DC's Plans for Batman's 80th Birthday Include 1.5 Million Bats (and Maybe Some Comics) [UPDATED]

Have we reached sufficient animal wrangling mastery to make this scene from Batman Ninja real? Probably not, but god, I hope we do one day.
Gif: Warner Bros. Animation

Like, honestly? You don’t need to know more than that. Happy birthday, Brucie, we got you one and a half million bats.


This month marks 80 years since the world’s greatest detective appeared in the pages of Detective Comics, and to celebrate the occasion, DC has unveiled a plethora of events it will use to celebrate its most beloved Bat-son. These range from the ordinary, like panels at SXSW and WonderCon, to the expected—a hardcover comics anthology and the highly anticipated release of Detective Comics’ 1000th issue later this month—to even the wacky, like Batman-themed celebrations at Six Flags, or even an entire channel provided by AT&T networks running Batman-based programming.

But then my friends, there’s the bats. 1.5 million of them, to be precise.

The bats come in, according to the Hollywood Reporter, as part of the celebrations at SXSW in Austin, Texas. While the convention itself will feature the launch of exclusive Bat-merch, photo opportunities, and a giant mural by an unrevealed local artist, on March 15 a swarm of one and a half million bats will be released over Congress Bridge. Because Batman. How many Man-Bats will be released has yet to be confirmed, but I’m assuming approximately zero.

But regardless of there being so many bats, and so few Man-Bats, I don’t know how this will happen. I do not understand the logistics of how it will happen. How do you wrangle bats? Can bats be wrangled? What is this going to even look like? How do you get the bats to come back? What if you’re in Austin, Texas, on non-Batman-based business and are just fucking petrified at the sudden outburst of bats descending on the city!?

I am very excited to find out though. Sorry, Bruce, your birthday bashes might be upstaged by the complete nightmare that is a swarm of 1.5 million bats.

UPDATE 3/9: It turns out that the Bats are actually already in and around Congress Bridge, as part one of the largest Bat colonies in Texas. Although DC’s press materials indicate they will “release” the bats on March 15 to mark Batman’s special day, the Bats actually regularly emerge in grand fashion every night in Spring and Summer, so really, Batman’s co-opting the power of nature here. Thank you to everyone who let us know that Austin only has slightly less to fear as part of Batman’s 80th Birthday celebrations. 

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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


Stephan Zielinski

You have to pay attention when you read. From the linked article: Batman 80th Anniversary Plans Unveiled by DC and Warner Bros.

The festival will also feature a special event on March 15, when more than 1.5 million bats will fly over the city’s Congress Bridge.

It doesn’t say they’re going to RELEASE 1.5 million bats. It says 1.5 million bats will fly. As it turns out, this happens on its own, without any human intervention. From Austin’s Bat Bridge: A Viewing Guide:

From March to October, 1.5 million bats emerge nightly from narrow crevices in the underside of the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. They usually start to emerge from the bridge around 20 minutes before sundown.