Lapis Exilis wrote:
I just read an interesting article in the book Batman Unauthorized that tries to sum up the essential elements of Batman (or at least the version of him favored these days). See what you think of author Lou Anders'
list as to what constitutes "an accurate rendition" of Batman:
1) acknowledges the supreme force of will of the character....In contrast he notes that the Batman of today's comics can command the attention of superpowered beings and "send a chill down every spine there - despite having no powers of his own - by his mere presence and force of personality...."
2) Batman has something to prove.
Anders' point here is really interesting - he compares Bruce Wayne, quite rightly I think, to Captain Ahab:
"Wayne set out to prove to the universe that death could not catch him unawares again. He chose as his territory Gotham City, and as his target the criminal underworld (as Ahab chose the whale), but his real target (and intended audience) was the cosmos itself... proving to the universe and himself that no matter what form death takes, it will find him ready."
3) A refusal to kill and an aversion to guns in particular....
4) "Finally, any accurate depiction of the Batman must include the understanding that, unlike the vast majority of costumed crime fighters, Batman's secret identity is not his core persona. Bruce Wayne, the millionaire playboy, is the disguise, whereas "the Batman" is his true nature...."
Some people see things differently.
1. The triumph of the will is nonsense, commonly pernicious nonsense. The notion that there is some sort of divine gift, a charisma, that enables heroes to overawe all and sundry also is nonsense. There's always a Thersites. If Homer knew it, so should we all.
What I saw in Batman was brains over brawn, and the victory of heroism against brutality.
2. No, I'm pretty sure that the real target is street criminals. And I'd put it that it's that Bruce has to make up for the deaths of his parents. But the important thing is that Bruce can't win. There's no making up that.
3. This is by far the most comic-booky thing about Batman, motivated solely by the desire to keep it from being too real for kids reading the funny book. A vigilante who doesn't kill avoids all the serious moral questions of vigilantism. That's why Burton's more serious take dropping this didn't bother me greatly.
4. Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy, certainly isn't the real man. But then, Batman is not really a character. It's a costume and a symbol. Those aren't, and can't, be a real man. If Batman is still yet the core, then the core is hollow.
Obviously Anders has done a pretty good job of identifying the essentials of the Batman character of today. But it also explains why Batman is no longer a comic book character for whom I feel any affinity.