Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gotham's Not Just The Colorful Costumes, Chapter 1

It's all to easy to lose focus on the hell of Gotham City.

Oh, sure, there's all the usual suspects from Arkham, the costume-wearing nutballs.

But we pay too damn much attention to those sometimes. In part, it's the fault of the Batman '66 TV series, whose very nature insisted on a high-profile "villain of the week." The comics picked up on that, and as time-progressed, they became more and more obsessed with "super" crime and ignored "normal" crime.

Combine that with the deification of Batman as "the guy who can beat God with enough preparation," and you get the recent runs on the title, when every fight is for the very survival of the entire city from some existential threat. Batman rescues a crashing airliner, Batman takes out Solomon Grundy with one punch, the Riddler is a genocidal maniac who kills tens of thousands and even the Army can't stop him, etc?

But when was the last time you saw Batman stop a mugging? (Aside from a flashback explaining how Batwoman and Gotham and Gotham Girl decided to take up their masks...?) Foil a museum heist? When was the last time Batman actually fought crime?

Because Gotham City is a hellhole--and it's not just the Arkham rogues' gallery. It chews up normal people, and spits them out twisted and evil. And maybe Batman should work on that, at least once in a while:

"Stellar" museum curator gets fired, and becomes a serial killer. Not as sexy as battling the Joker or Mad Hatter, maybe...but, at least once or twice a year, can we let Batman be the detective and crime-fighter, and leave the "saving the entire city" stories to others?

Gotham, man...sometimes she doesn't need to be saved, because Gotham herself is the enemy!!

From The Essential Batman Encyclopedia (2008)

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