The first batarang appeared in Detective Comics #31. They were made of metal and had scallops on them. They were usually thrown to hit a target and return to Batman. Depending on the artist, the batarangs at times could be folded to fit into Batman's utility belt.
The size has also varied from smaller palm-sized ones to larger ones. Batarangs have also been shown tied to the end of a rope to grasp onto an object or to tie around and anchor to an object, like a rooftop gargoyle. There is also a batarang budget which Robin once mentioned as "bigger than you might think" since Batman at times leaves the batarangs at the crime scene. The budget was so big that Robin was able to transport a Batmobile to San Fransisco without Batman knowing by hiding it in the budget.
Types of Batarangs
- Electric: This type of batarang releases a powerful electric charge and was commonly seen in the DCAU, when Batman joined the Justice League. Robin also uses them frequently in the Teen Titans animated series.
- Explosive: This type of batarang is seen in the Batmobile and Batman himself carries some when fighting bigger opponents in the Justice League, however they are rarely effective against the likes of The General and the Greek God, Hades.
- Razor Sharp: These are small palm-sized batarangs and are razor sharp. Batman has commonly used these batarangs as shurikens. He sometimes shoots them at his enemies' arms and feet, where they only go a few inches deep. During Hush, Batman stabbed Clayface, who was pretending to be Jason Todd, in the leg. Also during the Knightfall storyline, Azrael upgraded Batman's costume when he was substituting for him. The new bat-suit had high tech armor and gauntlets that could shoot batarangs or bat-blades. These bat-blades can go for a long distance and go in very deep. One even sliced through a Trigger Twin's palm when they were robbing a train.
- Flash Freeze: Although rarely used in a batarang, Batman keeps freeze pellets in case of a fire. In Teen Titans animated series, Robin used a similar one against Slade, Batman himself once used them.
- Bat-Rope: Batman has used batarangs with ropes which are used to scale tall buildings or tangle foes.
- Remote-Controlled: In the film Batman Returns, Batman also uses a batarang with remote control.
Many bizarre Batarangs where also used in the 1960's including Magnet, Flash Bulb and even Police Whistle Batarangs.
Others who use Batarangs
- Nightwing: He calls his modified razor edged batarangs "Wing Dings" and keeps them in special compartments located in his gauntlets.
- Robin: Most robins use regular batarangs, 'R' shaped shuriken, and "Birdarangs" as defensive rather than offensive weapons. However, the Robin, Damian Wayne wielded a variation of these with larger blades he used mainly for offense.
- Batgirl: All incarnations of Batgirl have used batarangs. Oracle also keeps one for herself.
- Batwoman: She received her first "official" batarang from Nightwing as a Christmas gift.
- Batwing: He was given his own after joining Batman Incorporated.