I guess December is official harass the living shit out of Batman month for me! idk why Supes and Wondy are being assholes, but it's kind of satisfying. I'll move this scribble dump to scraps in a bit. :]
1940-1986 Batman and BTAS Batman are where it's at for me (with the first two seasons of Adam West's show for good measure). Batman works best as a character when he's got a well-rounded personality, the ability to have fun even at his own expense, and actually cares about the people in his life. His Miller/post-Miller jerk persona just makes me wish someone would punch his lights out.
Well, I think the aggravating thing about modern, post-Year One Bats is just the fact that he never evolves. The way he's written, fueled by vengeance and darkness and AAAANGST, he can't. If our Batman is to let go of his grief, undergo a catharsis and learn to love his life for everything he does have, he stops being the Batman, you know? The trouble is that it's just not realistic. No one stays that angry forever, especially no one with a clan of children he loves dearly and that love him in return. Bruce is just so inconsistently written, it's like every time one writer takes a step forward in his development, the next one has to go straight back to MY PARENTS ARE DEEE-EEE-EEAD! Bruce.
It just makes it hard to love the guy consistently. He's very unrealistic in a lot of ways. I love him best when he's interacting with his kids, though. Fatherly-Bruce, displaying affection, worrying for his loved ones and moving the fuck on, is a super interesting Bruce I'd love to see more of.
What I like about the 1940-1986 Batman runs is that he did move on. The pain of losing his family never fully went away (and truthfully, it shouldn't), but it didn't consume him. He loved and cherished his friends and companions. He could enjoy the good things in his life, clown around, laugh at himself, and be human. It didn't diminish him as a character. Far from it; that was what made Batman interesting to me, that he had suffered a huge loss and used that experience to forge himself into a better man. When Batman became a cardboard cutout of hate and misplaced rage at everyone and everything with nothing else to him, he was gutted as a character. And to be honest, I think the always-angry, always-hateful, always-plotting-against-his-allies-when-he-should-be-plotting-against-his-enemies Batman is the campiest, most ridiculous version around. The "MY PARENTS ARE DEAD" meme is the perfect summation of what Batman became with Miller and those who followed, and it's a pretty scathing indictment.
I think the reason current writers are too afraid to break from the Miller/post-Miller mold is twofold. One, that version of Batman is a Marty Stu, and writers can easily self-insert onto him and use him as a proxy for their fantasies. (Batman spending years as the DCU's resident pimp and the nonstop "prep time" gimmick both spring to mind.) Two, that version requires no effort to write; it's cookie-cutter storytelling. Writing a multifaceted, human Batman as Bill Finger, Steve Englehart, Dennis O'Neil, Gardner Fox, Archie Goodwin, and the rest of the old guard did would require talent and genuine work, which many writers today either don't have or don't want to be bothered with. So they take the easy way out. Great for them, but it makes for bad stories, and Batman is a lesser character for it.
Yeah, that's the thing. I know Bats' darkness and angst has become especially iconic for our generation, but I honestly think it detracts from the fullness of his character. When I write or draw or even think about Batman, I'm usually taking my impressions from the Timmverse if just because his Batman made sense? (Plus that's the version I really grew up with, so.) Miller's handling of the Batverse has been really poisonous in a lot of ways, the worst of which is the legacy he's left. Even the reboot smacks of his influence and.. ugh. Just. Ugh.
I will freely admit that I hate pretty much everything he's ever done, though. I mean, as a real live woman with a functioning brain, it's hard not to. My biggest problem with Selina Kyle is her inconsistent, flippant and often misogonystic portrayal, but Miller just takes the fucking cake. The only good thing he's ever done and he made her a whore. Great. Good job, jackass.
I was trying as hard as possible not to bring up Hooker Catwoman in both DKR and YEAR ONE. I'm all in favor of updating Catwoman's origin to be more timely ("The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne," as much as I love it, really does belong to another era), but Miller's insistence on making her a prostitute (to say nothing of his attitude toward women in general) is character assassination of the worst kind. I won't say any more about it, because it's just not worth going into a rant over.
But yeah, I can't really disagree with you on anything you've said.