Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Happy Birthday, Batman!

by Charlie Albuery


Batman's first appearance, in May 1939 (source: screencrush.com)
 
75 years ago, Detective #27 hit shelves. Little did DC know upon its publication that the character this comic book introduced would go on to become one of their most popular characters of all time and cement himself as a pop-culture icon that would endure across almost a century to date. This was, of course, Batman.
Since this introduction, Batman has starred in countless comic-book runs as well as spawning a long-running TV series in the 60s, seven Hollywood movies and no fewer than thirty-four videogames. Many of these are wonderful, wonderful pieces of entertainment, but these are covered and discussed a-plenty all across the internet, I would much rather use Batman’s birthday to have a laugh at his expense by discussing some of his more ludicrous incarnations over the years (he doesn’t have any parents to embarrass him after-all).

(NB - I know what you’re thinking, I am of course referring to the character of Batman’s introduction as his birthday, not Bruce Wayne’s in-context fictional birthday which, as every self-respecting human should know, is February 19th
).

Batman has seen many a ridiculous plot-line including, but not limited to (and I kid you not, these are all real) Vampire Batman, Pirate Batman, Franken-Bat, Hollywood Batman, Batclaw (Wolverine/Batman) and those times Batman teamed up with Sherlock Holmes and/or Scooby Doo and the rest of his motley crew (yes, each of these (and both simultaneously) have happened MULTIPLE TIMES). However, there are three stories in which Batman truly does jump the proverbial shark which we can proceed to laugh at together now. Happy Birthday Batman, this is just my way of showing that I love you.

1 – Batlash (that one time that Batman was a cowboy)

‘The North and South battle a war of attrition, with both sides tiring and neither gaining the upper hand. President Lincoln learns of a rich gold deposit in the unclaimed Nevada territory. That gold could reinvigorate the Southern cause; Lincoln must stop it. So he calls in his most flamboyant secret agent, Colonel Bruce Wayne.’ Wayne fights for the Union both as a soldier and as Batman. Remember how Bruce Wayne came by the identity of the Bat after a dark, tortured night as a child led to an epiphany re. the nature of fear? This Bruce Wayne just thought dressing like a bat would be fun. (I’m not even kidding).
Bruce teams up with Wild Bill Hickok and Mark Twain because apparently the writers intended to both make their story make somehow less sense and confuse children learning history in one fell swoop. If you think this is all strange enough, DC apparently disagrees because things don't go really off the rails until someone kills Batman's horse, at which point he goes out of his entire damn mind and engages in a mildly lasoo-themed killing spree.

2 – Batman : Holy Terror (that one time that Batman was a priest)
In this alternate universe; Oliver Cromwell never died, America lost the Revolutionary War, Commissioner Gordon wears a powdered wig, the suffragettes were never a thing so women hold little to no power and it doesn’t matter anyway because democracy is a lie, no-one's votes are counted. Also, there's a Batman in the mix, who is inexplicably both a priest and an Olympic-standard gymnast.

I’m not even going to try to explain this one…


 3 – That one time Batman was a Nazi
*sigh* In this universe, the Justice League form the core of the Axis in World War Two.

Wow, I’m so done with comic books

Happy freaking birthday Batman.

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