This week, DC Comics releases Batman #700, a huge milestone for any comic book character.  Since his debut in 1939, Batman has gone through a lot, and has become one of the most important and popular characters in comics.

What makes the Caped Crusader work, why has he become so popular, and why do you like or dislike the Dark Knight?  Share your memories and thoughts!

Use the comment section below, and we’ll cull the best responses (both good and bad) for this weekend’s Major Spoilers Podcast.  You can also drop us a voice mail by calling (785) 727-1939, or record your comments and send it as an MP3 file in an email to podcast@majorspoilers.com.

But hurry! We record the show tonight at 8:00 PM CDT!

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Robot Overlord

Robot Overlord

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12 Comments

  1. Brian G.
    June 8, 2010 at 10:24 am — Reply

    I’m fairly new to Batman having jumped on board during Hush. What attracted me to the character was his incredible knowledge of everything that happens in his city and how he always finds himself armed to take care of the job. The opening moments of Hush when he’s boarding Croc’s boat explify this the most as he recognizes, recalls, and takes down all of Croc’s thugs. Over the years I thought that it would just be a natural progression that he would safe guard himself against super powered threats. Because of that, I really REALLY loved the Bat-jerk era. I thought it was honest.

    The main reason why I love Batman can be summed up in a statement I heard once before:

    “When there’s danger, Superman makes you look to the skies for someone to save you. Batman makes you look inside yourself to save others.”

    • Brian G.
      June 8, 2010 at 10:26 am — Reply

      BTW … reading Batman: No Man’s Land now and loving every single page of it.

  2. brainypirate
    June 8, 2010 at 11:47 am — Reply

    I grew up reading mostly the Team books, so my experience with Batman was limited to the JLA (satellite era) and to The Brave & the Bold. I was often annoyed by the fact that no matter how the JLA roster rotated from issue to issue (an aspect that I liked), every issue had to have Bats and Supes in it. I began to resent them both for being “too important to leave out,” and I still think both characters are over-used, even though I understand their importance for sales. (I don’t even like to think about how Bruce is part of some mystical trinity that holds the universe together–oy!)

    But their omnipresence might not have annoyed me so much if they weren’t so far above the rest of the team, and to this day, I do not like the Batman who is near-nigh infallible (and who is over-prepared for every possible scenario). Perhaps if Bruce and Clark had been a little less superior and more in need of the rest of the team every issue, I’d have appreciated them more. There’s no reason why Bruce, Ralph, J’onn and maybe Dinah could not have been equal players in a JLA detective squad (think of how well-balanced the LSH Espionage was).

    Also, as much as I understand the grief/guilt-obsessed nature of Bruce’s psyche, it does get tiring after awhile.

    Honestly, I hope he doesn’t return as Batman. I hope he finds a new role in the DCU. And I hope his time-travels help him become a little more light-hearted and–well–human.

    • Brian G.
      June 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm — Reply

      After reading your post, I realize that you hate everything I like about Batman and wish my worst nightmare to be the future. Are you enjoying Grayon’s time in the light or are you displeased with the way Bat’s world is all together?

      • brainypirate
        June 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm — Reply

        Eh… I skim through them quickly, since I still focus on the team magazines. I think the story concept of Dick becoming Batman is interesting, and I’ve enjoyed seeing what the rest of the Bat Family is doing.

        I’m actually NOT keen on Dick leading the JLA as Batman–I’d rather he still be Nightwing leading the JLA, but then I’m also not keen on keeping the Trinity in place symbolically with Donna and Kara, either.

        I do enjoy the B&B animated series–partly because I can focus on the interesting guest stars, but also because this Batman is funnier.

        I wouldn’t necessarily want a return to the 1950s Batman and Son kind of character. I just want Bruce to be a little more at peace and a little less omniscient….

  3. Rome
    June 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm — Reply

    Meh… Batman #700. Whoop-dee-do! I already read Deadpool #900, and he’s only been around since the nineties.

    I kid. Batman has been a consistent staple on the comic racks for time immemorial. However, with all of the relaunches, ret-cons, cowl-wearers, and The Flavin’ it fails to really have much meaning in the grand scheme of things.

    Maybe if we had 700 issues of one creative team or one story arc that had begun in the 30’s that has now fantastically been resolved I’d be more exicited.

    So, I guess I’m back to “Meh.”

  4. June 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm — Reply

    What’s the key to his success? Matthew has said that the main reason is that he is not one single character, but has been adapted and molded to fit each era in a different way. I agree with that. Sort of.

    I think that the character will always be tethered to Kane and Finger’s dark, pulpy origins. No matter how far he’s stretched, he will always snap back.

    The cynical side of me says he’s succeeded because of the omnipresence brainypirate mentioned. If you put one of your characters in almost every book you publish, and you own a good portion of market share, that character will succeed almost through inertia.

    But I also think he succeeds because he straddles the hard core “grim n’ gritty” and the bright, shiny hero very well. As brooding and dark as he’s made out to be, he has usually also been written as a very noble, very heroic figure (with a few exceptions). As such, he’s like Robert Pattinson’s character in Twilight: safe, but with a feeling of danger.

  5. Astro Dinosaurus
    June 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm — Reply

    Dammit now I have to write that comment….novel about why I love Batman… And why everybody else does as well.

  6. Astro Dinosaurus
    June 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm — Reply

    Its the paradox of Batman that many complain about, but I believe its the essence of why Batman is often considered the greatest hero of them all. The paradox is best shown in the following statements:

    “Batman is awesome because he’s like just this guy, you know…No special powers etc etc.”

    and

    “Batman is awesome because he’s a genius and a polymath and he will know exactly what to do no matter what. He’s like the most dangerous single entity in all of the DC universe.”

    So how can he be both of those. The answer lies in time, progression and how we humans kinda dig ourselves. Fact is few people like Batman simply because a single bullet could take him out. Sure this is where the fascination with him as a character starts (A man among Supermen). But it doesn’t end there. The Punisher doesn’t have any powers, Green Arrow doesn’t have any powers. And while Batman came before those guys he still has something else they don’t have. Something heroes like Doc Savage and Ulysses who pre-date him just a bit don’t even have.

    Like I said its also about time, time and progression.

    Its because Batman encompasses evolution and apotheosis more than any other fictional character. He’s a man who strives to make himself better much like Doc Savage…But then Batman just kept going. Kept going from animal-clad detective until he was the mirror of a frkn Sun God…Does it get more tethered to the collective unconscious than that? Batman didn’t stop once they pumped the super soldier serum into him, he didn’t stop when he was the best in any single field like Tony Stark or Lady Shiva. Batman was written as someone who kept going and now is in a sense the most ridiculously over powered superhero, while still having the claim to just being a homo-sapien.

    But when people reach this conclusion they often find it ridiculous, stupid and then settle for their own Batman…gritty detective or apex of humanity. But I like Batman not as just one of many portrayals but because he through comic history has gone from -just- a gritty detective to the apex of goddamn life itself. And I think that has to be IT that makes him so well liked. He broke the glass-ceiling that says you have to be inhuman to be the most awesome thing ever. Batman is not a man surrounded by gods. Or just another god among gods…He’s a man who’s now besides gods, and he is STILL going. And man is kind of mobile force ourselves while gods are a kinda fixed idea, we haven’t really figured out ourselves yet. And Batman is still the character that strives the most to be more and to do more, because hey that’s what we do. Batman is also completely bazinga which can be a fun read.

    Oh and another thing. Often the self-made man in comics becomes a villain whose ambition turns into a bad thing. Interestingly enough though the villains first become a problem when their ability ends but their ego or ambition does not. In a sense Batman as a character in a book is kinda like a supervillain with the twist that he didn’t get to reach his limit. I mean Lex Luthor and Victor Von Doom are basically “Batmen” who at one point found a problem they couldn’t solve or a man they couldn’t surpass and instead of bettering themselves decided to destroy him/it. “I don’t have to be taller everyone else just has to be short mwahahaha”… And so it goes.

    Batman is for once an example of man being the most awesome thing in the book. Not just a hero who’s bound by rules and powers set by other creatures. He isn’t even the kind of character that beats a god. He’s the guy that reached god-hood didn’t pick the fight and may now become even more.

    Oh and almost all that I have said about Batman can also be applied to Reed Richards. But for some reason Batman gets cooler writers and ends up being portrayed better. I think its because Batman has more appeal because of the punching and the violence. Reed doesn’t get to punch many people. Punching is also something important to all of this.

  7. Astro Dinosaurus
    June 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm — Reply

    Holy crap I didn’t know it was that long.

  8. Jeremy
    June 8, 2010 at 6:42 pm — Reply

    ^Whoa, wall-o-text attack!

    Batman #700 will be awesome. It has Morrison/Quitely, the greatest creative team ever.

  9. philfromgermany
    June 9, 2010 at 3:48 am — Reply

    When I was a wee lad of about 4 years, depictions of Batman before a full moon on a crippled cypress tree or in a ghosthaunted castle it spoke to me even more than all that other adventurous stuff like Robin Hood etc. I loved the mood of the night portrayed there and looked at the pictures whereever I could find a Batman comic book (I vaguely remember the Batcave diagramm, teamups with Superman).
    When I was six I went on holidays to Austria with my grandparents. Another elderly lady offered to buy me something from a candy stand and I got a german version of Batman. My first! It had a story about Firebug in the front and the one where Batman locks f*ing Solomon Grundy in the fiery furnace of an iron foundry in the back.
    The next stories I got were also great, fighting Black Spider or beating Deadshot in the Sewer by throwing a lockpick into his wristgun. This awesomeness has kept me coming back for more. Personally I can appreciate the whole “era-type” thingamajick but the unique mood (he’s the Dark Knight Detective after all) and style are why I love the character so much.

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