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.