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Thursday, March 27, 2014 

75 years of Batman, but not a time for the comics to celebrate

It's the 75th anniversary of Batman:
"Batman is one of the greatest characters ever created, in comics or elsewhere, and even after 75 years he continues to wildly fascinate fans. He is an integral part of pop culture and has successfully captured the imagination of the entire world," Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, president and chief content officer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, went on to say.

"The origin of Batman, Bruce Wayne and the famous citizens of Gotham are legendary and likely a story you know inside out, even if you've never picked up a comic book in your life, and that speaks volumes to the character's immense popularity and the constructs of the original mythology."
She doesn't know how right she is - there's a lot of people today who've never read Batman comics, and don't intend to read the best stories from yesteryear, which is sad. And the newer ones since the turn of the century became so bad, you wouldn't want outsiders to have the misfortune of reading those. But how can anybody know Batman inside out if they've never read a single comic in all their lives? That's a very dumb thing to say, because there've been plenty of co-stars and recurring guests everybody should know about - even Dr. Leslie Thompkins - but if they haven't read the comics, they won't know anything. A very laughable statement Nelson's making there.

And the comics sell so low now, it's ridiculous for Nelson to say fans are still fascinated. Terrible writers like Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder have only dumbed down the Batworld, and like many other DC titles, Batman is not immune to the company wide crossovers that are sinking the whole franchise. That's why these superhero anniversaries are no longer something to look forward to.

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The image of Batman is familiar to people who don't read comics. Similarly, people who don't watch horror movies have heard of Dracula, Frankenstein, and King Kong. People who are not fans of action movies have heard of James Bond, Dirty Harry, and Rambo. That is not the same thing as knowing them "inside out."

People who know Batman from the movies or TV have probably never heard of Jason Todd or Tim Drake, for example. And they don't know that the original Robin became Nightwing. And fans of the Michael Keaton movies probably never heard of Joe Chill. Ask them who murdered Batman's parents, and they would say, "the Joker."

In fact, that shows how multimedia adaptations create confusion. The movie versions of Tarzan and Matt Helm were so different from the books that fans of one often hated the other. And a lot of Dark Knight fans hated the campy 1966 Batman TV show, and vice versa.

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