Yes, Batman is vengeance. Yes, he is also the night. But underneath all the Dark Knight’s sturm and batarangs is a semi-normal dude who, when written correctly, enjoys the everyday moments of life just as much as he enjoys punching the Riddler in the face.
With that in mind, I have chosen to counter the internet’s many, many lists of “most epic” or “most badass” or “most sociopathic” Batman moments with a list of my own: A list of ten times that Batman proved he is just as human as you and me. In this post, you will see Batman enjoy eating food, spending time with his friends, and dicking around on the internet. If the thought of seeing Batman smile makes you cringe, this post is not for you. If the thought of Batman testing baby formula on his skin makes you giggle, this post is most definitely for you.
Batman Eats a Burrito
Most anyone who has read Batman comics for as long as I have has likely wondered: What does Batman eat if he gets hungry on patrol? Sure, his utility belt has enough pouches to store a sandwich or two. But the Dark Knight lives in a bustling, and therefore likely restaurant-dense, metropolis. (No, not that Metropolis.) Surely he must have a favorite burger joint, chicken place, and/or pizzeria?
It turns out, Batman’s more into burritos than burgers, as Catman found out in the second issue of Gail Simone and Nicola Scott’s Secret Six. After smelling cilantro and cumin on the Caped Crusader’s breath, Catman finally forced Batman to fess up to eating a delicious burrito for dinner, proving that even Bruce has a soft spot for the most efficient kind of Mexican food.
Batman Searches for His Son’s Teddy Bear
In his best iterations, Batman is one of the most caring people alive. Which explains why, when not-yet-Robin Dick Grayson began crying out in his sleep each night, Bruce immediately set out to find his ward’s missing teddy bear.
The Search for the Missing Teddy Bear happens in Batman: Gotham Adventures 48, an issue that’s focused on how, because he is who he is, Batman might sometimes seem like he doesn’t care about others. As Alfred explains, however, Batman cares about everyone. He just sometimes prefers to let his actions speak louder than his words.
Batman Goes to His Friends’ BBQ (and Bails)
Can you think of anyone who might possibly hate work functions more than Batman? And yet, the Caped Crusader took the time to drive out to the house of his fellow Justice Leaguers, Mister Miracle and Big Barda, to put in an appearance at their JLI cookout.
The last “co-worker” Batman wanted to see, however, was the Joker – which explains why he bailed on the JLI BBQ without a word. Content to let his friends deal with both themselves and the Clown Prince of Crime, Batman began the long drive back to Gotham (and given what we learned in Secret Six, likely stopped for a burrito along the way).
When every mafia member and federal agent in Gotham set their sights on a seemingly normal baby, Batman took it upon himself to protect the child. Of course, anyone who’s spent an evening with a baby knows there’s more to “caring for a child” than holding it in your arms and making sure it doesn’t get shot. (Though these things are also necessary.)
So, in Batman: Gotham Adventures 26, Batman gets a crash course in Child Care 101, including lessons in proper feeding, holding, and diaper changing technique. He does not, however, dress the baby up in a little Robin costume, which is a missed opportunity if you ask me.
Batman Asks for His Friend’s Dessert Recipe
We’ve all been there. You’re hanging out with your friends after having dispersed multiple Chemos, and one of your friends offers up some baked goods. (Which … may or may not be donuts? It’s hard to tell.) And you. Love. Them. They are just absolutely delicious, and you have to get the recipe (so your butler can make them for you).
That’s what happened to Batman in Gail Simone and José Luis García-López’s JLA: The Hypothetical Woman. Overcome by the deliciousness of Diana’s donuts, the normally taciturn Dark Knight asked Wonder Woman to write down her recipe, eliciting a smile from Superman.
Batman Gets Jury Duty
Yes, even Bruce Wayne gets jury duty. (And also, he’d obviously never try to get out of it.) But what happens when Bruce Wayne serves on the jury of a case that Batman was involved with?
Multiple writers have wondered what would happen in this scenario, but Scott Peterson’s take on the situation is far and away my favorite. In Batman: Gotham Adventures 35, Bruce straight-up admits to being Batman in court, because the alternative is to lie under oath. Of course, no one believes Bruce Wayne is actually Batman, so Bruce serves on the jury anyway. And while I won’t spoil the story’s ending, I will say putting Batman on a jury turns out even more interestingly than you might expect.
Batman Goes on a Double Date
While Tom King’s Batman run is decidedly hit-or-miss, the issue in which Batman and Catwoman go on a double date with Superman and Lois Lane is decidedly a hit. Batman 37 features the World’s Finest and their significant others crashing the Gotham County Fair (after swapping clothes, for reasons) and reader, it is as cute and delightful as you’d hope it would be.
An evening of cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and attempted muggings ends with Batman staring down Superman on a baseball diamond, ready to prove that he truly is a bat man. But it’s the human interactions between Selina and Lois and Bruce and Clark that make this issue sing – especially Bruce’s nervousness over his then-impending nuptials.
Batman Starts Shit on the Internet
In a move that seems slightly less funny now than it did back in 2011, Batman once spent at least an evening sowing disinformation and feeding trolls on the internet – laughing all the while.
During the Batman Inc. era, Batman figured it was only a matter of time before his unseen enemy, Leviathan, attempted to expose that Bruce Wayne was Batman. So, Bruce leaked his secret identity himself, then contradicted himself, and then even went so far as to suggest that Bruce Wayne had killed Batman, taking “control of Bruce Wayne’s life and his fortune.” Batman did this via a series of anonymous, online identities (with kewl screen names like Madhunter 303 and Moneyrider) and even in a world in which viral disinformation has screwed up so very much, the thought of Batman trolling conspiracy theorists on the ‘net makes me smile.
Batman Gets Bored and Calls Up His Bros
It’s late at night, there’s no criminals a-crimeing, and you just fired your butler and your sidekick. What’s a Bat-bro to do? Well, in Batman: Gotham Knights 18, the Caped Crusader decides to give Aquaman a ring, in hopes that the King of Atlantis can help Bruce recover his earthquake-dislodged giant penny.
Recovering the penny is, of course, just a pretense, and Aquaman knows it. Arthur makes no attempt to pull the penny up to the Batcave’s surface, but he does attempt to pull Bruce out of his “I’m a loner now and this time I REALLY mean it” shell. The pair shoot the shit for a little bit, but this broody version of Batman wouldn’t disappear for good until Batman: Gotham Knights 32 (an issue that features many more “normal Batman” moments and is the best Batman comic ever according to Polygon’s resident Batmanologist, Susana Polo).
Batman Makes Pancakes
In what is absolutely the best “Batman as a normal person” moment ever, Batman: Gotham Adventures concludes its run with Batman cooking pancakes for his family.
After spending the anniversary of his parents’ death rescuing Commissioner Gordon from the Joker (and enduring a particularly gruesome monologue about how he and the Joker are “trapped in this dance forever”), Batman chooses to spend the next morning not brooding, but cooking. This choice is a reflection of writer Scott Peterson’s whole take on Batman – that as much as being the Dark Knight is about beating up criminals and preventing tragedies, it’s also about building a better, kinder world. A world in which maybe, one day, Batman can stop being Batman, and learn how to cook something more complicated than pancakes for his father and his sons.
If you enjoyed this post, I highly recommend picking up as much Scott Peterson Batman: Gotham Adventures and Devin Grayson Batman: Gotham Knights as you can get your hands on. Those two writers have a great handle on the utter absurdity, determination, and earnestness it would take to be Bruce Wayne and Batman. In particular, you’ll notice this post is stacked with moments from Batman: Gotham Adventures, which is pound for pound the very best Batman comic series.