You know, my current favorite comic book character [yeah, I'm a geek. Suck it up and carry on...] has got to be The Question, over in DC's 52. Cause really, you cannot beat a Zen conspiracy theorist. It's like his current incarnation was designed expressly with me in mind. Plus his late 80's series by O'Neil and Cowan was one of the first things that really introduced me to a lot of the weirdness I now indulge in.
Like lots of kids, the character that first gets you into comics, the one you always end up connecting with and having this undying feeling of nostalgic loyalty to, is one of the big ones. Mine, no surprise at all to anyone who knows me, is Batman.
And while Frank Miller's Dark Knight and Year One were phenomenal, ground breaking and inspiring, the aftermath of "grim and gritty" did result in a character that was almost always defined by his... well, for lack of a better term, and introduced by brighter minds than I... his "dickishness".
Morrison spells it out, breaks it down, and blazes an incredibly cool sounding path for his current run on the comic. And he displays what is simply, to me, the most preternaturally intelligent understanding of who the character is and why he works. And why Bats became a dick. And how to fix that.
The complete interview is well worth reading if you've got any geek cred at all.
Excerpts: NEWSARAMA.COM: MORRISON IN THE CAVE: GRANT MORRISON TALKS BATMAN:
"NRAMA: You said some interesting things at San Deigo this year, and I was hoping you could touch upon them again here - the gritty, grim Batman worked for a time, but now there needs to be a change. What's at the root of the change? Is it the shift in the DCU, a change in the larger zeitgeist of the culture?
GM: Personally, I wanted to see a psychologically 'healthier' Batman - the last couple of decades have seen the character in the comics deconstructed almost to the point of no return...
NRAMA: But still, looking at the larger cultural subtext you're writing this in, what makes a grim Batman not appropriate for the world we live in now?..
GM: First off, the idea that superhero comics should reflect the news headlines is not one I tend to subscribe to. I've always preferred using my comics to talk about the world around me in the language of symbolism and metaphor and I'm more interested in telling stories about how people behave in bizarre situations than I am in commenting on current events.
Having said that, Batman will always reflect his times: the idea here is not to soften or emotionally reset Batman as an exercise in nostalgia but to make him more real and relatable, while at the same time offering some rationale for his complex multi-faceted personality I want to see a Batman that combines the cynic, the scholar, the daredevil, the businessman, the superhero, the wit, the lateral thinker , the aristocrat. He terrifies the guilty but he has great compassion for the weak and the downtrodden and will lay his life on the line for anybody who's in trouble. He's a master of yoga and meditation who has as much control over his body and his feelings as any human. He has a wider range of experiences than most people will dream of in ten lifetimes....
...Rather than a basically unhinged individual who was driven mad , bad, and pointy-eared by the death of his parents, I saw Batman more and more as someone who had saved his own sanity by doing the one crazy thing that actually allowed him to turn his loss into something positive and proactive.
...I still intend to do 'Miller'-style first person narrative captions which give some insight into Batman's thought processes but it seems more 'realistic' to imagine Batman as a hardcore fightin' man who wouldn't even notice his injuries until long after the fight was over, so no more of that 'MY BACK SPLINTERS INTO A THOUSAND SHARDS OF AGONIZED BONE. HE'S GOOD. HE'S YOUNG. HE'S TOUGHER AND YOUNGER THAN ME. AND TOUGHER. DID I MENTION TOUGHER ? MUSN'T BLACK OUT...' In Batman #657 we see some of the pulp noir narration and non sequitur imagery that goes through Batman's mind during a fight and keeps him from being distracted by his aches and pains...
NRAMA: ...Matt Wagner said that he feels Batman/Bruce Wayne is one of the DCU's better-sexed heroes…dunno - ...does Bruce Wayne score with any regularity?
GM: I like to think he does. In fact it's my job to imagine it happening, may the lord have mercy on my soul. I figure Bruce does whatever it takes to maintain his health and stay stress free and fit. He would see sex as just another form of exercise with proven health and efficiency benefits. Someone in Bruce Wayne's position would be surrounded by beautiful women all the time and I can't imagine he'd resolutely say no to all of them, and remain uptight and frustrated. I think he'd find partners in his own social circle - party girls, heiresses, models etc - who would be up for no-commitment, no-strings liaisons and who could be guaranteed not to run straight to the tabloids."