As we all know, this Saturday is Batman Day, the 24 hours we as a people set aside to honor the Caped Crusader and celebrate his lengthy career fighting crime. Since its creation in the distant days of 2014, I too have happily partaken in Batman Day festivities, but now I must speak up—because I am deeply afraid Batman Day is getting too commercial.
Batman Day used to be about Batman. About sitting down with your family, and discussing who the best Batman villain is, watching Batman movies and cartoons, and making sure everyone knows the order of young boys that Bruce Wayne forced into his deadly crusade. Indeed, I know many parents who use Batman Day to talk to their children about how they’d like to avenged if an anonymous thief ever happens to gun them down in a dark alley.
But now it seems Batman Day is all about the merchandise! It’s turned this noble holiday into a mockery of itself, an excuse to sell and purchase Batman merchandise. Why, look at the list of “official” events that DC Comics is organizing to “celebrate” the beloved hero of Gotham City:
Super Heroes and celebrating all things Batman from comics to video games and more. Fans everywhere are invited to partake in festivities with thousands of comic book shops, bookstores, schools, libraries and other retail partners participating in the bat-centric event.
While it’s nice that schools and libraries are still involved in this beloved holiday, I can’t be the only one noticing how the list of participators continues skewing toward retail partners more and more each year. Comic book shops! Bookstores! Why, it even lists “other retail partners” specifically! Why would these stores participate in Batman Day if they didn’t have the hope of selling Batman-related merchandise to the hardworking families who are simply looking to celebrate a man who uses his incredible wealth to punch people he feels aren’t contributing to society? Retail stores are interested in sales, not teaching the true spirit of the World’s Greatest Detective!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids enter a comic store on Batman Day, and leave with their tiny, pudgy arms filled with Batman comics and action figures. Frankly, it disgusts me. Back in my day, we celebrated Batman properly, with reverence, and spirituality, and of course abstaining from all sexual pleasure.
To be fair, DC Comics is still providing certain free Batman materials on its websites for people to download and enjoy, but I suspect even here their motives still tend toward the financial gains they can reap on this holiest of comic book superhero-related days. And I don’t know if it’s ever going to stop unless we, as a people, rise up to stop it.
I beg of you all, this Saturday, do not let the Joker of Crass Commercialism enter the Batcave of your hearts. Turn away from the enticing Catwomen of Comic Books, and the Two-Faces of Toys, (and maybe the, uh, Ventriloquist of Video Games) and make sure you turn your children away from them, or at least don’t buy them any, so they scream and cry in public. Let them see by your actions that Batman Day isn’t about how many Batman products you can own, but by letting Batman into every aspect of your daily life.
So when it comes time to celebrate Batman Day this Saturday, please ask yourself, “What would Batman want us to do?” If the answer isn’t “Punch a criminal in the face,” then you need to keep asking.
I will pray to Batman for you.