Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics. Originally referred to as "The Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "The Batman", he is additionally known as "The Caped Crusader", "The Dark Knight", and "The World's Greatest Detective," among other titles.
In the original version of the story and the vast majority of retellings, Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American millionaire (later billionaire) playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains such as the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, among others. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.
Batman became a very popular character soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore 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, with varying results. The comic books of this dark stage culminated in the acclaimed 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller, as well as Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, among others. The overall success of Warner Bros.' live-action Batman feature films have also helped maintain public interest in the character.
A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists with many trying to understand the character's psyche and his true ego in society. In May 2011, Batman placed second on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman. Empire magazine also listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time.
The Hulk is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (cover dated May 1962). He is a gigantic, green, irradiated, mutated humanoid monster with incredible strength and an inability to control his rage. The Hulk is sometimes characterized as hyper-aggressive and brutal, while at other times as cunning, brilliant, and scheming. He is often portrayed as an antihero. The Hulk is cast as the emotional and impulsive alter ego of the withdrawn and reserved physicist Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. Banner first transforms into the Hulk shortly after he is accidentally exposed to the blast of a test detonation of a gamma bomb he invented. Subsequently, Banner will involuntarily transform into the Hulk whenever he gets too angry or if his life is in danger, leading to extreme complications in Banner's life. Lee said the Hulk's creation was inspired by a combination of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein.
Although the Hulk's coloration has varied throughout the character's publication history, the most consistent shade is green. As the Hulk, Banner is capable of significant feats of strength, the magnitude of which increase in direct proportion to the character's anger. As the character himself puts it, "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets!" Strong emotions such as anger, terror and grief are also triggers for forcing Banner's transformation into the Hulk. As a child, Banner's father Brian Banner often got mad and physically abused his mother, creating the psychological complex of fear, anger, and the fear of anger and the destruction it can cause that underlies the character. A common storyline is the pursuit of both Banner and the Hulk by the U.S. armed forces, because of all the destruction that he causes. He has two main catchphrases: "Hulk is strongest there is!" and the better-known "HULK SMASH!", which has founded the basis for a number of pop culture memes.
The Hulk has been depicted in various other media, most notably by Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk in the live-action television series and five made-for-television movies, and by Eric Bana, Edward Norton and later Mark Ruffalo in the most recent Marvel film adaptations. Other depictions include multiple animated series, through the use of CGI in Hulk (2003) and The Incredible Hulk (2008), and various video games. The most recent CGI portrayal is in the 2012 film The Avengers.
Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character whose comic strip in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD is the magazine's longest running, having been featured there since its second issue in 1977. Dredd is an American law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence, and even execute criminals on the spot. The character was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, although editor Pat Mills also deserves some credit for early development.
Judge Dredd is amongst the UK's best known home-grown comic characters. So great is the character's name recognition that his name is sometimes invoked over similar issues to those explored by the comic series, such as the police state, authoritarianism, and the rule of law. Judge Dredd was named the Seventh Greatest Comic Character by the British magazine Empire. In 2011, IGN ranked him 35th in the Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.