Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

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Friday
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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Friday » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:22 am

Depending on the Batman, I think Bruce can sometimes be the costume, but sometimes it's actually not.

Like, in the Nolan Trilogy, it absolutely was the costume (and honestly Bale playacting a rich spoiled shithead was always the best parts of those movies) but I don't really remember that sort of thing from TAS. In TAS he's sort of a benevolent CEO guy trying to help people in whatever ways he can within the limits of that persona.

Maybe I'm wrong, I've only seen maybe 25% of TAS but thats what I remember about that version of Bruce.
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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby beatbandito » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:25 pm

"In my mind, I don't call myself Bruce."
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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Thad » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:25 pm

beatbandito wrote:"In my mind, I don't call myself Bruce."

Yeah, Bruce changes over the course of the DCAU. Batman Beyond, as you note, is pretty explicit in pushing the "Bruce is the mask" angle (though it's also a series that kicks off with Batman retiring after picking up a gun, so it doesn't exactly support the "Bruce would own a gun collection" theory), but in TAS it's somewhere in between. He definitely puts on an act when he's Bruce, but the show's also pretty good about balancing Bruce as the redeemer to Batman's punisher (he volunteers in a soup kitchen in The Forgotten, and remember that in Harley's Holiday he advocates for her parole).

The New Batman Adventures is the midpoint between the two, and it shows a Batman who's more like what he becomes in Beyond, particularly in Things Change -- but even there, it depicts Bruce as the carrot to Batman's stick (after Dick tells Tim the story of how he quit being Robin after he watched Batman intimidate a henchman, he learns that Bruce gave that same henchman a job afterward).

I love Batman Beyond, and I love Bruce's character in it, but there was always something that didn't feel quite right about that arc, about Bruce as a bitter old hermit who's alienated everyone who ever cared about him. It's also a story about how Batman failed -- when the series starts, there are gangs of street thugs dressed like the Joker and nobody out there stopping them.

That's a pretty bleak way of looking at Batman. It's a story of a man whose trauma ultimately destroys him, and while it makes for a compelling story and a compelling character, it's really a bummer. Plus, we all know Batman Always Wins.

One of the moments that really stuck with me on Young Justice was when Bruce saw that Dick was upset about something and he dropped what he was doing and went out and shot hoops with him. I think that scene shows an understanding of Batman that a lot of writers forget: yes, Batman is all about the Mission, but making sure Dick has a loving father in his life is an integral part of the Mission. TNBA and BB posit that Batman uses all these people he surrounds himself with as pawns, manipulates them into helping him in his crusade, but I don't think that's right. The Bat-Family is exactly what it says on the tin: it's his family. His family was taken away from him, and so he finds a new one. And the first new member of the Bat-Family is a child whose parents were murdered in front of his eyes. Bruce adopts Dick because he knows what he's going through, and wants to help be there for Dick in a way nobody ever was for him. (In 1940 when Robin first appeared, Alfred hadn't shown up yet and the comic hadn't yet introduced the backstory of Bruce being raised by an uncle. Post-Crisis, the backstory is that Alfred raised Bruce, but it's still not exactly a father-son dynamic; ultimately Alfred is his servant.)

There was a story in one of the Batman comics for the 75th anniversary; as I recall, the hook is that they're celebrating Bruce's 75th birthday. And they deliberately chose to make him look like Bruce on Batman Beyond -- but instead of being alone in an empty mansion with nobody but a dog to keep him company, they showed him surrounded by his loved ones; everybody in the Bat-family shows up with a smile and a present to celebrate his life. I like that better. And, while there was a lot wrong with The Dark Knight Rises, I like that it gave us an ending where Bruce is able to heal from his pain and retire happy, secure in the knowledge that there's a Robin to carry on the Mission without him.

To answer the question in a roundabout way: I forget who said it, but I agree with the take that Bruce and Batman are both masks; neither one of them represents who he really is. They're both faces he shows to the public, and in both cases he's hiding who he really is. The real man is the one he is in private, when he's around Alfred or Dick or Barbara or Tim or Leslie or any of the other people who know his secret. Neither the grim avenger of the night nor the billionaire playboy is who he really is. He's not scary and heartless, but neither is he a carefree child of leisure.

And, to a certain extent, we're all like that. I don't behave the same way at work that I do at home, and I don't act the same around my wife as I do around my dad. Batman code-switches.

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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Thad » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:20 am

Another way Batman's characterization changes over the years is that in early TAS, he's quippy. Not Spider-Man quippy, but James Bond quippy; when he beats the bad guy, he's got a groan-inducing pun ready to go.

I suspect part of why that eventually goes away is that over time, he changes from a solo player to a team member. Season 3 moves Robin from occasional guest star to second-billed title character, Batman Beyond moves Bruce into a mentor role, and Justice League puts him on a team. Batman occasionally making a wisecrack makes sense on a show where he's the only superhero, but once you start pairing him off with pretty much anybody else, it starts to make more sense having the other guy be the wiseass and let Batman scowl and disapprove. (Even The Brave and the Bold generally made him the straight man and gave the jokes to whoever the guest star was.)

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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Büge » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:10 pm

"You overplayed your part... 'yo.'"
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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Thad » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:57 pm

Fair point; he did still do it occasionally in the later series. But he was usually treated more as the guy who never smiles.

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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Thad » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:45 am

Thad wrote:
beatbandito wrote:"In my mind, I don't call myself Bruce."

Yeah, Bruce changes over the course of the DCAU. Batman Beyond, as you note, is pretty explicit in pushing the "Bruce is the mask" angle (though it's also a series that kicks off with Batman retiring after picking up a gun, so it doesn't exactly support the "Bruce would own a gun collection" theory), but in TAS it's somewhere in between.

Then again, come to think of it there is that episode (I think it's the one where Hugo Strange finds out Bruce Wayne is Batman?) where he has to arrange it so that Bruce Wayne and Batman appear together at the same time, and...he does this by having Dick disguise himself as Bruce.

He has Dick wear a literal Bruce Wayne mask, rather than let anyone else wear the Bat-suit.

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Re: Batman (created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane)

Postby Thad » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:08 pm

Dini, Burnett, Templeton team for ‘Batman: The Adventures Continue’

Neat.

It's only a 6-issue miniseries, but with those names attached I'm hoping for good things. And maybe this won't be the end of it. (Still hoping we see some more DCAU animated movies -- in particular, that the Justice League reunion gets off the ground. But comics? Sure, those are good too.)

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