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Old 04-06-2011, 12:09 AM   #1
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Default Visceral Batman Essays

I know I know there are too many things that already commentate on the character. However I have many thoughts that I like to share and after looking at some of my old posts I decided to full form them into essays in order to better analyze what the character means to us and more importantly to me.

If you happen to read these let me know what you think and add any thoughts you have.



Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:


Batman is arguably one of the most relevant characters created over the last century. He has endured a long time and is easily still one of the most popular superheroes out their. The questions that he asks and the way he is portrayed seems to influence people in every age group.

I decided to write out my thoughts on the character, and the major ways that he has evolved over the years. Though the character was created by Bob Kane and in part by Bob Finger. I believe that the major changes to the character have happened far later in the characters history.

When Bob Kane created Batman he was attacking a society that was very scary for young children. Those children in the 1930's were growing up in a tough world where war and depressions were a huge reality. Gotham was in part inspired by the corruption that Chicago faced with gangsters like Al Capone. It was difficult for a person to believe that they could keep their integrity in a dark world. Batman then was a character that every child would love as he keep his fight pure even though the world around him was getting worse.
The character became complex and so it is important to analyze the different incarnations of the character to understand why we have loved him for so long and know really what he means to society.

Though it was Bob Kane who created him, Frank Miller, Tim Burton, and Christopher Nolan have made serious impacts on the character that I will examine.

Frank Miller's Batman

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Frank Miller's Batman

Miller has constantly been writing great comics from the 1980's onward. His books are always interesting and contant similar points on which Miller commentates society. He always chooses characters who are tortured and face incredible odds. These are characters of whom Miller respects. His impact on Batman is obvious even when viewing his other works such as Sin City it can be seen that he was meant to revitalize Batman.

The idea of Old Town being the sanctuary for the most prominent characters in Sin City shows us that he isn't being misogynistic, quite the opposite. A lot of ideas get tacked onto Miller's writing but that isn't really what he is about. All of his books speak to the idea of keeping your integrity in a fallen world. All of Miller's characters know that they are sinners and have to fight against not only their own personal demons but a world that seeks to use those demons to use and keep them in place.

"My Sin City heroes are knights in dirty, blood-caked armor. They bring justice to a world that gives them no medals, no praise, no reward. That world, that city, often kills them for their brave service."

In Daredevil Born Again both Matt and Karen, are broken down til they have nothing left to live for and nowhere left to turn. They maintain their dignity though and in the end they survive making the right choices.
Year One and to that extent Batman Begins, both Gordon and Batman are similar in respects to Hartigan and Marv. They seem crazy but are both selfless and constantly beat down. Gordon in particular is an interesting character who shows his fallen-ness with his affair with Sarah Essen comes clean to Barbara in the end to maintain his dignity. Showing that through humility a cop becomes the hero he should be. Where as all other cops in Miller's world are misogynistic enemies.

The 300 Spartans might be eugenic but I don't think that this is what he was writing about. I think that it was a choice of death over submission to a dictatorship. Complete exoneration of the individual human spirit. The same way in which Batman fights Superman for his allegiance with the government in The Dark Knight Returns.

I used to be against the Catwoman as a prostitute idea, but as I get older I see the commentary that Miller is making. A woman who does this will do anything to survive, in a sense they are far stronger than any one who enjoys the luxuries and comforts of modern society.(If Batman hates the bourgeoisie society that Bruce represents how could he not fall for someone like Selina)
It's what makes Deadly Little Miho the most powerful individual in the Sin City universe.

All Star Batman takes what Miller started with Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. What I like is that the Batman here is portrayed not as the inexperienced everyman in Year One. His psychology is beginning to set in. The story centers on why batman would take on an apprentice and then deny membership to the Justice League. Miller portrays Batman as a madman, with specific reason. Gordon throughout the story states that the Batman is a jerk but at the same time states he wishes to confide in him. Miller displays Gotham as a world much like his Sin City world, obsessed with greed and corruption. In a world like this a good man like Gordon feel alone and constantly weaken him. It is only in Batman whose complete rejection of societies values give Gordon any hope.

It is this rejection of society's law for a higher law that not only makes Batman appear insane, it probably makes him somewhat insane. In a pivotal scene, Green lantern screams at Batman that because of his crazy actions the people will begin to call any superhero a criminal. To this Batman simply responds, "Of course we are criminals, we have to be criminals". He is like the idiot from Dostoevesky's famous novel driven mad by being virtuous in an un-virtuous world. Even if that makes him seem a little cold at times.
Here we see that batman though driven a little mad by constantly beating up bad guys, he refuses to become like the comedian in the watchmen, a political puppet. Instead he views the other superheroes like this. batman is taking a stance against the government and toward the individual person. He is like Zorro who was always pictured as a rebel against the evil government. Robin has also gained inspiration from a similar movie character in this, Robin Hood.

Of Course the book is about the relationship between Batman and Robin. As of late in Batman books, the taking on of a protégé is a more of a statement about Batman. Miller continues the statement made by Loeb's Long Halloween and Nolan's The Dark Knight, that Batman's actions constantly inspire other people to act in extreme ways. Both villains (Joker) and Heroes(Black Canary), take action in this book, but Miller makes an addition bring Batgirl to show us that the madness the batman provokes in the adult world looks like brilliance to children.

Robin probably can't tell whether he is getting brilliance or madness which will always strain the relationship between them. For Batman however, there was no choice to take Robin on as a protégé. Within Loeb's Dark Victory, batman makes the choice to bring Robin on as a protégé or son figure in order to quell a loneliness or void cause by his failure to save his friend Harvey Dent. Miller makes a different statement. Witnessing the murder of the Graysons, an event that mirrors what created Batman, forces Batman's hand. It is a symbol of failure. Miller states that Batman is a hero trying to create a world where he does not have to exist. If this is true then Robin's existence must be devastating to Batman. Batman cannot within his complex psychology refuse Robin the empowerment he needs to fight against the world as well. The event was probably so similar to Wayne's that I am sure Batman might think it to be an act of providence, aid from the higher power batman has aligned himself with a higher law.


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Last edited by Visceral; 04-06-2011 at 12:13 AM.
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