Neal Adam's Batman

Why Batman Is The Best Superhero Ever

Why Batman is the Best Superhero Ever 

 

Millions are impatiently waiting for “Dark Knight Rises.” But none more than me, a person obsessed with all things Batman ever since I was a small child. For me, he’ll always be the best superhero.

Entertainment Earth

So I got to thinking; why have I been so fixated on this character my entire life?

Batman got me hooked on 2 fronts; comic books and television. As a kid I had a grandmother who worked at a book store, and would bring me free comics. I had endless titles to choose from and devoured it all. But Batman hit a primal nerve in me. Perhaps it was the TV show that gave him more weight. The Adam West camp comedy worked differently on kids than adults. We didn’t realize it was funny until we were old enough to get irony. For us it was just an awesome action show with a shrewd detective.

The comic books were diametrically opposed to the show (thankfully), dark and eerie thanks to writer Denny O’Neil and  artist  Neal Adams (that’s his Batman up top). There was a surreal dream like quality to their storylines/artwork that was riveting.

Click here for info on Batman’s 75th anniversary festivities

When my friend and I would play superheroes it was always Batman and Robin. But no one ever wanted to be Robin. It got so contentious that our Mother’s devised a Batman timer! Whenever the egg timer  would go off we had to switch. It was the only solution.

So why did we gravitate to the Dark Knight and not other heroes? I think it’s because he feels attainable. That if you applied yourself physically and mentally and had enough cash you could be the vigilante of your dreams.

Click here for Batman at 75: A History Timeline

I loved Superman (read why I think the world still needs him) but he’s so omnipotent that he’s guaranteed to win, which is less fun to watch and read. But Batman could die if he doesn’t play his cards right. As much of a badass as he is, he’s still human.

 

Here’s some other key points to consider:

  • His origin story:
<img src="image.gif" alt="Batman Year One"/>

“Batman Year One”

Few superheroes have more disturbing origins than Batman. Superman’s home world was blown to atoms, but he was an infant, and spared the initial trauma. Bruce Wayne was a small child when he saw his parents murdered, with no defense mechanisms to cope with the tragedy. The randomness of the crime makes it even more unsettling. It’s what we cannot comprehend that troubles us the most.

There is something galvanizing about this though. If Batman can channel his grief and use it for good, then he’s no victim sitting on the sidelines. He’s proof you can process the most horrific events yet still keep walking. For a kid Batman is a neurological security blanket.  No matter what tragedy befalls you, the only option is to struggle on.

 

  • He’s got the best toys.
<img src="image.gif" alt="classic batmobile"/>

classic batmobile


People have always been obsessed with gadgets, none more so than our current era of all things Apple. Batman has always been on the cutting edge of tech, which makes him eternally hip. Who wouldn’t want a Batmobile and an awesome cave to park it in? If I could afford it,  I’d have a custom Batcave and drive the George Barris Batmobile.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Bob Kane Bat-cave map"/>

1940’s Bat-cave Map

All these gizmos show Batman’s intellectual side. He’s not just some muscle-bound meathead. He’s a genius, skilled at technology (in the comics he makes his own tech), and a detective mind on par with Sherlock Holmes. He’s the complete superhero package.

 

  • He looks awesome:
<img src="image.gif" alt="Kane Batman"/>

Batman image by Bob Kane

What hero looks cooler than Batman? No one. While there have been several variations on his costume, he’s still pretty much as Bob Kane first imagined him in 1939. He’s a hero who looks like a villain, which makes him far more interesting than someone of the bright primary color variety. Batman used this image to strike fear in the hearts of criminals. Scary things are always cool to look at.

 

  • He’s the 1% that gets the 99%

“Dark Knight Rises”  may reference Occupy Wall Street and the vast discrepancy of the middle class and the wealthy. But no matter what angle the film supports (if any), Bruce Wayne is the epitome of altruism. His wealth is either channeled to his crime fighting crusade, or to the charitable Wayne Foundation. While Batman’s ass kicking antics may satisfy a right-wing reactionary need for revenge, in the end he uses his resources for the greater good, and helps the less fortunate.

 

  • He won’t kill:

This concept has been with Batman so long, that many don’t know that the original Batman had a gun and executed criminals with extreme prejudice. But around the time the comics code made things less violent, Batman changed. This is unsatisfying at times, especially  compared to violent characters like Wolverine and The Punisher. But this gives him a morality that’s interesting. He leaves it to the criminal justice system to make the final verdict.  Killing someone doesn’t satisfy him. He’s not about blood lust. He just wants to spare a future Bruce Wayne the loss of his parents.

Joker image from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s “The Killing Joke”

And let’s talk about his villains; The Joker is of course the best arch-enemy in history. The Joker is random, and impossible to predict in his method of mayhem. The 1989 “Batman” film made the Joker the murderer of  Bruce’s parents, which was an idiotic and unnecessary plot twist. The Joker exists for the same reason Bruce’s parents died.  Sometimes bad things just happen. The Joker is a school shooting walking on 2 feet. He is a constant reminder to Batman about why he became the Dark Knight in the first place.

 

  • Batman will always be contemporary

Batman can be adapted into whatever era he’s needed. In the 40’s he was the thwarter of organized crime, he was goody two-shoes in the 50’s and 60’s, then he went more violent in the late 80’s era of increased violent crime (specifically in Frank Miller’s  “Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman Year One” which were source material for Nolan’s films).

In the past decade he’s been a referendum on the war on terror, occasionally lapsing into Big Brother wiretap ideology , but with enough insight (or vanity) to know he’s the only one he can trust not to abuse its privileges. His diverse approach to social issues makes him in many ways apolitical.

Nolan’s films are the best cinematic portrayal of Batman that we’ve ever had. But he’ll long outlast  them. As long as kids want to wear capes, and all of us want to see justice served while uncertainty clouds our lives, Batman provides order, a way to make sense out of chaos. Plus he looks cool while doing it. He’ll always be the best.

<img src="image.gif" alt="DK still"/>

Dark Knight still image

Is Batman your favorite superhero? If so, why? Or tell me what hero is your favorite below. I also have Amazon links to some cool Batstuff you might enjoy, including the animated ‘Dark Knight Returns‘ adaptation, which I recently reviewed.

(**Updated: Also, Check out my Dark Knight Rises review , where I also comment on the Colorado shooting tragedy.)

[amazon_image id=”1401233422″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Batman: Year One Deluxe (New Edition)[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”1563893428″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Batman: The Dark Knight Returns[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B008RV5K5E” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 [Blu-ray][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”1401235379″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Batman: Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B001GMALGY” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Dark Knight/Batman Begins [Blu-ray][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B001CTXUTQ” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Batman: The Complete Animated Series[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”1401216676″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Batman: The Killing Joke, Deluxe Edition[/amazon_image]

Shop DC Entertainment!

About SLIS

Middle Aged Gen-Exer obsessed with Alternative rock, metal, cult movies, comic books and cable TV.

Follow Us

Follow Smells Like Infinite Sadness

, , , , , , , , , , ,

24 Responses to Why Batman Is The Best Superhero Ever

  1. Adam Polizzi Crowley February 19, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    Batman would basically beat anyone who is a bad guy because he’s the best

    • SLIS February 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

      Agreed!

    • Jade holmes April 25, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

      yes that is true but what about if batman was dead then what would happen to your comment would it change or would it stay the same

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Dark Knight Returns Animated Movie Sneak Peek | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - September 12, 2012

    […] right-wing fever dream ‘Holy Terror’.But I’m still anxious to see the results (I’m all about Batman), of a story that has captivated me since my adolescence.What makes this DVD release unique […]

  2. Austin Comic Con 2012 Recap Day 2, Wizard World coverage in Austin TX | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - October 28, 2012

    […] it’s still about the comics, and meeting legendary artist Neal Adams was HUGE. He reinvented Batman for the 70′s, made superheroes look more realistic, and helped lead the movement for comic […]

  3. 12 Best Comic Book Movies Ever Made, Dark Knight, Avengers, X-2 | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - November 8, 2012

    […] What’s your Top 12? And Batman fans, be sure to check out why I claim he’s the best superhero ever.Next up is the real fun, check out the  Top 12 WORST Comic Book Films Ever Made!About SLIS View […]

  4. Review: 'Skyfall' is James Bond's 'Dark Knight' | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - November 16, 2012

    […] Knight“, and it’s just one of many similarities to that and the other films in the Bat-Man trilogy. The music (a fantastic score by Thomas Newman), mood, imagery and tone make this very much […]

  5. Christmas Gifts Best DVD and Blu-Ray Sets of 2012, Great Movies and TV | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - November 24, 2012

    […] Rises [Blu-Ray] Christopher Nolan’s thrilling conclusion to his trilogy is a must for the Batman fanatic in your life, and it will look stunning in HD. (Here’s a full description of the extra […]

  6. 27 Best Geek Gifts for Christmas 2012, shopping guide for geek toys | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - November 27, 2012

    […] from ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘.8. Miniature Bat signalPerfect for kids to summon their Batman action figures for duty,  or for wives to signal their husbands to help out around the house.9. […]

  7. Geek Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Books and Collectibles | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - November 30, 2012

    […] film series ever made.  Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy KnightExplore what makes Batman so conflicted in this psychology book by Dr. Travis Langley. DC Collectibles The Dark Knight Rises: 1:6 […]

  8. The Best Movies of 2012, best 2012 films, Argo, Skyfall, Bernie | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - December 22, 2012

    […] year Batman is in a movie, he’ll always be the best hero. But runner-up would be Tony Mendez, the true life hero of […]

  9. Dark Knight Rises: Review And Commentary, Batman, Christopher Nolan | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - January 24, 2013

    […] my experience is an understatement. I’m a huge Batman fan (read my post on why Batman is the best superhero ever, as it ties in with this review) and I was still excited to see it, but I felt almost guilty given […]

  10. 1966 Batmobile Sold For Millions At Auction, car sold for 4.62 million | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - January 24, 2013

    […] And be sure to ready why Batman Is The Best Superhero of All Time. […]

  11. Top 25 Weirdest Kid Shows Of The 60′s, 70′s and 80′s Part 3, Lidsville | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - January 27, 2013

    […] book afficianado, so I was ecstatic. Plus Adam West and Burt Ward were reprising their roles as Batman and […]

  12. ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2’ Blu-Ray Review, DC Animated | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - January 31, 2013

    […] police officers isn’t much better. It shows a facet to the character that undermines his heroic intent,  one of many elements that makes Miller’s vision so […]

  13. 12 Worst Comic Book Movies Ever Made | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - February 6, 2013

    […] *Check out my blog about why Batman is The Best Superhero Ever. […]

  14. Why The World Still Needs Superman, We need The Man of Steel in 2013 | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - June 12, 2013

    […] year I wrote why Batman Is The Best Superhero Ever, and I still feel that way. Batman is who we’d like to be, because he feels attainable; work […]

  15. My Justice League Movie Dream Cast, JLA Film Fantasy Cast | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - June 16, 2013

    […] Hall’s also been playing a man concealing his dark passenger identity from those around him, so he could totally do a  Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy. […]

  16. 24 Most Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Moments, Awkward comic books | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - July 5, 2013

    […] Read why Batman is The Best Superhero Ever. […]

  17. Superman/Batman Movie Revealed at SDCC '13, Zach Snyder comic-con news | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - July 23, 2013

    […] leads to the next question; who’s the new Batman, and how will he be interpreted? Christopher Nolan’s Bat-saga is over. And Christian Bale has confirmed he will not be […]

  18. 60 Most Badass Anti-Heroes Part 3, Best Antiheroes Of All Time | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - August 15, 2013

    […] how can Batman be our greatest superhero and an anti-hero? Well he’s no saint. Despite his current no killing philosophy, he had no […]

  19. Top 20 Best Movie Sequels Of All Time, best film sequels ever made | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - August 24, 2013

    […] follow-up to Batman Begins is a tad over-long, but amazing action scenes, dark grandeur and Heath Ledger’s […]

  20. 40 Most Underrated TV Shows Of All Time Part 2, Forgotten TV series | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - August 26, 2013

    […] Beyond showed a future where an aging Bruce Wayne mentors a younger protegé who takes on the Batman […]

  21. 60 Most Badass Antiheroes Part 2, Best Pop-Culture Badass Anti-heroes | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - August 27, 2013

    […] this modern adaptation, Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is driven less by justice than his huge ego. He solves mysteries to […]

Leave a Reply