Steven Pickering for 1080 KRLD | CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Comic book fans across North Texas are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the debut of Batman today.

The “Caped Crusader” made his first appearance in 1939, and his since grown into a pop culture phenomenon.

“The actual publication date was a little earlier, but this coincides with San Diego Comic-Con. It’s a Wednesday, which is new comic book day. D.C. Comics has announced that July 23rd will be the day they celebrate his birthday,” said Keith Colvin, owner of Keith’s Comics, which has several locations in North Texas. “Every comic book store in America is encouraged to celebrate Batman’s birthday any way they like.”

Colvin says his stores have received shipments of special merchandise from D.C. Comics and that they have even created their own commemorative limited-edition pint glasses.

There will be a special appearance by Batman, Catwoman and Poison Ivy at Keith’s Comics on Mockingbird in Dallas at 5:30pm.

Other stores are celebrating as well, and the Angelica in Dallas is screening two of the Batman movies: “Batman” from 1989 starring Michael Keaton, and “The Dark Knight” from  2008 starring Christian Bale.

The character today is very different from the one that debuted in the 1930’s…or even the version popularized in the 1960’s by the TV show starring Adam West.

The early “Batman”, says Colvin, “was very much a grim and gritty fighter for the common people.” Instead of the high-tech gadgets used by the most recent incarnations of the character, “he smacked people…he hit them with wrenches,” Colvin says. “He was a populist hero.”

The character changed every few years, which Colvin says is part of his continued appeal. “He’s going to be the hero that we need him to be. If we need him to fight aliens in the 1950’s, he’s going to do that. If we need him to give us a little relief from the horrors of war in the 1960’s, he’s going to do that.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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