Opinion: Batman is not toxic
Superheroes represent a modern-day mythology. One superhero in particular does not actually possess any superhuman abilities, but has still managed to evolve into one of the most popular and written about superheroes of all time. That superhero is Batman.
I have been a fan of Batman since I was a child in the 1990s when I watched “Batman: The Animated Series.” Having grown up with this version of the character, I was more than a little uneasy when I first heard of complaints calling Batman, “toxic.”
While it’s true that one could view Batman as an impossibly hyper-masculine figure, complete with horrible psychological scarring and potentially questionable vigilantism, Batman need not always be viewed in such a dark manner.
Even with its horrendously campy tone, the 1960s Adam West Batman TV series has proven that the concept of Batman can be flexible and malleable. Not every single story involving the character has to be dark, gritty and brutal.
Comic books have historically struggled in their depictions of women; with characters such as Poison Ivy, Catwoman or even Talia Al Ghul being nearly constantly drawn in suggestive poses or dressed in revealing attire for little to no reason. I am arguing this is not a solely Batman-related problem, and it is much more widespread. You can’t blame Batman as a character for the state of comic books.
Furthermore, by extension, you can’t blame Batman fans for the state of comic books either. Most fans of the comics, movies and cartoon series, don’t read and watch them because of the way in which women are commonly depicted within them. They read and watch them because Batman is simply a cool idea for a character, and the fact the character has been written about for decades upon decades proves this.
All I’m trying to say is that while Batman may be a flawed character, he isn’t a toxic one. Perhaps we should all stop overthinking about a character that was created to entertain and inspire. Batman won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and I hope he forever continues to be perceived as a cool character.
Edited by Jason Morrison, Diana Martinez-Ponce