In honor of Batman's 75th anniversary, we're rerunning this article on the caped crusader's costume, which originally appeared on Tor.com in February 2011.
Let’s get something straight here: they’re trunks, not underwear. Nobody but losers wear their underwear on the outside—and Batman ain’t no loser, see?
We’ve lost many precious things as a society over the centuries, but perhaps one of the saddest would have to be the racial memory of the origins of superhero costumes. The ability to look at the Caped Crusader’s fighting togs and see nothing but the proud heritage of the circus performer is slipping farther and farther away from us—and we are poorer for it. What was once simply a piece of apparel not too dissimilar to bathing trunks is now ridiculed as “underwear on the outside.” The universe weeps.