The Black Bat was originally the moniker of two heroes featured in two pulp magazine series in the 1930s.
The first Black Bat appeared in Black Bat Detective Mysteries, a 6-issue pulp magazine written by Murray Leinster, between 1933 and 1934.
Black Bat was a roaming detective who left calling cards with an image of a bat, the man was called "Black Bat" in the way Simon Templar was called "the Saint"; unlike the Simon Templar books, however, none of the Black Bat stories ever mentioned the character's real name.
In July 1939, Thrilling Publications introduced a new Black Bat in a series called Black Book Detective. Written mainly by Norman Daniels the stories described the crime-fighting career of Anthony Quinn, who was a successful District Attorney before being blinded and disfigured by acid, an idea borrowed a few years later by DC Comics for the creation of Two Face.
Blinded by acid, Quinn believes his career is over until Carol Baldwin arrives and tells him that a surgeon was willing to perform an operation to graft her dying father's corneas onto Quinn's eyes so that he can see again. The operation is done in secret and when the bandages are removed, Quinn finds that he can not only see normally but can also see perfectly in darkness. This ability, in addition to the abilities Quinn had developed due to being blind; sharper hearing, more sensitive touch, a better sense of smell, etc, allowed Quinn to begin a career annew as the Black Bat; a vigilante working outside the law to bring to justice the crooks who evade capture and prosecution.
Donning an all-black garb which incorporated a bat-like motif, a pair of .45 automatics, and assorted gimmicks like smoke bombs and grappling hooks, Quinn took on spies and gangsters, not hesitating to kill when necessary.
Batman and the second Black Bat both hit the newstands around the same time (Black Book Detective #1 (July, 1939), Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939)) and were so similar that the two companies (Detective Comics and Thrilling Publications) frequently threatened to sue each other before an out-of-court deal was made where each character would stay within their respective format (no pulp version of The Batman, no comicbook version of The Black Bat).
Bill Finger once called Bob Kane's attention to the unique gauntlets the Black Bat wore, and subsequently, Bob Kane created similar "fins" to add to Batman's gloves.
Moonstone Books later revived the Anthony Quinn Black Bat as part of their 2010 "Return of the Originals" comic series.