midland painted turtle (C. p. marginata) is 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long.[26] The centrally located midland is the hardest to distinguish from the other three subspecies.[24] Its bottom shell has a characteristic symmetrical dark shadow in the center which varies in size and prominence.
  • The southern painted turtle (C. p. dorsalis), the smallest subspecies, is 10–14 cm (4–6 in) long. Its top stripe is a prominent red,[24] and its bottom shell is tan and spotless or nearly so.
  • The largest subspecies is the western painted turtle (C. p. bellii), which grows up to 26.6 cm (10 in) long.[31] Its top shell has a mesh-like pattern of light lines, and the top stripe present in other subspecies is missing or faint. Its bottom shell has a large colored splotch that spreads to the edges (further than the midland) and often has red hues.

Similar species[edit]

The painted turtle has a very similar appearance to the red-eared slider (the most common pet turtle) and the two are often confused. The painted turtle can be distinguished because it is flatter than the slider. Also, the slider has a prominent red marking on the side of its head (the "ear") and a spotted bottom shell, both features missing in the painted turtle.[33]

Ecology[edit]

Diet[edit]

The painted turtle hunts along water bottoms. It quickly juts its head into and out of vegetation to stir potential victims out into the open water, where they are pursued. The turtle holds large prey in its mouth and tears the prey apart with its forefeet. It also consumes plants and skims the surface of the water with its mouth open to catch small particles of food.

Although all subspecies of painted turtle eat both plants and animals, their specific diets vary.

  • The eastern painted turtle's diet is the least studied. It prefers to eat in the water, but has been observed eating on land. The fish it consumes are typically dead or injured.
  • The midland painted turtle eats mostly aquatic insects and both vascular and non-vascular plants.
  • The southern painted turtle's diet changes with age. Juveniles' diet consists of 13% vegetation, while the adults eat 88% vegetation. This perhaps shows that the turtle prefers small larvae and other prey, but can only obtain significant amounts while young. The reversal of feeding habits with age has also been seen in the false map turtle, which inhabits some of the same range. The most common plants eaten by adult southern painted turtles are duckweed and algae, and the most common prey items are dragonfly larvae and crayfish.
  • The western painted turtle's consumption of plants and animals changes seasonally. In early summer, 60% of its diet comprises insects. In late summer, 55% includes plants. Of note, the western painted turtle aids in the dispersal of white water-lily seeds. The turtle consumes the hard-coated seeds, which remain viable after passing through the turtle, and disperses them through its feces.
Common foods of the painted turtle
Procambarus clarkii9284477アメリカザリガニ.jpg
Crayfish
Dragonfly larva on lake bottom in Algonquin Provincial Park cropped and reversed.JPG
Dragonfly larva
Nymphaea odorata Bot. Mag. 40. 1652. 1814.jpg
American water lily
Curve of duckweed covered water edged with several bald cypress trees.JPG
Duckweed (water surface)

Predators[edit]

Painted turtles are most vulnerable to predators when young. Nests are frequently ransacked and the eggs eaten by garter snakes, crows, chipmunks, thirteen-lined ground and gray squirrels, skunks, groundhogs, raccoons, badgers, gray and red fox, and humans. The small and sometimes bite-size, numerous hatchlings fall prey to water bugs, bass, catfish, bullfrogs, snapping turtles, three types of snakes (copperheads, racers and water snakes), herons, rice rats, weasels, muskrats, minks, and raccoons. As adults, the turtles' armored shells protect them from many potential predators, but they still occasionally fall prey to alligators, ospreys, crows, red-shouldered hawks, bald eagles, and especially raccoons.

Painted turtles defend themselves by kicking, scratching, biting, or urinating. In contrast to land tortoises, painted turtles can right themselves if they are flipped upside down.[41]

Important predators of the painted turtle
Of eggs:
Adult fox.JPG
Red fox

Plains gartersnake.jpg
Plains garter snake

AMERICAN CROW (7143675301).jpg
Crows
Of hatchlings:
Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).jpg
Common Snapping Turtle

Water Scorpion - Nepa cinerea - Queens Wood - Hunsdon - UK - Flickr - Bennyboymothman.jpg
Water scorpion
Of adults:
Raccoon, female after washing up mirror image.jpg
Raccoon

Life cycle[edit]

Mating[edit]

Male southern painted turtle shows his long front claws
Female painted turtle

The painted turtles mate in spring and fall in waters of 10–25 °C (50–77 °F). Males start producing sperm in early spring, when they can bask to an internal temperature of 17 °C (63 °F). Females begin their reproductive cycles in mid-summer, and ovulate the following spring.[45]

Courtship begins when a male follows a female until he meets her face-to-face.[46] He then strokes her face and neck with his elongated front claws, a gesture returned by a receptive female. The pair repeat the process several times, with the male retreating from and then returning to the female until she swims to the bottom, where they copulate.[45][46] As the male is smaller than the female, he is not dominant.[46] The female stores sperm, to be used for up to three clutches, in her oviducts; the sperm may remain viable for up to three years. A single clutch may have multiple fathers.

Egg-laying[edit]

Nesting is done, by the females only, between late May and mid-July.[45] The nests are vase-shaped and are usually dug in sandy soil, often at sites with southern exposures. Nests are often within 200 m (220 yd) of water, but may be as far away as 600 m (660 yd), with older females tending to nest further inland. Nest sizes vary depending on female sizes and locations but are about 5–11 cm (2–4 in) deep. Females may return to the same sites several consecutive years, but if several females make their nests close together, the eggs become more vulnerable to predators.

A female digging a nest with her hind legs.
Female digging a nest

The female's optimal body temperature while digging her nest is 29–30 °C (84–86 °F). If the weather is unsuitable, for instance a too hot night in the Southeast, she delays the process until later at night. Painted turtles in Virginia have been observed waiting three weeks to nest because of a hot drought.

While preparing to dig her nest, the female sometimes exhibits a mysterious preliminary behavior. She presses her throat against the ground of different potential sites, perhaps sensing moisture, warmth, texture, or smell, although her exact motivation is unknown. She may further temporize by excavating several false nests as the wood turtles also do.

The female relies on her hind feet for digging. She may accumulate so much sand and mud on her feet that her mobility is reduced, making her vulnerable to predators. To lighten her labors, she lubricates the area with her bladder water. Once the nest is complete, the female deposits into the hole. The freshly laid eggs are white, elliptical, porous, and flexible. From start to finish, the female's work may take four hours. Sometimes she remains on land overnight afterwards, before returning to her home water.

Females can lay five clutches per year, but two is a normal average after including the 30–50% of a population's females that do not produce any clutches in a given year. In some northern populations, no females lay more than one clutch per year. Bigger females tend to lay bigger eggs and more eggs per clutch. Clutch sizes of the subspecies vary, although the differences may reflect different environments, rather than different genetics. The two more northerly subspecies, western and midland, are larger and have more eggs per clutch—11.9 and 7.6, respectively—than the two more southerly subspecies, southern (4.2) and eastern (4.9). Within subspecies, also, the more northerly females lay larger clutches.

Growth[edit]

Incubation lasts 72–80 days in the wild[45] and for a similar period in artificial conditions. In August and September, the young turtle breaks out from its egg, using a special projection of its jaw called the egg tooth.[53] Not all offspring leave the nest immediately, though.[45] Hatchlings north of a line from Nebraska to northern Illinois to New Jersey typically arrange themselves symmetrically in the nest and overwinter to emerge the following spring.[45]

Several baby painted turtles on moss on a light table.
Hatchlings

The hatchling's ability to survive winter in the nest has allowed the painted turtle to extend its range farther north than any other American turtle. The painted turtle is genetically adapted to survive extended periods of subfreezing temperatures with blood that can remain supercooled and skin that resists penetration from ice crystals in the surrounding ground. The hardest freezes nevertheless kill many hatchlings.[45]

Immediately after hatching, turtles are dependent on egg yolk material for sustenance. About a week to a week and a half after emerging from their eggs (or the following spring if emergence is delayed), hatchlings begin feeding to support growth. The young turtles grow rapidly at first, sometimes doubling their size in the first year. Growth slows sharply at sexual maturity and may stop completely. Likely owing to differences of habitat and food by water body, growth rates often differ from population to population in the same area. Among the subspecies, the western painted turtles are the quickest growers.

Females grow faster than males overall, and must be larger to mature sexually. In most populations males reach sexual maturity at 2–4 years old, and females at 6–10. Size and age at maturity increase with latitude; at the northern edge of their range, males reach sexual maturity at 7–9 years of age and females at 11–16.[46]

Behavior[edit]

Daily routine and basking[edit]

A painted turtle standing on a floating log
Basking for warmth

A cold-blooded reptile, the painted turtle regulates its temperature through its environment, notably by basking. All ages bask for warmth, often alongside other species of turtle. Sometimes more than 50 individuals are seen on one log together. Turtles bask on a variety of objects, often logs, but have even been seen basking on top of common loons that were covering eggs.

The turtle starts its day at sunrise, emerging from the water to bask for several hours. Warmed for activity, it returns to the water to forage. After becoming chilled, the turtle re-emerges for one to two more cycles of basking and feeding. At night, the turtle drops to the bottom of its water body or perches on an underwater object and sleeps.

To be active, the turtle must maintain an internal body temperature between 17–23 °C (63–73 °F). When fighting infection, it manipulates its temperature up to 5 °C (8 °F) higher than normal.

Seasonal routine and hibernation[edit]

In the spring, when the water reaches 15–18 °C (59–64 °F), the turtle begins actively foraging. However, if the water temperature exceeds 30 °C (86 °F), the turtle will not feed. In fall, the turtle stops foraging when temperatures drop below the spring set-point.

During the winter, the turtle hibernates. In the north, the inactive season may be as long as from October to March, while the southernmost populations may not hibernate at all. While hibernating, the body temperature of the painted turtle averages 6 °C (43 °F). Periods of warm weather bring the turtle out of hibernation, and even in the north, individuals have been seen basking in February.

The painted turtle hibernates by burying itself, either on the bottom of a body of water, near water in the shore-bank or the burrow of a muskrat, or in woods or pastures. When hibernating underwater, the turtle prefers shallow depths, no more than 2 m (7 ft). Within the mud, it may dig down an additional 1 m (3 ft). In this state, the turtle does not breathe, although if surroundings allow, it may get some oxygen through its skin.[65] The species is one of the best-studied vertebrates able to survive long periods without oxygen. Adaptations of its blood chemistry, brain, heart, and particularly its shell allow the turtle to survive extreme lactic acid buildup while oxygen-deprived.[66]

Movement[edit]

Painted turtle with green slime on its shell, on pebbles, with a couple of leaves on its back. Sun shining.
Moving on land

Searching for water, food, or mates, the painted turtles travel up to several kilometers at a time. During summer, in response to heat and water-clogging vegetation, the turtles may vacate shallow marshes for more permanent waters. Short overland migrations may involve hundreds of turtles together. If heat and drought are prolonged, the turtles will bury themselves and, in extreme cases, die.

Foraging turtles frequently cross lakes or travel linearly down creeks.[69] Daily crossings of large ponds have been observed.Tag and release studies show that sex also drives turtle movement. Males travel the most, up to 26 km (16 mi), between captures; females the second most, up to 8 km (5 mi), between captures; and juveniles the least, less than 2 km (1.2 mi), between captures. Males move the most and are most likely to change wetlands because they seek mates.

The painted turtles, through visual recognition, have homing capabilities. Many individuals can return to their collection points after being released elsewhere, trips that may require them to traverse land. One experiment placed 98 turtles varying several-kilometer distances from their home wetland; 41 returned. When living in a single large body of water, the painted turtles can home from up to 6 km (4 mi) away. Females may use homing to help locate suitable nesting sites.

Distribution[edit]

Range[edit]

The most widespread North American turtle, the painted turtle is the only turtle whose native range extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific.[nb 3] It is native to eight of Canada's ten provinces, forty-five of the fifty United States, and one of Mexico's thirty-one states. On the East Coast, it lives from the Canadian Maritimes to the U.S. state of Georgia. On the West Coast, it lives in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon and offshore on southeast Vancouver Island.[nb 4] The northernmost American turtle,[53] its range includes much of southern Canada. To the south, its range reaches the U.S. Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Alabama. In the southwestern United States there are only dispersed populations. It is found in one river in extreme northern Mexico. It is absent in a part of southwestern Virginia and the adjacent states as well as in north-central Alabama.[71][72]

Map of North America showing the subspecies' specific ranges in different colors
Native range of the painted turtle (C. picta)
Dark grey for national borders
White for state and province borders
Dark blue for rivers, only showing those in article

  Eastern (C. p. picta)

  Midland (C. p. marginata)

  Southern (C. p. dorsalis)

  Western (C. p. bellii)

Intergrade mixtures (large areas only)

  Mix of eastern and midland

  Mix of eastern and southern

  Mix of midland and western

The borders between the four subspecies are not sharp, because the subspecies interbreed. Many studies have been performed in the border regions to assess the intermediate turtles, usually by comparing the anatomical features of hybrids that result from intergradation of the classical subspecies.[nb 5] Despite the imprecision, the subspecies are assigned nominal ranges.

Eastern painted turtle[edit]

An eastern painted turtle held
Eastern painted turtle in Massachusetts

The eastern painted turtle ranges from southeastern Canada to Georgia with a western boundary at approximately the Appalachians. At its northern extremes, the turtle tends to be restricted to the warmer areas closer to the Atlantic Ocean. It is uncommon in far north New Hampshire and in Maine is common only in a strip about 50 miles from the coast.[77][78] In Canada, it lives in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but not in Quebec or Prince Edward Island. To the south it is not found in the coastal lowlands of southern North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia, or in southern Georgia in general or at all in Florida. [71][80]

The eastern subspecies's range extends slightly into east central Alabama, where it intergrades with the southern subspecies.[71] In the northeast, there is extensive mixing with the midland subspecies, and some writers have called these turtles a "hybrid swarm".[81][82][83] In the southeast, the border between the eastern and midland is more sharp as mountain chains separate the subspecies to different drainage basins.[71][84]

Midland painted turtle[edit]

The midland painted turtle lives from southern Ontario and Quebec, through the eastern U.S. Midwest states, to Kentucky, Tennessee and northwestern Alabama, where it intergrades with the southern painted turtle.[85] It also is found eastward through West Virginia, western Maryland and Pennsylvania. The midland painted turtle appears to be moving east, especially in Pennsylvania.[86] To the northeast it is found in western New York and much of Vermont, and it intergrades extensively with the eastern subspecies.[71]

Southern painted turtle[edit]

The southern painted turtle ranges from extreme southern Illinois and Missouri, roughly along the Mississippi River Valley, to the south. In Arkansas, it branches out to the west towards Texas, where it is found in the far northeast part of that state (Caddo Lake region)[87] as well as extreme southeastern Oklahoma (McCurtain County).[88] It is found in much of Louisiana, where it reaches the Gulf of Mexico (in fresh water). Eastward it is found in western Tennessee, northern Mississippi and much of Alabama, including the Gulf Coast city of Mobile[71][80] An isolated population in central Texas has been reported but is now believed to be non-native.[89]

Western painted turtle[edit]

Western painted turtle (watercolor by G. Aeschimann)

The western painted turtle's northern range includes southern parts of western Canada from Ontario through Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In Ontario, the western subspecies is found north of Minnesota and directly north of Lake Superior, but there is a 130 km (80 mi) gap to the east of Lake Superior (in the area of harshest winter climate) where no painted turtles of any subspecies occur. Thus Ontario's western subspecies does not intergrade with the midland painted turtle of southeastern Ontario.[74] In Manitoba, the turtle is numerous and ranges north to Lake Manitoba and the lower part of Lake Winnipeg. The turtle is also common in south Saskatchewan,[90] but in Alberta, there may only be 100 individuals, all found very near the U.S. border, mostly in the southeast.[71][91]

turtle on log looking up, we see it from the rear
Western painted turtle in Oregon

In British Columbia, populations exist in the interior in the vicinity of the Kootenai, Columbia, Okanagan, and Thompson river valleys. At the coast, turtles occur near the mouth of the Fraser and a bit further north, as well as the bottom of Vancouver Island, and some other nearby islands. Within British Columbia, the turtle's range is not continuous and can better be understood as northward extensions of the range from the United States. High mountains present barriers to east-west movement of the turtles within the province or from Alberta. Some literature has shown isolated populations much further north in British Columbia and Alberta, but these were probably pet-releases.[71][91]

In the United States, the western subspecies forms a wide intergrade area with the midland subspecies covering much of Illinois as well as a strip of Wisconsin along Lake Michigan and part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (UP). Further west, the rest of Illinois, Wisconsin and the UP are part of the range proper, as are all of Minnesota and Iowa, as well as all of Missouri except a narrow strip in the south. All of North Dakota is within range, all of South Dakota except a very small area in the west, and all of Nebraska. Almost all of Kansas is in range; the border of that state with Oklahoma is roughly the species range border, but the turtle is found in three counties of north central Oklahoma.[71][88][91]

To the northwest, almost all of Montana is in range. Only a narrow strip in the west, along most of the Idaho border (which is at the Continental Divide) lacks turtles.[93] Wyoming is almost entirely out of range; only the lower elevation areas near the eastern and northern borders have painted turtles.[94] In Idaho, the turtles are found throughout the far north (upper half of the Idaho Panhandle). Recently, separate Idaho populations have been observed in the southwest (near the Payette and Boise rivers) and the southeast (near St. Anthony).[95] In Washington state, turtles are common throughout the state within lower elevation river valleys.[96] In Oregon, the turtle is native to the northern part of the state throughout the Columbia River Valley as well as the Willamette River Valley north of Salem.[91]

To the southwest, the painted turtle's range is fragmented. In Colorado, while range is continuous in the eastern, prairie, half of the state, it is absent in most of the western, mountainous, part of the state. However, the turtle is confirmed present in the lower elevation southwest part of the state (Archuleta and La Plata counties), where a population ranges into northern New Mexico in the San Juan River basin.[98] In New Mexico, the main distribution follows the Rio Grande and the Pecos River, two waterways that run in a north-south direction through the state.[99] Within the aforementioned rivers, it is also found in the northern part of Far West Texas.[87] In Utah, the painted turtle lives in an area to the south (Kane County) in streams draining into the Colorado River, although it is disputed if they are native.[91][100][101] In Arizona, the painted turtle is native to an area in the east, Lyman Lake.[102][103] The painted turtle is not native to Nevada or California.[91]

In Mexico,[99] painted turtles have been found about 50 miles south of New Mexico near Galeana in the state of Chihuahua. There, two expeditions[104][105] found the turtles in the Rio Santa Maria which is in a closed basin.[91]

Human-introduced range[edit]

Pet releases are starting to establish the painted turtle outside its native range. It has been introduced into waterways near Phoenix, Arizona,[102] and to Germany, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Spain.

Habitat[edit]

An open pond
Painted turtle habitat in New Hampshire

To thrive, painted turtles need fresh waters with soft bottoms, basking sites, and aquatic vegetation. They find their homes in shallow waters with slow-moving currents, such as creeks, marshes, ponds, and the shores of lakes. The subspecies have evolved different habitat preferences.

  • The eastern painted turtle is very aquatic, leaving the immediate vicinity of its water body only when forced by drought to migrate. Along the Atlantic, painted turtles have appeared in brackish waters.
  • The midland and southern painted turtles seek especially quiet waters, usually shores and coves. They favor shallows that contain dense vegetation and have an unusual toleration of pollution.
  • The western painted turtle lives in streams and lakes, similar to the other painted turtles, but also inhabits pasture ponds and roadside pools. It is found as high as 1,800 m (5,900 ft).

Population features[edit]

Within much of its range, the painted turtle is the most abundant turtle species. Population densities range from 10 to 840 turtles per hectare (2.5 acres) of water surface. Warmer climates produce higher relative densities among populations, and habitat desirability also influences density. Rivers and large lakes have lower densities because only the shore is desirable habitat; the central, deep waters skew the surface-based estimates. Also, lake and river turtles have to make longer linear trips to access equivalent amounts of foraging space.

two diagrams showing numbes on the outer segments of turtle shells. There are some notches and then corresponding numbered code.
Shell marking code

Adults outnumber juveniles in most populations, but gauging the ratios is difficult because juveniles are harder to catch; with current sampling methods, estimates of age distribution vary widely.Annual survival rate of painted turtles increases with age. The probability of a painted turtle surviving from the egg to its first birthday is only 19%. For females, the annual survival rate rises to 45% for juveniles and 95% for adults. The male survival rates follow a similar pattern, but are probably lower overall than females, as evidenced by the average male age being lower than that of the female. Natural disasters can confound age distributions. For instance, a hurricane can destroy many nests in a region, resulting in fewer hatchlings the next year. Age distributions may also be skewed by migrations of adults.

To understand painted turtle adult age distributions, researchers require reliable methods.[109] Turtles younger than four years (up to 12 years in some populations) can be aged based on "growth rings" in their shells.[110] For older turtles, some attempts have been made to determine age based on size and shape of their shells or legs using mathematical models, but this method is more uncertain.[110][111] The most reliable method to study the long-lived turtles is to capture them, permanently mark their shells by notching with a drill, release the turtles, and then recapture them in later years.[112][113] The longest-running study, in Michigan, has shown that painted turtles can live more than 55 years.[110][114]

Adult sex ratios of painted turtle populations average around 1:1. Many populations are slightly male-heavy, but some are strongly female-imbalanced; one population in Ontario has a female to male ratio of 4:1.[46] Hatchling sex ratio varies based on egg temperature. During the middle third of incubation, temperatures of 23–27 °C (73–81 °F) produce males, and anything above or below that, females.[45] It does not appear that females choose nesting sites to influence the sex of the hatchlings; within a population, nests will vary sufficiently to give both male and female-heavy broods.

Taxonomy and evolution[edit]

a line drawing of Schneider's portrait at a 3/4 angle. he looks resolute and has long hair.

The painted turtle (C. picta) is the only species in the genus Chrysemys.[5] The parent family for Chrysemys is Emydidae: the pond turtles. Emydidae is split into two sub families; Chrysemys is part of the Deirochelyinae (Western Hemisphere) branch. The four subspecies of the painted turtle are the eastern (C. p. picta), midland (C. p. marginata), southern (C. p. dorsalis), and western (C. p. bellii).

The painted turtle's generic name is derived from the Ancient Greek words for "gold" (chryso) and "freshwater tortoise" (emys); the species name originates from the Latin for "colored" (pictus).[118] The subspecies name, marginata, derives from the Latin for "border" and refers to the red markings on the outer (marginal) part of the upper shell; dorsalis is from the Latin for "back", referring to the prominent dorsal stripe; and bellii honors English zoologist Thomas Bell, a collaborator of Charles Darwin.[119][120] An alternate East Coast common name for the painted turtle is "skilpot", from the Dutch for turtle, schildpad.[121]

Classification[edit]

Originally described in 1783 by Johann Gottlob Schneider as Testudo picta,[5][122] the painted turtle was called Chrysemys picta first by John Edward Gray in 1855. The four subspecies were then recognized: the eastern by Schneider in 1783,[122] the western by Gray in 1831,[124] and the midland and southern by Louis Agassiz in 1857.[126]

Until the 1930s many of the subspecies of the painted turtle were labeled by biologists as full species within Chrysemys, but this varied by the researcher. The painted turtles in the border region between the western and midland subspecies were sometimes considered a full species, treleasei. In 1931, Bishop and Schmidt defined the current "four in one" taxonomy of species and subspecies. Based on comparative measurements of turtles from throughout the range, they subordinated species to subspecies and eliminated treleasei.[127]

Since at least 1958,[81][nb 6] the subspecies were thought to have evolved in response to geographic isolation during the last ice age, 100,000 to 11,000 years ago. At that time painted turtles were divided into three different populations: eastern painted turtles along the southeastern Atlantic coast; southern painted turtles around the southern Mississippi River; and western painted turtles in the southwestern United States. The populations were not completely isolated for sufficiently long, hence wholly different species never evolved. When the glaciers retreated, about 11,000 years ago, all three subspecies moved north. The western and southern subspecies met in Missouri and hybridized to produce the midland painted turtle, which then moved east and north through the Ohio and Tennessee river basins.[81]

Biologists have long debated the genera of closely related subfamily-mates Chrysemys, Pseudemys (cooters), and Trachemys (sliders). After 1952, some combined Pseudemys and Chrysemys because of similar appearance. In 1964, based on measurements of the skull and feet, Samuel B. McDowell proposed all three genera be merged into one. However, further measurements, in 1967, contradicted this taxonomic arrangement. Also in 1967, J. Alan Holman,[129] a paleontologist and herpetologist, pointed out that, although the three turtles were often found together in nature and had similar mating patterns, they did not crossbreed. In the 1980s, studies of turtles' cell structures, biochemistries, and parasites further indicated that Chrysemys, Pseudemys, and Trachemys should remain in separate genera.

David E. Starkey and collaborators advanced a new view of the subspecies in 2003. Based on a study of the mitochondrial DNA, they rejected the glacial development theory and argued that the southern painted turtle should be elevated to a separate species, C. dorsalis, while the other subspecies should be collapsed into one and not differentiated.[131] However, this proposition was largely unrecognized because successful breeding between all subspecies was documented wherever they overlapped. Nevertheless, in 2010, the IUCN recognized both C. dorsalis and C. p. dorsalis as valid names for the southern painted turtle.

Fossils[edit]

fossils in a tray, paper labels nearby
Top and bottom shell fossils, about 5 million years old, from a Tennessee sinkhole[133]

Although its evolutionary history—what the forerunner to the species was and how the close relatives branched off—is not well understood, the painted turtle is common in the fossil record.[134] The oldest samples, found in Nebraska, date to about 15 million years ago. Fossils from 15 million to about 5 million years ago are restricted to the Nebraska-Kansas area, but more recent fossils are gradually more widely distributed. Fossils newer than 300,000 years old are found in almost all the United States and southern Canada.

DNA[edit]

The turtle's karyotype (nuclear DNA, rather than mitochondrial DNA) consists of 50 chromosomes, the same number as the rest of its subfamily-mates and the most common number for Emydidae turtles in general.[135][136] Less well-related turtles have from 26 to 66 chromosomes.[137] Little systematic study of variations of the painted turtle's karotype among populations has been done. (However, in 1967, research on protein structure of offshore island populations in New England, showed differences from mainland turtles.[139])

Comparison of subspecies chromosomal DNA has been discussed, to help address the debate over Starkey's proposed taxonomy, but as of 2009 had not been reported. The complete sequencing of the genetic code for the painted turtle was at a "draft assembled" state in 2010. The turtle was one of two reptiles chosen to be first sequenced.[141]

Interaction with humans[edit]

Conservation[edit]

An orange, diamond-shaped sign on the right side of a winding road way that says "Slow: crossing season" with a picture of a turtle.
British Columbia road sign (for painted turtle protection)

Main article: Conservation of painted turtles

The species is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN but populations have been subject to decline locally.[2]

The decline in painted turtle populations is not a simple matter of dramatic range reduction, like that of the American bison. Instead the turtle is classified as G5 (demonstrably widespread) in its Natural Heritage Global Rank, and the IUCN rates it as a species of least concern. The painted turtle's high reproduction rate and its ability to survive in polluted wetlands and artificially made ponds have allowed it to maintain its range,[7][142] but the post-Columbus settlement of North America has reduced its numbers.

Only within the Pacific Northwest is the turtle's range eroding. Even there, in Washington, the painted turtle is designated S5 (demonstrably widespread). However, in Oregon, the painted turtle is designated S2 (imperiled), and in British Columbia, the turtle's populations in the Coast and Interior regions are labeled "endangered"[145] and "of special concern", respectively.[146][nb 7]

Much is written about the different factors that threaten the painted turtle, but they are unquantified, with only inferences of relative importance. A primary threat category is habitat loss in various forms. Related to water habitat, there is drying of wetlands, clearing of aquatic logs or rocks (basking sites), and clearing of shoreline vegetation, which allows more predator access or increased human foot traffic.[152][153] Related to nesting habitat, urbanization or planting can remove needed sunny soils.

Another significant human impact is roadkill—dead turtles, especially females, are commonly seen on summer roads. In addition to direct killing, roads genetically isolate some populations. Localities have tried to limit roadkill by constructing underpasses, highway barriers,[41] and crossing signs.[157] Oregon has introduced public education on turtle awareness, safe swerving, and safely assisting turtles across the road.[158]

In the West, human-introduced bass, bullfrogs, and especially snapping turtles, have increased the predation of hatchlings.[41] Outside the Southeast, where sliders are native, released pet red-eared slider turtles increasingly compete with painted turtles. In cities, increased urban predators (raccoons, canines, and felines) may impact painted turtles by eating their eggs.

Other factors of concern for the painted turtles include over-collection from the wild,[161] released pets introducing diseases[162] or reducing genetic variability, pollution, boating traffic, angler's hooks (the turtles are noteworthy bait-thieves), wanton shooting, and crushing by agricultural machines or golf course lawnmowers or all-terrain vehicles.[165][166] Gervais and colleagues note that research itself impacts the populations and that much funded turtle trapping work has not been published. They advocate discriminating more on what studies are done, thereby putting fewer turtles into scientists' traps.Global warming represents an uncharacterized future threat.

As the most common turtle in Nova Scotia, the eastern painted turtle is not listed under the Species at Risk Act for conservation requirements.[169]

Oregon conservation video: If video play problematic, try external links within citations.[170][171] Note list of factors at 0:30–0:60 and hoop trap at 1:50–2:00.

Pets and other uses[edit]

"... we do not necessarily encourage people to collect these turtles. Turtles kept as pets usually soon become ill ... The best way to enjoy our native turtles is to observe them in the wild ... it would be better to take a picture than a 'picta'!"

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission[86]

According to a trade data study, painted turtles were the second most popular pet turtles after red-eared sliders in the early 1990s. As of 2010, most U.S. states allow, but discourage, painted turtle pets, although Oregon forbids keeping them as pets,[173] and Indiana prohibits their sale.[162] U.S. federal law prohibits sale or transport of any turtle less than 10 cm (4 in), to limit human contact to salmonella.[174] However, a loophole for scientific samples allows some small turtles to be sold, and illegal trafficking also occurs.[175]

Painted turtle pet-keeping requirements are similar to those of the red-eared slider. Keepers are urged to provide them with adequate space and a basking site, and water that is regularly filtered and changed. According to Petco, the animals are described as being somewhat unsuitable for children as they do not enjoy being held. Hobbyists have kept turtles alive for decades.[176][177][178]

The painted turtle is sometimes eaten but is not highly regarded as food, as even the largest subspecies, the western painted turtle, is inconveniently small and larger turtles are available. Schools frequently dissect painted turtles, which are sold by biological supply companies;[182] specimens often come from the wild but may be captive-bred.[183] In the Midwest, turtle racing is popular at summer fairs.[182][184][185]

Capture[edit]

Main article: Capture of painted turtles

Commercial harvesting of painted turtles in the wild is controversial and, increasingly, restricted.[186][187] Wisconsin formerly had virtually unrestricted trapping of painted turtles but based on qualitative observations forbade all commercial harvesting in 1997.[188] Neighboring Minnesota, where trappers collected more than 300,000 painted turtles during the 1990s, commissioned a study of painted turtle harvesting.[182] Scientists found that harvested lakes averaged half the painted turtle density of off-limit lakes, and population modeling suggested that unrestricted harvests could produce a large decline in turtle populations.[161] In response, Minnesota forbade new harvesters in 2002 and limited trap numbers. Although harvesting continued,[161] subsequent takes averaged half those of the 1990s.[189] As of 2009, painted turtles faced virtually unlimited harvesting in Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma;[190] since then, Missouri has prohibited their harvesting.[191]

A square turtle trap is floating near some reeds. There is a plank across the middle, but open access to a space in the middle otherwise, that three turtles are basking on, one crawling on the other. The outer sides of the trap slope and one turtle is starting to climb out of the water, up onto the trap. It is sunny.
Basking trap in Minnesota

Individuals who trap painted turtles typically do so to earn additional income,[161][186] selling a few thousand a year at –2 each.[182] Many trappers have been involved in the trade for generations, and value it as a family activity.[188] Some harvesters disagree with limiting the catch, saying the populations are not dropping.[188]

Many U.S. state fish and game departments allow non-commercial taking of painted turtles under a creel limit, and require a fishing (sometimes hunting) license;[nb 8] others completely forbid the recreational capture of painted turtles. Trapping is not allowed in Oregon, where western painted turtle populations are in decline,[196] and in Missouri, where there are populations of both southern and western subspecies.[191] In Canada, Ontario protects both subspecies present, the midland and western,[197] and British Columbia protects its dwindling western painted turtles.[53]

Capture methods are also regulated by locality. Typically trappers use either floating "basking traps" or partially submerged, baited "hoop traps".[198] Trapper opinions,[198] commercial records,[189] and scientific studies[198][199][200] show that basking traps are more effective for collecting painted turtles, while the hoop traps work better for collecting "meat turtles" (snapping turtles and soft-shell turtles). Nets, hand capture, and fishing with set lines are generally legal, but shooting, chemicals, and explosives are forbidden.[nb 9]

Culture[edit]

"Whereas, the Painted Turtle is a hard worker and can withstand cold temperatures like the citizens of Vermont, and Whereas, the colors of the Painted Turtle represent the beauty of our state in autumn ... the General Assembly hereby recognizes the Painted Turtle as the official state reptile ..."

Vermont J.R.S. 57[201]

North American Indigenous tribes were familiar with the painted turtle—young braves were trained to recognize its splashing into water as an alarm—and incorporated it in folklore.[202] A Potawatomi myth describes how the talking turtles, "Painted Turtle" and allies "Snapping Turtle" and "Box Turtle", outwit the village women. Painted Turtle is the star of the legend and uses his distinctive markings to trick a woman into holding him so he can bite her.[203] An Illini myth recounts how Painted Turtle put his paint on to entice a chief's daughter into the water.[204]

As of 2010, four U.S. states designated the painted turtle as official reptile. Vermont honored the reptile in 1994, following the suggestion of Cornwall Elementary School students.[201] In 1995, Michigan followed, based on the recommendation of Niles fifth graders, who discovered the state lacked an official reptile.[205] Illinois citizens, in 2004, voted to select the painted turtle as their state reptile and the legislature made it official in 2005.[206] Colorado chose the western painted turtle in 2008, following the efforts of two succeeding years of Jay Biachi's fourth grade classes.[207] In New York, the painted turtle narrowly lost (5,048 to 5,005, versus the common snapping turtle) a 2006 statewide student election for state reptile.[208]

A large turtle statue standing on two legs and holding a Canadian flag in one hand an American flag in the other.
Tommy the Turtle

In the border town of Boissevain, Manitoba, a 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) western painted turtle, Tommy the Turtle, is a roadside attraction. The statue was built in 1974 to celebrate the Canadian Turtle Derby, a festival including turtle races that ran from 1972–2001.[209]

Another Canadian admirer of the painted turtle is Jon Montgomery, who won the 2010 Olympic gold medal in skeleton (a form of sled) racing, while wearing a painted turtle painting on the crown of his helmet, prominently visible when he slid downhill. Montgomery, who also iconically tattoed his chest with a maple-leaf,[210] explained his visual promotion of the turtle, saying that he had assisted one to cross the road. BC Hydro referred to Montgomery's action when describing its own sponsorship of conservation research for the turtle in British Columbia.[211]

Several private entities use the painted turtle as a symbol. Wayne State University Press operates an imprint "named after the Michigan state reptile" that "publishes books on regional topics of cultural and historical interest".[212] In California, The Painted Turtle is a camp for ill children, founded by Paul Newman. Painted Turtle Winery of British Columbia trades on the "laid back and casual lifestyle" of the turtle with a "job description to bask in the sun".[213] Also, there is an Internet company in Michigan,[214] a guesthouse in British Columbia,[215] and a café in Maine that use the painted turtle commercially.[216]

In children's books, the painted turtle is a popular subject, with at least seven books published between 2000 and 2010.[nb 10]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In December 2010 the turtle taxonomy working group provisionally elevated Chrysemys picta dorsalis to the species Chrysemys dorsalis but kept the classification as a subspecies as valid.
  2. ^ All turtle lengths in this article refer to the top shell (carapace) length, not the extended head to tail length.
  3. ^ The range description and map primarily rely on Conant and Collins (1998) and Ernst and Lovich have a similar range map. Additional citations and notes cover details of range boundaries especially in the West.
  4. ^ Vancouver Island painted turtle populations may have resulted from escaped pets.[53]
  5. ^ See the following sources.[23][73][74][76]
  6. ^ Bishop and Schmidt alluded to glacial origins even earlier.[127]
  7. ^ The iconic painted turtle is popular in British Columbia, and the province is spending to save the painted turtle as only a few thousand turtles remain in the entire province.[147][148][149]
  8. ^ State fish and game creel limits.[80][165][166][192][193][194][195]
  9. ^ State fish and game taking restrictions.[80][165][166][193][194][195]
  10. ^ 2000–2010 children's books on the painted turtle.[217][218][219][220][221][222][223]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Chrysemys picta". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  2. ^ a b c Ercelawn, Aliya. "Taxonomic information". Herpetology Species Page. Prof. Theodora Pinou (Western Connecticut State University Biological and Environmental Sciences Department). Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  3. ^ Fritz, Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 177–179. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Ercelawn, Aliya. "Species identification". Herpetology Species Page. Prof. Theodora Pinou (Western Connecticut State University Biology and Environmental Sciences). Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  5. ^ a b "Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)". Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Herpetology Program. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
  6. ^ Cohen, Mary (October 1992). "The painted turtle, Chrysemys picta". Tortuga Gazette. 28 (10): 1–3. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  7. ^ "Reptiles: Turtle & tortoise". Animal Bytes. Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2011-01-02. Turtle— Spends most of its life in the water. Turtles tend to have webbed feet for swimming.
  8. ^ "Painted turtle". US Bureau of Land Management. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved 2011-01-02. They have webbed toes for swimming ...
  9. ^ Jolliceur, Pierre; Mosimann, James E. (1960). "Size and shape variation in the painted turtle. A principal component analysis" (PDF). Growth. 24: 339–354. PMID 13790416.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Rowe, John W. (1997-07-01). "Growth rate, body size, sexual dimorphism and morphometric variation in four populations of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) from Nebraska". American Midland Naturalist. 138 (1): 174–188. doi:10.2307/2426664. JSTOR 2426664. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  12. ^ Senneke, Darrell (2003). "Differentiating male and female Chrysemys picta (painted turtle)". World Chelonian Trust. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  13. ^ a b Lee-Sasser, Marisa (December 2007). "Painted turtle in Alabama". Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-08-12. Intergrades exhibit a mix of characteristics where their ranges overlap.
  14. ^ a b c d Senneke, Darrell (2003). "Differentiating painted turtles (Chrysemys picta ssp)". World Chelonian Trust. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  15. ^ "Eastern painted turtle Chrysemys picta picta (Schneider)". Nova Scotia Museum. 2007. Archived from the original on 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  16. ^ "Midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)". Natural Resources Canada. 2007-09-24. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  17. ^ Record-setting Painted Western Turtle found in Regina, CBC News
  18. ^ "Painted Turtle vs Red-eared Slider".
  19. ^ a b c Chaney, Rob (2010-07-01). "Painted native: Turtles indigenous to western Montana have vivid designs, secrets". Missoulian. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h Ercelawn, Aliya. "Reproduction". Herpetology Species Page. Prof. Theodora Pinou (Western Connecticut State University Biology and Environmental Sciences). Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  21. ^ a b c d e "Painted turtle research in Algonquin provincial park". The Friends of Algonquin Park. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  22. ^ a b c d Blood, Donald A.; Macartney, Malcolm (March 1998). "Painted turtle" (PDF). Wildlife Branch, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, British Columbia. Archived from the original (brochure) on January 7, 2010.
  23. ^ Jackson, D. C.; Rauer, E. M.; Feldman, R. A.; Reese, S. A. (August 2004). "Avenues of extrapulmonary oxygen uptake in western painted turtles (Chrysemys picta belli) at 10 °C". Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A. 139 (2): 221–227. doi:10.1016/j.cbpb.2004.09.005. PMID 15528171.
  24. ^ Jackson, Donald C. (2002). "Hibernating without oxygen: physiological adaptations of the painted turtle". The Journal of Physiology. 543 (3): 731–737. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2002.024729. PMC 2290531. PMID 12231634.
  25. ^ MacCulloch, R.D. and D.M. Secoy (1983). "Movement in a river population of Chrysemys picta bellii in southern Saskatchewan". Journal of Herpetology. 17: 283–285. doi:10.2307/1563834.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i Conant, Roger; Collins, Joseph T. (1998). Field guide to reptiles and amphibians of eastern and central North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harc. pp. 185–186. ISBN 978-0-395-90452-7.
  27. ^ "County occurrence maps for turtle, eastern painted". Eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta picta). Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. 2004-03-12. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  28. ^ Wright, Katherine M.; Andrews, James S. (2002). "Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) of Vermont: An examination of phenotypic variation and intergradation". Northeastern Naturalist. Humboldt Field Research Institute. 9 (4): 363–380. doi:10.1656/1092-6194(2002)009[0363:PTCPOV]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 1092-6194. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  29. ^ a b Weller, Wayne F.; Hecnar, Stephen J.; Hecnar, Darlene R.; Casper, Gary S.; Dawson, F. Neil (2010). "Quantitative assessment of intergradation between two subspecies of painted turtles, Chrysemys picta bellii and C. p. marginata, in the Algoma district of west central Ontario, Canada" (PDF). Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 5 (2): 166–173.
  30. ^ Ultsch, Gordon R.; Ward, G. Milton; LeBerte, Chere' M.; Kuhajda, Bernard R.; Stewart, E. Ray (2001). "Intergradation and origins of subspecies of the turtle Chrysemys picta: morphological comparisons" (link to full text, subscription). Canadian Journal of Zoology. 79 (3): 485–498. doi:10.1139/z01-001.
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Bibliography[edit]

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External links[edit]



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