During the Batman 80th Anniversary panel at WonderCon this past weekend, DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee announced that the Caped Crusader would the very first inductee to the Comic-Con Museum’s Character Hall of Fame. The induction will take place at a ceremony during the annual geek mecca that is San Diego Comic-Con in July.
Batman is surely a worthy inductee into any comic book character Hall of Fame. Created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman has become one of the most well-known characters in pop culture. The Dark Knight’s influence is without question important to the comic book industry. Multiple movies, live action and animated TV shows, comic books and video games feature the character and Batman has spawned a whole family of other popular figures, including Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Azrael, Spoiler and many others since his debut in the pages of Detective Comics 27.
Yes, Batman is a popular character. Yes, many of his stories are iconic and have helped to reinvent the comic book industry on more than one occasion.
But THE FIRST inductee to the Hall of Fame? Really? That’s a load of crap.
Last year, the Caped Crusader’s better in every way – and the character upon which the whole superhero comic book industry was founded – celebrated his 80th birthday. Not only that, but the comic book in which Superman debuted – ACTION COMICS – hit its milestone 1000th issue, much like Batman’s Detective Comics did this past week.
Every time Superman reaches one of these milestones, it feels like DC Comics goes out of its way to celebrate Batman reaching it with much more fervor one year later. The same is true with this 80th anniversary/1000th issue instance. Batman getting inducted into the Character Hall of Fame first, before Superman, is just the latest in a long line of perceived slights to fans of the Man of Steel.
I admit to being a little biased. My love for SUPERMAN has been well-documented on this site – not to mention any number of other sites. My living room is littered with Superman figures, prints and more. My comics collection bookcase has a whole shelf worth of Superman stories. Superman was the first character I ever really connected with, and it wasn’t until years later that I began to really enjoy stories featuring Batman.
When done well, Superman is an imminently-relatable character, despite his origins as the last son of a doomed planet, light years away. And even though he has powers far beyond those of mortal men, great Superman stories showcase the “man” over the “super” in a way that Batman stories just never feel like they can.
The character’s influence stretches far beyond the four-color pages of monthly comic books. Superman has been influential in innovations in animation and making film and television, dating back to the Man of Steel’s earliest years. The Fleischer Studios cartoons from the 1940s, the George Reeves Adventures of Superman show from the 1950s and the 1978 MOVIE starring Christopher Reeve all brought new standards to the way those media were created.
To me, putting Batman in to this Hall of Fame first is a ridiculous slight. At the very least, if the Man of Steel wasn’t getting the nod, Batman could have gone in hand-in-hand with Superman given how important both have been to DC Comics and the industry as a whole. Or maybe even put Wonder Woman in there with them, at the same time.
But putting Batman in first? Absolute crap.