The longest lasting impact of Batman gadgets is on the tongue, not the villains
The linguistics of Bat-gadgets, like the Batwing and the Batarang, and their influence on the media and the English language are enormous. Let’s look at it.
At the end of almost all of the Adam West and Burt Ward episodes directed in 1966 Batman, viewers were urged to return the following week, “Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!” The show is viewed fondly by its observers as its unique mark of respectful parody has shone especially in a way like this. Every name relating to Batman is a Bat-Noun, from Batarangs to Batmobiles. It even extended to the channel the show aired on.
The language evolves according to the public conscience. Of course, the popularity of Batman During the franchise’s nearly 82-year history, it is certain that it will have an influence on the language. Even more than Burt Ward’s “Holy Toledo,” the Bat- prefix is one of the enduring aspects of comics, shows, and movies. This compound changed not only the language of superheroes but also the English language all over the world.
Bat-Gadgets started out almost alongside Batman, but the early issues lacked many of the aspects of Batman most familiar to today’s readers. “Bat-Man” drove a sporty red car, used silk ropes to grab his enemies, and killed them while wearing lavender gloves. The revealing hood and cloak were still present, and it didn’t take long for the Dark Knight himself to emerge.
In his third appearance, Batman had removed the hyphen on his behalf. By her fourth, the purple gloves had been replaced with the familiar blue. Finally, in Police comics # 31, the first Bat-Gadgets, the Batgyro (a precursor to the Batwing) and the Batarang appeared.
These Bat-Gadgets are an example of a composition. Compound words generally have more meaning than the individual words that compose them. In superhero and derivative media Batman, these gadgets do not have to do with a bat, but with the titular hero. This is because of the use of Totems, the animal representing a hero (for example, Spider-Man and the spiders or Batman and the bats). When exposed to Superhero-Totem combinations like Batman and Bat-Gadgets, studies show that people are more likely to expect language structures like this to be the norm. A bat glove is more likely to be a glove belonging to Batman than a glove used to catch bats. This is because “Bat” before a name in English means that the name relates to Batman, not a literal bat.
Over the next 80 years, Google Ngrams, a language use tracker, shows that “Bat” as an adjective was used 50% more in the whole of the English language. The number of occurrences before a name has almost tripled. The statistical explosion of “Bat” as a non-name is almost entirely due to Batman and his licenses.
Bat-Noun structures also carried over to gadgets from other heroes. Spider-Man briefly drove a Spider-Mobile. People were more likely to believe it was a car driven by Spider-Man than a car that looked like a spider in some way. This is due to the popularity of Spider-Man and the precedent set by Batman’s gadgets.
Another example, Green Arrow’s lair is the “Cave of Arrows”. As Harley Quinn pointed out in Injustice Year 1, part 2, it doesn’t make sense, because arrows have nothing to do with caves. The joke came from the reader’s acceptance that the superhero totem name simply makes sense. This accepted format comes from Batmanthe influence of on the media. From the unintentional to the serious to the parodying, the use of structure has become standard in all publications, especially for its creator, Batman himself.
During the West of Adam Batman (1966), the neurotic labeling of a ridiculous assortment of Bat-Gadgets was a self-parody. This resulted in the Batman (1966) use of the film Shark-Repellent Bat-Spray. In video games, movies, and comics, Batman villains parody the Bat nomenclature, pushing the meta-humor and linguistic presence of the Bat-Gadgets even further.
The “Bat-” trend has only grown stronger over the decades, as evidenced by statistics on its use in literature and popular culture. As a meta-humor and a meta-commentary, Bat-Gadgets’ influence on culture has linguistic cards of fans and non-fans alike. Over the years, the comic book medium continues to influence not only popular culture, but the entire human experience.
KEEP READING: The Real Reason Batman And Robin Costumes Had Bat Nipples Is Pretty Simple
Marvel announces incredible return of John Romita Jr.’s Spider-Man this spring
About the Author