The Bat and the Cat

By Aaron Cobbs

Welcome back to Crazy Train, the place where we talk about all things pop culture and apply it to learning in general. I’m still Aaron, and I’m still here to be your conductor for the experience.

So, if you haven’t heard recently, in issue #24 of Batman (2017) by Tom King, Clay Mann, and David Finch, Batman a.k.a. Bruce Wayne (like you don’t know who he is) proposed to Catwoman a.k.a. Selina Kyle. In issue #32 of that same series, after telling a major story about his war with the Joker and the Riddler, Catwoman finally said “yes” to Batman’s proposal.

While this is certainly not the first time that these two have been romantically linked, they have not had as much of a relationship presence as they do now. The two were married in an alternate universe story in The Brave and the Bold #197 (a DC Comics team up series), and were even married in DC’s Earth 2 continuity (and had a daughter together – Helena Wayne). So DC has obviously been thinking about the possibility.

So why is there all the fuss about the proposal now?

Up until this point, Batman and Catwoman in the main continuity have not had as much of a romance as their alternate counterparts. For most of her comic book career, Catwoman has been portrayed as a bonafide villain. When DC decided to make her have a romantic interest in Batman, her character changed to become more antiheroic and eventually, in the modern day, heroic (who steals from the rich). Modern adaptations of the character have brought this to light including helping Batman in video games like Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Injustice 2. Even the movies got involved with The Dark Knight Rises where both Bruce and Selina ride off into the sunset after Bruce’s brush with death.

So again, Aaron, why all the fuss now?

There is a reason that I’m writing about this and not about another item in pop culture. Bruce and Selina represent the very nature of us. They represent the people who thought that they had it all but realized that there was one thing missing: their own self-care. As the protector of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante, but also a caretaker. He’s adopted four young men into his care as Robin(s), trained them all to be strong in themselves, and has protected the streets of Gotham from the criminals and villains that populate it. He also leads and funds the Justice League of America, mentors and helps out the Teen Titans, and runs a day-to-day business with Wayne Enterprises. He is the definition of a Renaissance Man.

But even Batman can’t do it all, and the one thing that he ultimately fails at is his own self-care. In issue #24 of Batman (2017), titled “Every Epilogue is a Prelude”, Bruce talks with a fellow superhero about the issue of his happiness. He mentions that he is Batman because he wants to be happy with his life, but he doesn’t admit to it because he is scared of the potential of being happy. After everything that he’s seen and done in his career, his greatest fear is being happy with the man under the cowl. Because of that, he takes the first step in asking the love of his life to marry him – to finally end the pain and trauma of his vigilante lifestyle.

In other words, Bruce is finally practicing some self-care.

No matter what action you take, no matter who you are trying to help, and no matter what you say, we are all aiming to be happy. We are all aiming to do something in this world that means something. For a lot of us, that means serving others and doing the right thing. For some of us, that’s a little different. But what is universally missing is the self-care that we need to practice. If there is one thing that you remember, it’s to take care of yourself. If you need help, reach out. If you’re lonely, talk to someone. If you are afraid, admit it. In other words, be your hero.

I learned this lesson coming into college. I was very much like Batman; I always gave solid advice to everyone else. When it came time for my turn, I froze. I didn’t know how to handle myself. It’s not like I didn’t have the wisdom; it was just the fear of either being arrogant or self-serving. In any case, I learned how to be my own hero, and it’s a lesson that I’m still learning to this day. I am thankful for all the people who have helped and supported me, but even they cannot always be there one-hundred percent. In a sense, I had to be happy with the man behind the mask.

Not everyone’s answer to the question, How do you make yourself happy, will be marriage. It won’t be a career, it won’t be service, and it won’t be friends. Sometimes, you do what you have to do to take care of yourself in a positive and constructive way. For me, it’s boxing, eating ice cream, reading comics, and writing helpful yet funny articles like this one. You have to find your way of life and find a way to defeat your own “private demons” (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns 1986).

As you walk out into the world, remember to take care of yourself and to always find your peace. Godspeed, dear readers.


Aaron is a senior majoring in professional writing.

With Great Power…

When my dad was younger, he was a huge fan of comic book superheroes. The X-Men, Avengers, Batman (sometimes)…and of course, Spider-Man. While he favored the X-Men, he told me stories of how he watched all the cartoons from the ‘80s on up while catching up with the Super Friends and the X-Men animated series. When he had kids and got older, he passed that knowledge down to the one person who would appreciate it: me.

Hi, my name is Aaron, and I am a comic book fan. Most importantly, I am a Spider-Man fan. I have been all my life. Yes, I admire Batman too, but Spider-Man has been, and probably always will be, my favorite superhero.

“So why do you like Spider-Man?”

There’s a combination of phrases and words that I could say that would answer this question more efficiently.

“I love the movies!”

“I love Tobey McGuire!”

“Oh man, Andrew Garfield owned the role!”

“Tom Holland killed it!”

“I used to watch the cartoons and play the games!”

Needless to say, all of the above are answers I’ve heard from other people and answers I’ve given myself. I’ve pretty much seen every movie, TV show, comic, and video game there is to see about the Web-Slinger. In my dorm room sits a huge collection of Ultimate Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man…the list goes on.

I could potentially excite you with every first appearance of the major characters, or regale you with the origin story for the millionth time, or, even better, tell you how inaccurate some of the multimedia products are from the comics. I could be typical and tell you everything.

“So why do you like Spider-Man?”

I believe in the message that he carries. The message that says Spider-Man is a man who is hated by those around him, yet still does the right thing. The message that says Peter Parker is an orphan who was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben as if he was their own son. The message that says Peter found true love and lost it in the death of Gwen Stacy. The message that says that no matter who lives or who dies, no matter how much one suffers at the hands of goblins and octopi, or even your own mistakes, that you cannot rise up again to fight the good fight.

So I learned these lessons early on in my life and took them with me to school. Kids would always pick on me and call me “Spider-Freak” because of my apparent fanboy tendencies. I would often try and tell girls how cool Spider-Man was, and they would walk away faster than the Flash. Even my own parents grew concerned with how much of an impact they thought Spider-Man had. My dad, despite introducing me to this world of comics, kept asking me to “grow out of it” and “get in the real world.”

What he didn’t realize was that the real world for me was kind of a nightmare. I was bullied, sometimes physically. I was ridiculed, sometimes abusively. I was pranked, spat on, and made an outcast. Between that at school, my home life was not much better. My parents, despite their best intentions, were fighting constantly about money and about their situation. Many times occurred where it seemed like they would divorce. My sister turned from a nice, sweet girl into someone I didn’t even recognize. The real world was unforgiving and cruel.

But I was smart enough to realize that Peter’s life was no cakewalk either. He too was bullied in high school and had to hide his true identity so as to not endanger Aunt May’s life. He too had money issues that led to him finding different ways to make money. He too had family who, albeit were kind, still found ways to not be there for him or better yet, couldn’t relate to him. And when Gwen died, he felt that he lost a piece of himself and that he failed. But the good news is that he still kept going.

“So why, oh why, do you like Spider-Man? Why not Batman? He’s so cool. He has gadgets and toys and can kick butt and can beat Superman. Why Spider-Man?”

I look them right in the eye and say it’s because “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

That phrase embodies everything that I want to do in my life. It’s my mission statement and mantra. I want to know that if I have the power to do something, and the ability to do it, I should use it to help someone else. My past is my past and that will never change, but my future is mine to control. My life is in my hands and in that I can start to spin new stories and new ideas that will help me reach out to others. My power is in my mind, body, and spirit. My responsibility is to be able to help others around me achieve their goals. It’s why I want to start a publishing company. It’s why I network with fellow writers and artists. It’s why I teach boxing. It’s why I work with publishers to help others bring their works to light. If I have the skills and the powers, what right do I have to withhold them?

At the end of the day, that is what I believe. I know that it is not easy. I realize it is sometimes hard. I know that there are days when you either want to put your costume in the trash or start wearing a symbiote. But remember this: you have the power, you are the light. Your city needs you, and it cannot shine without you. Others may see you and discredit or try to destroy you, but you must understand that they will not win in the end. Your destiny is waiting for you in the future. So as you walk off silently into the night, as you contemplate your next step, remember this invaluable lesson: that when there is great power, there must also come great responsibility.


Crazy Train” is a Baylor Mug production that will be written twice a month. We talk about real world issues using fictional characters. In addition to that, I’ll give you all classic comic strips to read and enjoy before each article. Basically, this is the place to nerd out, to review, and to talk about all the things that bother you. “Crazy Train” is a wild ride…will you join it with me?