Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Batman Without Research

  • Everything about Batman is dumb besides his name and costume.
  • The car’s pretty cool, too.
  • (Sometimes.)
  • The rest is utter nonsense, and even dumber than most superheroes for the simple reason that Batman’s not supposed to have super-powers.
  • When Green Lantern gets up to his outlandish shenanigans, I go along with it because he has a magic ring.
  • Okay, I’ll say; physics gets suspended for this character because–as I mentioned–he has a magic ring.
  • But Batman’s just a guy.
  • So when he, say, falls off a building or beats up a dozen guys at once or holds his breath for 45 minutes, I say: No, that’s not what a guy does.
  • Even if he trained with many, many ethnic people during his little spiritual journey.
  • Mopey little rich boy.
  • Start at the beginning: Batman was introduced in 1939 in Detective Comics #27.
  • In mint condition, the issue goes for many, many dollars.
  • Without research, bitches.
  • Maybe you have an issue of Detective Comics #27 in your house, Younger Enthusiast; you should go into your parents’ bedroom and slice open their mattress with a knife to check.
  • Batman was created by Bob Kane, except for the costume, logo, the Batmobile, the Batarang, the Joker, Catwoman, Gotham City, and also the name Bruce Wayne.
  • A guy named Bill Finger thought all that stuff up.
  • Bill Finger was quiet, and a bit of a drinker, and didn’t know much about business, but he trusted his friend Bob.
  • And, thus: Batman was created by Bob Kane.
  • Nothing’s changed since then, really: Bats is still wandering around bad neighborhoods at night taking out his PTSD on psychopathic clowns and also sometimes the mob.
  • In fact, nothing can change: there can be no change from the status quo, and so all sorts of dopey shit has to be back-engineered into the story.
  • The villains have to come back, because the fans want to see the old villains, so therefore a “no killing” rule is retconned into Batman’s code of ethics, and an insane asylum with a screen door is created to house the bad guys up until the very second they don’t want to be there anymore.
  • First time Batman met the Joker, he straight up murdered him.
  • Which I agree with.
  • But then a few years later, the artists–needing a villain and having no new ideas–decide to bring back the Joker and institute the “no killing” rule, which actually means “no killing characters with dialogue.”
  • If you’re a background thug in a Batman comic or movie, you will get the shit killed out of you by Batman.
  • Not with a gun.
  • Never with a gun.
  • He’ll tomahawk a piece of rebar at your skull.
  • Or fire the Batmobile’s afterburner at your face.
  • Or stick a bomb in your pants.
  • But never with a gun.
  • Batman’s got a code.
  • He also, sometimes, has a teenaged boy with him.
  • Which everyone’s cool with.
  • Robin is ancillary; you don’t need him to have Batman.
  • What are the essentials of the character?
  • Rich guy, dead parents, cave, car, costume, Alfred, Gotham City.
  • Everything else is malleable, which is why there are as many iterations of Batman as there are of the Christ.
  • Change the tone, change the actor, change the style: as long as you have a rich orphan in a pervert suit punching people in faux-Chicago, then you got Batman.
  • Nowadays, we’re supposed to take Batman seriously.
  • Because he’s cooooooool.
  • And he talks all growly and mean.
  • There’s comic book Batman, who is apparently marrying Catwoman or something now.
  • (Both DC and Marvel ran out of ideas around twenty years ago, and now they just pair characters off to fuck or fight, or kill them for a while, and call it an “event.”)
  • But most people know the Batman from the movies, and also the one from teevee.
  • Since 1989, there have been 45 dozen Batman movies.
  • Most have been awful, including the first Tim Burton movie.
  • Go back and watch it again.
  • Michael Keaton was Batman in that one, and the sequel, and if the internet had been around, people would have been outraged at his casting.
  • It wasn’t, so Letterman made a joke abut Mr. Mom being Batman and then we went on with our lives.
  • He was good as Bruce Wayne, not so much as the Caped Crusader: the costume was made of three-inch thick foam latex, and he was almost entirely immobile.
  • A good shove could have toppled him.
  • That’s not very good Batmanning.
  • Then Joel Schumacher took over the movies, and they became very colorful.
  • After that, Christian Bale became Batman and the movies had no color in them whatsoever.
  • These films, three of them, were directed by Christopher Nolan, who is to humor what black holes are to light.
  • Out of the trilogy, the second one and half of the first were good.
  • (This isn’t to say that the second one–the one with the Heath Ledger’s Joker–made any goddamned sense at all: it didn’t, but the movie was so entertaining that you didn’t mind. The third one with Bane was boring, and so you started picking apart the plot, which made no goddamned sense at all.)
  • Now Ben Affleck is Batman, and we deserve that.
  • But the best Batman of all died yesterday, and that was Adam West.
  • He was the best Batman because he was the only Batman who knew how dumb Batman was.

4 Comments

  1. Luther Von Baconson

    June 11, 2017 at 9:01 am


    .

  2. Luther Von Baconson

    June 11, 2017 at 9:04 am

    vote for Pengie

  3. Luther Von Baconson

    June 11, 2017 at 9:06 am

    “what are you doing Pussy Cat?”

  4. “Michael Keaton was Batman in that one, and the sequel, and if the internet had been around, people would have been outraged at his casting.”

    Oh, nerds were outraged, all right. It’s just that, because the internet wasn’t around, all they could do was circulate a petition:

    http://i.imgur.com/6uEg9JD.jpg

    I was prepared to mock it, but it’s actually pretty restrained. It already feels like an artifact of a simpler and kinder era. Any similar drive on the internet today would involve the more vile recesses of Reddit and death threats and probably Milo what’s-his-name.

    Note the slap at the Adam West TV show. When the movie was released, those same nerds rejoiced that it had finished the work that Frank Miller started and finally banished the ghost of West for good. That goofy show only lasted three seasons, and the comics world has spend the last 30 or so years overcompensating for it.

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