With the recent trend of rebooting and reimagining iconic films, it only makes sense that the world would now want to know the untold story behind one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time, Batman.
While Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was a great leap forward for the character, introducing an entirely new audience to his adventures, it focused more on the larger-than-life personality of the vigilante than the intricate details of his backstory. Perhaps that’s why the character still resonates so strongly with fans today.
With this year’s annual film release of Batman slated for June 20, it seems only fitting that fans of the caped crusader would now seek to learn more about the character beyond the big-cat puns and cackle-worthy one-liners. Which brings us to the question: Is the ‘Pattinson Batman’ Prequel a Good Idea?
To answer this question, let’s take a quick look at the history of Batman.
The Early Years
The early years of Batman are somewhat of a mystery, as very little is known about them. The first story featuring the character was Batman No. 1, which was published in 1939 and featured a character that was very similar to the one we know today. While there are some differences in appearance (the earlier version was thinner and had a more aquiline nose), the core personality and motivation is surprisingly similar. Inspired by the great detective and author Arthur Conan Doyle, the story centers around a man named Dick Grayson who don’t begrudge taking the law into his own hands to track down a gang of malefactors who killed his father. Using a combination of wit, logic, and above all, excellent detective work, Dick Grayson is able to unmask the killers and bring them to justice.
The Golden Age
If you’re unfamiliar, the Golden Age of comic books refers to the period between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Silver Age, which ran from approximately 1945 to 1955. Comic books flourished during these years, with many characters establishing themselves as iconic figures (e.g., Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman). One of the most significant events of the Golden Age was DC Comics’ introduction of the Justice League, an organization of heroes that were initially assembled to fight crime and eventually became a platform for many important stories, primarily focusing on meaningful character development.
The Silver Age
The Silver Age is often touted as the golden age of comics, and it’s not hard to see why. Between the phenomenal sales of television sets during the 1950s and early 1960s and the newfound interest in science fiction and superheroes, the era is often credited with igniting the modern comic book industry. In fact, it’s been suggested that the enduring popularity of comics is directly attributable to the social commentary and character-driven storylines of this time period. The most famous incarnation of the Silver Age is unquestionably Batman, who went through a serious redesign to fit the times. Gone was the classic look of his classic look of his 1939 predecessor and in came the more streamlined, contemporary style that we know and love today.
Comic books have certainly evolved over the past 90 years, and this evolution is vividly on display in the upcoming Batman film, which features the same genetic engineering that was commonplace in the animated series, Justice League Action. Perhaps the most significant difference between these versions of Batman and the one we know today is in the realm of psychology, as modern fiction has largely dispensed with the old ‘good guys vs. bad guys’ narrative and shifted towards more complex character studies and social commentary. This approach fits neatly with the political and social climate of the 21st century, as well as the evolving nature of comic books themselves.
The New And Improved Batman
If you thought the changes that came with the Silver Age were significant, you’d be mistaken. In more recent years, the DC Comics universe has embraced an ‘all-ages’ approach, with content and story arcs that are extremely accessible to young readers and not-so-young readers alike. This effort has helped to make comics more appealing to a wider audience and has, in turn, helped to drive increased digital sales. While the Silver Age was home to the greatest superheroes of all time, more recent years have seen a rise in popularity of indie comics, which typically feature less superheroes and more characters that are more realistically portrayed. This trend has made comics more relatable to a wider audience and, in turn, made them more appealing to a younger audience.
Is ‘The Pattinson Batman’ Prequel a Good Idea?
Based on the success of the ‘Watson Batman’, it’s clear that the world at large wants to know more about the early life of this most iconic of characters. However, with so much focus on superheroes and their backstories in contemporary fiction, is there room for a prequel that doesn’t revolve around the extraordinary?
‘The Pattinson Batman’ prequel will follow the life and adventures of an incarnation of Batman that was modeled on a character that was first introduced to comics in 1962 and quickly became one of the most popular and identifiable characters of all time. That character is:
- Dick Grayson
- Bruce Wayne
- Alfred Pennyworth
Let’s discuss each of these characters and how they fit into the grand scheme of the Batman universe.
First and foremost, we have Batman, perhaps the most recognizable logo in all of pop culture. With the exception of the Wolverine movie franchise, which adapts the popular character from Marvel Comics, no other character in all of fiction has been as well-served by the movies as Bruce Wayne’s dark alter ego, Batman. While the character has been around since 1939, it wasn’t until much later that he started to become his own entity, with stories ranging from the ‘60s to modern times.
Batman is one of the most iconic characters in all of fiction, and not simply because of his association with the caped crusader. He is often credited with starting the ‘dark knight’ trend that continues to this day. What is most significant about Batman, however, is that he is the ultimate representation of ‘do-gooder’ and the antithesis of ‘villain’. Like many other iconic comic book characters, Batman is a relatable figure for anyone who has ever felt like a victim of circumstance or injustice. He is often credited with giving the villain their own narrative in literature and film, inspiring both hatred and sympathy in equal measure. If you think about it, that is the definition of a classic anti-hero: someone who is both heroic and relatable at the same time.
Even today, as the character and the franchise have endured for more than eight decades, Batman continues to be one of the most popular and recognizable characters in all of fiction. In 2019 alone, Batman was ranked 5th on Forbes’ list of the world’s most fashionable superheroes, with many of the most famous and luxurious brands putting his image on products ranging from watches to swimwear. It seems only fitting that the most stylish and fashionable of the superheroes would enjoy the patronage of some of the most influential and reputable brands in the world, as that is truly what he represents: style and elegance.
While Batman has mostly been defined by his signature cowl and his role as night’s guardian, a significant portion of the character’s appeal comes from his sidekicks and henchmen, who are usually featured in a more prominent role than their leader. One of the most well-known and iconic members of Batman’s rogues gallery is none other than Dick Grayson, the original Robin. While his origins remain somewhat of a mystery, we do know that he was a WWII pilot who crash-landed in Gotham City, subsequently becoming the owner of a nightclub that featured a piano bar. It was there that Dick first met Bruce Wayne, who would later go on to adopt him as an honorary member of his detective agency. Over the years, Dick has proven to be an invaluable asset to Batman, serving as his partner on a number of occasions, as well as continuing to adventure alongside him. Today, Dick remains one of the most popular characters in the DC Comics world, mainly due to his role as Nightwing, the costumed identities that he has created for himself throughout the years.