According to the interwebs, today is Batman Day. In part because this year is the 75th Anniversary of DC Comics’ first dark knight appearance, and probably because retailers felt like capitalizing on Batman-themed sales. I’m not one to complain about it; in fact, I plan on embracing it. For as long as I can remember, Batman has been a big part of my life. Although that might sound crazy and borderline obsessive, it’s true and I don’t care if you don’t like it. So, even though I left my cape and Batman shirt at home today, you can bet I’ll be thinking about the Caped Crusader all day. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even go home and play Lego Batman on my Playstation all night. Living on the edge.
But to understand why I care so much about a flying bat, you’d have to understand a little bit about my background. For the first ten or so years of my life, I was convinced my dad was Batman. I didn’t invent it in my head, I swear. My dad is pretty much the coolest person ever, and his Batman obsession is far worse than mine (in a good way). Growing up, my dad turned his man-cave (garage) into a bat-cave. The walls were lined with Batman “weapons” such as grappling hooks and other various collectibles. He spent his free time painting Batman models and decorating the space with Batman portraits and pictures. And it’s a fun family story that when my cousin came to visit, my dad gave him a Batman “gun” to bring back to his home in Virginia. The TSA was not impressed, and my cousin couldn’t keep it. Good going, dad.
Exhibit A: My dad and I -
It was Halloween, however, where my dad’s fandom really shined. Every year, he attached cardboard Batmobile cutouts to his black car and donned his infamous Batman costume for the whole night while he drove around town. Yes, he even put black eyeshadow around his eyes to really authenticate the look. My friends knew my dad as Batman (still do) and he was always a hit at our Halloween parties. Even better, there was one year where my middle-school-aged brother and his friend dressed up as girls for Halloween and rode along with “Batman” in the Batmobile one Halloween only to be pulled over by a police officer. My poor dad had no identification on him since he was wearing his costume, and you can imagine things didn’t exactly look great for an adult man in a Batman suit with two young boys in blonde wigs. He got a warning.
Exhibit B: My dad and his Batmobile -
As the years went by, we did eventually realize our dad wasn’t actually Batman. Mainly because Batman didn’t exist. We were also slow to catch on to Santa Claus. However, Batman was always that thing we knew we could bond with our dad about. And we all loved it. Every time a new Batman movie came out, we all went at midnight and saw it several times in theaters. On his birthday, we knew he would always be thrilled by anything Batman, and discussing our favorite Batman moments was always a cornerstone of dinner conversation (sorry, mom).
But seeing as it’s every minute Marvel or DC is pushing out a new superhero movie, it’s a wonder Batman doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. For me, the reason seems obvious: we could all be Batman. He possesses no superpowers and reaches the depths of despair regularly. We’ve all been there, right? Maybe we didn’t lose our parents in the back alley of a Gotham playhouse, but we know what it’s like to lose and we know what it’s like to feel alone. Sure, we can’t wall ourselves off in our mansion with our amazing butler, but we get it. And like Batman, we always get back on track eventually.
Exhibit C: The third generation Abrams Batmobile and a second generation Batman (my brother) -
So, I’m glad my dad passed on the Batman fanaticism to all of us because my life is better for it. And let’s be honest, it is impossible to get sick of watching Batman movies. Even the ones where Batman has nipples.
Come on, what were you thinking Clooney?
And to this day, I’m glad all my friends and family members still think of my dad as the true Batman. He’s coming for you, Bruce Wayne.
So join me in re-reading some Batman comics and re-watching some great Batman films. You’re all invited to my house for a Dark Knight trilogy party. Happy Batman Day!