So we all know Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Since that time we’ve had a million iterations if referring to Batman as variations on Dark Knight until I wish he’d just lighten up, dammit.
But where’d that start?
I’m rereading Cerebus High Society. The issues in the compilation were publisher between May 1981 and May 1983. In an early issue a character - The Moon Roach who is a parody of Marvel’s Moon Knight - is referred to by another character as ‘sort sort of jet and silver Dark Knight caped crusader’.
I can’t imagine that the Dark Knight thing first appeared in an obscure black and white indie comic out of Kitchener, Ontario about an aardvark, for heaven’s sake.
So does anyone know earlier uses of the phrase to refer to Batman? I’m prepared to discover it’s been around forever. I just don’t know of any.
That’s an extract from The Untold Legend of the Batman (note use of definite article) from July-September 1980. It uses a somewhat flimsy framing device to basically depict a whole series of flashbacks based on decades of various Batman stories about his origin, his costume, his parents, his sidekick… etc.