What’s Happening at the Library: 70 years of Batman

He swings from rooftops, drives a rocket car and spars with guys who catch missiles.

Not bad for an 80-year-old.

This week marks the 80th anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics.

From there, he has gone on to dominate movies, TV, Legos and the printed page because of who Batman is.

Despite having billions of dollars and tons of cool gadgets, Batman has always been the most relatable of heroes.

He has no superpowers, but he trains his body and mind to be the ultimate crime fighting weapon.

As testament to that work, Batman can live in a universe with beings who can throw buildings or rearrange matter and still be one of the most dangerous men.

Gadgets don’t make the Batman dangerous; it’s his analytical mind and iron will.

Want to see Batman be his best Batman? Partake of his many colorful exploits at the Clark County Public Library.

For an overall history, check out “Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman.” This book has a plethora of milestones in Batman’s history, including how he met his closest allies and his first encounters with various villains who would become his Rogues’ Gallery.

If you prefer a kinder, gentler Batman, check out “Batman ‘66” as well as the movie “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders,” where Batman is voiced by Adam West.

Children can even get in on the Bat-Mania, watching Batman fight crime in a world built by Lego. “The LEGO Batman Movie” has Gotham’s protector not only fighting his villains, but every villain Lego ever gave a playset. For children from the ‘90s (and ‘90s kids at heart), there’s the groundbreaking “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Before the ‘90s and after the campiness of the ‘60s, Batman in the ‘80s grew more gritty, more morally ambiguous and more likely to win the day with martial arts than bad jokes.

Batman really lets his anger rip in “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” The graphic novel and the DC animated movie show an older, grizzled Batman coming out of retirement to save Gotham and redefine the Dark Knight as a legitimately scary superhero.

Even scarier, though, is Batman’s most famous villain. The Joker, the clown prince of crime, is unbridled chaos while Batman represents cool logic.

For the Joker, this dichotomy gives him purpose, and in “Death of the Family,” the villain begins targeting Batman’s family (friends, protégés and mentors), so he can have his nemesis all to himself.

Batman spent years to become the Dark Knight, but all you need to do to savor his adventures is visit the Clark County Public Library.

Other events this week:

— At 2 p.m. Monday, Chair Yoga taught by Kathy Howard, a certified yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. There is a $5 charge per class.

—From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Smart Bicycling Training. Become a safer and more confident bicycle rider with Walk-Bike Clark County’s short bicycle safety course. Call 859-744-5661 to register.

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show. Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

— At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Trivia at the Engine House. Reference librarian Jeff Gurnee asks trivia questions that will set your brain bubbling like pizza cheese.

—At 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Gentle Flow Yoga with Kathy Howard.

— At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, “Seed to Plate in 6 Weeks: Microgreens and More.” Fast-growing edibles for your early kitchen garden include a smörgåsbord of beautiful heirloom radishes like Pink Beauty, as well as Thumbelina carrots, Green Arrow sugar peas, and a rainbow of greens. Call 859-744-5661 to register.

Tune in next week for more library goodness, same Clark County time, same Clark County newsletter.

James  Gardner is a librarian at Clark County Public Library.