Image Credit: Hugo Sanche/Gulf News

Happy birthday B! It’s been many a cold and dark night in Gotham city since that July in 1939, when Detectives Comics (DC) brought forth the complex

crime-fighting chiropteran from the shadows of tragedy, to inspire horror in the city’s criminal element and bring justice for all.

It was May of 1939, during the run-up to World War II, when Batman made his debut in the Detective Comics (later shortened to "DC") book "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate." The Caped Crusader immediately found an eager national audience. Now, so many thousands of crime-fighting adventures later, DC Comics is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the iconic character by declaring July 23 "Batman Day."

In honour of the day, a team of graphic designers and illustrators from Gulf News have taken a look at the evolution of the character through 20 iconic or just plain odd incarnations from comics, TV and movies, as well as documenting his many gadgets and vehicles over the years.

We all know the tragedy of Bruce Wayne who, at a young age, had his perfect, privileged world, complete with loving, heroic parents, shattered into a million pieces at the sound of BAM!

BAM! … the sight of a smoking gun barrel… a dark alley and his mother’s blood on his hands. Against impossible odds and with no superpowers, the “Detective” is alive and stronger than ever.

How did this mere mortal make it, competing with seemingly invincible characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman? And why has this creature of the night always been the most appealing among them?

Why do we love Batman?

Perhaps because he embodies the burning desire for justice in all of us mere humans. We love him because he is one of us. Bulletproof vest under a tight suit, a bat shape on the chest, boots and gloves, a cape that works as a glider and the belt.