I've always had this great idea for a Batman story arc. Those who have discussed this with me know what it is. I won't get into the idea here in the fruitless hope that DC may someday ask me to write a few issues of one of the Batman comics. I'd have to be a pretty big name because what I want to do is not something that DC would take too lightly. My story would be a natural progression for the character as I see him, and it would change the DC universe ever so slightly.
I was thinking about this while getting ready to go grocery shopping this morning. Character progressions and writing. In comic books, characters can only change ever so slightly before they turn into something that has strayed so far from what the core of the character is that it ultimately dooms the progression. Batman has suffered from this. Wolverine. Spider-Man. Superman. Iron Man. In fact, the only big name hero I can think of who has progressed in any manner that seems not only plausible but also works for him is Daredevil, one of my favorites. In comic books, characters are unable to progress due to the nature of the industry and its fans. In writing novels, however, a character must progress and is expected to. The reaction of readers is almost the exact opposite of comic book fans. The more real the progression, the better.
(The exception, of course, are franchise characters. Those characters are essentially comic book characters. The Executioner comes to mind.)
These differences aren't necessarily bad, but when it comes to comic books it is limiting. Sure, characters have changed in very subtle ways, but have do they honestly progress? Let's face it, wouldn't Professor X, in all his intelligence, see how easy it would be to turn Wolverine into some sort of killing machine (which has happened) and saw fit to totally take the out the violent aspects of his personality for the safety of the world? Maybe. Maybe not. If I wrote any of the X titles ...
As a writer, I, like any other writer who likes comic books, have characters I'd love to do. Batman is one of them, if only to tell this story. I would not want to do Daredevil. Nor would I want to do Star Wars. I'm too much of a fan and only want to be a spectator to these worlds. I don't want to be involved behind the scenes. It would take the fun out of it for me. Batman, the titles of which I tend to enjoy, is different. I don't have as much personal involvement in him as I do Daredevil.
Will I ever get to write Batman? Unlikely. A few years ago I did a fan fiction piece which was published and then promptly taken down (or so I was told). It wasn't a progression for the character, but I did explore some unpleasant truths about his values and morals as I saw them. Maybe in the future I'll get to explore him a little more ... this time with DC's wishes. I don't expect to, but if I ever do I'll announce it here because it will be a story that gets people talking and debating, and it would change the character forever (and I don't want this to be one of the Elseworlds toss offs), and in the world of comics that can be the kiss of death ... until the next writer comes along.