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Examples from Batman in Comics

Comic Book

  • Alien Scrappy: Bat Mite.
  • Alas Poor Base Breaker: When Jason Todd was first killed off by the Joker.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: To date, Batman is one of the few comic book characters to have run all nine alignments. Denny O'Neil once stated one of the great things about the character is that he can be portrayed in several different ways and all ring true.
    • Does the Ventriloquist suffer a split personality, a dissociative disorder, or is he right in his belief that Scarface is possessed by the ghost of every murderer hung on the gallows he was carved from? There's evidence to support all these theories, and even the one that Wesker knows exactly what he's doing and Scarface is just a gimmick.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. Not that we're complaining...
    • Dick too. Sometimes he's written as grimply as Bruce, but mostly he's generally happy and friendly. Essentially, he was the Fun Personified character before Steph took that role.
  • Author's Saving Throw: As it eventually turned out, Deathstroke was feeding Cassandra mind-control drugs.
  • Base Breaker: Jason Todd was initially so controversial that DC allowed for a fan vote to determine whether he lived or died. Ironically there were just barely more votes for him to die. And years later, the editor would admit (or rather, claim) hundreds of votes in the "Jason Dies" line came from a single person, (theoretically, if you believe it) adding a large degree of uncertainty to the honesty of results regarding a poll designed to determine the character's popularity. And surely he's got plenty of fans after killing a rapist.
    • He actually is still a Base Breaker; fans either love him or wish there was a second phone-in vote to kill him off again.
    • Bat-Mite. To some, he exemplifies everything wrong with the Silver Age. To others, he exemplifies everything right.
    • The Robins in general. Either they're audience surrogates who provide an interesting insight to what it would be like to have Batman as a father, or they're useless and dated who only surve as to hold Batman back. Dick has, fourtunately, managed to shake that off by becoming Nightwing, a much more well liked hero.
    • Stephanie Brown/Spoiler/RobinIIII/BatgirlIII, unfourtunately, gets quite a lot of hate, despite having a large fanbase and, generally, being well liked by the fandom, but there's just enough people who hate her for her to qualify for this. Replacement Scrappy status asside, people either love her for being hope-filled, angstless, idealistic and generally happy, while others hate her for all these things since they don't feel it 'fits' with the rest of Gotham's protectors. Apparently, some people only like angsty and brooding heroes.
      • Or, you know, they dislike her because she was used for a very badly-handled Very Special Issue story early in her run, some of the writing decisions involving her have been dubious at best (Batman just deciding to reveal both his and Robin's secret identities to her because... he thought Robin needed relationship help or something), and let's not forget that some of her fans can make rabid Harmonians look like Vulcans.
  • Complete Monster: The Joker, Black Mask, Mr. Zsasz, and Deacon Blackfire are the most noteworthy examples.
    • James Gordon, Jr. is this as well, having tortured and murdered many people in the past for no reason beyond the power it gives him. He even reveals that he thinks of empathy as a weakness, and tortures his sister Barbara by driving a pair of knives into her paralyzed legs.
  • Copy Cat Sue/Overused Copycat Character: Hush is debatably this, given that it can be argued that nothing about his character is particularly original within the context of the Batman mythos. Batman already had plenty of Shadow Archetype enemies, while the Wrath and Prometheus, and more subtly Black Mask, all whom came along before Hush had backstories made to explicitly mirror Bruce Wayne's. Was even subject to some (possibly unintentional) Lampshade Hanging by Batman, who drew parallels to his other villains when trying to deduce Hush's identity (associating him using Guns Akimbo to Deadshot and quoting Aristotle to Maxie Zeus). On a somewhat related note, Hush also dresses up exactly like Darkman.
  • Creator's Pet: For much of Damian's existence, he's been a McGuffin and has barely had any character development. As a result, he tends to be widely disliked amongst fans. Being made into Robin has only increased the backlash against the character.
    • And yet, because of his age, the fact that he comprises half of one of the more entertaining Batman-and-Robin duos in a long while, and the considerable amount of Character Development he's received, he's actually started to win over a fair amount of fans, even some of his most vocal haters.
      • Of course, DC being how they are, once they learned the fans were actually starting to like the character, they killed him off.
    • Hush. However, after the "Heart of Hush" storyline, reactions have been turning to more positive.
    • Batman himself may easy turn into one when he is written by his fans - most jarring examples include some comics written by Frank Miller, that are determined to show how much better than everybody else Batman is and JLA: Act of God, where he receives giant amount of Character Shilling.
  • Dork Age:
    • For Bruce Wayne:
      • The "new direction" of the 1960s, with the blue cowl and wacky Silver Age sci-fi hijinx.
    • For Dick Grayson:
      • Devin Grayson's "Born Again" arc. Not only was it flawed from supposition one (Nightwing, one of the most well connected superheroes being alienated in an attempt to "rebuild him"), time constraints from the then-upcoming Infinite Crisis only made it worse. It's pretty much Canon Discontinuity now, thankfully.
      • Not to mention that there was almost certainly people who hoped that Robin would be a Dork Age for Batman when he first showed up (hint: it was actually the exact opposite), even with what little continuity there was back then.
      • And Bruce Jones' "Nightwing: One Year Later" storyline. With its tentacle monsters and Dick modelling Nightwing suits. Yeah, there are reasons people don't like to talk about "Nightwing: One Year Later".
      • Nightwing as Renegade AKA Deathstroke's apprentice. Thanks again for this, Ms. Grayson!
    • For Cassandra Cain... boyhowdy. Adam Beechen wrote her from being near mute with deep psychological dyslexic issues into someone who monologued in Navajo Code. And she took personal pleasure in killing people.
    • For Tim, pretty much the time in between his life began to really suck to just recently, when it began to get better.
  • Dude, Not Funny: Many stories have a moment where Batman alludes to his traumatic origin, and/or to the fact that he really is Darker and Edgier than most of his superhero friends. Maybe the best example was in an episode of Justice League Unlimited in which the League was reduced to children by magic. Throughout the episode, Batman remains composed and grim just like he normally is while most of the rest of the heroes are hyper, temperamental and dangers to themselves and others. This might look like him being his usual Crazy Prepared self, until the Denouement to the episode when another character says in a light-hearted way that it was nice to be a kid again. His response? "I haven't been a kid since I was eight years old."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: It's not uncommon for people to name Tim as their favorite and most relatable character as unlike Dick or Jason, he had the most "normal" life prior to putting on the mask, which means he often reacts the same way the reader would in a situation.
    • Cassandra Cain. Despite rarely appearing at all in crossovers and having her only media exposure being a one-second cameo in Justice League and a crappy video game, despite getting pushed around and trainwrecked by editorial a lot, despite vanishing entirely in recent days, she still has a dedicated fanbase, and it's not hard to find bits from her solo comic posted on the current Scans Daily to this day, four years after it ended. What's more, she's on par with Barbara Gordon in fanart and fanfiction, even though Barbara has gotten many times as much exposure as her.
    • Damian Wayne, for newer readers who didn't get him when he was more of a jerkass until they backtracked.
    • COLIN WILKES. This kid seriously wins. He's only been in 6 issues (the first three of which are usually only read becuase the latter three mention them). In the latter three, he shows that he's become a vigilante and helps Damian break up a fight ring run by Zsasz, becoming sort-of friends with Damian. And knows that Damian is Robin. And is adorable (when not transformed into Abuse anyways).
      • And has more fanart/fanfiction than you would believe. Going by Deviant ART or Tumblr, one could be forgiven for not realizing Colin's a very minor charatcer.
    • Stephanie Brown. Despite having a lot of haters, for someone who was treated like crap by Batman and writers alike, she has one very notable fanbase. If people don't call Cass their favourite Batgirl, Steph will usually be the name they say instead (mostly since everyone proffers Babs as Oracle).
  • My Real Daddy: While Jeph Loeb created the character, a good amount of fans feel Hush did not get really interesting until Paul Dini started writing the character.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Batman/Bruce Wayne, enough said. Also, Nightwing. Or more accurately, Nightwing's ass. And Nolanverse Joker.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Probably the one thing we can all agree with Joel Schumacher on.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Catwoman. Though she's not exactly evil.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: As a longtime confirmed bachelor, there are tons of Batman ships:
    • Batman/Catwoman is as close to canon as any have ever been, but writers keep them apart based on the "she's a criminal, he's Batman" premise. They seemed to become Friends with Benefits before the events of Final Crisis.
    • Batman/Zatanna is teased at several times, particularly if Paul Dini is writing.
    • Batman/Wonder Woman is a favorite ship of half of comic fandom (that other half preferring Superman/Wonder Woman). It's even suggested that she had an unrequited love for him during Blackest Night.
    • Batman/Talia too, considering their past affair and that Damian came from it. Downplayed since her Face Heel Turn, in which they no longer have the close contact they had before.
  • Foe Yay: Catwoman. Talia Al Ghul, A little with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. An interesting interplay with the Joker (the scene where he holds him in his arms while telling Gordon he will not let him die) And he renews that offer of rehabilitation with regularity.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Iron Woobie: Tim Drake isn't called "the saddest Robin" for nothing.
    • And of course, Batman himself.
    • Hell, everyone who you could call a woobie is this, since they're all badass vigilantes or Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Reading the following Woobie entries,y uo'll be hard pressed not finding one who isn't this type of woobie.
  • Jerkass Stu: Damian, though it's very arguable. It is hard to tell if it's being played straight or not.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Jason Todd, post-resurrection. Surely, he did a lot of awful things (as trying to kill Dick and Tim), but the guy is so screwed in the inside. His family is dead, his biological mother watched when was being tortured by the Joker and did nothing to stop it (in fact, she was helping the Joker), and was brought back to life with amnesia, suffered a lot more while trying to recover his identity and his life (as we can see on Red Hood: The Lost Days), and to this day, his life hasn't gotten any better.
    • Damian is a brat, no two ways about it. But he finally gets to be Robin only AFTER his father vanishes from the face of the earth, of which the whole point of getting said role was to spend time with him, is prohibited from killing in this new role, a tad crippling since he now has to solely rely on his TEN year old build to subdue the likes of Killer Croc and as a result gets kicked around by a LOT of people good and bad, and to top it all off he's surrounded by what amount to the surrogate CHILDREN of Bruce Wayne, a collection of people he loved and trusted despite not being his real family, who outright despise him. Not to mention how hellish and lonely his childhood probably was, and getting his SPINE blasted to pieces within the second arc of his flagship title. Kid's got it rough.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Ra's al-Ghul, The Joker, and Catwoman are the best examples. The Penguin has his moments too.
    • When he's written well, the Riddler also becomes this, given his high level of intelligence. Unfortunately, this really depends on the writer and a lot of his stories don't highlight his intelligence very much.
  • Marty Stu: Batman is so Crazy Prepared that he can seem like this at times, though the fandom tends to exaggerate his prowess to the point where the lines between what he can really do and what the fans think he can do tends to blur slightly.
  • Memetic Badass: Batman is one of the more notable ones. Give him enough prep, and he can beat God! "Batman can defeat any villain, given enough prep time," is Fanon.
    • There's a reason we mentioned that Batman could pull out a lightsaber with no explanation in the first paragraph.
    • Swamp Thing seems to have his number, though.
    • He has admitted that a fight between him and Captain America (comics) could go either way with him completely unsure who would have the greater chance of winning.
    • And Wildcat also has his number.
  • Memetic Molester: People will not stop insisting that Batman is gay with Robin.
  • Memetic Mutation: Batman is probably the most memetic superhero of all time, mostly because of his Crazy Prepared Badass Normal Iron Woobie status. You can find his memes here.
  • Memetic Sex God: Though not in the traditional sense, Nightwing's butt is usually drawn so... well that his hotness transcends species; a female sentient ape once hit on him.
  • Mind Game Ship: Hush with Batman, maybe even more so with Bruce.
  • Newer Than They Think: Though it's now his signature gimmick, the Scarecrow didn't use fear gas until over twenty years after his debut. In fact, in the 1940s he didn't use any artificial methods at all, and terrified people using only his wits and conventional weaponry.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Damian's face as he is about to engage the 99 Fiends. The immediate snapping of a hellhound's neck as he proceeds to cut the limbs off of several of his opponents doesn't help either.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Doesn't matter if you're a good guy or a bad guy... Batman is watching you. ALWAYS WATCHING YOU.
  • Periphery Demographic: Batman sure has his lady fans. And judging by the large amount of officially licensed plushies, babydoll tees, and jewelry, DC is aware of this.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Why'd you think the fans voted for Jason Todd to be killed off in the first place?
    • When Cassandra Cain first appeared as Batgirl, she seemed to be a cliche Anti-Hero Substitute, and had to face an uphill battle against being called a God Mode Sue. Once it was clear that yes, she was as much The Cape (trope) as they come, and no, illiteracy is not an easily-excusable Mary Sue Flaw, it rather deflated. Barbara Gordon fans can still be a bit sore about her, though.
    • The second Ventiloquist hasn't been very well-received so far, as the perception is that rather than try to make her appealing in her own right, much of the focus has been on running down her predecessor to say how much better she is.
    • Steph replacing Cassandra as Batgirl wasn't well-received by all. Before that, her replacing Tim as Robin wasn't, either.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Dick Grayson is definitely seen as a lot more formidable now than back when he was Robin and wore tights and short-shorts in the Silver Age.
    • Jason Todd, for a short while anyway. Whether or not this has happened since his resurrection, he helped save friggin' Superman in For the Man Who Has Everything.
      • In the mini-series "The Cult", he also saved Batman's life, shook him out of a major BSOD, restored his faith in himself, and provided the impetus to save Gotham when Batman was ready to give up on it. Oh, and saved Batman's life again.
      • Also the Direct to DVD movie Batman: Under the Red Hood fixed a lot of the problems with the original story in which he came back and made him more sympathetic, resulting in more fans warming up to him in the comics.
    • Accomplished to such a degree with Damian that many who hated him are both surprised terrified with the fact that they are starting to LIKE him.
    • Flamebird. Due to her early Valley Girl nature and incompetence Post-Crisis, her clingy obsessive attitude, as well as being a retool of an already-campy character, fans didn't take to her very well. Geoff Johns and Ben Raab fleshed her out more in Beast Boy mini-series.
  • Rule of Cute: Funko Inc.'s collection of super-deformed, button-eyed DC heroes and villains, most of whom are Batman-related. Just look how cute that widdle Caped Crusader is! Also, Lego Batman.
  • The Scrappy: Damian Wayne, though he's getting better.
    • The Riddler. Not as bad as most others, but is generally labelled as the lamest of the big name rogues, with a mental disorder (OCD) that many find dull in comparison to the others. Emphasizing him as a "technically legal" villain has since quieted some of them down. Though back in the Golden Age and Silver Age, he actually was one of the most popular villains, since many of the other rogues who supplanted him hadn't been invented yet.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: For a brief time, Flamebird was looking to be linked with Beast Boy.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: Jason Todd. Joker's not going to stop killing people now is he?
  • Tear Jerker: Alfred after Final Crisis. "Am I alright? ... No, sir. My son is dead."
  • Unfortunate Implications: Concerning Cassandra Cain—A female character that's more skilled than Batman? Quick! Turn her into a one-dimensional villain, make her so weak that even Tim Drake can beat her and make her moody! And while we're at it, a popular Asian character? Quick, let's replace her with someone with Blond Hair and Blue Eyes.
  • Wangst: Exactly how strongly this is portrayed falls squarely into Depending on the Writer.
  • The Woobie: Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown and Mister Freeze.
    • The Ventriloquist. How can you not feel for the guy? It ain't his fault that he has to share his brain with a ruthless, abusive gangster.

Examples from Batman, the 1966 TV Series

TV Series


Examples from Batman in film

1989 Movie

  • Badass Decay: Commisioner Gordon is perfectly competent in the Burton movies, but in the Shumacher films he's turned into a joke.
    • "Perfectly competent" might be pushing it. He doesn't really do anything, and is clearly based off of the goofy equally do-nothing TV show version.
  • Complete Monster: The Joker. He retains a certain amount of sympathy through being Laughably Evil and a Magnificent Bastard. But, he kills people just for pleasure the whole movie, he horribly disfigured his girlfriend Alicia (it's also implied he throws her out of a window), he shoots dead his long-time friend Bob just let out his anger, and intends to poison the whole of Gotham's citizenry with the Smylex gas, without showing much motivation or thought process about it.
    • Oh yeah, and he's the one who killed who Bruce's parents for no reason.
  • Crosses the Line Twice/Nightmare Fuel: In what was perhaps the movie's most infamous scene, the Joker electrocutes Tony Rotelli with a "real" joybuzzer and then briefly chats with his burned, husked, and still-smoking corpse, acting as if the dead man is still alive. Kids in the audience couldn't watch that scene for years afterwards!
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Danny Elfman's Batman theme is by far the best, and influential (see the Batman the Animated Series theme.)
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Bob! Even had his own action figure!
  • Fanon: While Jack Napier's partner who grabbed Mrs. Wayne's pearls is generally believed to be Bob, several fans assume him to be Joe Chill.
  • Fountain of Memes: Aside from the catchphrases, the Joker's initial reaction to seeing his new face (smashing the mirror, giggling madly) became widely imitated. (Example: Lisa Simpson seeing her braces.)

I'm Batman.
"Winged freak terrorizes"? Wait'll they get a load of ME!
This town needs an enema!
Alfred, let's go shopping.
He's out there right now. And I've gotta go to work.
Where does he get those wonderful toys?

"Ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight?"

  • Moral Event Horizon: When Joker killed Ensemble Darkhorse Bob if you liked him. Mind you anything else he does could qualify.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The amount of time focused on Bruce's relationship with Vicki - who is also desired by Knox and the Joker - makes this subplot come across as this to some viewers.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The first film was unique at the time. Comic book movies, and there weren't that many of them then, had never been so darkly elaborate before. It was also by far the darkest take on Batman beyond the actual comics. But after both the DCAU take on the characters and the Christopher Nolan reboot proved to be exceptional adaptations in their own right, and the lingering bad aftertaste of Schumacher's sequels tainted the series' reputation, it's harder to appreciate the Burton films for what they were/are.
  • What an Idiot!: The second of Joker's three goons at the top of the cathedral is a big fat guy who tries to jump down on him from a higher platform. And promptly falls through the floor before Batman even has time to turn around. Also qualifies as a Funny Moments.
  • What the Hell, Casting Agency?: Michael Keaton so thoroughly proved the naysayers wrong that, in hindsight, it's hard to remember just how bizarre casting a famously mild, unimposing comedic actor as a grim, Frank Miller-inspired version of Batman seemed at the time. Thousands of fans wrote letters to Warner Bros protesting the choice before the movie's release, and even Keaton himself initially thought that his being cast for the part meant that the film would be taking its cues from the TV series.
    • Which of course it was. It's just that back then people weren't quite as familiar with Tim Burton's recipe of "Take bright energetic thing. Make bright energetic thing dark and with a lot of odd angles. Add stripes and daddy issues. Cook until overdone."
  • WTH Costuming Department: Lawrence, the large, bald individual of the Joker goon squad, wears a Roman collar beneath his jacket.

Examples from Batman in Video Games

Trans-Franchise VG Tropes

  • The Problem with Licensed Games: In general, Bats has had more luck with this than most superheroes; his first NES outing by Sunsoft is considered one of the finest Nintendo Hard-in-a-good-way platformers, his 16-bit games tended to be at least okay (though this is the time period which The Angry Video Game Nerd found the most to object to), and the Arkham Series pretty much proved that licensed games don't have to be bad. He has still had some stinkers, though (like a few of the aforementioned 16-bit era games, or the Commodore 64 game, which looked cool but was a nightmare to actually play).

Other examples from Batman