Re your comments below:
"And guys, I hate to say this, but the entire argument concerning Batman is that even though fictional ... He is NOT and never can be REAL!!! In most fiction short of fantasy, which THE DARK KNIGHT is . . . "
I see your point, but fantasy, in this context, has a specific meaning. It refers to something that CAN'T be, like Harry Potter or Tolkien's Middle Earth stories, not something that is terribly unlikely.
Batman isn't someone who was born on another planet and made super by an intergalactic change of venue. He isn't someone who was granted super-powers by a wizard in a cave. He isn't someone who was born on an island invisible to mortal humanity and given divine powers by the Gods. He isn't someone who was injected with a super-soldier serum or bitten by a radioactive spider. In other words, he's not about super powers; he's about human perfectability.
He's highly improbable. In fact, he's a silly adolescent fantasy (not that there's anything wrong with that). But he's just barely possible.
Suppose we take away the costume, and add in deadly force. How different is he from Brian Garfield's Vigilante? Do you regard DEATH WISH and DEATH SENTENCE as fantasies. Unlikely, true, but not absolutely impossible.
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