What I like to refer to as the duality of characters, in which long standing characters are often defined in two very different, and in some instances opposite, manners has existed in comics for many decades. It’s still the same character and yet they can be very different. So what’s the deal?
The most well known example of this is Batman. Most comic fans, and in fact many non-comic fans will recognize “The Dark Knight” and “The Caped Crusader” as nicknames for Batman. Not only are these nicknames, but they have become a large part of the Batman mythos. Most people will associate the Caped Crusader with the old Adam West 1966 Batman television show. The show was definitely about Batman, but it was campy, goofy and generally light hearted fun. Since then, the Caped Crusader has come to represent the kinder, gentler Batman who carries shark repellent on his utility belt. The Dark Knight on the other hand, lives up to his name. In my lifetime this has been exemplified by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises), but this version of Batman is closest to the original. Until the Comics Code, Batman had a decidedly dark and gritty feel to it, taking much from its Depression era roots. This Batman is far more aggressive and is willing to go to much greater lengths if it enables him to take down the villain. Continue reading