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See The Evolution Of The Batman From The 1940s To “Batman V. Superman” In This Supercut

The costumes might be on the cheap side, but at least the ’40s serials managed to avoid dialogue as cheesy as “Do you bleed? You will.”

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Batman is one of the sprightliest septuagenarians in the world. The character might have been born in 1939, but as he prepares for his latest on-screen interpretation in next year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, he’s looking fairly spry still–indeed, even downright bulky in his special armored, Superman-punching batsuit.

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It’s been 76 years since his first appearance as a comic book character, but Batman’s actually not much younger as a screen presence, as this supercut from Swedish video magazine MVOD reminds us. In the three-and-a-half-minute clip, the evolution of Batman’s visual identity is traced from his earliest appearances as part of the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman serial–which introduced the Batcave to the Batman mythology–to the 1949 sequel, Batman and Robin, which had both fewer innovations and fewer anti-German/Japanese slurs. From there, it goes through the 1966 version of the character with Adam West, on to the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher/bat-nipples phase, eventually culminating in the Christopher Nolan-and-Christian Bale gloomfests, before closing with a tease of Bat Affleck in next year’s Dawn of Justice, in which Batman is reinterpreted as a distinguished gentleman in his early forties who likes to mope around and threaten super-powered aliens for fun. Still, while opinions about the potential for Batman v. Superman vary wildly on the Internet, it’ll probably beat the ’40s serials, so let’s give credit to the supercut for helpfully lowering the bar.

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About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club

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