[personal profile] ebailey140 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
As we've seen with the debates with this post...


...there's a bit of controversy regarding the direction of the Bat books. Some object to Bruce not being a loner. What's with these groups and others wearing the Bat symbol? What's with people looking to Batman as an inspiration when he's just supposed to scare the crap out of everybody, good and evil aike? Bruce publicly funding superheroes? What's with that candle swearing ceremony thing?

They all date back decades, in some cases almost as long as Batman has existed.

A look back...

Batman: Created by Bob Kane, not Frank Miller

In the mid-1980s, DC restarted their Universe with Crisis on Infinite Earths, which re-defined the DCU for the Iron Age of Comics. As various characters and series were subsequently rebooted, decades worth of history was thrown out. Batman was redefined by Frank Miller. This Grimdark paranoid constantly angry version was very popular, and would be Batman for the next 20 years.

Then, the Iron Age ended. And, like CoIE, the DCU would be redefined for the new era with a big event, Infinite Crisis. The biggest change was acknowledging that these characters had been around for more than two decades. Frank Miller's Batman was no longer seen as the one and only possible take on the character. There was a rich history that pre-dated Miller, and it could now be drawn on.

What we're seeing now comes from the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and, yes, even the Iron Ages.

Batman as inspiration

But, some argue, Batman is all about fear, not inspiring people to help others and make the world a better place. Well, let's look at Batman's origin...

Later, we'd learn he'd fallen into what became the Batcave at an early age, where he first saw the bats. Oh, and note the candle when the young Bruce is making his promise.

He shortly took a child under his wing who had also lost his parents to criminals. We'll be getting into him in a bit...

But, one's parents don't have to be murdered to create a traumatic childhood. Sometimes, living parents provide the trauma. And one destined to become a Bat finds their inspiration...

Hmm... I think we also see why Steph's so fond of Kara. :)

Then there's Kate, whose childhood trauma was the murder of her mother and, so she thought, her twin sister. She intended to dedicate her life to protecting others by serving in the military like her parents, but her sexual orientation ended that. Then, one night...

Kate explains...

So, yes, striking fear into the hearts of criminals. But, he also inspires others to take up his cause, to make the world a better place. The Bat symbol only represents terror to those who deserve it. To others, it represents the light fighting back the darkness.

Robins, Batgirls, and others

There are those that argue that having help "devalues" Batman, that he's best as a Grimdark Loner, like he used to be. Because, you know, he was a Grimdark Loner for such a long time...

A whole year, he went without help. One year out of his 72 year history. But those 71 years don't count, right?

Even Frank Miller thought he needed a Robin. And he gave him an especially cute one.

Aside from providing back-up and, if need be, rescue, Robin keeps Batman human.

Over the years, the Batman Family grew...

OK, but going international, uniting people from around the world that he inspired, and leading them in this Club of Heroes? Where did Morrison come up with that crazy idea?

Well, OK, fine, but that was the Golden Age. It's not like there were spin-off teams during the glorious Grimdark Iron Age...

All Batman Inc really is is taking the groups that have been there for years; the Batman Family, the Club of Heroes, the Outsiders, and the Birds of Prey; and giving them a central organizaton. Makes sense, really.

But, why does Bruce think he needs to train people? It takes away from his coolness, some argue, if he's not fighting the good fight, alone. We'll let Bruce, himself, explain...

These people he's inspired took this task upon themselves. They chose to do this, with or without Bruce's help. So, by training them, he not only has help, not only has people to continue the fight once he's gone, but he makes sure they know what they're doing.

Batman isn't a psycho taking out his rage on his targets, as some would like him to be. Yes, the deaths of his parents inspired him. It inspired him to try to make the world a better place. Bruce does more than fight crime. The Wayne Foundation helps operate free clinics, schools, orphanages, soup kitchens, and the arts.

But, what about publicly financing and backing a superhero group? Well, this isn't the first time. There's this other group. You may have heard of them...

What? No, I do not just use any excuse to post a George Perez drawing of Diana. It just... illustrated my point is all. Beautifully. Sigh... Um, where was I?

Oh yeah... Financing Batman Inc won't make Bruce any more a target than he already is. Lex Luthor, during the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive arc, was out to destroy Bruce, not Batman.

The candle ceremony

Someone in the other thread described swearing new members in with a candle as like a religious cult. This dates way back. Remember, it was with a candle lit that the young Bruce swore to avenge the deaths of his parents and dedicated his life to his cause.

Then, a few issues later, came this...

We didn't see this ceremony again until recently, when Barbara decided to revive it...

Barbara's narration, explanation, and, most importantly, the shopkeeper's expression pretty much say it all.

Sticking to the Iron Age approach in 2011 would have been about as good an idea as sticking to the Bronze Age approach would have been in 1986, or sticking to the Silver Age approach would have been in 1971. Times change, and Batman has always changed with them, reflecting the era. However, he's always retained the core of what makes him Batman. And, he'll continue to do so.

Scans from Detective Comics #33, 38, 859, 860; Secret Origins 80 Page Giant #1, The Dark Knight Returns #2, Robin #92, Justice League of America #200, and Batgirl v3 #3

Date: 2011-05-14 01:34 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
How did he deal with his issues during OYL? He went to the middle of the desert and had his inner demons literally cut out with swords? That's a completely terrible way to deal with psychological issues.

And my point is he only knew Jezebel Jet was a member of the Black Glove because he was completely paranoid. She says something innocuous like "I want you to know I understand," and he realizes this is her trying to psychologically manipulate him into vulnerability.

Date: 2011-05-14 08:43 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
IIRC The whole "demons cut out with swords" was a retcon introduced quite some time after the fact by Morrison for the purpose of giving RIP "depth".

OYL originally had Bruce spending quality time with Dick and Tim in their civilian ID's, reforging their connections, with even Harvey Dent noting when they were back that Batman and Robin were now operating more in synch with each other than ever before, on a par with the original Batman and Robin, and his suspicions they must have been training with the original Robin to achieve it.

In Bruce's case that's not automatically proof of paranoia, that's proof of a master detective putting pieces together that the likes of thee and me would never think to.

Date: 2011-05-14 10:49 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Nope, that's wrong. The demon-ectomy was in 52, which chronicled the events of the year referred to in One Year Later. So his improved relationships were because of the dudes with swords, yeah.

I'm not even sure why you'd think it was a retcon, how on earth would a literal exorcism add any depth to the induced mental breakdown of RIP? The two things are completely contradictory. Why's he having a breakdown now if he already had his demons excised?

And seriously, hearing "I want you to know I understand" and deducing "welp, this woman is clearly trying to psychologically manipulate me, time to steal her only keepsake from her dead mother which is the only thing she holds dear" isn't detective work in any sense of the word.


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