So I am sitting in the theater to see TDKR; this is as good a time as any to make the Batman Post, right? Right.
Here we go.
I have been trying, for what feels like the entirety of my fandom career, to accurately summarize my feelings about Batman! They’re complicated! And they’re complicated in ways that are different, even, from the way my other fandom feelings are complicated— from the way I can’t quite distinguish the material of a fandom from the experience of a fandom, from the way I will forever hold Shoebox in my heart because it brought me Abbey, if nothing else. But Batman, Batman is different. Batman as a fandom is different. Batman as a character is really different.
A few weeks ago, we watched Begins, and I held on, I totally kept it together, until the very end, when Jim says, “I never said thank you,” and Bruce says, “And you’ll never have to,” and then I wept like a child.
I don’t have to. I’m saying it anyways.
When I talk about Batman as a fandom, as you’ve probably noticed, when I get into character analyses and shipping feelings, it’s mostly about everyone but Bruce. I was reluctant to enter the fandom to begin with, because it seemed so *huge*, both in terms of history and cultural significance, but when I did… I talked about Robins. I talked about Babs and Cass and Kate. I don’t really talk about Bruce. Because Bruce— Batman— is still, for me, too big and important a concept to grasp.
Batman, I should say. Batman more than Bruce. Because when I start crying, in half an hour or so? It’s not going to be because of my Bruce Wayne emotions. I don’t have a lot of those. It *is* going to be because I want to say thank you, over and over and over.
Batman’s a symbol, yes? Everyone knows this. It’s kind of Understanding Batman 101. But it’s a symbol outside of the universe, too. I want to say thank you for every time I talked myself down from a nightmare by telling myself that if that happened in real life, Batman would save me. I want to thank you for the week I spent with my cousin reading comic books and providing sound effects. I want to thank you for being an anchor point in even the worst of times: there will always. Be. Batman. Batman is always going to be there, Olivia, and even if I believe in nothing else, it *helped*, sometimes, to believe in that.
And, okay, fine: it’s about having something that’s *mine*, about identity, about belonging, about having friends who know nothing else about me but who know to tell me that they thought of me when they saw a Batman T-shirt in the mall.
Batman, for *years*— Batman, the symbol— has been a reminder that I’m somebody.
And, for better or for worse, this feeling has pretty neatly coincided with the Nolan films. (About a week after Begins came out, my father took me to see it in IMAX; it was one of the most remarkable bonding experiences I’ve ever had with him, and it was the best that a movie had made me feel in a long time. Belonging. Identity. Strength.) Which is why, despite their flaws— of which there are many— I can’t separate myself from them. I can’t escape the way they make me feel, and the way they make me feel is so, so different from the way comic books make me feel.
It’s why I’m going to be crying hysterically in twenty minutes! Because. Batman. Because Batman is imperfect, always, but Batman is constant, and Batman is *mine*. And Batman is abstract enough to mean whatever you want Batman to mean. And this movie. Is going. To kill me.
I don’t know if this explains anything— maybe it doesn’t! But I just needed to get this out, because I am in the theater and I can’t really deal with myself right now.
(Jackie wants a shoutout, so this is the part where I tell you that Jackie is sitting next to me right now, taunting me about fingerstripes. She is a terrible.)
That’s all I have to say.