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This came up in Batman Beyond a lot.

"Is he the original Batman?"

"No way, he'd be a hundred years old!"

"Maybe he's immortal..."




It seems like a number of superhero comics (which I am lacking in citations for) have focused on the idea of the superhero as more a symbol rather than a person. Any worthy successor can pick up the mask/costume/cape and continue fighting crime in the name of Fooman, and thus Fooman becomes a legend rather than a single person. In the words of The Sandlot, "Heroes get remembered, but legends never die."

The Dark Knight had an interesting take on this with the impostor Batmen in the beginning using guns, and the real Batman showing up to stop them. (There's something to be said about culture and intellectual property in there too, but that's for another day). I'm sure there are plenty of other good examples as well, but my knowledge of superheros is rather sparse as I was unfortunately never that big into comics.


That scene in The Dark Knight is adapted from a storyline in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. If I recall the original, Batman's retirement makes people sufficiently nervous that a gangs of young kids dress like him and do their own crime fighting. The original Batman has to clean up after them as well.


You got some of it wrong, in fact: The gang that existed while Batman was retired was the Mutants, a completely horrible gang of sociopaths and sadists (Miller is not one for subtlety) lead by a monstrous beast of a man (again, Miller not subtle). Their actions force Batman out of retirement and, once Batman defeats the Mutant gang leader in front of his gang, certain elements of the gang restyle themselves as Sons of the Bat and go after other criminals. Again, though, they're still horrible violent sociopaths and sadists, and Batman has to spend some time cracking their heads together.

So you got a number of the main points right.




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