The "Bat-Man" Begins
Every so often I run into some yahoo that pontificates about how Batman comics are for kids and that the Batman movies are "too dark", and "not in the spirit" of Batman. The accusations are usually leveled at the Christopher Nolan movies, and say, "that's not Batman", all-the-while extolling the virtues of the Adam West TV series or (worse), the Joel Schumacher films.
To which, I respond, no, that's not Batman. One only needs look to the first appearance of Batman - then called The "Bat-Man" (yes, in quotes). Bob Kane and Bill Finger's shadowy crime fighter was inspired by the pulp hero The Black Bat, and the 1926 mystery film The Bat. This version of Bat-Man didn't have lots of gimmicky devices - he used whatever was at hand, a handkerchief, a wrench, or what have you. He didn't even have a Batmobile - he drove an ordinary red car. And, he had no compunctions about dropping villains off of rooftops, or seeing them take an unexpected acid bath. He lurked in the shadows and fought a grim, merciless battle on crime. That's Batman.
While Bob Kane's art may seem extremely crude by modern standards, there's no doubt that this conception of Batman holds up well more than 70 years after it first saw print.