Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Batman, the Man


Note from Jonathan Lapper: I just wanted to say that I'm nervous about the idea of "guest" blogging with Nathaniel still here. It was easier when he was in Disney World and I felt he wasn't watching me. Now I feel he will judge my every word, slash and edit and rap my knuckles with a ruler any chance he gets. But enough of my massive insecurities, let's move on.

I have a question and I hope an answer: Why is Batman so popular? Seriously, there's about a million different comic book characters out there, many of whom enjoy popularity that is of the mass appeal sort (Spiderman, Superman, and Iron Man and the Hulk to a lesser degree) but Batman. Geez! They just keep reinventing him, bringing him back for more. And I think I know why. He's normal.

Okay, so he's not that normal. I mean, he dresses up in a bat suit almost every night (I only do it on weekends) but he wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider. He doesn't have the power to alter the course of a planet due to his astonishing strength (Superman). He doesn't turn into a big green behemoth (figure out that one on your own). He's just a guy in a suit. And unlike Iron Man, you can see him in the suit, see his eyes, see his mouth. He's human, not a CGI creation.


I haven't seen The Dark Knight yet (though I'm itching to) but I suspect a large part of its acceptance has to do with the fact that Batman somehow makes it easier for all of us to suspend our disbelief. When we watch him we're watching a crime movie, not a comic book movie and it appeals to a larger audience. Even his enemies are average joes who go psychotic due to one bad break or another. He doesn't fly or spin webs and stretch or burn or surf the universe. He puts on his uniform and goes out to make Gotham safe for everyone. If only every billionaire were that cool.

13 comments:

Jaydawg2089 said...

Yay for Batman!!! Big time fan-boy here. But not the evil kind. The normal kind. The kind that thinks it's ridiculous to claim a movie can cure cancer. The kind that thinks it's fine for someone to think a movie is okay or even bad when I think it's great. Although, I like to know why someone thinks is okay, or a B. Give us a review, Nat!

Anonymous said...

Basically - it's something that seems perfectly plausible for real life. Someone could *really* become Batman (with the right amount of money and a really sweet butler.. but I digress...)

Anonymous said...

He has money, all the ladies... catwoman, great friends (Jordan, Robin and Alfred) and that car!

Love ya man!!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

I think it's more than the normalcy (no superpowers)

it's the normalcy (no superheroes)
combined with
normal fantasy (bazillions of dollars to make yourself super)
and normal fear/fantasy mashup (inner demons taking over... he actually allows it to happen and I think people fear their darker sides but would also really like to give in to them or be "weird")

i'm totally guessing but i think he combines a lot of things for people.

I personally prefer superheroes to have actual super powers but that's a story for another time.

NATHANIEL R said...

jaydawg i barely have time to comment at this juncture.

we'll see.

jonathan you mispelled "Nathaniel" It should read "NATHANIEL, HIGH HOLY GOD OF THE BLOGOSPHERE"

now, hand me those knuckles!

FranklinBluth said...

I think it's Gotham city...

it's beautiful, mysterious, sprawling, dark, etc.

Liz said...

I've always thought that Batman was unique amongst superheroes for basically choosing to become what he is. Pretty much all of the others are forced into it in some way, and although varying origin stories obviously play with this a bit, generally speaking Batman is a normal guy amongst a bunch of freaks.

Kris said...

It's much more than the realism or the normalcy. It's the complexity of the man, the complexity of the code, the line he won't cross and the relationship he has with Gotham. It's the dynamic with the rogues gallery that forms a symbiosis of sorts. It's the conscious effort that goes into the role, as opposed to be anointed or chosen in any decisive way. It's the random nature of the event that made him and the consistent struggle to root out evil.

No other character in comics (in much of literature, I'd wager) is as complex. It's so much more.

And yes...I'm obviously a Bat-dork and a half.

NATHANIEL R said...

but is his code any different than other superheroes? It seems pretty much the same to me . Stop evil but don't be evil in doing so. i.e. stop evil without killing them, etcetera...

jaydawg2089 said...

Nat, mine was more of a "I like to read your reviews" not a "explain yourself"

Jonathan Lapper said...

NATHANIEL, HIGH HOLY GOD OF THE BLOGOSPHERE, thank you for the correction.

While I agree with pretty much everything's that's been said here I think Liz sums it up best for me: He made the choice himself, not because his parents sent him from a dying planet, or because of exposure to gamma radiation or he hails from Atlantis (Namor, the Submariner). He made a choice to do what he does to work through his inner demons.

And I should say that I've got nothing against comic book superheroes being just that - super - I'm just saying I think this is what makes the Bat more accessible. And cooler. Much cooler.

Joe Reid said...

Plus he's not a square-jawed dork like Superman.

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