Ever since Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman in 1939, there’s been a whole host of characters in the character’s lore. Gotham is awash with heroes, villains, and those compelling characters who straddle the grey area in between. While the likes of Robin, Joker and Catwoman began in the comics just like the Bat himself, there’s a whole host of other great characters who only hit the pages after debuting elsewhere.
With several TV shows and video games down the years, plenty of amazing characters have entered the Batman canon through less than typical means. Some have been brief, bright sparks with limited appearances, while others have slipped seamlessly into Batman’s stories permanently.
As many of these characters were one-offs, it’s interesting to see how they reflect their era. Characters like Riddler have evolved through decades of popularity, but some here get just one chance to shine. Some are brilliantly whimsical and camp, others are cartoonishly silly, while others still have a rougher, more violent persona.
The comics might be what Batman is best known for, but as he approaches his 80th anniversary, this list proves he’s provided excitement everywhere he’s been.
10. Arkham Knight
Technically he isn’t an entirely new character, but that’s what he was pitched as before the game released, so he warrants discussion.
The Arkham Knight is a young man in red with a deep connection to Batman, consumed by a sense of injustice and betrayal. If after all that, you couldn’t piece together who he was... I hope you enjoyed your first Batman story, I guess. The reveal of Jason Todd recalls one of the twists of Jeph Loeb’s brilliant Hush storyline, too. So as well as being false advertising, it’s not even all that original.
Having said that, if you can put your disappointment aside, the Arkham Knight is a pretty decent character. Seeing an Arkham game built around someone besides the Joker was refreshing, and he cut a more physically imposing figure. The unpredictability was lost slightly, but that was replaced with a more immediate brutality.
If you’re a purist who insists Arkham Knight isn’t a real character and this list is bogus (firstly, who hurt you?), you can take Red Claw as the tenth entry. She misses out because she was basically Talia Al Ghul but red.