10

Batman is all things to all people, where "all people" can mean both the citizens of Gotham City and generations of comic fans. Christopher Nolan's films made Batman a serious subject for an even wider audience, and reviewers and commentators have read into them all manner of political messages—messages which typically say as much about the analysts as they do about the films.

For my part, I could go on for a while, telling you what I infer from the Animated Series Bruce Wayne's attending so many environmental benefit galas versus the Dark Knight Returns Batman's relationship to Ronald Reagan. But, like pundits rubbing their chins as Nolan's Batman and Bane grunt at each other, I'm sure to see exactly what I want to see.

For example: The fact that Batman refuses to kill anybody would seem to imply unambiguously, to some, that he is anti-death penalty. But any fan who wants to say he's pro-death penalty could form an explanation: "He's sworn to do what Gotham's police cannot, and while tracking down, walloping, and apprehending criminals are all powers he grants himself, he leaves the handing-down of death sentences to the judges." The arguments both come down to speculation, and the worst part is that either reading, or both, or neither, might be correct, since the truth of who Batman is in a given story is in the hands of that story's author.

Have any of Batman's writers, in any medium, made him voice a specific political belief, or confirmed outside of their work that "my Batman believes such-and-such"?

I am not looking for inferences—again, this is a situation in which anyone can infer anything. The exception to this would be an inference drawn from overwhelming and overt evidence sourced from a single author, such as a story arc where Bruce Wayne is conspicuously absent from a series of board meetings that coincide with the dates and times of Nader rallies.

  • You mean, is Bruce a recognized Democrat or republican, has he ever been a spoken advocate of a real world referendum or law? – user16696 Jun 14 '15 at 23:02
  • Anything along those lines is germane to the question. – Ryan Veeder Jun 17 '15 at 4:30
12

There was an attempt to bring politics into superhero comics during the 2008 presidential election. It was a miniseries called "DC Universe: Decisions".

In the mini, various superheroes were shown supporting various politicians, all of whom were proxies for candidates in the then-current election.

Bruce Wayne publicly supported Martin Suarez. While the candidates aren't even given political parties, a fan article about the event concludes he's an establishment Democrat:

Martin Suarez is an establishment Democrat and a stand-in for Bill Richardson (he’s Hispanic, has “gravitas” and “experience in international matters”). He’s the favorite of Beast Boy, Firestorm, and—in the story’s wannabe-dramatic cliffhanger—billionaire Bruce Wayne, who unbeknownst to the general public and (presumably) the candidate is actually Batman.

However, it was later revealed that Wayne had ulterior motives for his endorsement, so his actual stances are unclear:

But wait! [Wonder Woman] didn’t actually endorse… because it was then revealed that she, and Bruce Wayne, had only feigned their endorsements (as if the public could tell the difference?) in order to gain access to inside information from the campaigns that might help them solve the mystery.

The series, unfortunately, didn't go over too well and most of it was swept under the rug to be forgotten.

  • 8
    This sounds absolutely, catastrophically terrible. I love it. – Ryan Veeder Jun 17 '15 at 4:33
  • For those who are wondering how the election turned out, Superman #691 (Oct 2009) names Martin Suarez as the new president. As a commenter on the last article in this answer said "That result was in no way foreshadowed in Decisions, but then it doesn’t seem very important to the Superman writers either… so perhaps we should be thankful anyone even took the trouble to look back to this series and choose one of its candidates, however arbitrarily." – Thunderforge Feb 13 '17 at 6:25
8

I'm not sure this is a complete answer, but it's a start.

In The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, one of the key themes is a showdown between Batman and Superman (sorry if that's a spoiler, but it's a twenty-year-old book). One of the reasons is that Superman is the tool of the US government (lead by a thinly disguised Ronald Reagan, implementing a thinly disguised Reaganite foreign policy). Superman aids the government in its militaristic adventures, and essentially takes his orders from them: that provides one of the reasons for Batman's opposition to him, and Batman's final transformation into ... but that would be too much of a spoiler.

So while Miller didn't set Batman up with specific political views, he certainly set him up as opposing specific political views.

  • From just this answer (didn't read DKR yet), the impression I get is that Batman supports Red Empire. Knowing Miller, I have a sneaking suspicion that things are a lot more complicated than that. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 16 '15 at 13:55
  • 9
    It's a common fallacy used by governments that "if you don't support our oppressive policies then you must be a supporter of our evil enemy". But no, Batman is not a communist. I'll edit a bit. – DJClayworth Jun 16 '15 at 14:02
  • of course, it's just as common of a fallacy used by political activists to insist that "It doesn't matter that the position I take effectively helps the evil enemy - my motives are pure and I don't support their evil, even if I hinder stopping that evil". Orwell put it best about pacifists. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 16 '15 at 15:12
  • 7
    @DVK That's a terrible accusation to level against Batman. – DJClayworth Jun 16 '15 at 16:57
  • 2
    @DVK How did pacifists enter this conversation? Have you ever even seen Batman? – Nerrolken Jun 16 '15 at 17:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.