I have an obsessive personality. I’m not good at letting things go, or enjoying anything in moderation. If I were to personify one of the 7 Deadly Sins, I would be Gluttony. I don’t know when to stop. I don’t want to. I want to consume and consume until there’s nothing left, until I’m burnt out and bored, and then I’ll move on to the next obsession. The only positive is that my obsessions aren’t destructive vices like alcohol, drugs, over-eating.
No, I’m talking about Batman.
I’ve always considered myself Marvel Trash™ and I will go to my grave declaring Captain America to be the best superhero of all time. So the DC universe in general is new to me.
I know the basics. You can’t grow up in America without learning about Batman’s origin story like it’s part of the Common Core curriculum. I’ve seen the movies (Nolanverse of course being the most influential on my generation), I watched the animated series with my brother as a kid. Batman is such a normal part of our culture that I took him for granted. Batman’s always been there, crying over his dead parents in a dark alley, dressing up as a flying rodent, defeating villainous Furries on the reg.
And the thing about Batman – about most legendary superheroes, really – is the sheer amount of history behind the character. I’m not even talking about fictional bios (don’t get me started), but the nearly 80 years of real-world comic book history. Do the diehard “real” fans actually read all that material? How am I supposed to compete with that? ‘Cause you know I’m not about to drop a fortune on 80 years of ancient comic books so I can “prove” that I’ve read Batman. To make things worse, nothing’s quite linear. It’s not just the Batman comics (#1-700-something); there’s Detective Comics themselves, there’s all the additional side stories and characters and spin-offs, all the crossovers that are vital to Batman’s story… It’s infinite and impossible.
I had to google a reading order (I recommend Comic Book Herald’s guide), and while I’m following that as best I can, I hate knowing that there’s stuff out there that I haven’t read. I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg, if the iceberg is the entire continent of Antarctica. So instead of trying to read everything in its perfect order, I’ve been focusing on specific character storylines so I don’t lose my sanity to something as relatively inane as fucking Batman.
I have an obsessive personality. This doesn’t always get me in to trouble, depending on the focus of my obsession. If it’s Harry Potter, I read the books and move on. If it’s Pokémon, I play my 3DS now and then and keep the app open on my phone. If it’s Star Wars, I marathon the movies and read the books and play the games and watch the cartoons and then I go back to work. Once it’s all over, I can do my chores and see my family and pretend that I didn’t just fall off the face of the earth in order to consume all things Star Wars.
But not the goddamn Batman. No, he has to have 80 years of multiple comic books and movies and video games and cultural impact, making my plight endless and daunting. I cannot possibly “finish” Batman. Batman’s never over. Talk about an Infinite Crisis. When will I sleep? Will I ever see my family again? How can I bring in a paycheck if Batman’s constantly haunting me from the shadows like the fucking creeper he is? When will my suffering end?
Damn you, Batman. Damn you.