The time the city of 'Batman' said movie producers stole its name and sued for royalties.

When you think of Batman, you probably think of this guy:

Image via Thinkstock.


Or this guy:


Image by Evening Standard/Getty Images.

Or this guy:


Image by Junko Kimura/Getty Images.

Or, maybe even this guy:


Image via Thinkstock.

But you're probably not thinking about these people:

Image by Ferhat 72.

That last image is an aerial view of the center of the town of Batman, Turkey.

It's home to about 370,000 people and is less than 100 miles from the Syrian border. Before the discovery of oil in the region in the 1940s, Batman wasn't much of a city — it was only home to about 3,000 people.

And it wasn't "Batman," either; it was a village named Iluh. Iluh was renamed in 1957, nearly two decades after the comic book character debuted, and took its name from a nearby river called the Batman River.

The name of the river and, therefore, the city has nothing to do with the comic book character. But in 2008, a man named Hüseyin Kalkan tried to change that.

At the time, Kalkan was the mayor of Batman (the town), and he wasn't too happy about “The Dark Knight," the film written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale (he's the third Batman pictured).

"The name 'Batman' belongs to us. … There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us."

He told a Turkish news agency (via CNN) that "the name 'Batman' belongs to us … There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us."

And then Kalkan sued — according to various press reports, he brought an action against Nolan seeking untold royalty amounts.

But he didn't sue Warner Bros., who produced the movie, or DC Comics, for that matter.

Absurd, certainly, but the spark for the idea was even stranger.

A few years before the movie came out, Batman (the town, again) had fallen upon hard times. And worse, a few years before that — and horribly — the town was in the news due to a spate of “honor suicides."

As the New York Times reported, these occurred because when young women were engaged in premarital affairs, the culture sickeningly called for their brothers to kill them. To avoid this, in the words of the Times, "parents [were] trying to spare their sons from the harsh punishments associated with killing their sisters by pressing the daughters to take their own lives instead."

Bad news attracts reporters and, in this case, reporters led to crazy legal theories.

During one of Mayor Kalkan's many interviews during that period, a reporter facetiously (one hopes) asked him why the city hadn't sued the comic/movie/cartoon franchise seeking royalties.

After all, those dollars would go a long way toward balancing the city's books. (According to a Turkish news source.)

Kalkan took the question as a critique of his administration, and, as he told the media when announcing his lawsuit, “we found this criticism right and started to look for legal possibilities of a case like that."

And “The Dark Knight" was the first to fit the bill.

The lawsuit almost certainly went nowhere, of course; as of this writing a year later, there are few if any news reports discussing it further.

Nolan, on the other hand, wrote and directed "The Dark Knight Rises" for a 2012 release, without any reported legal threats from Turkish cities.

Dan Lewis runs the popular daily newsletter Now I Know ("Learn Something New Every Day, By Email"). To subscribe to his daily email, click here.

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular