This Video Series Asks, What Sort of Hero is Batman, Anyway?

The shadowy kind?
The shadowy kind?
Image: Warner Bros.

The tradition of the hero in fiction is long and complicated. The first type of “hero” we find in literature, the Classical Hero of old epics, weren’t good, exactly: they were just big. They did great deeds, but they were also fatally flawed, and sometimes monstrous. Only later, during the Middle Ages and the Romantic period, did hero begin to mean something more noble and beautiful.

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So what kind of hero is Batman? Is he a Classical Hero, or a Romantic one, or something else entirely? That’s the question YouTuber Just Write has been considering in his two-part video series on Batman, which concluded today. In both videos, he looks at the Caped Crusader as he exists in various iterations, examining him against the agreed-upon tenets of each brand of hero, drawing from literary criticism and comic book history alike.

Both videos are a delightful watch, and provide a solid survey of some literary concepts through the lense of Batman’s perma-scowl. Check them out!

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

“So what kind of hero is Batman?”

Batman has the only superpower that is still relevant today: he’s rich. He has plenty of money for intimidating bat-suits, swoopy cars and nifty gadgets. Can hire a sage butler, maintain an expansive bat cave, and still afford to care for a ward. Batman is the perfect American superhero; he simply buys it.