My favourite version of Batman is the Denny O Neil / Neal Adams globe trotting James Bond inspired Batman of the 70’s…
My favourite Batman is the relentless Manhunter Paul Dini version in Batman the Animated Series…
My favourite Batman is the ass kicking one man army we get in the Arkham Asylum video games…
My favourite Batman is the uncompromising driven Batman we see in Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins…
Truthfully I have no “favourite” version of Batman.
In my mind I do, but he’s a composite of everything that has been in 70+ years, of comics, games, animation, TV, movies, art and more – and some things I add in my own imagination of my ideal Batman that reflect my own values. My ideal Batman is the archetype of Batman himself, the very IDEA of Batman is my favourite version.
A man is just flesh and blood and can be ignored or destroyed. But as a symbol… As a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting – Bruce Wayne / Batman Begins
Batman is a clearly defined character, but he is also a cipher – he’s this template or archetype who is whatever we want him to be, he reflects our values today, and his characterization shifts over the decades to mirror our values.
In my mind and in my heart of hearts Batman is the guy who channels all his pain and anger and frustration into his war on crime, his life is one of service to a higher good that he probably doesn’t even comprehend or think about.
Batman will never solve / fix / end crime permanently. He knows it and we know it.
There are cops out there in the real world who do an amazing job. Sure there are bad eggs that we hear about in the media, but most cops are honest hard working stiffs doing the best they can to function in a corrupt system. They don’t expect to solve crime forever, and neither would we expect them to.
Expecting Batman to solve crime is unrealistic and well… a bit silly.
Do you expect a fireman to put out fires permanently?
Or do you expect them to turn up when the shit hits the fan and do everything in they can in their power to be of service?
Batman is like an emergency response unit. He turns up to whatever crisis he can, as often as he can, and then he moves on to the next crisis.
ALWAYS BE BATMAN!
BUT WHAT CAN ONE INDIVIDUAL DO?
Not solving crime forever is not some sort of failure on Batman’s part. His strength is standing up and saying;
“I’m one guy, look at the difference I make in the world, look at what ONE person can do who has a real mission in life”
It might seem like bullshit, but, well…
Gandhi was one person.
Martin Luther King was one person.
Einstein was one person.
THIS MOFO ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT STOP
Batman is an incredible example of relentless determination, of unrelenting fury and passion and pain channeled into a single cause with an unwavering laser-like focus and precision.
His commitment is total, he never gives up, and he absolutely will not stop doing the best he can, is his unique way to be of service to the world.
He’s not a saint, you could say he’s not even a hero if you like. But what he is an unrelenting force of nature, he’s all the dark and scary shit you don’t want to deal with in life manifested in a single wraith-like form . He’s all that and more, he doesn’t run from fear and pain, he is fear and pain. And as a manifestation of all our unconscious dark scary psychological stuff, he still ultimately is a servant for good.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at that white light that shines from his eyes. He may dress in shadow, but’s he here to help.
Batman’s greatest strength is not only that he does not give up on himself and others,not only that he stands up for his values and makes a difference in the world, but that he is an a living inspiration for others to do the same, to stand up for what they believe in and make a difference in the world.
I’ll leave you with some words of Bat-Wisdom from one of the wisest Bat-Brothers on the planet, Rabbi Cary Friedman, who sums up Batman better than I ever could:
“One of the most pervasive themes of Jewish religious tradition is the endless capacity for human greatness. Not surprisingly, this is a constant message of Batman comic books: How far does human potential extend? The Batman stories are unequivocally clear: to infinity. There is no limit.” – Cary A. Friedman, Wisdom from the Batcave
“This lesson about the endless capability of every human being is the single most important theme of Batman. It is this greatest of all truths that defines the essence of the Batman and accounts for his enduring appeal. The Batman, more than any other literary character, reminds us that every person has an infinite capacity for achievement.” – Cary A. Friedman, Wisdom from the Batcave
“A great rabbi used to say, “I never asked myself if I could do it. I only asked myself if it needed to be done.” In his relentless struggle against evil, the Batman never asks himself if he can do it; he asks only if it needs to be done” – Cary A. Friedman, Wisdom from the Batcave.
A little over a year ago I started a blog about Batman called “BATFAN on BATMAN” at WordPress.
I wanted to take two of my favourite things – my passion for writing and my love of the fictional character Batman and combine them.
The decision to start this Blog I was inspired by several things:
1) My lifelong love of Batman, the greatest fictional character of all time.
2) The book “Wisdom From the Batcave” by Batfan Rabbi Cary A. Friedman.
“Wisdom” is a book I find to be deeply inspiring and motivating in my own life.
It is the tone that set what I wanted to do with my Batman blog, explore how The Batman inspires me (and others) to be a better human being and face life’s challenges head on. You can find the book in print and in digital format at Amazon. Wisdom from the Batcave, Cary A. Friedman – Amazon.com
3) The Podcast “Fatman on Batman” by Batfan Kevin Smith, he of Clerks fame.
I have been listening to this Fatman podcast along with Smodcast and HBO for several years and love the laughs and stories Kevin has shared through his podcast network. The name of my blog is inspired by Kevin’s podcast. You can find his Fatman on Batman podcast on itunes and on his smodcast website. The sub site is Channels Fat Man on Batman
You can also find Kevin Smith on Twitter and Facebook where he posts cool stuff relating to his movies, Smodcast Network and other projects.
A little over a year old, my blog gets regular amounts of traffic, and is slowly growing.
Cary Friedman (the guy who wrote that book I love) I communicate with now and then via email, and he has given me some really generous feedback and encouragement on my articles so far, and I have to admit, that is awesome!
Of the 50 articles so written far (this right here is post #51) the consistently most popular ones have been my “How to Be Like Batman” series.
It takes me around a month to write one part of the How to Be Like Batman series, as I read a lot of books, comics and other stuff that I quote from and am influenced by. They also tend to be 5000-8000 words or so each, so yeah it is a real bitch to edit them and it takes me forever. But it is worth it, because I love writing those articles.
I decided when I began that this BATFAN on BATMAN blog that I would eventually collect the best articles into ebooks for Amazon kindle. My feeling is that the first book will be the HTBLB (HowToBeLikeBatman) series expanded into a full ebook, which means it will be a few months away, as I am currently writing parts #4-9 of the series. It also means I will rewrite part of each for the ebook format. I also have to teach myself all sorts of boring stuff about formatting. UGH!
I recently added an expanded article listing on the sidebar to my blog, so now is a great time to check through the older articles if you have not already taken a look.
Just scroll down and you will see it on the right side.
Scroll down from the top – which looks like this:
Keep going down a little from the top of the page/ header and you will see the list of articles on the right hand side of the screen at BATFAN on BATMAN Don’t forget to follow this blog on email by clicking that orange bar thing under my smug mug. That way you can keep up with new posts, which are rather infrequent.
So far I love writing this BATFAN on BATMAN blog. I have several hundred articles planned out in hardcover journals, and I am adding new ideas to them every week. I wish I had more time just to write. Currently I put 1 hour per day into writing the blog, I average around 2-3 posts a month, at around 2000-5000 words per article.
I would like to post more frequent posts, but I prefer QUALITY over quantity, so I never rush anything. Every article is some sort of idea I had, or was inspired to write about for whatever reason (other than the opinion pieces, which are usually shorter posts I out out while I am working on my main articles).
I aim to write timeless rather than timely content, so you can read it tomorrow or ten years from now and it will still make sense, rather than being dated.
I keep a pen and pad by my bed, and in my study by the computer so no good idea ever gets lost.
If I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, I write it down on a pad, then the next morning I add the idea into one of my blog drafts that just has lists of article ideas, and potential titles for articles.
I keep notebooks next to the bed, and next to my PC always.
In the above pic you can see the ungodly pile of books, notebooks and crap that sits next to where I sleep.
And no that is not a sex toy and lube. The stick is a rolling thing for post-exercise myofascial release, and the thing beside it is hand cream, as I do a lot of deadlifting and have to file calluses from my hands, and I usually forget to put on moisturiser so basically my hands are like sandpaper most of the time, which tends to annoy my girlfriend.
I take long walks for 1-2 hours often in the mornings, and sometimes I take my dictaphone with me and record ideas while I am walking, that I later write down in the journals.
I don’t limit myself to any one form of Batman, nor any one media. My personal favourite Batman however is the comic book version, so I tend to focus on him. I guess the second favourite version would be the one in 90’s animated series, and I really love the version of Batman they created for the Arkham video game series, he kicks some serious ass.
Video games are the only medium where we can actually see how Batman moves, where he has his full martial arts abilities that you don’t see in any of the live action movies or animated shows.
I’ve held off on some particular articles – like my Arkham Asylum video game series of articles as I have planned to do not one or two, but a whole series focusing on the gameplay, art design, themes and motifs, story and overall planning and design of the games.
And a whole series of articles on Batman: The Animated Series – as it is so highly influential, it helped set the tone and style for modern Batman and I just love it to pieces!
My blog so far has 50 articles, and 80+ articles in draft form that I am still working on. Some get finished in a week or two, others take months as ideas come together.
So expect to see the blog grow exponentially in the next six-twelve months.
I have another key focus also on spotlighting the best non-fiction books about Batman, most of that stuff in still in draft format. I read those non-fiction books about Batman for fun and personal research while writing, but I am also writing an authoritative guide to all the best books about Batman.
I want it to be a useful resource for fans, writers/researchers/theorists and even people looking to buy gifts for family members etc. So I am taking my sweet time with that one, as I want it to be authoritive. I’ve looked for an article like this online, and so far the closest thing is BOF (Batman on Film’s list) which doesn’t cover even one third of the books out there. But you should read that BOF list for sure to keep you going.
A follow up to my inevitable Great Non-Fiction Books about Batman Guide will be an article on the best Batman trades and graphic novels.
I could have written that a year ago, but I put that off for now seeing as there is plenty of other guides already on various sites like IGN and ComicVine. if you are looking for more good Batman trades right now, then just google “best batman books” and you will find the lists on IGN, ComicVine, Reddit etc.
Now, those lists are good and useful. But my list will kick their lists ass and have them begging for mercy.
I don’t care about the TOP 10 or whatever. I am more interested in what are the best Batman stories and collected editions of all time, across all formats and all media, including expanded Batman media, alternate reality tales etc as well as the mainline DC Universe.
I love all those lists, but they are not definitive in any way. They are basically lists of best selling comics, not necessarily the best of most in interesting stories. Great to start with, but not much use to long term fans.
My overall aim for the BATFAN on BATMAN Blog is to write content you just can not find anywhere else on the internet.
I was sick of reading the same shallow articles about Batman media copied and pasted on 50 different websites masquerading as “content”, UGH!
That kind of crap really only exists to create web traffic and generate ad revenue sales, and frankly it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
There are perhaps less than half a dozen in depth books that cover the topics of Batman Theory, History, Myth, Psychology and Legacy that most people have never read, nor even heard of.
So it is part of my mission, my vow of to make casual fans and experts more aware of these books. It’s obvious every time I am on Quorra, Facebook and Twitter that the same questions keep being asked about Batman, and reading even ONE of those awesome books about Batman would answer most people’s general questions, not to mention make you almost an instant Batman expert.
If there is guiding ethos to my Batman Blog, it is to talk about Batman with the passion of a fan, the depth of an academic, but the accessibility of the internet, podcast and video game generations.
So yeah, it may not be for everyone. And that is okay. But I hope you find something to enjoy here.
I believe that people should be able to find great content about Batman in print and digital media.
So far the Batman print media is far better than any online content, which is a real let down in my opinion, there is perhaps less than 10 genuine Batman websites that have real Batman content (other than the latest non-news like a picture of Batflecks Bat-Underwear, Bat-Underarm Deoderant or other Bat-Bullshit).
My aim is to write articles that are more in depth than the typical shallow articles you find online about Batman, with the depth and insight of academic writing, but without being so stuffy and boring. Also I horrible at typing, I really should not tell you that. But whatever.
If you ever saw one of my drafts it looks like somebody vomited words on to a page in a random assortment. It’s not pretty I tell you. It takes me hours to edit the hell out of things to get them readable, let alone comprehensible. I wish I could just talk and have someone else type and edit my ideas. I keep dreaming about a podcast, but I need a regular co-contributor to host with me, as it would be dead boring just me talking for hours about Batman.
One of the things I love about Batman is that he is always being reinvented for new audiences.
Just when you think Batman might be done…………. you remember that Batman might have something to say about that….
Batman is my favourite character by far, in any medium.
He takes the best elements of Zorro, The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula and combines them into an awe-inspiring package of exciting thrills and non-stop entertainment.
Batman comics have incorporated German Expressionism, Gothic Romance, Film Noir, Penny Dreadfuls, Pulp Fiction, Crime Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Lovecraftian Horror and Superhero Conventions into a seamless package. After 75+ years, there is no shortage of Batman stories to tell.
Batman remains not just cool, but upper echelon level cool like James Dean, Bruce Lee or Elvis Presley. He’s a genuine icon, in the best possible way. And he is inspiring as hell.
Batman possesses the kind of timeless cool that never goes out of style.
He may die and come back. He may get re-booted into new universes. His costume might change a little here and there.
But ultimately, Batman is still Batman. He works. He just works no matter what you throw at him, he makes sense of it and keeps going – Batman is an unstoppable pop-culture Juggernaut.
While Batman is a composite character composed of the best bits of other characters that came before him like…
Superman (the basic costume, chest insignia and superhero motif) Doc Savage (his utility belt) The Shadow (night time masked avenger and antihero) Zorro (swashbuckling dual identity, rich playboy persona) Sherlock Holmes (worlds greatest detective)
Yet, despite being a composite character heavily influenced by the pulps and science heroes and detectives that preceded the superhero genre – Batman somehow manages to be unique and one of a kind.
There are similar characters with superficial similarities, and costume etc – but no other character in all of fiction is quite like Batman at his very core.
So here’s to Batman, and here’s to many more posts and articles in the near future. And a big thank you to my supporters, readers, fellow bloggers and everyone who just freaking loves the god damn Batman. I don’t want to name names and sites/blogs as you are ALL awesome, and I don’t want to leave someone out. But THANK YOU so much for reading and following this blog.
You make slaving away at a keyboard when I would rather be outside walking around (or inside playing Assassin’s Creed) all worth it.
I’m kind of a slow mover in life. I don’t like to rush anything. It means that I like to take my time and when I do things, do them well and give it my best efforts
But I’m just getting started. Consider every post so far a “warm up” for the articles that are yet to come. I don’t know how long I will keep this blog up. I have a lot to say about Batman, and I’ve committed…. no I’ve sworn on oath to my parents (who are both still alive FYI) to write for 5 years and get out every article that is rattling around inside my brain, otherwise I just can’t sleep at night.