Things That Go “Awww” In The Night

(this is an open letter to Daniel DiDio, aged 52. Lifelong comic fan and currently the co-publisher of DC Comics)

Hello Daniel,

May I call you Dan? Hi Dan. My name is Nick. I’ve been a reader of DC books for well over a decade, my whole adult life in fact, and I’ve heard it said that if someone has a pitch for you, you demand their Batman story first. Well, my pitch is going to be a bit Evil Knieval – my stories are prepped, but my Batman story is something I’m gonna wing. It’s all jumping through rings of fire from here on. You ready?

(that age-dropping thing probably lost me points, huh?)

My Batman story has a setup that’s been done before – I’m aware of that. Scarecrow is going to dose the Bat with a new, improved fear toxin, and then we’re on a wild trip through Bruce’s mind. But here’s where I get different: Fear gas should not affect Batman as it affects everyone else.

This is not because he’s super-awesome (he is), or ingested bat-anti-toxin at dinner (he may have), but rather the whole idea of Scarecrow’s nasty drugs is to make you experience your deepest, darkest fear. This is Batman. He spent his entire adult life learning and training to take on Crime as an absolute, and to WIN. He’s not going to be scared of clowns, he’s not going to quiver at the thought of monsters, and he’s DEFINITELY not going to get all shaky and worried about nightmares. Well, he would – just not the nightmares we expect.

Given how he’s spent his entire life honing his body and mind to be prepared for anything, and to trump everything, what could possibly scare the guy? I thought about this, and the answer I have is one that has been alluded to, but not delved into.

Bruce Wayne’s greatest fear is a world no longer needing Batman.

He IS Batman, and he desperately longs for a day when he doesn’t need to be…but where would that leave him? An episode of Batman: The Animated Series, “Perchance To Dream”  (and likely an older comic I’m not aware of), dealt with the idea of Bruce NOT being Batman, but still living in a world with his parents where someone else is Batman. That’s messy and confusing, but it’s not a fear of his. His fear would be retiring the cowl, because he’s not needed.  He’d be living as Bruce Wayne, because that’s all he now was.

A Gotham City where crime and corruption are now a thing of the past – a police force that’s strong and true, and can more than capably handle the remaining misdemeanours. A Justice League that spends their days simply helping the world with their amazing powers. A family of orphans that live their own, adult lives, but are in constant contact with Bruce simply because they want to spend time with him, and do the things a family does. Watch movies, have dinners, and never ever will they have to put on costumes and get involved in street fights.

Why does he fear this? He doesn’t understand it anymore. He doesn’t know how to be a person with a normal life, and the idea of living this life would be absolutely terrifying to him.

And then at the end of the story, his toxin-fever breaks and he wakes up. He remembers it all, as he stumbles around the manor and finds the Bat Cave fully functional and his boys having watched over the city in his absence. And knowing what could be to come? It breaks his heart.

There you go, Mr DiDio. I’d like to think this is a new idea, and it’s a story I’d love to read. Sorry about the age thing.

-n

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~ by nick on January 16, 2012.

2 Responses to “Things That Go “Awww” In The Night”

  1. Batman, I would like to enlist your help during rainy weather to protect me from snails. They are scary, and Nick says you will not be scared of them.

    • I’ll have to pass on your problem to the B-Man himself. Personally, I think snails are under-developed and simply not up to the task of traversing footpaths in this day and age. No need to fear them 🙂

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