You Can Never Be Me: Bat-tales from Patrick Kyle

You Can Never Be Me by Patrick Kyle

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There’s a meme (as I believe they’re called) that I see cropping up fairly regularly in my forays of Internet yonder. Here, allow me to show you:

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Batman is a seductive fellow, isn’t he? Fetishes aside, one of the main appeals of the character is that, theoretically, anybody could be him: he  doesn’t have any superpowers: neither do you, he’s a bit ripped: you too could gym (potentially) and be buff, he’s a bit clever: you could dust off those books, he’s a bit rich: you could win the lottery, he’s a bit dark and mysterious: you’ve already been practicing your furrowed brow and deep, tortured look, and so on and so forth.

And yet you couldn’t get somebody further from the every-man than Bruce Wayne (and that’s not an identity statement, I read Bats/Bruce as one and the same). You couldn’t be Batman, not really. You couldn’t do what he does night after night, going up against villains far beyond his level, have an undying resolve and commitment to something that you know can never be overcome, remember all the Robins. As Martha tells her son in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, ‘…the only reward you get for being the Batman? You get to be the Batman.’

Patrick Kyle concurs with that latter viewpoint in his Batman parody comic ‘You Can Never Be Me’ and what’s more, Batman himself does too. Kyle’s narrative finds the Dynamic Duo in an all too familiar situation- the Joker has Batman trussed up, while Robin rushes to his mentor’s aid on a bicycle.

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The Joker makes an impenetrable and convoluted speech, as arch nemeses are want to do when they have their superheroes tied up. The poor man seems confused to his purpose- does he love Batsy, does he hate him, are they yin and yang, is he sane, or not, or maybe a little- when it boils down to it, who is he? He’s not sure, so he settles for Instagram scooping pictures of the Dark Knight and himself. For his part Batman is worried about getting back to the cave and getting back onto his arty Tumblr blog, while poor Robin runs around in the background just trying to actually do his job. He’s dedicated to the cause, but stymied by Batman’s changing view of him as an accessory or a vital cog.

For somebody who likes taking the piss out of things as much as I do, I’m not a huge fan of parody. It’s not that I’m averse to people poking fun at my favourite characters (DC manage that pretty well), it’s just I think parody is very subject singular and difficult to get right. I really loved this though: I think you can tell Kyle’s a Batman fan in the way he incorporates the material with the funnies and the questions we have all at times frustratedly asked. It’s humorous and lighthearted, and y’know, it’s a damn good Batman comic. Buy it.

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