One of the great fictional heroes in pop culture is turning 80 this year.

For the past eight decades, the caped crusader has kept the cities of Gotham City safe from the likes of the Joker while living a dual life as orphaned billionaire Bruce Wayne. Batman’s adventures didn’t start in his own comics. Instead, he made his first appearance in Detective Comics No. 27 in May 1939 before spinning off into his own publication the next year.

Original concept art for Batman was close to that of Superman. However, those early designs quickly evolved to the darker motif that marks the hero to this day.

One of the traits that has helped the character endure is how he has evolved over the years to stay relevant. While he started as a detective in the 1930s, he and his stories have continued to evolve and stay with modern themes and tastes.

Since his early days, Batman has grown beyond his comic origins to become a cultural phenomenon with multiple television shows, movies, books and video games. Over the years, more than 40 actors have played the superhero.

In a way, I grew up at the right time to be a Batman fan. I can still remember growing up and watching old reruns of Adam West’s run as the hero. As campy and silly as this portrayal is, it is just as much a part of the story as any other actor’s run.

Beyond the show, it was about the time that Batman saw a resurgence in the late 80s with the Tim Burton series of films and the sublime animated series that they inspired.

Happy Birthday to Deb Cook of Aubrey; Otis Belt of Augusta Georgia; J.D. Wells of Tampa, Florida; Bobby W. Davis of Denison; and Jimmy Lee Moore of Sherman.

Happy anniversary to Alexis and Bridgett Goree of Sherman, 12 years; Larry and Mary Patterson of Sherman, 29 years; and Irby and Jo Ann Smith of Sherman, 73 years.