Updated: August 10, 2023|
The Batcave is the secret headquarters of the fictional DC Comics superhero Batman, the alternate identity of playboy Bruce Wayne, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his residence, Wayne Manor.
Originally, there was only a secret tunnel that ran underground between Wayne Manor and a dusty old barn where the Batmobile and Batmicrolite were kept. Later, in Batman #12 (August–September 1942), Bill Finger mentioned "secret underground hangars." In 1943, the writers of the first Batman movie serial, titled Batman, gave the Caped Crusader a complete underground crime lab and introduced it in the second chapter entitled "The Bat's Cave". The entrance was via a secret passage through a grandfather clock and included bats flying around.
Bob Kane, who was on the movie set, mentioned this to Bill Finger who was going to be the initial scripter on the Batman daily newspaper strip. Finger included with his script a clipping from Popular Mechanics that featured a detailed cross section of underground hangars. Kane used this clipping as a guide, adding a study, crime lab, workshop, hangar and garage. This illustration appeared in the Batman "dailies" on October 29, 1943 in a strip entitled "The Bat Cave!"
In this early version the cave itself was described as Batman's underground study and, like the other rooms, was just a small alcove with a desk and filing cabinets. Like in the movie serial, the Batman's symbol was carved into the rock behind the desk and had a candle in the middle of it. The entrance was via a bookcase which led to a secret elevator.
The Batcave made its comic book debut in Detective Comics #83 in January 1944. Over the decades, the cave has expanded along with its owner's popularity to include a vast trophy room, supercomputer and forensics lab. There has been little consistency as to the floor plan of the Batcave or its contents. The design has varied from artist to artist and it is not unusual for the same artist to draw the cave layout differently in various issues.