Look, we all love Batman. We really do. It's just that we love him, in part, because his persona is so easy to exaggerate, satirize, and skewer. And there's no better way to share your Batman parodies with the world than by using webcomics. Today we honor ten people who have done just that — and who have done it, sometimes, better than the professionals.
10. Hark, A Vagrant's Sexy Batman is Unstoppable
Kate Beaton runs a webcomic called Hark, A Vagrant! Through its virtual pages romps literary and historical characters, but none romp quite so freely as Sexy Batman. A parody on the peppy Femmes Fatales that find all kinds of reasons to get greased up during their crime or crime-fighting work, Sexy Batman covers himself in vaseline to evade capture, washes his Batmobile in a suggestive way in front of the ogling Commissioner Gordon, and sports impressive garters.
9. In PVP Online, Batman's Parents are . . . Well. You know.
PVP Online is mostly about gaming, but it does take a break to look at the ultra-intense Batman that stalks some comics. The Dark Knight Returns cast a long shadow, and in that shadow Batman's uber-crankiness and extraordinary ability to relate every failing of society to his personal tragedy and general contempt for mankind was legendary. Batman: My Parents are Dead, looks at a Millerized Batman who is so criminal-crazy that he literally foams at the mouth. The burglars look reasonable and sweet, by comparison. When the people in the ski masks are taken aback by how much you over-do things, it's time to relax.
8. Batman joins the Horsey Set with Batmare
Someone under the genre-blending name of csimadmax on deviantart has just come up with another genre-blending character called Batmare. Blending Batman, My Little Pony, and a little-known (outside the internet) entry in a superhero dictionary for kids which explains that Lex Luthor took forty cakes, and that's terrible, Batmare combines the Dark Knight with a trace of pink that we all know and love. Batmare has been all around the internet, with people drawing fan comics of their own, putting Batmare into stills from the opening sequence from the old Batman: The Animated Series cartoons, and being a four-hooved crusader for justice.
7. Batman's Hubris Leads to Gruesome Death in Bigger Than Cheese
If there's one thing I've consistently hated about Batman and Superman fighting, it's the fight's predictability. "Ah, Superman, you may be faster than the bullets that I need body armor to protect me from, more powerful than the locomotive that I have to rush damsels in distress away from, and you may be able to leap in a single bound the buildings I painstakingly scale, but with my cunning brain I will turn the tables and defeat you!" No. Bullcrap. Superman wins. Superman wins instantly. Superman wins instantly every single time. Keep your tributes to the ingenuity of the mind and the triumph of the human spirit out of crossovers. If there's one thing that's neat about Superman, it's that he has nearly unlimited powers and, through his contact with humans, decides that he wants to use those powers helping people. Find a way to show that that's neater than Batman whipping the kryptonite out. For crying out loud, people. At least D. Seah at Bigger Than Cheese gets it.
6. Joshua Hall Simmons Takes A Look at the Psychotic Side of Batman
There have been a lot of alternate-universe comics that have Batman turning evil or pursuing his quest for justice until he becomes a power-mad authoritarian dictator who oppresses any dissent. There are also a great deal of comics that take a character based on Batman and show him to be pure evil. Nemesis, The Boys, and other professional comics feature a Batman whose depravity knows no bounds and respects no tender reader's stomachs. Generally, in this type of parody, Batman is a manic, charismatic man, instituting brilliant plans that threaten the safety of the heroes, the world, or the multiverse. But what if that drive for Justice with a capital J went out of Batman? Would he even get up the energy to be a criminal mastermind? Simmons' take on a burnt-out Batman is simply a guy sitting miserably in the city, withdrawn and creepy, punctuated by random acts of horrible and dim-witted violence.
5. Least I Could Do's Batman Gets Things Done
This may sound strange, coming after the entry just above, but Batman sometimes needs to be a little more evil than he is. Or, at least, someone in the comic book universe has to be a little more evil. Look at what goes on in there. The supervillains, at some point, just need to be killed. If a guy gets out of the only facility that will have him and regularly murders not only every hero's family but large swaths of the general population, doesn't show any signs of stopping after decades, and has never shown any interest in anything but mass murder, it's just plain time to shoot him. It's not about punishment. It's not even justice. It's about basic self-defense. Least I Could Do's Batman finally decides on that. There are many other DCU moments in the webcomic, including more squabbling between the Big Three, but this is the best Batman. Besides, another strip has Batman beating Superman in a fight, and I cannot countenance that.
4. Argyle Academy's Batman is Just a Guy Who Likes Warm Feet
Mike Lowery's webcomic celebrated Dark Knight Week with a Batman who considers a french press coffee maker part of his utility kit, but doesn't consider Alfred's age when asking him to go up and down the stairs every time he needs anything. He's a Batman who would rather talk problems over with supervillains while sipping a cup of coffee than get into a fight with them. Mostly, though, he's a guy who's so, so tired that he has to close his laptop, give up his coffee, and run into the snowy city every night because there's that pesky thing known as crime. Intrinsic to Batman's whole character is that he cares about meting out justice more than he cares about anything else in the world. It doesn't matter to him that there are videos of cats swimming on the internet and it doesn't matter to him that it's cold outside. But if it did - this is what he'd look like.
3. Martin Rebas' Batman is A Bat of Little Brain
Sometimes Batman just isn't that smart. And sometimes that's for the best. Martin Rebas' strip, What if Batman Had Really Small Brain, shows Batman struggling with the 'endless' part of his endless quest for vengeance. To be fair, he struggles with every other part, as well. The dude is just bad at being Batman, but he's smart enough to know that he's bad at being Batman. He decides to create other Batmen to help him out. His solution is pictured.
Fortunately, he tries to kill other people's parents through strenuous sarcasm. Rebas also takes us through his battle with the Riddler - a real departure from how these battles usually go - and into a new sartorial world of thigh-high boots over his tights.
2. Shortpacked's Batman Can Make Anything Funny
One of the fun things about Shortpacked is that Dave Willis manages to convey his love of Batman and his gentle scoffing at the way Batman's presented, the storyline's he's been in, and the concept in general. Over the years we've seen Batman master Dance Dance Revolution, Tim Drake snark Jason Todd's resurrection, Oracle get frustrated over the fact that most female faces are drawn the same in comics, and Commissioner Gordon finally get fed up with Batman constantly sneaking out and just watch Batman until he is forced to make a less dramatic exit. One of the original takes on Batman, back when the strip was still black-and-white, showed that Batman can make anything funny. And the grimmer he is, the funnier he is. Just take him out of the sprawling be-gargoyled city-scape, and his natural reserve and gravitas make him the funniest character on earth.
1. The Black Cat's Batman is a Family Man
The Black Cat, as she's known on Deviant Art, once did a cute little series of sketches in which a now-anachronous Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Terry McGinnis acted like a crime-fighting family, with all the weirdness, in-fighting, and daily monotony that entails. Over time this built up to an integrated DC universe, in which the Superman family, the Arrows, the Green Lanterns, and all of Young Justice have their own personalities and their own relationships. Batman and Sons only takes an occasional peek at what's going on in the Batman Universe, and presents us with such trivial and silly stories as Batman getting the kids a dog, and Alfred getting sick, leaving Batman to become fanatic about cleaning Wayne Manor. Mostly, though, it's just the perfect parody. Every relationship mirrors the relationships established in mainstream DC comics. Every character does the same. Batman's grandiose quest, his overkill when it comes to being grim, his endless adoption of new kids even as he tries to be a loner, and all the kid's squabbling between them come through in this webcomic.
Although every Batman has its own place in my heart, I have to say that this Batman is the kind of Tiny Titans-like funny parody that I'd love to see actually on the shelves.