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

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Posted by G-Man (38698 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#1 Posted by moywar700 (3013 posts) - - Show Bio

because he wanted to be spotted

#2 Posted by Kal'smahboi (3734 posts) - - Show Bio
@moywar700 said:

because he wanted to be spotted

No, 'cause then he woulda just made a leopard costume. Duh!
#3 Posted by GothamRed (2615 posts) - - Show Bio

because the store was out of dragon costumes, of course

#4 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29814 posts) - - Show Bio

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

#5 Posted by HolySerpent (13142 posts) - - Show Bio

Lol @ innervenoms123 comment

#6 Posted by NightFang (10728 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#7 Posted by kinless33 (3 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#8 Edited by LaserLambert (641 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#9 Posted by Ganthetsward20 (724 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#10 Posted by sora_thekey (8626 posts) - - Show Bio


#11 Posted by Superkitty (1219 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#12 Posted by Saren (26399 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#13 Posted by Illuminatus (9578 posts) - - Show Bio

This is why I love Batman.

#14 Posted by Eyz (3184 posts) - - Show Bio

Because it's AWESOME!!

Will ya look at it!!


How can you take your eyes off it..

#15 Posted by Chaos Burn (1875 posts) - - Show Bio

slow news day huh?

#16 Posted by Adnan (1042 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#17 Posted by Hit_Monkey (1194 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123 said:

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.


#18 Posted by BritishMonkey (347 posts) - - Show Bio

it was the 60's

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

#19 Posted by DedrabbiT (649 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey that's my av! Haha.

#20 Posted by pspin (1079 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#21 Posted by KidSupreme (847 posts) - - Show Bio

That is pretty interesting!

#22 Posted by Walley (27 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#23 Posted by jsphsmth (1173 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#24 Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee (14018 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#25 Posted by Emperormeister734 (882 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#26 Posted by Inverno (13715 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#27 Posted by Bestostero (5782 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#28 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1743 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#29 Posted by DonFelipe (1599 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#30 Posted by wdchefdave (136 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#31 Posted by sesquipedalophobe (4888 posts) - - Show Bio

No one ever molests a zebra.

#32 Posted by MSBoyd23 (162 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#33 Posted by dvorak (188 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#34 Posted by DXmagma (96 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#35 Posted by BatClaw89 (143 posts) - - Show Bio
@Chaos Burn said:

slow news day huh?

That would be my guess
#36 Posted by BKole (560 posts) - - Show Bio

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!

#37 Posted by Video_Martian (5650 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#38 Posted by Video_Martian (5650 posts) - - Show Bio

@Chaos Burn said:

slow news day huh?

No kidding...

#39 Posted by Sonata (5081 posts) - - Show Bio

He needs a matching Batmobile:P

#40 Posted by LordRequiem (1330 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#41 Posted by zombietag (1612 posts) - - Show Bio

can i get an action figure?? please?

#42 Posted by dudeglove (9 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#43 Edited by yo_yo_fun (654 posts) - - Show Bio


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:)

#44 Edited by VioletPhoenix (308 posts) - - Show Bio

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


Lest we forget the awkwardness of:

#45 Edited by COBRAMORPH (1744 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#46 Posted by TheCheeseStabber (8195 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Z Batman x3

#47 Posted by xanthiss (179 posts) - - Show Bio

So he could fit in at the Jersey Shore!

#48 Posted by SpidermanWins (4142 posts) - - Show Bio

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

#49 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1810 posts) - - Show Bio

This is what happens when comic cook writers take acid.

Oh the 80's, what a wonderful time.

#50 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1761 posts) - - Show Bio

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

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