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Batman Parody

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"Imagine Batman, then aim... lower."
Number Five about Diego, The Umbrella Academy (2019)
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As one of the most famous superheroes of all time, Batman seems to be the most frequent target for direct parody, more than any other character, including Superman. This may have something to do with the 1960s TV series Batman (1966), which widely increased his pop culture notability outside the USA, as well as the high profile blockbuster movies from 1989 on. Thus more people on Earth, even those who aren't fans of superhero comics, will be familiar with aspects of the Batman universe than any other superhero franchise.

Typical elements for this Stock Parody will be the bat ears, the bat mask, the bat symbol shining across the street, the bat mobile (which has its own page To the Batnoun!), the Batman Cut, a younger Sidekick much like Robin, a trustworthy butler who helps the superhero out, wacky villains built around one defining characteristic (The Joker, The Riddler, etc.), onomatopoeic words flashing to the screen during fight sequences, the phrase I'm Batman! said with a husky voice, and, in some versions, a comically excessive Dark and Troubled Past and over-the-top angst Played for Laughs.

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Often the superhero in question will have a Punny Name based on Batman, like "Fatman", "Bartman", "Catman", ... As an extra joke his theme song will be a direct parody of the Batman theme song from the 1960s TV show.

For a similar, if less satirical tropes, see Superman Substitute, Spiderman Sendup, and Practically Joker.

For the non-parodical examples of the archetype Batman codified, see The Cowl.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon: In The Johto Journeys episode "The Superhero Secret", Ash and his friends meet an aging Batman parody named named Gligarman, who switches out the bat motif for one based on the bat-scorpion Pokemon Gligar.
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    Comic Books 
  • Watchmen:
    • Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl is rich, has a dark flying animal-themed suit, a yellow Utility Belt, gadgets and a themed aircraft. Actually a Deconstruction of Crimefighting with Cash — he openly admitted how spending millions on dollars on crimebusting equipment to fight purse-snatchers and prostitutes isn't exactly the most economically sound thing to do.
    • Rorschach is essentially an amalgamation of Batman and The Question. In fact Alan Moore has specifically described Rorschach as being "Batman without the excuses" and noting that "he would be considered a nutjob in real life."
  • Green Arrow was created specifically because DC wanted another Batman. Though as time went by he ended up diverging further and further from Batman to the point where he became a foil. Aside from the obvious similarities like being a Badass Normal who fights crime with cash, a very important difference between the two is they have almost opposite moral ideologies, with Green Arrow trying to see the good in people while Batman intimidates them and locks them up.
  • Daredevil has always been Marvel's Alternate Company Equivalent of the Caped Crusader, being a vigilante who prowls around at night and Fights Like a Normal. At times he may even play the bat motif better than Batman due to being blind and relying on radar hearing.
  • Nighthawk of Marvel's Squadron Sinister, who were a team of four villains who were based off members of the Justice League, with Nighthawk being the stand-in for Batman by taking after his costume and use of gadgets.
  • Moon Knight is another Marvel Alternate Company Equivalent of Batman. Along with his cape & cowl and his Moon-themed gadgets, he also has his Alfred expy Frenchie.
  • Night Justice in Second Coming is a hero in Sunstar's therapy group who wears all-black, is a Badass Normal with grappling hooks, boomerangs and a small fortune to do his fighting with and possesses a one-sided rivalry with Sunstar.

    Comic Strip 
  • Suske en Wiske. The album Wattman is a direct parody of the 1960s TV series, which was popular when this story was published. A wattman is an old Belgian term for a streetcar driver, like the one in the story. He has a similar bat mask and cape and sings his own theme song Wattman whenever he attacks somebody. In one gag he is standing in the lights of his streetcar, causing his silhouette to parody the Bat signal. The child character Suske even dresses up like him at one point, causing him to resemble Robin.
  • De Kiekeboes. During Kiekeboe's funeral many characters from different franchises are present, including Batman.
  • Urbanus. In one album Urbanus plays the superhero Badman (a bad is Dutch for bath) who rides through the street in a bath tub, accompanied by his sidekick Robin soap.
  • MAD Magazine. Batman was spoofed as early as 1953 as Battyman.
  • Works with a parody of the Justice League of America in general will include a parody of Batman:
  • The mostly-forgotten Ultimate Adventures miniseries featured Hawk-Owl and his boy sidekick Woody, who were fairly blatant parodies of Batman and Robin.
  • The comic strip and subsequent animated series Bananaman contains numerous elements parodying the 1960s TV series.
  • A Beetle Bailey Sunday strip from circa 1966 featured Sgt. Snorkel dreaming he was Fatman and Beetle was his sidekick Blubber.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Angels of Music reinvents Dr Falke from Die Fledermaus as a vengeful crusader in a bat costume, with a variety of bat-shaped weapons and gadgets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community had Abed dressed an acting like the Nolanverse Batman. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • The Russian sketch show Gorodok (The Little Town) had a few sketches called "Batment" ("Ment" is a Russian slang word for a policeman).
  • The Brit Com Only Fools and Horses has a famous shot of Del Boy and Rodney running through London in costume as Batman and Robin. The '60s Batman theme is used for the soundtrack.
  • In a sketch on The Benny Hill Show they're shooting a military film. One of the officers calls for his batmannote , and Hill enters dressed as Batman, having obviously missed the point of the piece. A moment later Jackie Wright comes in as Robin.
  • The Avengers (1960s) had an episode around a comic studio making "The Winged Avenger". The climactic fight has Mrs. Peel and Mr Steed hitting the Big Bad with Hit Flash panels while a Musical Pastiche of the Batman theme plays.
  • The UK kids' comedy Coppers and Co had one episode with the two leads as Catman and Dobbin, whose enemies included the Jester and the Parrot.
  • British puppet character Roland Rat once had an entire series called Ratman where he was a costumed crimefighter battling villains like Wombatwoman.
  • Burnistoun has a series of sketches featuring The Doberman, a dog-themed superhero with a growl, cape, and costume that resembles Batman. Unlike Batman, The Doberman seems more concerned with getting back at his school bullies than fighting crime.
  • One of Cha Cha Cha's skits was Juan Carlos Batman, involving an Argentine, fat, and lacking in money Batman (as well as Robin), that is more often than not caught in everyday situations (such as sending his "Batmobile" for repairs, going off to meet the Argentine Superman in a bar, or doing a Bat-Walk to reach a TV studio and get an interview)) rather than fighting crime. Funnily enough, one skit involved a conference between all the Batmen in the Mercosur member nations (and picking up a loud argument with the Supermen that were having a meeting next door), where the Argentine Batman is trying to get an international Batman organization to give them financial support... a good 20 years before Grant Morrison's Batman and Batman Inc.
  • More like an Actor Allusion, but still. Adam West appeared in the 1990s Zorro series as "Dr. Henry Wayne", who is astounded at the idea of riding out from a cave under the mansion to fight crime. Zorro has been a chief inspiration for the creation of Batman.

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "Supertoon" setting for Toon has Splatman, who is generally seen as a complete idiot for attempting to fight supervillains with no powers.
  • During Paranoia's Dork Age, pop culture parodies began to dominate over the game's trademark Black Comedy. The character of Vatman in More Songs About Food Vats is a forgettable example.

    Video Games 
  • Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012, a Spiritual Successor to Twisted Metal 1-2, features a driver called Ratman who is a spoof of Batman mixed with Mickey Mouse.
  • Temper from Best Fiends is an insect parody of Batman, wearing a leaf-made mask with pointed ears, and gaining a utility belt and cape with further evolution levels. He has an unlockable costume known as "The Dark Mite", which colors him in shades of black. The final icing on the cake of his parody is him originally being voiced by Mark Hamill in the webseries, who is one of the go-to voices of The Joker, Batman's biggest adversary.
  • Batoro from DragonFable. He has a near identical outfit, two sidekicks called Roblos and San Robin, and a Rogues Gallery that parodies that of the Dark Knight's. Completing Batoro's questchain also earns the badge "The Arch Knight".
  • One case in Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy involves Katrielle investigating the disappearance of a superhero named Ratman, who was mostly based on the '60s version (but some '90s movies references, like "Ratman Forever", were made as well).

    Web Animation 
  • Society of Virtue has three separate Batman expies in their cast, each meant to represent a different part of Batman.
    • Black Badness is meant to represent the general archetype of The Cowl. His style of dress and facial hair makes him more resemble Green Arrow but his role as the Society's second in command and his archnemesis Pierrot being an obvious Joker stand-in make him more Batman-like.
    • Bernard (AKA Ratman) is supposed to be more of a parody of Silver Age/Adam West era Batman. Bernard is portrayed as a rich manchild with a drinking problem who drags a frightened teenager with him on life-threatening missions.
    • Urban Crow is used to parody more modern appearances of Batman. He's The Comically Serious with a strained relationship with the local police commissioner and flashy but horribly impractical tactics.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • The character of Radioactive Man is a combination of almost every superhero, but some of his attributes are directly spoofing Batman (and some of Fallout Boy's spoof Robin). In "Radioactive Man" a film is made about him, directly parodying the Batman blockbusters of the 1990s, including a call-back to the 1960s Radio Active Man TV series, where a wacky villain is shown named the Scoutmaster and the fight scenes have onomatopoeic words flashing to the screen.
    • Similarly Bart imagines himself to be the superhero "Bartman", particularly in the last third of the Three Shorts episode "Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Three Times", entitled Bartman Begins.
    • In "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer" Homer's silhouette is projected in the light of a lighthouse, causing Bart and Lisa to see it as something the resembles the Bat signal.
    • In the episode, "Lisa's Sax" Bart sings a song called Buttman.
    • In the episode "Dark Knight Court", Mr. Burns becomes a vigilante known as "Fruit Batman" after reading some comic books, fighting a Rogues Gallery almost entirely consisting of his employees being paid by Smithers to act the part of the villains Fruit Batman defeats. Despite Mr. Burns being an occassional Card-Carrying Villain, he's quite good at playing the role of a superhero, as he managed to take down one legitimate supervillain offscreen, and he defeated Groundskeeper Willie, proving Bart's innocence of a prank that Willie committed in the A-plot.
  • South Park. Cartman's outfit of "The Coon" also mimics the bat mask and cape of Batman. Kenny as "Mysterion" is also a parody of Batman, specifically the Nolanverse version in how he affects an exaggerated growl.
  • Freakazoid!. One episode had a character named "Fatman" trying to run while his theme song played.
  • Darkwing Duck. Darkwing has a similar bat mask, dark outfit, cape, automobile and even shows a similar light signal across the street.
  • The Tick has a direct Batman parody in "Die Fledermaus" ("the Bat" in German). He has oversized ears, claws and nose, and is a massive coward, preferring to run away from evil rather than fight it. In The Tick (2001) they couldn't use "Die Fledermaus" so they have "Batmanuel", a Latino version. He doesn't have many skills nor is he seen crimefighting - even less than other heroes on the show.
  • Arthur: The Show Within the Show "Bionic Bunny" is a version of Superman; later on he gets a cousin in the form of "Dark Bunny," who is Batman-like.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has Mermaid-Man and Barnacle Boy, an Affectionate Parody and/or Homage to 1960s Batman (1966) (as well as Aquaman and Aqualad), who've since turned into Old Superheroes.
  • Batfink is a parody of Batman and The Green Hornet, starring an actual bat.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "City of Thieves", the section where Finn believes himself to have been spiritually "darkened" by the corrupt city is a visual and stylistic parody of, specifically, Batman: The Animated Series.
  • In the VeggieTales episodes featuring Larry-boy, the titular super-hero is a parody/homage to Batman in the cases of a butler named Alfred, a dark and brooding personality, and teaming up with a League of similar heroes at one point. There are also similarities in gadgetry, such as a signal that shines into the sky with a silhouette of Larry-boy's head (similar to the bat-signal) and the Larry-mobile. Show creator, Phil Vischer, has stated that the Batman homage was going to be in the form of Bob the Tomato taking on the persona of "Batbob" with Larry-boy being similar to Robin and being Batbob's sidekick.
  • Adam West himself has participated in some animated Batman parodies.
    • The Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Batmantis" has Zorak dressing like the titular superhero to rescue Moltar, who has been kidnapped by a supervillain called Your Mother. Along the way, Zorak meets West, as well as two of the three actresses who played Catwoman in the 1966 series (Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt), and participates in a Written Sound Effect fight scene whose captions include "Obvious Parody!"
    • Two Johnny Bravo episodes ("Johnny Bravo Meets Adam West!" and "Adam West's Date-O-Rama") have West voicing himself as a narcissistic, Cloudcuckoolander TV host who casually fights bad guys on a regular basis.
    • The Fairly Oddparents has him as Catman, played in-universe by "TV's Adam West" (Where!?). Here he's a slightly senile Cloudcuckoolander who actually thinks he's the superhero he used to play.
    • The Spongebob Squarepants episode "Back to the Past" has Adam West voicing the younger version of Mermaid Man, in an homage to the character being a parody of Batman.
    • An episode of Kim Possible has West playing Timothy North, who's secretly the retired superhero The Fearless Ferret. He convinces Ron to take up the mantle (an extra Actor Allusion, as Ron is voiced by Will Friedle, who also voiced Batman successor Terry McGinnis). Turns out The Fearless Ferret was just an old TV show North played the lead role in, and both he and an actor who played a villain on the show are just two senile old men who have gotten Lost in Character.
    • Hell, he even did this on a Batman show. In Batman: The Animated Series, he played Simon Trent, a washed-up actor who played the title role in The Gray Ghost, a parody of the campy Adam West Batman show, which the young Bruce Wayne was a fan of. Enough of a fan that when he became Batman, he modelled his entire aesthetic and crimefighting style after the Gray Ghost, right down to the Batcave being an exact duplicate of the Gray Ghost's headquarters (with the addition of a hidden room full of Gray Ghost memorabilia). Trent is incredibly flattered when Batman shows it to him, and is happy that the show that single-handedly ruined his entire career at least inspired somebody to do some real good.
  • Miraculous Ladybug has one Villain of the Week called Dark Owl who is like an evil Batman, with a similar suit, use of gadgets, and even a super computer called Albert.
  • Supermansion has Black Saturn, who is a particularly useless crimefighter who fights by tossing rings similar to batarangs. While he has money, he's also a whiny manchild completely lacking in skill or competence and since his parents are still alive relies solely on handouts.
  • Kydwykkyd from Teen Titans send to blur the line between this and Batman Parody. Being a villain who's explicitly modeled after the Dark Knight's appearance.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, there were a few shorts where Plucky Duck went out as a superhero called "Bat-Duck". Hampton acted as his Robin, "Decoy, The Pig Hostage".
  • Captain Sunshine of The Venture Bros. is a combination of a Superman and Batman parody: He has the appearance, similar powers and Clark Kenting of the former and the social status and propensity for easily-killed boy sidekicks of the latter. For extra points, he is also voiced by Kevin Conroy. In a twist to the legend, it turns out that his predecessor is the Alfred expy and that the current Captain Sunshine was the former Wonder Boy.
  • Wingnut from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) adaptation is a direct parody of Batman. He is a comic book characters that came to life, is a Bat themed superhero, has a sidekick who he refers to as "Old Chum", uses gadgets on his belt including the "Wingnut-a-rang", and his voice actor played Batman in a one-time role.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes has Laserblast, who was P.O.I.N.T.'s resident Anti-Hero. He also wore a helmet with little ears on top, similar to Batman's cowl. Ability-wise, however, he was more like Cyclops.
  • Wander over Yonder: In "The Boy Wander", Wander adopts a Batman-like persona to face Dr. Screwball Jones, a Well-Intentioned Extremist villain whose idea of spreading happiness and laughter is through Tickle Torture.
  • The Bakshi Mighty Mouse featured Bat-Bat who, like Batfink, is an actual bat. His schtick is cracking jokes, a habit that becomes an addiction that he tries to beat with Mighty Mouse's help.
  • The Secret Lives Of Waldo Kitty: In scenes that involve the neighborhood bird, Waldo envisions himself as Catman. Also includes an Expy of the sidekick (Sparrow) and each of the three core opponents (Jester, Poochquin, Puzzler).

 
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Video Example(s):

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The Campy 70s Radioactive Man

The 70s Radioactive Man show of old was effectively the 60s Batman in all but name. There's sidekick catchphrases, overblown villains, a low-voiced, Adam West-like hero and hit flashes with silly onomatopoeia. And the music in the background even sounds like music from the 60s Batman.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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