In 1989 Incredible Hulk # 355, Michael Keaton’s casting as Batman, now fan-loved, was shot down straight away as a terrifying idea.
Michael Keaton‘S Batman hasn’t always been as revered as it is by fans today, even characters in Marvel Comics hated his casting back then. Just like when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker in Christopher Nolans The dark knight‘Keaton’s casting met with a lot of backlash at the time. It often happens that some fans get upset when popular characters like Batman are reinterpreted in new adaptations. More recently, Robert Pattinson has faced backlash when he was heralded as the new Batman in Matt Reeves’ upcoming iteration, as many of the dusk Saga. It is an ongoing phenomenon that will never be nothing.
Marvel and DC Comics have crossed many times over the years, but there has always been a not-so-subtle rivalry between the two companies. This applies to all Marvel and DC properties, regardless of the medium. Of course, creatives on both sides were asked for their opinion on their competition decisions. For example, Marvel legend Stan Lee has been quoted as saying he doesn’t like the idea of Superman but prefers the idea of Batman, a more down-to-earth hero.
In the 1989s Incredible Hulk # 355Michael Keaton’s casting as Batman in Tim Burton’s film is debated by two characters who are clearly modeled on film critics Gene Siskel and Roget Ebert. The Siskel analog states that Keaton’s casting “simply inappropriate. ”While the edition tries to back up its claim with a counterpoint from“ Ebert, ”it is more than obvious that this is a direct criticism of DC and Burton for making the decision. Keaton even describes the counter-argument as “unconventional“Which doesn’t seem like accepting the premise of this new Batman. The decision to allow such commentary on a mainstream edition of Marvel Comics is an obvious ploy to rock the boat in the superhero world, and it basically says that Marvel would never do anything like that.
Also the mention of “the camp 60s“is another take on DC and its live-action renditions. It’s a clear nod to Adam West’s Batman, who was definitely less serious and more comedic, but is still a popular version of the Dark Knight. There’s nothing wrong with that superhero more on the “camp” side, but characters in the Marvel Universe clearly believed otherwise. Furthermore, the assumption that Keaton would not be taken seriously was based on his largely comedy-fueled film repertoire including films such as Mama. It was believed that casting an actor with comic chops would ruin any chance of a serious, dark adaptation that would be faithful to the comics.
Perhaps die-hard fans have gone back and read issues like 1989 Incredible Hulk # 355 to get into the never ending rivalry between Marvel Comics and DC Comics, however, for the most part, fans are probably only aware of the major, public outbursts of backlash throughout comic history. But little gems like this issue’s blatant criticism of Michael Keaton’s casting as Batman are fun finds when trying to create the bigger picture around their infamous rivalry.
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