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The Origins of The Dark Knight
He first appeared in 1939, a wraith silhouetted against the Gotham skyline. Mysterious and menacing, "The Bat-Man” surfaced as the self-appointed guardian of Gotham City, a winged gargoyle living in the shadows between hero and vigilante. In the six decades since, he has come to be known as the Dark Knight, a complex man who transformed himself through sheer force of will into a symbol of hope and justice for a city rotting with corruption and decay.

Created for DC Comics by artist Bob Kane, Batman made his debut in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939 issue). The superhero's 66-year history represents an unprecedented cultural phenomenon spanning radio serials, live action and animated television series, feature films, interactive games, and legions of comic books.  "Batman is one of the most psychologically interesting characters in our cultural history,” says Paul Levitz, President and Publisher of DC Comics, the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Sandman. "Batman isn't a guy who finds himself endowed with superpowers and simply says I'll do good with them because I'm a good person. This is a man who watched his parents die and then had to decide how to respond. He's tortured by feelings of guilt and anger and his desire for vengeance, yet he sets out to become a transformative being, someone who can change the world.” 

"What's always been fascinating about Batman is that he is a hero driven by quite negative impulses,” says Batman Begins director and co-screenwriter Christopher Nolan. "Batman is human, he's flawed. But he's someone who has taken these very powerful, self-destructive emotions and made something positive from them. To me, that makes Batman an extraordinarily relevant figure in today's world.”

A superhero with no superpowers, Batman's ambitious quest to forge his mind and body into a living, breathing weapon against injustice inspires both fear and admiration.

"What distinguishes Batman from his counterparts is that he's a hero anyone can aspire to be,” says co-screenwriter David Goyer, known for adapting the other-worldly realms of superheroes and fantastical characters into inventive, action-packed hit films such as the Blade series, Crow: City of Angels and Dark City. "You could never be Superman, you could never be The Incredible Hulk, but anybody could conceivably become Batman. If you trained hard enough, if you tried hard enough, maybe, just maybe, you could become Batman.” 

Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham. "What I wanted to do was tell the Batman story I'd never seen, the one that the fans have been wanting to see – the story of how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman,” says Nolan, whose taut, provocative psychological thrillers Memento and Insomnia established him as a bold new talent with a keen sense of character and a remarkably assured directing style.

A character-driven adventure powered by large-scale action and layered with the complexities of the human condition, Batman Begins represents the first full telling of Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman, detailing how and why he acquires the skills, tools and technology to create his intimidating alter-ego.

"There is no one definitive account of Batman's origins,” says Nolan, "but throughout the interpretations of his character over the years, there are key events that make Batman who he is and make his story the great legend that it has come to be. There were also a lot of very interesting gaps in the mythology that we were able to interpret ourselves and bring in our own ideas of how Bruce Wayne and Batman would have evolved specifically.”

In recounting Bruce Wayne's odyssey from his traumatic childhood to his emergence as Batman, Nolan wanted to present<

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