He’s saved the citizens of Gotham City, and the entire DC comic book universe, multiple times across the past eight decades, but on the eve of the 50th San Diego Comic-Con, the real world impact of DC’s Batman was celebrated in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
“Batman is real in every person who summons the strength and resilience to keep going. That is a superpower. There’s no other way to describe it,” DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee told an assembled audience of hundreds at the site of the future Comic-Con Museum on Wednesday evening.
Pam Lifford, president of Warner Bros. Brands and Experiences, added that the character “connects with everyone no matter where you may come from in the world. Batman is a hero for all people. That’s why he resonates across every medium: comic books, cartoons, TV shows, toys, video games, even theme park rides and postage stamps. Batman is everywhere.”
Although the Dark Knight has proved omnipresent across multiple forms of media, DC publisher Dan DiDio made it clear that the character’s birthplace remains his most vital home. Calling comic books “the test lab” for Batman, DiDio said, “it’s where we take chances, where we experiment with new ideas, new concepts and new storylines. Those experiments in turn inspire other artists, filmmakers and writers.”
The ceremony inducting Batman into the Comic-Con Museum Hall of Fame — the first fictional character to be awarded the honor — was the crowning moment of “The Gathering,” a special celebration that doubled as a preview of The Batman Experience Powered by AT&T, a pop-up exhibit in the Balboa Park location that will eventually become the physical home of the Comic-Con Museum running during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and a fundraiser for the Museum.
Both “The Gathering” and The Batman Experience are part of DC and Warner Bros.’ wider celebration of the 80th anniversary of the release of Detective Comics No. 27, which introduced Batman to the world, a yearlong event that has already included events at South by Southwest and a USO tour featuring DC’s Lee and Batman comic book writer Tom King.
The Batman Experience, which features an exhibition of artwork from the character’s comic book history, as well as movie props throughout his onscreen career and an arcade filled with Batman video games from across decades — as well as the one-of-a-kind VR indoor skydiving experience, The Dark Knight Dive — will run through July 21 in Balboa Park.