RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V4 #235

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 26 Apr 2002


Re your question below:

> . . . what keeps Batman out? While Bruce Wayne
> may not be, Batman is
> tough and colloquial in many (most?) of his
> incarnations. So why is he
> out according to the rule?

First of all, let me say I yield to none in my admiration of The Batman, my favorite comic character growing up, and (with the exception of the early Dick Tracy, who I discovered later) still so to this day.

I suppose that the combination of his upper-class background (VERY old inherited wealth; ancestors among the British [specifically Scottish] aristocracy, and among the officer class of the Continental Army ["Mad Anthony" Wayne is said to've been a great-grandfather many times removed]), his surrogate father being a very precisely-spoken British butler, the flamboyance of his crime-fighting persona, and his own fairly precise way with dialog (or at least what seems to me to be a fairly precise way with dialog), put him just barely outside the scope of "hard-boiled" for me.

But I didn't protest when he was nominated, and I don't begrudge him his place on the list. It's a harder call than some of the other characters we've discussed here, and, because of that, I didn't weigh in with my opinion until I was asked, and wouldn't have weighed in unless I was asked.

In the interests of fairness, I'll point out that many writers who've become identified with the hard-boiled story in prose have become identified with BATMAN in comic book and newspaper strip scripts. Right off the top of my head are current Batman writer Greg Rucka, two-time Shamus-winner Al Collins, and, of course, Batman's editor-in-chief, Dennis O'Neil. So many hard-boiled lights contributing to the Batman mythos certainly gives credence to the position that he belongs in the fold.

Finally, remember that it's possible to agree on a definition but disagree on whether or not a particular example fits that definition.


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