I’m The Villain in Every Batman Story
There is something to be said about every worthwhile hero’s story. Our hearts leap at the tales of heroes conquering giants. We wish we could be the hero and conquer something bigger than ourselves but deep down we know we’ll always lose the struggle against ourselves. How can we fight a giant if we can’t even commit to kicking a simple bad habit?
Heroes are to be admired, but we can never truly appreciate the virtue of the hero until we see the hero face something dangerous and far more threatening than themselves: a villain.
That’s why so many people love Batman.
He’s not the strongest hero, nor is he the smartest (especially if you look to the more recent movie adaptations) but he is always regarded as one of the best because of his villains.
A psychotic killer clown bored with normal thrills so he seeks out twisted highs and constantly struggles with the sick reality that he loves Batman more than he hates never finding satisfaction. A man with multiple personality disorder that speaks to our own inability to process the extreme versions of ourselves that we are too shocked to face, and a man that is so obsessed with the challenge of understanding an incomprehensible world that he struggles to break down the complexity of it all into riddles just to name a few…
The reason why we love Batman so much isn’t because he’s good at being a hero, it’s because he isn’t us. We relate to the fools and the failures rather than the hero. We delight in the darkness of a hero who will never be as dark as us. We love to be surprised as we wonder “what will he do next!?”
Killer Croc makes sense. He has a physical deformity that causes him to be permanently shunned from society. Who of us wouldn’t mistrust humanity and cling to dark places? And who of us, if left to our own devices and without a single friend in the world to help us, wouldn’t let ourselves turn inwards to the monster within. I get Killer Croc because he’s more like me than Batman will ever be.
We celebrate the Bat because when faced with darkness, he didn’t blink. We did. We love to hate Superman because he’s too good and has no depth of character but really, we just find nothing relate-able with him so we ostracize him like Gotham shuns Killer Croc and all the other weirdos who don’t fit the mold.
We all struggle to look like the hero but we aren’t. We need only look to our hearts to find a psychotic killer clown bored with normal thrills so we seek out twisted highs and constantly struggle with the sick reality that we love the idea of “good” more than we hate never finding satisfaction in what we do.
I’m Two-Face, Killer Croc, and the Joker and so are you…