A Letter To Batman From His Son

Yesterday, my esteemed and highly talented daddy blogger colleagues, Charlie Capen and Andy Herald of How to Be a Dad published a post entitled, 5 Reasons Batman Would Be a Better Dad Than Superman. The post naturally elicited a massive response from the fan-boy dads, which I, of course, could not refrain. Charlie and Andy wrote their piece specifically ignoring the canon of both superheroes, and so I have done the same with this letter written in a completely re-imagined world of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.

Dear Father Bruce,

I am writing this letter to you as part of my anger management treatment which, of course, you know the court mandated. Dr. Friskin, my therapist, thought this would be a good way to constructively work through my feelings. Honestly, though, I don't even know where to begin. I guess my biggest question are all why. Why did you want me? Why did you fight my mother for full custody in the divorce? And why did you think you could ever be a father to me given your dual identity?

I want to believe that as a baby our family was happy one, but over the years I've realized that it couldn't have been if Mother left you so soon after I was born. Did you even love one another? I guess it all didn't matter after one of those freaks--what's his name, Penguin--killed her. Listen to myself; a bird man murdered my mom with a stupid trick umbrella, and that's not even the most bizarre part! That would be that my dad dresses up as a bat to fight other such loonies around Gotham City, in alternate dimensions, and God only knows where else!

Okay, I get it. Your parents were shot right in front of you, and it made you angry--so angry you vowed never to let it happen to you again, and ever since you've been busting your ass selfishly trying to get the world to bend to your vision of how it should be whatever that is. What it all comes down to, though, is that you've been holding the world's biggest pity party for yourself because your dad wasn't around. Guess what? I'm angry too and for the same reason. At least Grandpa Wayne had a good excuse. What's yours? Answer me that.

When have you been there for me? How many birthdays did I celebrate alone? Sure there were tons of people, massive cakes, and expensive presents, but that didn't make up for you being gone. Did you know I threw bar mitzvah and confirmation parties for myself even though I'm neither religion just to see if the absurdity of it would force you to show up. But, no, you were off in deep space fighting alien creatures along with your little group of "super" friends while I'm still getting hit up by the local synagogue and archdiocese for donations.

Yes, there were a few events in my life that you showed to, but, god, what a spectacle you made driving up late in another Bugatti and getting out with another woman--sometimes two--on your arm. Then you'd make some half-assed toast about how great fatherhood was before unveiling your latest lavish gift to me, most of which made no sense. A marble statue of myself put up in the Wayne Manor topiary maze? Was that meant to represent how perpetually lost I looked? My favorite, though, was the pony. What kid doesn't want a pony? Yeah, when they're eight, not fifteen!

Fifteen. That was the same age when you finally told me your dirty secret. Was it because you realized I wan't a little boy any more? Bet that was a real surprise. One day you're sending me to Switzerland to attend prep school and ten years later you can't figure out why I'm punching that damn pony in the face in front of god and everyone.

Or was the real reason you told me because I was becoming a liability to you with all the drunken parties, and drugs, and girls back at school. I guess that abortion for Lex Luthor's daughter was a real wake up call. What did you expect, dad? I was only mimicking you. Did you think that revealing your true self to me would change how I saw the world? Actually for once you were right; it did.

You showed me how f*#ked up life was, and the way you went on and on about it made me cynical. I kept wondering why if the world was so hopeless did you kept sneaking out at night with your fancy bat-gadgets to save it. I learned to hate you for it and everyone around me. It's only taken me until recently that I realized you weren't trying to save the world, you were trying to save yourself from the guilt of Grandma and Grandpa's deaths. And the courts said I'm the one who needs therapy!

My mistake was thinking I could somehow fix you, and suddenly we could be a real father and son. That's why I went after the Joker. I thought if I got rid of your biggest arch-villain, you'd see me differently and let me into your dark, twisted world. Well, I guess we all know how that worked out--me taking a hammer to the Joker's face. I didn't quite kill him but I sure as hell bashed that silly-ass grin off his pale face. It's kind of hard to smile without a jaw. Ha!

What's sad is that Dr. Friskin eventually helped me to realize that all that anger I released on that whack-job's face was actually meant for you, Bruce. I feel terrible admitting to you how good that handle felt in the palm of my hand as I swung it over and over, but after twenty one and a half years of you never being there, of having to carry around your secret, of seeing the world and everyone in it as so inherently evil, I needed a release. And now here I am in Arkham Correctional Facility writing you this letter ...and only a week before Father's Day no less!    

You know what's funny? Do you know who's the only person to visit me on a regular basis (not you, that's for sure)? Clark Kent Jr, that's who.

I remember how you used to talk about his dad, that he was some sort of overly-optimistic chump, pulling his punches because he believed in humanity. I used to think that of Clark Jr. too; he seemed like some goody-two-shoes little prick. But now that I've gotten to know him he's made me realize there is a lot of good in the world, and this has given me hope that despite everything, there's also good in me.

Guess your buddy, Superman, rubbed off on his kid too. Why couldn't you have been more like him?


Your Son

* * * Read more on the debate from others * * * 

Andy & Charlie - HowToBeADad: "5 Reasons Batman Be A Dad Than Superman"

Sam Christensen - DorkDaddy.com: "Why Superman is a Better Dad Than Batman"

Alan Kercinik - Always Jacked: "6 Reasons Superman Would Be A Better Dad Than Batman"

Stephanie Reidy - Escaping Elegance: "Boys, Boys... Must We Bicker?"

Eric Bolton - Boltonshire: "Why Green Lantern is a Better Dad Than Batman AND Superman"

...and more to come I'm sure.

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