Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Need A Batman

Yup that's right.

As I work on the Silver Age for the Zenith Universe, I have my Superman (Guardsman) and I have my Wonder Woman (Lady America) but I am missing a Batman. The guy who uses brains and skill instead of powers. The guy who everyone wonders if he is a hero or a villain. The guy, who when the American Government says "Unmask or go to jail." in the 50's doesn't say anything, he just ignores them and keeps going.

Now the hard part of this is that I don't want him to be a dead-to-rights rip-off of the Bat. Certainly Guardsman doesn't strike anyone as Superman on first blush. He isn't an alien, he started in 1944 and was powered by a magical helmet. Lady America (nicknamed the American Amazon for those who might miss it ;) ) isn't directly Wonder Woman either. She has no powers, uses Martial Arts and is a wrapped in the flag patriot. Essentially she is Wonder Woman masquerading as Captain America.

So how to have a Batman who isn't really a Batman at first glance.

I am wracking my brain on this one and coming up empty, so I turn to you all for input, ideas and guidance.

One caveat, please don't offer me characters from your own campaigns or creations unless you are also giving me permission to use them in publishing ventures (for which proper credit will be given to you if the character is used) as well as to twist, fold, spindle and/or mutilate as I see fit to make them work in the Zenith Universe.

Just had to get that out of the way.


  1. Yep, Bats is the best. Gotta have Bats.

  2. Wom-bat man? Sorry, couldn't resist! Actually the Watchmen's Nite Owl was pretty keen and he's based off of Blue Beetle. So it seems like some animal crowned with points is the key.

    Or you could go with the "cunning and skills" angle you were looking for. A fox comes to mind....

  3. What is it that makes Batman, Batman? Is it the tragedy of his loss? His skills? His mind? The gadgets?

    Batman without the loss is Green Arrow.
    Batman without the compassion is Punisher.
    Batman without moral compass is Iron Man.

    So "which" Batman do you need?

    I like the idea of normal guy puts on a mask and tries to rid the world of crime. So take a normal guy, say a lawyer. He sees bad guys get away all the time. Well this guy has money (daddy was a lawyer too, and it now a judge), he was a star athlete in college and has a great deductive mind. At night he dresses up in _blank_ to scare criminals and bring them to justice.

    He doesn't kill because of some moral imperative like Batman, he wants them brought to justice. But every night it is a constant struggle.

    He has drama with his father who wants him to join a firm, his girlfriend who wants him to settle down, and the police who want him in jail.

    So this is guy who has everything he would ever want in life, and yet still has this need to put on a mask and beat the crap out of bad guys.

    Yours to use as you wish.

  4. Batman without sight is Daredevil?
    Batman without money is Rorschach?
    : )

    Sorry, just to echo TIm's sentiment somewhat: what exactly is it that makes the guy (or the Guardian or Liberty Lass) clones of the DC universe? Is it the attitude? The attire? The power set? Their role in the superhero milieu?

    Obviously it's not origin (per your post). Which means there's no reason to make your Bat Dude come from the same tragic long as he ends up with a Batman feel once he arrives, right? The Midnighter is an example of a Bat Clone that has cybernetic implants and isn't above wrecking folks...very UN-Batman like in that fashion but he has that whole "grim and humorless vigilante" thing going for him.

    I say start with a private detective...a rumpled, Mickey Spilaine type with an insomnia problem. Eventually, he took some case where justice wasn't solved (the girl was dead, the bad guy walked). The PI was a classic underachiever...brilliant but too good at pointing out what was wrong with the world to do anything useful with his own self. The injustice of the case motivated him, got him off his duff, and out in the streets doing his own thing.

    And in seeking justice beyond the law, he finally found something that was a true calling. He works at night (he still has the insomnia), but he keeps better care of himself. He still has his detective training, and perhaps he's manufactured a few gizmos in his spare time (a grapple, smoke bombs, whatever). He doesn't kill because he's not a murderer and he knows the cops enough to know they'll only tolerate vigilantism so far. He's no Bruce Lee but his nightly tussels have honed his rudimentary judo he's gotten adept at striking with surprise from the shadows.

    Call him the Street Knight, the Specter, the Mask, or the Shadow Lord...whatever it is the street punks and criminals have named him in fear, he's assumed as his own identity.
    : )

  5. Thanks for the thoughts guys, I am currently working on two ideas;

    The Cobra and The Spider.

    Seeing him as a mix of Batman, Paul Kirk the Manhunter, the Shadow and such.

  6. Moon Knight is awesome!! Sort of a supernatural Batman....

  7. I was told that despite how it turned out, when they created Moon Knight they actually didn't mean for him to be Batman, but he just sort of unconsciously went that way.

    Now people say a lot of things, but you never know ;)