Culture: American comics fandom
Setting: DC Comics
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Superheroes 2008 p95
"The two primary paradigms of superherodom are the superpowered superhero, epitomized by Superman, and the non-superpowered superhero, embodied by Batman. Like Superman, Batman was the first of his breed, debuting eleven months after the Man of Steel in Detective Comics No. 27, May 1939. Created by artist Bob Kane, he was a synthesis of several pop-culture characters, including the Bat, Zorro, Dracula, the Shadow, and the Phantom. While non-superpowered, Batman possessed superhuman characteristics, having honed his mind and trained his body to the peak of his abilities. Through obsessive, military discipline, he turned himself into a self-made fighting machine, armored with an ever-expanding arsenal of crime-fighting gadgetry usually contained within his utility belt and, after a brief flirtation with firearms, always nonlethal (in respect to Batman's adolescent readership as well as to his parents, whose murder was the catalyst for his scourge of crime). Typically, the designs of his armory shared a bat motif and bat prefix, such as the Batarang, modeled after the Australian boomerang."
* Zehr 2008 pxiv-xv
"The Batman ... is a real flesh-and-blood human being from our planet. He has no superabilities. Only through his years of rigorous training has Batman pulled himself to near-superhuman status.
"This part of the Batman mythology is what makes him so attractive and accessible to so many -- it seems well-grounded in the reality of hard work and achievement. Is it, though? In Tales of the Dark Knight: Batman's First Fifty Years: 1939-1989, Mark Cotta Vaz quotes then president and editor-in-chief of DC Comics Jenette Kahn on Batman: 'Batman is an ordinary mortal who made himself a superhero ... Through discipline and determination and commitment, he made himself into the best. I always thought that meant that I could be anything I wanted to be.' This sentiment was shared by the great silver age Batman artist Neal Adams: 'You must remember, Batman is the only superhero who is not a superhero. He has no powers ... He's a human being bent on a mission.' And DC Comics Editor Dennis O'Neil wrote, 'There isn't a great stretch between Batman's world and ours: 'he is the most "realistic" of the great superheroes. To be blunt: the guy isn't very super. He didn't gain his powers by being lighting-struck, not bathing in chemicals, nor by dint of being born on another planet, nor by the intervention of extraterrestrials or gods. To paraphrase an old commercial, he got them the old-fashioned way -- he earned them ... He wasn't bequeathed those abilities; he sweated for them."
* Superheroes 2008 p95, 99
"Batman's armor extends beyond his arsenal to his costume, which over the years and partly inspired by the semirigid exoskeletons worn by his film personas, has come to integrate protective mechanisms such as bulletproof padding, primarily positioned around the bat symbol on his chest. Batman's identity, including his code name and costume, was inspired by Bruce Wayne's encounter with a bat while seeking a disguise to strike terror in the hearts of criminals. The basic components of the costume, styled after Superman's, have remained virtually unchanged, comprising unitard, trunks, gloves, boots, cowl, belt, and cape, the last inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of an ornithopter. Both its color and design speak of its associations -- night, fear, and the supernatural -- as well as its modus operandi -- concealment, stealth, and surprise. Indeed, its primary function is camouflage, shrouding the Caped Crusader in darkness and imbuing him with the phantom-like elusiveness of shadows. Batman's restrained sobriety stands in stark contrast to Superman's flamboyant Technicolor. In his ascetic austerity, Batman recalls the figure of the late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century dandy as exemplified by Beau Brummell. Jules Barbey D'Aurevilly noted Brummell's 'Air of indifference which he wore like armor, and which made him invulnerable,' or, as Barbey then added, 'which made him appear invulnerable.' Batman's sublime, nocturnal self-containment conveys a similar illusion of invincibility, one that allows him to fight crime alongside his more powerful brethren."
* Langley 2012 p64
"A mask does not have to deindividuate when it's part of a role or identity that its wearer takes personally. 'The reality is that the Batman persona is the true persona,' says DC Comics executive editor Dan DiDio, 'and that Bruce Wayne is the mask.' The Dark Knight Rises executive producer Michael Uslan argues, 'I think that Bruce Wayne doesn't exist. I think he died that night with his parents, and that form, that boy, that reality who moved on after that was no longer Bruce Wayne. He had at that point in his heart and mind and soul already become Batman. He just had a path, a journey to take.' Comic book writer Paul Levitz sees it differently: 'The core of his identity always remains Bruce because it's his formative experience as Bruce that fuels both. Batman is a tool he puts on to accomplish what he needs to do.' Another comic book writer, Scott Snyder, contends, 'It's not like Bruce is some phony thing he wears, but in the scale of the superhero identity, Bruce is deeply tilted toward Batman.' Wisdom from the Batcave author Cary A. Friedman weighs in: 'Which is the real identity -- is it Bruce Wayne or is it Batman? The really cool answer, of course, is when we say, 'Oh, it's Batman,' but I think that misses the point. What defines the character is the essential humanity that the character possesses."
* White/Arp 2008 p138
"[I]n the world of Batman the bat is a symbol for everything frightening, tragic, and ruthless in life. Only Batman is able to confront the bat, embracing it and overcoming the despair that it symbolizes."