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Off My Mind: Why Did Batman Have a Zebra Costume?

Batman has had many different costumes over the years but why did he dress as Zebra-Batman?

Since Batman's debut in 1939, his look has pretty much stayed the same despite the different variations his costume has gone through. Aside from Jean-Paul Valley's Bat-armor, the only major differences the suit has gone through was the Bat-emblem changing.

There was one suit that took a big departure from his traditional look. Looking back at DETECTIVE COMICS #275, we saw the menacing look of THE ZEBRA BATMAN.

Looking at the cover image, Robin, Batman's trusted sidekick, is frightened. You can see a man trying to hide behind a lamp post to no avail. Even some innocent bystanders in the background are scared for their lives.

After finally tracking this issue down, we can now look into what the story of the Zebra Batman was. Why did he dress this way? Why was everyone, including Robin, frightened?

== TEASER ==

It's easy to just put it on the fact that this comic came out in 1960. There were some...interesting ideas used from time to time. But it turns out there is an explanation for this (notice I didn't say a reasonable one).

The original Zebra Man was a small time crime boss who apparently was a bit of a scientist as well. He discovered that all energy has "lines of force." After inventing a machine, he charged his body with so much energy, it sent lines of force right through his costume.

After several failed attempts to capture him, Batman and Robin were able to discover the location to his secret laboratory. Thanks to the bumbling of Robin, Batman was exposed to the same lines of force and was instantly changed. What makes this costume different from the rest is, the change isn't really because of a new costume. The lines of force penetrated Batman's body, which is why the costume and his skin changed.

Along with the costume, Batman gained new abilities.

For some reason, the lines of force causes everything to be repelled in a forceful manner. The way Zebra Man could control them was with his belt that is able to neutralize the power.

This meant a sad existence for Batman. He couldn't get near anyone. He couldn't eat. His secret identity would be in jeopardy if he tried walking around as Bruce Wayne.

But luckily he was able to reverse the problem.

What's strange is this Zebra Man apparently was never seen again. There was a second Zebra Man that replicated the first's powers. Maybe the original is still locked up.

For a campy 60s story, it brought up some interesting points. Aside from why energy has force lines that cause a person to turn black and white and repel everything, it's great that some of the side effects were considered. The fact that Batman wouldn't be able to eat (poor Robin almost got hit in the head by a platter of food in the scenario) and having his secret identity be in jeopardy was a nice touch. Usually in this time period, strange and bizarre things happened and any possible consequence was thrown out the window.

What's surprising is, I don't believe a Zebra Batman action figure was ever made. There have been hundreds of different variations of Batman figures but I've never seen an official Zebra Batman one. It is one that has been requested by many fans. Perhaps we will see a Zebra Batman figure someday but hopefully we won't see Zebra Batman in the comics again.

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Posted by moywar700

because he wanted to be spotted

Posted by Kal'smahboi
@moywar700 said:

because he wanted to be spotted

No, 'cause then he woulda just made a leopard costume. Duh!
Posted by GothamRed

because the store was out of dragon costumes, of course

Posted by InnerVenom123

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Posted by HolySerpent

Lol @ innervenoms123 comment

Posted by NightFang

Maybe Grant Morrison, could tell us the next time he writes Batman.

Posted by kinless33

The repercussions remind me of an issue of X-Men with a character who had a force-field that pushed things away from his body. After beefing up his mutant power with a special ray, he too found that he couldn't eat.

Edited by LaserLambert

are you telling me that 60's Batman didn't already have a Bat Zebra power neutralizer built into his utility belt for just such emergencies? MADNESS

Posted by Ganthetsward20

For all his brains he's just a bad tailor. when Alfred cant help him buy making a prison inmate costume for undercover operations he's just helpless.

Posted by sora_thekey


Posted by Superkitty

And it makes great camouflage in a modern art museum or the bedspread section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Posted by Saren

He's Batman, he can dress however he damn well wants.

Posted by Illuminatus

This is why I love Batman.

Posted by Eyz

Because it's AWESOME!!

Will ya look at it!!


How can you take your eyes off it..

Posted by Chaos Burn

slow news day huh?

Posted by Adnan

Zebra Man and Lord Death Man should totally team up some day.

Posted by Hit_Monkey

@InnerVenom123 said:

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.


Posted by BritishMonkey

it was the 60's

wouldn't take a genius to figure that one out lol

Posted by DedrabbiT

Hey that's my av! Haha.

Posted by pspin

He needed to seem less boring when delivering all of those expository monologues

Posted by KidSupreme

That is pretty interesting!

Posted by Walley

I would love a figure of Zebra Batman. But I would love to own this issue ^.^ Seriously it one of my most iconic comic book cover art pieces I ever lad eyes on. It is just so bizarre.

Posted by jsphsmth

So that Morrison could say that all Batman stories are relevant and then he could write a new absurd story about it.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

Morrison: "My horrible batstory telling sense is tingling.....gotta check the internet!"

Posted by Emperormeister734

Never thought it would be like that, I thought he fused with Zebraman

Posted by Inverno

Imagine if they decide to have a Zebra outifit in the DLC for Batman Arkham City...?

Posted by Bestostero

batman in zebra print is like an erotic fantasy of mines...! lol

Posted by RedOwl_1

I though it was for mixing between other Batmans and the enemy can't identify when ends one and start other, that's what zebras do.

Conclusion: 60s were crazy madness weird times.

Posted by DonFelipe

Best (Zebra) Batman cover ever... and it reminds me an awful lot of Action Comics #1.

Posted by wdchefdave

Because "chicks' dig his car... and zebra skin... ask any female.

I wonder if there has ever been a zebra based superhero in the history of comics?

None come to mind, and I stand to be corrected by the obvious.

Posted by sesquipedalophobe

No one ever molests a zebra.

Posted by MSBoyd23

Maybe the writer and the artist were fighting and the writer said "Fine. Draw THIS, ***hole".

Posted by dvorak

There need be no reason for Zebra Batman to exist. He just does.

Posted by DXmagma

It's his beatin' costume,. which is why Robin's so scared.

Posted by BatClaw89
@Chaos Burn said:

slow news day huh?

That would be my guess
Posted by BKole

This is the Batman I love. Not the stalking in the Shadows growling batman, but the completely freakin' insane batman that made no sense and was enjoyable because of it. Lines of Force! Amazing.

Although, if you shave a Zebra, its skin is grey. If you shave a Tiger, its skin is stripey.

Science Facts!

Posted by Video_Martian

I don't wanna sound like an ass, but what's the point of this article?

Posted by Video_Martian

@Chaos Burn said:

slow news day huh?

No kidding...

Posted by Sonata

He needs a matching Batmobile:P

Posted by LordRequiem

Just in case he wants to lie down and look like a zebra crossing. Perfect camouflage.

Posted by zombietag

can i get an action figure?? please?

Posted by dudeglove

you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one.

Edited by yo_yo_fun


U know, that isn't half bad. Kind of interesting actually...

Man, they were so silly back then but they are fun to read though:)

Edited by VioletPhoenix

why did Batman do a lot of the things he did in the Golden/Silver Ages..?


Lest we forget the awkwardness of:


Its funny, I just watched on G4-on demand about the Bat-skins DLC for the new game. Except for 70's, Yellow Lantern, & Batman Beyond, (& TAS but thats because that was an awesome series) the suits suck as they are all too similar to ever both with, let alone waste money on. At least Spider-man Shattered had some awesome costumes. The skins DLC should have been for the other bat family characters: Batgirl, Robin, Huntress, even Spoiler. That being said, if bat-Zebra were an option, just reinvented in modern day, I'd want it.

Posted by TheCheeseStabber

I love Z Batman x3

Posted by xanthiss

So he could fit in at the Jersey Shore!

Posted by SpidermanWins

If I was the creator, I'd be scared for my life too if I knew that comic ever existed....

Posted by Imagine_Man15

This is what happens when comic cook writers take acid.

Oh the 80's, what a wonderful time.

Posted by Miss_Garrick

Zebra-costume.... I honestly don't know how to respond to it.

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