Who Should Batman Be Made For?

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Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
 Is this Batman?

Back in ’08, a friend told me that, while he loved THE DARK KNIGHT, he was torn over the movie being too scary and intense for him to bring his kids to. I heard similar concerns around that time and the funny is… I've noticed that tension dogging all of the Batman movies.

When BATMAN RETURNS came out in ’92, a lot of parents were upset over how dark it was in comparison to the first. What were they upset about? Catwoman’s kinky come-ons to Batman? Her bizarre sexual tension with the Penguin? The Penguin biting a campaign aid’s face off? Or maybe his master plan to kidnap and murder all of Gotham’s first born infants in one night? Supposedly, the backlash is what led to BATMAN FOREVER and BATMAN & ROBIN being so much lighter and cartoonish; supposedly, Joel Schumacher was responding to piles of letters he was getting from from parents asking for a movie they could just bring their kids to. 
== TEASER ==

 Or is this Batman?

That really brings up the question of who Batman’s for. Kids? Teens? Adults? All ages?  That can be asked of superheroes, really, but I think it’s most pertinent to the Caped Crusader. The drastically-different takes he's had over the years have been celebrated as diverse interpretations of a common myth but, I don’t know… how broadly can be the character be defined and still reconciled under one identity? One Batman’s dancing and singing in the BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Another Batman’s crippling mutant gang leaders who threaten to rape and eat hearts in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. And another Batman’s taking on the very real threat of international sex slavery in that ULTIMATE EVIL novel. I can understand how vexing it could be for parents - - it’s not like you’re might accidentally purchase a harder-edged version of, say, Harry Potter or Dora the Explorer.

I figure this has a lot to do with Batman surviving however many attempts at censorship. He started off as an uncompromising pulp vigilante and then had to tone things down considerably because of the Comics Code. Hence the campy 60s show with Adam West is just as much a part of the “cannon” as THE KILLING JOKE and Batmite and Mr. Zsasz can exist in the same mythos.  Somehow, it works, but I think it’s worth noting that I can’t really think of too many other characters who can be as paradoxical.   
 
Am I right, Comic Vine community?

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.  

#1 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2223 posts) - - Show Bio

"Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation [Brave and the Bold], but it's certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger ." —Bat-Mite defends this incarnation of Batman.

#2 Posted by jdeluca2 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman was rewritten for ADULTS when the writers found out thats who was really reading them. JUST LIKE TODAY! Lets not turn it down for the little kids, 

#3 Edited by longbowhunter (6625 posts) - - Show Bio

As a parent I can certainly understand. Here is a tip other parents can use. CHECK THE DAMN RATING! If a parent is that concerned about what their child is going to see, research it a little. Its our job as parents, not the studios.
#4 Posted by reaper2923 (2778 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh god not the Frank Miller Batman no more of I can't take it.

#5 Posted by TheNightsider (16 posts) - - Show Bio

My parents showed me the Burton Batman films when I was a kid. They never regret showing me the movie. HELL, The Batman animated series got dark around season 3 and I loved watching it! So it really doesn't matter in my part. Kids love dark stuff.

#6 Posted by Aquamariner (203 posts) - - Show Bio

Well I don't have kids, so who cares!!! lol  
 
Serioulsy though, I think Batman can pull off both versions, The campy one for kids, and the more obscure figure for teens/adults.  I don't really think that asking, in this day and age, if Batman is for kids or adults is important or even relevant anymore, given how there are SO many  interpretations of the character to choose from that can be enjoyed by kids and/or teens and adults alike. 

#7 Posted by KNIGHT SAVIOR (823 posts) - - Show Bio

The Comic 's Batman is more for older teens & adults , while TV's Batman is more for lean toward younger kids for wholesome  ideas  
#8 Posted by HaHaManHV (234 posts) - - Show Bio
@longbowhunter: See, most parents seem to forget that little bit of common sense. Thank you for being a parent and knowing how to gage your kids.
 
In response to the question, I think it should be approached in a teen-friendly way. I mean this in that he should be witty and fun to have kids like him, but be capable of going all Dark Knight. He needs to be taken seriously, but without forgetting that he is human and can only go so dark without losing himself or those around him.
#9 Posted by conformist21 (413 posts) - - Show Bio

golden age brings him to that state, confusing benevolence.
Daredevil and Moon Knight work well because they don't have that sorta burden of being deemed more child friendly as bats. Bats is a conundrum, but not too that much effect, parents complaining are just too sensitive to accept the ambiguity and perplexity that batman brings.
How is a guy who has mostly dark colors somehow more ageless in intentional audience?

#10 Posted by jamdown (294 posts) - - Show Bio
@ArtisticNeedham:
totally agree 
#11 Posted by Scike (7 posts) - - Show Bio

I like my batman like I like my women - Dark and nasty.

#12 Posted by CaptainGenisVell (291 posts) - - Show Bio

I saw the first Batman film when I was three or four and my dad kept on allowing me to see it and the darker sequels on VHS.
I truly think if he hadn't have let me then I would have missed out on so much and not known Batman as my first true superhero.

#13 Posted by CellphoneGirl (18799 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the Batman being Dark.

#14 Posted by Man of Lengend (1001 posts) - - Show Bio

since i was a kid i read baman kinda grow into a darker version, i grew with the character in a way. I loved the first two batman movies when i was a kid and i love the new movies as well. My favorite version however might be the animated
#15 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is the most flexible superhero of all comic heroes. He could be the end of every pun, yet he could also be the dark knight. 
Batman can and is aimed everyone with his flexibility. The movies are aimed at more of a mature audience while cartoons like the Brave and the Bold are more for (not too young) kids and comic fans that love the fun stories whipped up. I dont think its for children to come into both movie and cartoon because i cant see most children understanding The Dark Knight has much as an older audience would. Warner Brothers just want children to grow into Batman the way you did as a kid. Im sure you remember the superfriends version of Batman. 
Comics are a different story for me. I think all Batman in comics is rooted for a mature audience. Ive never read a Batman comic without mature content.

#16 Posted by Gothic Storm (842 posts) - - Show Bio

I've made this comment before, but for me Marvel was always the 'grown-up' version to DC while I was growing up. It wasn't until DC killed off the then Robin that suddenly my interest was sparked. DC has always been lighter than Marvel (excluding the Power Pack of course) in my opinion. Hannah-Barberra proved my point when Superfriends began to air way back when. My step-father laughs when he remembers sitting down with his buddies and watching the first Batman TV show. He said they were booing the screen when they saw the first episode air. I guess they were hoping for something more dark even back then! He isn't called the Dark Knight for nothing I guess. I applaud DC for mixing things up though. Batman: The Animated Adventures was incredible! It was the darkest cartoon up until The Maxx and Spawn aired, yet it had a lighter side as well. Even today, Batman cartoons still ride the fence of light and dark better than any other comic book cartoon I can think of.
 
Keep it up, Detective Comics!

#17 Posted by sniktawt (11 posts) - - Show Bio

I was born in the early 70's and I love both the Batman: Brave & The Bold (The series & especially the comic version) as well as his darker incarnations. I was exposed to a lot of the campy comics back in the 70's then the revamped Neal Adams & Marshall Rogers versions so I guess that's why TBATB appeals to me as well as  the darker stuff. I'm sure this is like that for a lot of fans born in the late 60's early 70's. There will always be both versions of Batman for kids and adults cause some adults still dig the cartoony stuff as well.
#18 Posted by Proverb (32 posts) - - Show Bio
@ArtisticNeedham said:
" "Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation [Brave and the Bold], but it's certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger ." —Bat-Mite defends this incarnation of Batman. "
Forever this. I have known Batman for as long as I can remember. I was watching the Adam West show long before I could even read a comic. That Batman taught me a lot more about the world than Frank Miller's ever has. But that's okay, Frank, your comic is still worthy too.
 
#19 Posted by Golden Cod (412 posts) - - Show Bio

On a personal level I don't mind the different interpretations.   A human being is multifaceted and we're perceived in different ways by different people.   In this regard I think Bats is the most realistic character in that he can be lighthearted but also rather disturbing.    If anything, you can interpret it as different stages of his caped career.   The longer he's at it, the harsher he becomes.   A man who considers his alter-ego to be his true self has to be paradoxical.
 
As for the problem with publications and parental guidance, there will always be parents that wish to sanitize and protect their kids from everything.   Batman is meant to be a dark character, an opposite to Superman's boyscout.    Batman has survived the sanitation attempts thus far because of his ardent no-kill rule.   He goes to the brink but always refuses to cross the line. 

#20 Posted by G'bandit (13689 posts) - - Show Bio

 

 

#21 Edited by baker1skter (163 posts) - - Show Bio

i think no matter in what medium/series/ whatever batman has a dark underlying tone. i believe thats how he was created, just writers took the sense of mystery and darkness and exaggerated on it. i mean nowadays if you a  read a comic with story with a good/predictable/ not dark batman it would be boring. because the essence of his true nature is what draws us in. 
 
but yes i agree  brave and bold are for younger kids. and batman can be stretched either way.

#22 Edited by War Killer (19867 posts) - - Show Bio

Honestly, Batman's for all ages. In movies like The Dark Knight, we see him battling thugs and mobsters, with the occasional villain like Scarecrow, and the evil mastermind the Joker, that is Batman, yes it was dark, but that's what Batman is fighting, he's fighting those monsters who hide in the shadows, ready to pray on the innocent, and to tell your kids that the world isn't like that, then don't let them watch the news any more too, because I'm sure you'll hear the reporter sooner or later say "girl gets raped and murdered" or "soldiers killed in car bombing." What makes Batman a hero is that through all of the insanity, he's trying to bring light into his city which has been taken over by darkness, if you take that away, it's not Batman anymore.

#23 Posted by Big (330 posts) - - Show Bio

Ever since I was a kid, I was intrigued by Batman's dark nature. Reading the comics with the pencil art work by Dick Giordano and Neal Adams made me even more of a devotee. 
His "adult" aspect is inherent in the story, "Kid walks down alley with parents. Parents get shot and killed. Kid swears vengeance and becomes a representation of evil to frighten criminals. This is SERIOUS!  
An element of fantasy and other-worldliness is  also inherent in the character.  The campier stuff can fit cuz the Batman is a symbolic figure. I think Bruce Timm said that he almost works better as a two-dimensional figure. Therefore, you can have flying imps and carny kids getting in on the action. 
Ultimately, it's a question of balance.  Artists, from filmmakers to writers have walked that line, for the most part,    successfully, for the last seventy-five years. It's when the industry panders  to the  pleas of soccer-moms and overly-concerned parents, that have no business entertaining this story, that the quality suffers, as in the case of the Joel Schumacker films and of the many issues printed in the fifties and sixties.  
#24 Posted by ComicStooge (11833 posts) - - Show Bio

It should be made for teens and adults...not kids...

#25 Posted by darkxman123 (198 posts) - - Show Bio

just keep the two batman seprate like there doing just now you know batman and robin batman and batman cofidental for grownups and teens and batman brave and the bold for kids i know thats not to fair with kids onley getting 1 book but thats the way it is o well

#26 Posted by Bergquist (695 posts) - - Show Bio

batman shoud be a F---ing bad ass 
 
thats the way iam going to write him
#27 Posted by ComicMan24 (147042 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman always was a dark individual. The movies should be for adults. The kids can watch the animated series.
Online
#28 Posted by Silkcuts (5272 posts) - - Show Bio

Why must there be a more important version?  As long as the character represents "GOOD" does it matter if its a kid version or an adult version?

#29 Posted by ComicMan24 (147042 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm afraid a lot of people still think that Batman is in the 60s. Things have changed.
Online
#30 Posted by Schabbe (82 posts) - - Show Bio
@War Killer said:
" Honestly, Batman's for all ages. In movies like The Dark Knight, we see him battling thugs and mobsters, with the occasional villain like Scarecrow, and the evil mastermind the Joker, that is Batman, yes it was dark, but that's what Batman is fighting, he's fighting those monsters who hide in the shadows, ready to pray on the innocent, and to tell your kids that the world isn't like that, then don't let them watch the news any more too, because I'm sure you'll hear the reporter sooner or later say "girl gets raped and murdered" or "soldiers killed in car bombing." What makes Batman a hero is that through all of the insanity, he's trying to bring light into his city which has been taken over by darkness, if you take that away, you're not looking at Batman anymore. "
well said..
#31 Posted by Chane (539 posts) - - Show Bio

There should be a batman for each age range, so the character grows with the person. For me it was Adam West Bats -> Tim Burton Bats -> DKR

#32 Posted by busterblader (21 posts) - - Show Bio

 I think this issue is larger than one character.  America has an odd set of priorities when it comes to censorship especially sex vs violence.  While working at Wal-mart I found parents had no problem buying games and movies that were violent but one bit of sexual content and they go running for the hills, my coworkers used to joke kids could only see a naked woman after she had been brutally mutilated.  This come up in Tom's article above for the issues with batman returns(two problems with sexual tension one for violence).  I believe the best way to keep kids from being hurt by graphic content is to ease them into it and talk to them about the subject matter.  Batman stories are great for this, characters and motivations the children are familiar with in every shade of gray.  The best example I can think of is the brave and the bold episode the chill of the night.  It stared out with some campy scenes (even getting Adam West to voice Thomas Wayne) but pretty dark near the end (don't want to ruin the episode but if you liked Batman:TAS watch it now) 

#33 Posted by dan1509 (183 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the batman being dark and it does make sense, because the dude fights crime by instilling fear with bats after his parents were murdered, so really I don't understand how you can make a character like this child friendly. Don't get me wrong I loved batman when I was a kid but I was one of these kids who watched, read stuff that I shouldn't of age restricted wise but the best batman stories I've read are the dark ones and TDK? One of the best films I've ever seen, but seriously, with enemies batman has, you can't really tone them down for kids:
- Scarecrow: Gas to make your worst fears come true
- Bane: Super strong bloke, broke batmans back
- Two face: Half his head is scarred beyond belief
- ZZsaz: Cuts himself up as pride of his kills
 
and its not just the enemies, what about the Jason Todd example? Yeah I know Dick Grayson is the most common incarnation of Robin but his parents were murdered too! 
 
I dunno and its the same with like Wolverine, the dude kills and recovers from being beaten up!! How do you tone that down!! Ok, Im done *breathe out* :P Seriously, if you just read all this comment, cheers :)

#34 Posted by Secret Identity (223 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't see a problem with there being several "versions" of Batman. I really enjoy Brave and the Bold and The Dark Knight film. Even Batman and Robin has a place in my heart that is as valid as the others. The key point here is that it's not clear from the promotional works what is suitable for what audience. Is the batman comic suitable for young children who enjoy Brave and the bold? No probably not most of the time. The problem is that that isn't clear. 
 
It's not really a question of which version is more valid either. They are all Batman and this being fiction that is fine. Adam West is as much batman as Christian Bale and Mark Hamel is as much the Joker as Heath Ledger.

#35 Posted by logan48227 (298 posts) - - Show Bio
@dan1509 said:
"I love the batman being dark and it does make sense, because the dude fights crime by instilling fear with bats after his parents were murdered, so really I don't understand how you can make a character like this child friendly. Don't get me wrong I loved batman when I was a kid but I was one of these kids who watched, read stuff that I shouldn't of age restricted wise but the best batman stories I've read are the dark ones and TDK? One of the best films I've ever seen, but seriously, with enemies batman has, you can't really tone them down for kids: - Scarecrow: Gas to make your worst fears come true - Bane: Super strong bloke, broke batmans back - Two face: Half his head is scarred beyond belief - ZZsaz: Cuts himself up as pride of his kills  and its not just the enemies, what about the Jason Todd example? Yeah I know Dick Grayson is the most common incarnation of Robin but his parents were murdered too!   I dunno and its the same with like Wolverine, the dude kills and recovers from being beaten up!! How do you tone that down!! Ok, Im done *breathe out* :P Seriously, if you just read all this comment, cheers :) "

I personally have been wondering for years how Wolverine makes it into cartoons & on backpacks & lunchboxes. A badass with knives in his arms & whose main power is to recover fast from ass-kickings is somehow kid-friendly?
#36 Posted by kev17 (332 posts) - - Show Bio

A book for kids,a book for mature readers.
#37 Posted by Green ankh (998 posts) - - Show Bio

i don't see why they cant exist side by side.  I would not mind seeing a lighter batman movie targeted to kids, and more Dark Knight films.  Why not tap both.

#38 Posted by dondasch (926 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman seems to have the ability to be tailored to all ages.  I don't think that age discrimination is the answer here.  If the character can be applied to a well done background with an equally excellent story then any episode with any age targeting could work.  In fact, it's been shown to work already.  Batman: The Animated Series and the subsequent cartoons were targeted towards kids, but adults were able to enjoy them.  The very first Batman was dark, I thought, and targeted toward adults but kids were able to enjoy it.  Let's not even speak of what Joel Schumacher did to Batman, ok ?
 
Even in the comic medium, Batman appeals to all ages.  From The Brave and the Bold up to and including Knightfall and The Dark Knight Returns. 
 
So, yes, Batman can appeal to everyone who has an openness to enjoy it.
 
On a tangent though, if Knightfall was not the best Batman storyline ever, then I think it must be The Dark Knight Returns.

#39 Edited by etragedy (1042 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman shouldn't be written to any target audience. 

Batman should be written to reflect the character Bob Kane created. A man tormented by the cold-blooded murder of his parents who takes on a macabre identity/visage of a creature of the night (a bat), and proceeds to lead a one-man war on crime using any means necessary - even lethal firearms if need be.
 
Yes, he is also a hard-boiled detective, yes he does share a world with other much more 'morally upstanding letter-of-the-law' types like Superman.
 
But ultimately the character should be true to the original conception (updated for the times of course). THEN, whoever likes reading/watchin that character... well, that is who Batman should be for. Whether it is embraced by teenage boys, little old ladies, kids or all audiences, so be it.

#40 Edited by Zejeck (59 posts) - - Show Bio

Same here, They been doing a great job in keeping Batman's essence- no matter what age group they aim to.  
 
Batman TAS
The Batman
Batman Brave and the Bold
Batman: Arkham Asylum "Catn wait for part 2"
Batman Gotham Knight
 
all are true to who Batman is and should be like...

Joel Schumacher messed up BIG time though by listening and responding to those letters. I can see why Keaton didn't continue :P.

  He couldve easily used Adam West for Batman and Robin instead of Clooney 
 
As for the question to who Batman should be aimed to: Most def young adults or older.
#41 Posted by Theodore (3445 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman for adults!

#42 Posted by G thang (29 posts) - - Show Bio

As a kid I was first introduced to Batman via the campy '60's T.V. show and enjoyed it very much. When I started collecting Batman comics in the '70's, I was introduced to a much darker creation and also enjoyed it. My point is that I think the character can transcend different incarnations that cover all age groups.

#43 Posted by Cherry Bomb (3189 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved Tim Burtons Batman movies!
they were perfect and portrayed a dark, gritty city which is what Gotham should be like.
 Michelle Pfiefer was an amazing Catwoman and Danny DeVito wasn't too bad either.
 
Batman on screen shouldn't be targeted at kids (such as the Brave and the Bold - a show which I strongly dislike)   - It should be portrayed to a more mature audience as it deals with things like: death, crime, fighting etc ...  
 
So it shouln't be 'dumbed' down in any way.

#44 Posted by NightFang (9819 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Batman should be for everybody and not always dark and realist all the time, it would just get old to me. 

#45 Posted by spiderguylll (620 posts) - - Show Bio
@Scike said:
" I like my batman like I like my women - Dark and nasty. "
HELL YEAH ( Unless it's Dick as Batman than it's gotta be Fast Paced and funny)
#46 Posted by Chaos Burn (1772 posts) - - Show Bio

even when i was a kid, i prefered the darker batman media, like Batman Beyond cartoons or The Batman...  I think Chris Nolan has the perfect tone for Batman, and we can leave the camp, Adam West stuff to saturday morning cartoons

#47 Posted by jayshaw (48 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, cool stuff!!!!!!

#48 Edited by MysterioMaximus (931 posts) - - Show Bio

Because Batman has been interpreted so many varying ways throughout his history, I think it's important to open-mindfully accept them all. Not that you'd have to like them, but this is a modern mythological character, his history should be preserved, including the lighthearted camp era - which is no less a valid and relevant a time in his publication, albeit far from Kane's pulpy borderline vampire shtick roots. While that's never been my preferred Batman, the Frank Miller over-the-top grim and gritty vigilante sociopath isn't either. For my part, I've always considered "my Batman" to meet somewhere in the middle and end up with the 70's Dennis O'Neil dark revival era, much like the Batman the Animated Series Kevin Conroy Bat's. He's dark enough to be faithful to the roots of the Bill Finger-Bob Kane 1939 character, though that one was arguably even darker considering he used a gun and killed, but he's not as far gone as Frank's. The happy medium is ideal for me. I dig me some Brave and Bold, especially for all the retro Easter eggs throw in that only a handful of old schooler readers will get the nods to, but I still much prefer the Animated Series. Artistic interpretation should never be limited, let the writer decide how they want to portray the caped crusader, then you decide if you like it or not. Your Batman is entirely up to you, which is something I find empowering.

#49 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

Like the the comic book readers Batman grew up.  The movies should follow the trend and it did it well.  Batman isn't written for little kids anymore.  The movies shouldn't be for kids either.  I feel there should be animate show about Batman at the same time.  The kid friendly show to try and grab new fans, and an adult themed one as well for the mature reader crowd.  BMTAS was great, and that's becasue it played out like small adult film versions for the adult watchers.  There are some things that can only be done well in the animated world.  Mr Freeze doesn't work well on screen.  Poison Ivy doesn't work well on screen.  Both do in an animated show.  In fact BMTAS pilot episode was on at 10p.m..  Fox thought the show was more aimed towards adults and at first considered putting the show on only at night.  They switched it back to afternoons but something like 6p.m. depending on what timezone you were in.  It was considered when the evening started so parents couldn't complain about it being on to early.  Fox could say it was televised in the evening.  So make 2 shows.  One kiddy one adult.  everyone is happy and W.B. makes bank.
#50 Posted by Decept-O (7274 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article and a good question pertaining to how Batman could appeal to people of all ages.   
 
As there have been comics and cartoons aimed directly at kids featuring Batman, I wouldn't be surprised if a "kid friendly" Batman movie were made one day.  Why not?  While the craptastic Batman Forever and Batman and Robin movies were toned down, I fail to see where they appealled to anyone, even if the intentions were to make them kid friendly.  They were just awful in every sense of the word.   
 
Despite those failures, perhaps WB may consider doing a kid friendlier movie one day.  Maybe it will be limited to a 'Brave and the Bold" animated movie but if a live-action Batman movie were made with the same tone, I say why not?   

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