Happy Birthday: Golden Age Batman
The Bruce Wayne of Earth-Two was born on April 7, 1915. A crook named Joe Chill robbed and killed Bruce’s parents in 1924, when Bruce was only eight years old. Bruce dedicated his life to avenging his parents’ deaths and protecting others from criminals and their evil deeds.
After many years of training, Bruce donned a fearsome costume and became the Batman. He was a member of both the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron, and despite not having any superpowers was considered one of the greatest of the American heroes. Bruce also reformed and married the former Catwoman, Selina Kyle—together they had a daughter, Helena Wayne, who later became the Huntress.
After many years, Bruce decided he was too old to continue as the Batman and retired from that side of his life, passing the mantle to his friend and student Dick Grayson. Bruce became the police commissioner of Gotham City instead. The fact that he had been the original Batman became public after Selina died in his arms trying to stop a former Catwoman henchman.
In 1979, Bruce was coaxed out of costumed retirement one last time to stop a super-powered crook named Bill Jensen, and the mission led to Bruce Wayne’s death. After his death, Doctor Fate erased the world’s knowledge that Bruce Wayne and Batman had been the same person.
Okay, as someone who doesn't know much about Golden Age continuity, I found this very interesting. I actually have a bunch of questions, but I'll limit too at what point was the Golden Age Batman superceded by the modern Batman? Things like Dick becoming Batman and Batman dying were alternate reality tales, right?
The "Silver Age" began in 1956 with DC comics Showcase #4, that had the origin of the New Flash. This began a period of DC reinventing their Superheroes. Some remained relatively unchanged, like Superman and Batman. Some got MAJOR costume changes, new origins and new powers. Compare Golden Age Flash (Jay Garrick) to Silver Age Flash, (Barry Allen). Or Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott) with Silver Age Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).In 1961, with "The Flash of Two Worlds" in Flash #123, Golden Age Jay Garrick meets Silver Age Barry Allen. The concepts of Earth-ONE and Earth-TWO are introduced, parallel realities.Earth-TWO ended up having all the Golden Age Characters including the members of the "Justice Society of America," while Earth-ONE had the "Justice League of America."DC tried to clean up the mess of multiple universes and multiple worlds with the first Crisis. The success of Crisis and the resulting confusion and contradictions from it have led to more Crisis and more confusion.Graphically, the major difference between Golden Age Batman and the Batman of today is the yellow ellipse around the Bat-Logo of Silver Age or "New Look Batman," this is missing on Golden Age Batman. Sometimes Batman stories in the current cannon use the OLD Batman costume. Usually this denotes something from very early in Batman's career, like in Frank Miller's, "Batman: Year One." In my mind, the Bat-Logo without the yellow says either, "This is a Golden Age Batman story," or "This is the Modern Batman BEFORE teaming up with Robin.""New Look Batman" was introduced in 1964, with an attempt to return the character to his darker roots. This got set aside for several years, as the popularity of the campy Batman TV Show required an equally campy comic. It wasn't until 1969 that writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neil Adams are credited with really creating the modern look and style of Batman, including the long pointy ears and flowing cape and moved the Dark Knight into darker stories.More answers are here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman