Real Name: Kirk Langstrom
First Appearance: Detective Comics #400 (June 1970)
Powers: When is his animalistic form, Man-Bat possesses superhuman strength, can fly, is able to manipulate sound, uses echolocation, and has incredibly sharp claws.
Affiliation: Justice League Dark and Secret Society of Supervillains
Did You Know? Man-Bat was once ranked as high as 16 on IGN’s greatest Batman supervillains list.
A Little History
The origin of DC’s Man-Bat is pretty straightforward.
Man-Bat first appeared inside the pages of Detective Comics #400 in June of 1970. He was created by the trio of Neal Adams, Frank Robbins, and Julius Schwartz.
In his origin story, Kirk Langstrom is depicted as a brilliant geneticist. As a geneticist, he’s fascinated with trying to give superior traits from one species to another. Very specifically, he was enthralled by bats and aimed to give human beings the sonar-like hearing that they possessed.
Although he was mocked by his peers, Kirk did, in fact create a serum that could give humans sonar-like hearing. Looking to prove his worth, Kirk was unwilling to wait for the proper trial period. Rather than test the serum on others, he tested it on himself. To his elation, the serum worked and he began to hear things that he normally wouldn’t hear. Unfortunately, the superior hearing wasn’t all that happened to him. In addition to the hearing, Kirk grew wings and claws, his appearance grew more bat-like, and he became more instinctual and less analytical.
Now unable to control himself, Kirk began causing chaos and mayhem all over Gotham. Luckily, he wound up in the presence of Batman. With Batman’s intelligence, he was able to concoct and administer a vaccine that returned Langstrom to his human form. As with many twists and turns in comics, this didn’t last and eventually, Kirk (now called Man-Bat) transformed once again.
And that’s it. The origin of DC’s Man-Bat.