T he dark k night
Batman writer Scott Snyder on why t he Dark Knight remains eternal…
Batman is enduring because at the core of the character Bruce Wayne’s money doesn’t matter, or any of Batman’s gadgets. All of that stuff is really fun, but ultimately it’s a story about somebody who faces tremendous challenges, someone who faces this incredible adversity in childhood. The worst thing that can happen to a kid happens to him. And yet instead of giving up or seeing life as something that is meaningless, he turns it around and creates this engine for himself to become the greatest hero of all time. And he creates meaning for other people in the world. He takes a random, meaningless act of violence, and turns it into this fuel for himself, to become the pinnacle of human achievement, and to become someone who inspires other people to matter and to do things that matter. While he strikes terror into the hearts of evildoers in Gotham, he’s also a source of inspiration for anybody that is facing challenges. To me, that kind of folk hero is forever a powerful emblem. Especially in American folklore. That figure who overcomes his greatest fear to become this hero and tells us not to be afraid is everlasting.
That is what primarily interests me about the character. But I’m also interested in where that starts to become pathological. I love how Batman himself is always sort of at odds with himself. On the one hand he’s out to inspire people, but he also is out to terrify certain people. On the one hand, he sort of puts himself out there and sacrifices himself every night; but on the other hand that also leads to incredibly self- destructive behaviour. He’s mortal, he’s immortal, he’s all of those things at once. He kind of exists at this intersection of heroism and self- destruction. I think there’s something richly interesting there. Joe McCabe
Inspiring… yet also terrifying.