‘Batman Incorporated’ Is The Most Realistic Batman Concept
by Benjamin Hall
This article is somewhat of a sequel to a previous comicon.com article. The title of the previous article is ‘Batman Is More Of A Fantasy Character Than You Think.’ As one would expect it provides reasoning for why Batman is not as realistic as some believe. However, this article is one that deals with a little of the opposite. For while Batman is fantasy, one of his creations, Batman Incorporated, could occur in our reality.
Batman & Robin #16 (2011) presents the announcement of Batman as a corporate franchise. Following this Batman: The Return #1 establishes the founders (Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, and Barbara Gordon) and the competition (Leviathan). However, it is in Detective Comics #215 and World’s Finest Comics #89 where the idea originates. The former issue features the introduction of the Batmen of All Nations which readers will later know as the Club of Heroes. While the latter of the two introduces the idea of superheroes having corporate sponsorship. Thus, we have the idea, the announcement, the founding all grounding the fantasy of Batman in our kind of reality. Yet, this is not the end of what makes this a realistic concept.
Batman Incorporated #1 (2011) shows the ideas of corporate head-hunting, cover stories, and getting assistance from past colleagues. The corporate head-hunting occurs with Bruce going to Japan to hire the first Mr. Unknown (whose real name we never get). Unfortunately he does not reach Mr. Unknown before Lord Death Man (whose name we also never get) kills him. Thus, Bruce as Batman has to hire Jiro Osamu (alias the second Mr. Unknown). Presumably Bruce buys someone off, or has a change of information occur, for the news report about his and Selina Kyle’s (alias Catwoman) arrival in Japan. Though this is only a theory about the news report it makes sense since it serves as a cover story to hide Bruce and Selina’s adventurous personas. Selina also counts as the past colleague providing assistance.
Batman Incorporated #7 (2011) somewhat shows the business concept of an affiliate. Although Man-Of-Bats Inc. is kind of a community action organization it is also acts like a subsidiary of Batman Incorporated.
Batman Incorporated #7 (2013) has a symbolic example of how a corporate rival might attempt to weaken trust in a corporation. This usually occurs with adverts that compare products. For instance the 1981 Pepsi Challenge commercial is an example of one soda brand attacking another. In the case of Batman Incorporated #7 Leviathan’s literal attack on Gotham weakens public support for Bruce Wayne, his company, and the bat brand. While both series of Batman Incorporated (2010-2011 and 2012-2013) show these two organizations’ using branding to identify themselves: Batman’s organization uses the bat symbol, and Leviathan uses the ouroboros symbol.
Batman Incorporated #11 (2013) spotlights the idea of office romances. This occurs in the form of Jiro Osamu, who has become the Batman of Japan, and Crazy Shy Lolita Canary (whose name we never get) are work colleagues that are dating.
There are more real world business aspects to the Batman Incorporated concept. However, to list all of them is rather unnecessary. This is cause the various ones in this article prove the point that Batman Incorporated is very much a real world concept. Yes, none of the issues from either iteration of the title cover the fact that privatizing crime enforcement is arguably a bad idea. Not to mention that lawsuits and friction with regular law enforcement would obviously come about. Yet, some future tale may go into these real world downsides that a vigilante business would face. As it is Batman is a fantastical character, but there are some elements of the real world to Batman as a brand.