I decided to do something a bit different when I set out to write this blog entry. Instead of giving my feelings about what Batman means to me, I decided to go much further than that. To emphasize my point about what Batman means to so many people, I decided to ask some of my closest friends, in their own words; what exactly does Batman means to them. This is a perfect example of how a character can go beyond race, religion, age, gender or nationality and be a beacon of hope to so many people. The first one to answer my call was my good friend and fellow podcaster, Mr. Aaron Hoover. Aaron is the co-host of the Confessions of a Movie Snob Podcast. This is what Aaron had to say about Batman:
Batman is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with these gods on earth simply due to his intellect and strength of will. Nowadays it's becoming pretty fashionable to bash upon "Batgod", people complaining he's too powerful, that even when he loses; he turns that into a victory. I don't disagree with that, but I see it as a positive thing. Batman's the pinnacle of the human spirit. It's not unlike us to meet an obstacle and spin our defeat into a victory. Like that time our girlfriend dumped us, we say I'm Better off without her and now I can Meet someone that's perfect for me. It's our perseverance as humans. It's how we cope. My parents might not have been murdered in front of me putting me on a path of vengeance, I might not be a billionaire with a personal butler to help me with my quest. But like Batman; I am only human. It's our similarities that make Batman mean so much to me."
I grabbed every comic that had Batman’s face on it at the time. I gave myself a history lesson and I noticed that the Batman of old was nothing compared to the Dark Knight that Frank Miller had transformed him into. A gritty, smart billionaire who had been driven to the life of crime fighting due to a tragic loss. It made you feel him. He was more than just some clown in a bat suit. Then, the real treat came when I discovered a man by the name of Norm Breyfogle. A comic artist who captured the Batman just as good as Neal Adams, who was arguably the greatest Batman artist ever… but Norm grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. He made me want to draw Batman… and I did. Never as good as he would, but his art was the catalyst for me to play around with comic art. The Batman of that era was a tortured soul who put his life on the line every night on the streets of Gotham for the greater good of man. He’s a dark symbol of what we all wish we could be, a hero who pushes himself to the limits. He’s programmed to protect and fight for the rights of us all.
What does Batman mean to me? He’s an icon. When all other guys wanted to wear capes and fly, Batman wanted to wear a cape and put fear in the hearts of evildoers. He’s not an alien like Kal-El (aka Superman), he’s not a mutant like Scott Summers; he’s a man who pushed himself to the limit and became something more. He's a symbol of justice. To me, he’s the most badass hero to ever grace comics because of the fact he has no powers, just his brain and superb fighting skills, not to mention the greatest gadgets a guy could ever want in his arsenal. To me… he’s the perfect mixture of darkness and justice in a world where some men just like to watch it burn."
Over the last 75 years of this legend we've watched him go from a gun toting slugger to a founding member of the Justice League, but Batman always seems so driven, his “Mission” was never ending and as long as he could stand; he would do battle with the worst of the worst. As I grew up reading comics and watching the tv shows I really started to understand that drive he has, so I put it to myself as he would. Batman is all about drive and loneliness; that comes with his obsession. Fanboys argue that Batman can beat anyone giving prep time and then there’s this whole “ He never gives up “ thing. I think it's all BULL, in the comics he gave his cowl to Dick Grayson; so he has given up the mantle before. Here’s the thing about Batman, his super power is his mind and his gadgets; because he's only human .
From comics to screens big and small, we've seen so many versions of this ICO; but Nolan wanted you to believe anyone could be Batman. In truth, you'd still need that DRIVE he has and lots of Money to pull this off. The masked man hunter has lost a few battles but he’s all about the mission. I take that from Batman, his DRIVE; and the vow he made because of the loss he suffered. He committed himself to a goal. Bill Finger and Bob Kane created him and we as fans made him a legend so here’s to many more years and stories to come. Happy Birthday B man."
Finally the last of the friends I asked to write about Batman came through! Cory Gaitan is the biggest batman fan I know and he will fight for what he loves to the end. Here's what Cory had to say:
Happy Birthday Batman!
-Manuel A. Carmona