Warning: this is a thread filled with bold statements.
I have been very curious what the source of Bat Frustration is. For those who don't know Batman is arguably the most popular superhero out there. And of course with anything popular, you have people that resent the character. But I have seen as his popularity grows, there are a group of people that are getting MORE and MORE frustrated. My question is, why?
It's the Fans!
Some people say its because of Batman's fans...I don't buy it. But let's explore. I am a hardcore Batman fan, and am guilty of thinking that Batman's super power is that he can beat everyone. This frustrates people to no degree. My issue with this is if this truly is the case then it is a very petty complaint. Yes Batman fans think beyond highly of their favorite character. But I also think that Superman fans, Green Lantern fans, etc think just as highly of their characters. So why fault just fans of one character. I also know that when I am watching, reading, or playing anything Batman, I am not thinking about the fans. I am enjoying what I am given. So those are clearly to independant things. Last but not least, some say that fans are the reason why BatGod exists. That writers like Grant Morrison and Bruce Timm believe in this concept, and make Batman "too cool." I think that is also ridiculous because last time I checked Snyder beats up Batman in every storyline he has written (just read his most recent issue), and Geoff Johns is clearly not particular towards him. So yes some people write up some characters, and dumb down others. But this is a universal effect. So I think that this theory, though may hold true for some...and really sad for those who are affected by it...can't be the greater force of Bat Frustration.
I Can't Run Away from the Bat!
The next theory is that people are getting frustrated at Batman being way to pervasive. I mean Batman has been constantly on air since 1966 (with a brief exception space between Super Friends and BTAS). Batman family also dominates the most DC monthly (and online) comics, and if we look at the upcoming villains month, Batman's bad guy's dominate even more than the monthly comics. And I think Batman is the only hero that is sticking around for forever evil. I can keep going but I think you get the point.
This theory holds way more ground. Batman isn't DC's only hero, and fans of all heroes exist and they want to see them more. I get that. Though these fans of other characters also have to realize that Batman is not fighting against these characters, Batman is a tool to promote them. If you ask who the most interesting character in Beware the Batman is, I am sure most would say Katana. She is a C list character that could have her popularity grow exponentially do to this show. Batman is a tool to grab people's attention, but many characters can be incorporated this way to create fans of others. Injustice is centered around Superman vs Batman at its very core (DC's two most popular characters). The Batman family is the most present. And lets be real Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Joker are no match for Superman, Green Lantern, or Martian Manhunter. Even Nightwing would get owned by characters like the Flash. But this game has used Batmania to its advantage and had characters like Raven, and Killer Frost in there to promote other characters with smaller fan bases to shine as well. Even Brave and the Bold was all about Batman featuring other characters. No one ever asked what will Batman do next, its all about who will show up next. So it's frustrating that Batman is so present, but the fact that Batman is a tool to promote other characters should help alleviate the fact. And it is frustrating that you need Batman (or related characters) to boost popularity, but the goal is to make them popular enough that eventually one day they can stand alone without Batman.
Plus lets not overlook things like Man of Steel, and Arrow which use no Batman (though Arrow is totally stealing some Batman characters). So DC is trying but it also knows that Batman is a good resource. Plus let's be real, the only reason why Thor got so much attention was because people wanted to see a link to the Avengers, that movie was just as bad as the Green Lantern movie. But you don't see people faulting the Avengers, Iron Man, or Wolverine (well maybe Wolverine), for boosting popularity of other characters.
I can't disregard Batman's ever presence totally as I can with Bat Fan hate. In fact I think this is linked to what I am going to explore as a potential reason for why people dislike Batman so much. Maybe the reason why people dislike Batman sooo much is not only is he so popular, but everything (as of late) that he touches, is actually good. People like to see popular things fail, but Batman is not doing that...at all. The reason why I say that if many psychological studies (of Americans at least) have been done where people to make themselves feel better they like seeing other things fail. So if your favorite character is Superman, what makes you feel extra good is seeing Batman fail.
Quick: What's the best (according to sales and critical reviews) superhero game? What's the best (according to sales and critical reviews) superhero movie? What's the best (according to sales and critical reviews) superhero show? What's the best (according to sales and critical reviews) superhero comic? Would it be annoying if I just repeated Batman for all of them? Now why is that annoying?
My theory is that people get a kick for things they don't like to do poorly. They don't get that kick with Batman. So not only is Batman everywhere, but its always at such a high quality. Even with the new Beware the Batman. People legitimately got excited about how awful it will be. The show has only proven that it is a quality all ages show that can also handle mature topics, and compelling story lines. So Bat Frustration is growing even more. The funny part is, people aren't willing to admit this is the case even though this is a psychological phenomenon. Why? Because it seems almost malicious to admit something like that.
But here is a final little anecdote that I hope will illustrate my point. Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, has done some pretty amazing feats. I mean he has saved planets, stopped ring entities, even saved Oa from the Guardian's own pride. However one time at a comic shop, someone says to me how Hal was their favorite character. He didn't know me, and didn't know that I loved Batman. We were actually both looking at Green Lantern trades during this conversation. I then said, "Right on. So just out of curiosity, what's your favorite Hal Jordan moment." He then tells me his favorite moment was when Hal Jordan punches Batman. I literally had crickets going on in my head. So out of all the amazing things Hal Jordan can and has done, this is a moment of pride for this fan. I hope without using anymore words, how that is a solid illustration of people admitting that they are not frustrated by his fans, or his ever presence (as much) but its really as simple as they want Batman to actually fail.
Unfortunately, back to my Bat fanness, I don't anticipate that happening any time soon because its hard to make a good character bad. Even though we have on the rare occasion a dud like Joel Schumachers Bat Nipples, it somehow still has a cult following. And people are just getting frustrated on how good Batman is.
This is for all those Bat haters out there. Now tell me that didn't make you smile.
(And for all those Bat Fans out there, I hope you smile too knowing that our man, Bruce Wayne, can take, and dish out so much more.)