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  1. #1
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    Default Batman lacking character development?

    I love Bruce Batman and enjoy reading him and the Robins, but do you feel like Batman over 80 plus years hasn't really gotten good character development? The Robins have all gotten great development and changes over the years with Dick Grayson starting as Robin, going to the Teen Titans and becoming Nightwing...Jason as Red Hood, etc. but Bruce really hasn't gotten a status quo change. It seems like his comics are fighting a villain and brooding in the Batcave.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTTT View Post
    I love Bruce Batman and enjoy reading him and the Robins, but do you feel like Batman over 80 plus years hasn't really gotten good character development? The Robins have all gotten great development and changes over the years with Dick Grayson starting as Robin, going to the Teen Titans and becoming Nightwing...Jason as Red Hood, etc. but Bruce really hasn't gotten a status quo change. It seems like his comics are fighting a villain and brooding in the Batcave.
    That is the bad thing about a comic character such as Batman...or Superman. You can't really change them to much because then they no longer are the character that you started with, that made a lot of money. People will get mad. For instance, right now Tom King has Batman acting like a teenage boy who is throwing a hissy fit over losing a woman who really kind of sucks. The real Batman would never had acted this way. Stan Lee said, or I read that he said, you really can't change the character, you can just create the illusion of change.

  3. #3
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    These characters aren't just 'characters' in the conventional sense...they are icons and 'brands'. They can be tweaked, modified or reinvented to varying degrees, but expecting character development over time, the way you would characters in a finite narrative with a beginning, middle and end, is mostly a futile exercise.

    This holds even more true for someone like Batman, who is pretty much a fully-formed character right from the start. Robin was a kid, and once they started to age him up, they found a lot of scope for development. But Batman fundamentally has to remain the guy who first showed up in 'Tec # 27.

    That said, if you take a broad view of Batman's publishing history, like Grant Morrison did, you can see a kind of character arc over time.

    When Bruce started out as Batman, he was a fairly optimistic figure, even though he was cloaked in darkness. Robin joining him brought him even more into the light and got him to embrace his persona as a superhero. But over time, his world got darker and his optimism waned - Dick left, Jason died, Barbara was paralyzed etc. And that was only the beginning. So he gradually found himself becoming an increasingly more brooding, paranoid and psychologically damaged figure. But he gradually started to find hope again and turn a corner, with Damian coming into his life, through his relationship with Selina Kyle, with Batman Inc. etc.

  4. #4
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    Bruce will never change as a character until he's allowed to grow old and die.

    Comic books are the worst story-telling medium because you're not allowed to change the main characters.

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    That's actually a pretty good analysis...yeah that's the kind of development that I was talking about, not so much physical changes but character growth.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Yep. Batman is like Mickey Mouse... well, Donald Duck. Superman is Mickey Mouse. The priority is maintaining marketability forever. That means familiarity. The development only goes as far as introducing new technology, new villains, new supporting cast, updating the setting to the modern era, etc, but Batman himself needs to be recognizable to every generation by his most popular traits.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Character development isn't as prominent in superhero comics as one would think, even for the characters who are not Batman. They have their definitive personalities established early n and then continue into those status quos until a shake up is done to shift status quos and their characters progress a little bit. Then they stay in that stage until it wears out its welcome and a further shake up is needed, or an older take can be made fresh again, or they vanish for a while (or permanently).

    Serialized soap opera story telling and character development is more of a thing Marvel developed that DC later adopted, but even Marvel doesn't stray too far from their classic iconography if they can help it and their characters became static after a certain point. Characters like Batman and Superman predate the need for such things. They are not just characters, they are archetypes, and largely static. Thing is, it makes them versatile and viable IPs than can be adapted and re-interpreted in various ways, or set back to the "factory setting" without much detriment. Because they were primarily designed to be enjoyed by younger audiences, and said audience was meant to grow up and pass them down to the next generation, it's not a problem by itself that they are static in the way Micky Mouse, Archie or the Simpsons are static. They are not meant to progress because their is no set ending designed for them, they are not progressing towards anything.

    The problem with the character development is, when it stops, the characters can be seen as stuck in a rut. Batman was already fully formed when we met him and he's the strong center the rest of the stuff revolves around, but he could ditch large chunks of it and still remain the same. It's why alterations to continuity don't hurt him as much as it dos the rest of the Bat-Family, because he's a sturdier character in many ways who from 1939 to now has had no trouble getting new fans across various forms of media, no "character development' required. Because he has his default setting that can be toyed with to various degrees and other versions of him can go through their own arcs and be true to the spirit of the character.

  8. #8
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    Yeah I guess a better example of character growth and changes would be the Flash books, since Barry and Wally went on to be married and have families.

  9. #9
    Also goes by Westbats Westbats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTTT View Post
    I love Bruce Batman and enjoy reading him and the Robins, but do you feel like Batman over 80 plus years hasn't really gotten good character development? The Robins have all gotten great development and changes over the years with Dick Grayson starting as Robin, going to the Teen Titans and becoming Nightwing...Jason as Red Hood, etc. but Bruce really hasn't gotten a status quo change. It seems like his comics are fighting a villain and brooding in the Batcave.
    That is true, I find the last three writers have essentially followed the same story telling patterns (right down to the replace Bruce Wayne as Batman only for him to return shortly, and get miniseries after their man run is finished).

    I do think that if you want to look for changes in Bruce's character, you need to look at the sidekicks, especially those who were created by the writer during their runs (Damian, Harper/Duke, Claire).
    I am currently reading Batman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, Batgirl, Catwoman, Heroes in Crisis, Justice League, The Batman Who Laughs, Doomsday Clock, Sideways, Ms. Marvel, and Thor.

    In time I hope to read Red Hood and The Outlaws, Batman and The Outsiders, and Young Justice.

  10. #10
    Incredible Member Bat-Meal's Avatar
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    The fact that the sidekicks change and move on but Batman remains static is part of the reason the family has gotten so big.

    The cognitive dissonance is that Batman hasn't really aged, and still has the personality trait of preferring to work alone, yet has a huge family with years of history - many of whom he trained himself. This is part of why other media tend to ignore much of his family, if not all, outside of Alfred, Lucius, and Jim Gordon.

    Most of the live action films, and the Arkham games, ignored most of the family until the final film/game where more were introduced for the end. In Titans, in order for at least two Robins to make sense, Bruce is much older and likely won't have another Robin beyond Jason because unlike the comics time is presumed to have passed and Bruce will have needed time to train two Robins after establishing his solo career. It also looks like, unlike the comics, there will be a significant age gap between Bruce and Kate in Batwoman - because Batman was said to predate Arrow's career and he has been going for 7 years, which means Batman has been active for longer, and Kate is just starting out but still young.

    The other thing about the character remaining static is he protects Gotham, has time to do things with his huge Bat-family, works with the Justice League, is involved in most of the major events - and still has time to heal from his injuries, learn and research a huge amount of stuff, solve cases with his detective skills, and keep his body in peak condition.

    In media outside of comics he does tend to develop more, including being less good at a lot of things than he comic version. In film, novel and video game form, I've seen his arc end with retirement or semi-retirement, often with some newcomer taking up the mantle.
    Last edited by Bat-Meal; 06-15-2019 at 09:06 PM.

  11. #11
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    He kind of only developes through each of the Robins. When one dies or leaves, he regresses. Repeat.

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member adrikito's Avatar
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    The character development can put certain fans against the character because they miss his old batman(bats before that development)..

    For example marry him with batwoman.. Imagine they living in the manor.. etc...

    Some fans can end tired of him living one "happy"(is batman, he canīt be happy) married life(making him more life superman family) considering him boring and missing the old pre-wedding batman and leaving batman tired of his new life missing the old times.
    Last edited by adrikito; 06-16-2019 at 01:58 AM.

  13. #13
    Amazing Member Jcady59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTTT View Post
    I love Bruce Batman and enjoy reading him and the Robins, but do you feel like Batman over 80 plus years hasn't really gotten good character development? The Robins have all gotten great development and changes over the years with Dick Grayson starting as Robin, going to the Teen Titans and becoming Nightwing...Jason as Red Hood, etc. but Bruce really hasn't gotten a status quo change. It seems like his comics are fighting a villain and brooding in the Batcave.
    Bruce does have development it just happens over longer periods of time in smaller doses,but it is there if one looks for it. Batman is a static protagonist he affects and changes his world more than the world affects and changes him,he might not change as much as the Robins(though I’d argue they don’t change nearly as much as people say they do)but a Change is there. Look at it like this the Bruce Wayne of year one in a significantly different character then the Bruce Wayne of Batman Inc. the problem is DC reboots every couple of decades so we never get to see what’s next or how his story ends.
    Last edited by Jcady59; 06-16-2019 at 01:59 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrikito View Post
    The character development can put certain fans against the character because they miss his old batman(bats before that development)..

    For example marry him with batwoman.. Imagine they living in the manor.. etc...

    Some fans can end tired of him living one "happy"(is batman, he canīt be happy) married life(making him more life superman family) considering him boring and missing the old pre-wedding batman and leaving batman tired of his new life missing the old times.
    I’m all for character growth but if DC decides to marry him to his cousin, I’m out.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcady59 View Post
    Bruce does have development it just happens over longer periods of time in smaller doses,but it is there if one looks for it. Batman is a static protagonist he affects and changes his world more than the world affects and changes him,he might not change as much as the Robins(though I’d argue they don’t change nearly as much as people say they do)but a Change is there. Look at it like this the Bruce Wayne of year one in a significantly different character then the Bruce Wayne of Batman Inc. the problem is DC reboots every couple of decades so we never get to see what’s next or how his story ends.
    Funnily enough, the idea for Batman Inc germinates with a direct call-back to Year One...when Bruce realizes that he's never been alone, since there's always been someone to help him right from the start of his mission. And we then get a brief flashback to Bruce ringing the bell asking for Alfred to come help him, after the bat crashed throught the window. Bruce took this epiphany to its logical conclusion by setting up Batman Inc.

    Batman Inc-era Bruce that different from what he was during Year One. Morrisson just had him remember the optimism of his early career and the fact that, as much as he likes to think of himself as a loner, he's always had friends and allies around him. I guess you could call that character development of sorts, though arguably it was more of a course correction, undoing years of the brooding, dark and psychologically damaged Batman.

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