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Oh Batman.

My love for Batman over the years is as constant as the seasons. My only regret is that I am more or less unable to read the comics. That is not to say I’ve not read any of them, but my need for chronological order prevents me from picking up a long running series with lots of history I need to know. Comic book universes as long lived and huge as DC and Marvel make my brain ache. Can you imagine starting from the beginning? However, I am perfectly content with one shot or stand alone stories. I adore “The Killing Joke” and “The Dark Knight Returns”. Everything else I know of that pointy eared fella I’ve gleaned from the internet, and a good chunk of my childhood (ok, let’s face it, my adulthood) devoted to animated series and videogames. I must ask myself? WHY? What is it about the B-man that fascinates me? His world, his struggles, his wondrous villains, confound it all, I love it so. I’ve only been pondering this due to a recent conversation with an acquaintance. It went something along the lines of:

“What did you do this weekend?
My hesitant reply: “I played the Batman: Arkham City videogame.”
*genuine surprise* “Oh really? I you don’t seem like the type of person who likes videogames, or comics, or Batman.” (I’m not kidding, this isn’t a direct quote, but the spirit is the same).

I’m certain, I do not know what type of person that is, but I guess I do not represent on the street. The conversation got even better when this person declared: “I didn’t even know girls liked Batman, I mean I knew they liked Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, but I didn’t know they liked Batman.” Oy. I nodded politely, and refrained from answering.

I mean really, are we still living in a culture where the perception is still that “comics are for boys?” Something that I find fascinating about pop culture in general is how it can reach out and be accepted by so many different types of people with nearly nothing in common.

Take Twilight for example. (no judging) at the time I was reading the books, I learned that women and men I worked with, and in some cases had nothing in common with, were reading it at about the same time. We came from different places, different states, different lifestyles, and yet we had this thing in common.

Batman is a multi-generational, multi-lifestyle, BEAST of a fictional character/universe. There is a Batman out there for everyone, in every format and media. Children’s shows, comic books, campy 60’s goodness, philosophical films (a la Dark Knight) and videogames (the excellence that is Arkham Asylum/City).

It’s not that I’m upset, or angry or anything at the person who pulled a “Batman is for boys” on me. It’s just been awhile since that’s happened and it caught me off guard. Although, there was an almost palpable sense of judgment (She’s a comic book nerd! Oh irony, I’ve actually read sooo little of the comics).

There wasn’t really a point to typing any of this, I’ve just have been thinking about it a lot since that slightly awkward conversation. I have no feminist issues or cries of “don’t label me” to share. I don’t really care. Ok, maybe I did care a little when the same person indicated I have no taste when they pressed me for my favorite BM movie and I reluctantly divulged my love for “Batman Returns” (really, don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to). Maybe it’s nostalgia but Batman Returns is still my favorite movie, and Mark Hamill is still my favorite Joker (sorry Heath), and Eartha Kitt is my reigning favorite Cat Woman.

*blows raspberry* There is plenty of Batman to go around, enough Batman for everyone! With the enormity and rich detail of Batman and his world, there is truly room in this fandom for everyone lol. Don’t judge, accept the awesomeness of pop culture phenomenon like Batman, or Vampires, Star Trek/Wars or whatever it is that brings people together and don’t shut folks down for liking different aspects of something you enjoy, let’s enjoy this stuff together. This fills gaps and gives people stuff to talk about other than celebrities and politics. No strike that, talk about them too, if that brings you joy. I won’t judge you for watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians” if you won’t judge me for liking Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, (He has his moments!) :P

Hrm, I got a bit preachy at the end didn’t I? I’m not sure what happened there…