I very clearly recall, back in 1982, seeing the cover of the second issue of ‘Who’s Who In The DC Universe’, featuring the Earth-1 and Earth-2 Batmen together, and my friend sarcastically complaining about how Batman should never smile.  Of course, at that point in time, it had been at least a decade since the bat had been anything but grim and serious, so there was no real reason for a couple of eleven-year-olds to have any idea that smiling Batman used to be the norm.  Nowadays, my kid has access smiling ‘Brave And The Bold’ Batman, 90s gothic-retro Bruce Timm Batman, the cyberpunk stylings of Batman Beyond, and even Adam West’s campy version whenever she likes, a cornucopia that makes us both happy, but makes me wonder if it somehow harms an overall “Batman Brand.”  Certainly I’m fine with Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson all coexisting as Captain America, but it’s clear that not all readers feel the same way, with leads us to today’s recursive query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is enjoying seeing all the alternate Spider-totems in play, but is seriously worried about what happens to them all AFTER the series ends, asking: Do you like having multiple versions of a character available at the same time, or is more than one Batman too much of a good thing?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I dont mind having different versions of characters being available at the same time, but not necessarily at same place or even same story. Alternate earths or universes or takes on character are welcome, but similar characters with same name and powers hanging around together tends to be too much of a used trope and ending of such stories is more often than not predictable. (spoiler: the most popular version wins/stays around/survives)

  2. There is no end to my love of Alternate Earths and stories.
    But the excess of Batman shows… it feels different, because they’re all trying to be THE Batman show(excluding Batman Beyond), like they’re all trying to say “THIS is the only show you need to be paying attention to if you want a current Batman story”… that is a little exhausting.

  3. Depends.

    Some things work as plausible alternate reality versions, or I prefer a specific version over another. For instance, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Batman (I like him, just not my favorite character), but I enjoyed the DCAU incarnations (Bruce through the multiple series he was in, as well as Terry as the future Batman), the fun campy version of “Batman: The Brave and The Bold” and many, many Elseworlds versions of the character (vampire Batman, GL Batman, Gaslight Batman, etc.) much more than I do the core version from the core DCU timeline of the main comics.

    And multiple Green Lanterns works for me because the Green Lantern Corps is a group. It isn’t like Earth is the only planet with multiple Lanterns, either, we just see more stories involving those than we do the vast ranks of alien members. I also liked the animated series and the various incarnations across other animated works (such as the DCAU, Young Justice, DC Original Animated Movies, etc). Didn’t care quite so much for the live action movie, though.

    Other times, though, it can be a bit much. A good example is some toylines that are mostly variants of one character and just a couple figures in the line that aren’t that character. When I was a kid and teenager, there was a Batman toyline, and while I did expect it to have a few versions of Batman (it had his name, after all), it was ridiculous how many alternate variants of Batman there were, but his enemies and allies were so few and far between. And rather than offering variants based on existing alternate appearances of Batman (like the grey and blue costume, which would have been an easy variant for them to make), we got things like arctic camo Batman or glow-in-the-dark Batman.

    And while I’ve always enjoyed TMNT, there was a time when I felt we were a bit oversaturated with versions of TMNT. We had the 80’s cartoon, the live-action movies, the Mirage comics, the Archie comics, the weird TMNT as a band live tour (and free cassettes from Pizza Hut) and so on and so forth.

  4. I think that having a half dozen different Batman animated series or movies series available for sale at the same time (even though they were produced at different times) is a different thing than a publisher having half a dozen or more different X-titled teams in X-titled books at the same time or seven or more Avenger titles on the market at the same time. The first one doesn’t bother me. The second one does.

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