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.
Over the course of the past two months, most of the comic shops near me have reopened. Despite my intense desire to scope out the Twin Cities nerd scene, I did not immediately rush out to buy print comics when shops began reopening. I was jobless for three months this spring, and my wife and I still have a few big purchases to make as a result of our cross-country move. While we are doing absolutely fine and are quite well-off considering others’ situations, rushing back into a just-reopened comic shop and buying all the things felt irresponsible to me.
So I waited, until I’d received enough paychecks that I figured I could drop some money on comics. And while I waited, I thought about what I was going to buy. A lot of trades and series and OGNs floated through my mind, but as the day I was actually, finally going to get to go to a comic shop, have a look around, and buy some comics approached, only one title felt right to purchase:
When I told my wife I was planning to buy a mess of Batman comics, she rolled her eyes at me and said, “Of course you are.” This statement both does not give me enough credit for expanding my comics palette over the last eleven years, and is also extremely correct. Because when given the chance to actually enter a comic shop for the first time since we moved to Minnesota, I decided that what I really wanted was some comfort food. Something that would make the next few hours spent reading at home feel normal, exciting, and wonderful in a way that most things don’t right now. If you’ve been binging old favorites on Netflix or from your bookshelf to get through the tougher days of this pandemic, then you know why I bought Batman.
I had planned to read just the first couple of the ten issues I bought and save the rest for a camping trip I have coming up. I read all ten issues within a few hours. I will read them again on the camping trip, to catch the things I missed because I was reading too quickly. I may have started reading them again while I was writing this paragraph. I can tell you without hestitation that Batman is good right now. Which makes at least one thing that is good right now.
That feeling, that at least something is good right now, is all I wanted out of my first visit to a Twin Cities comic shop. So I consider my first mid-pandemic comics run to be a success. Next time, I likely won’t buy just Batman – but I most certainly will still be buying Batman.
I don’t know that any recent Batman story has made me feel more joy than Batman Universe. Together, writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Nick Derington, and the rest of the Batman Universe team have crafted a humorous, action-packed story that positions Batman as a reader’s guide to the wider DC Universe – which is a wondrous place packed full of Hawkpeople, dinosaurs, immortal villains, telepathic super-gorillas, and so much more.
By the time you’re reading this, I’ll have ended my three-year stint in Fresno, California and be venturing toward a new adventure in St. Paul, Minnesota. I always get quite nostalgic when I leave a place, and I’m guessing I’ll be feeling even more nostalgic by the time I arrive at my parents’ home in Elkhorn, WI (a stopover on the way to Minnesota).
To fuel that nostalgia even further, I plan to re-read a BUNCH of comics that have been sitting at my parents’ place, waiting for me to return for the last three years. You’ll see some pretty apparent connections between these books – each of them includes returns, remembrances, and new beginnings. These are the sorts of stories I’m in the mood for at this moment.