Ask Chris #62: My Two Bat-Dads
Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That's every week, Senior Writer Chris Sims puts his comics culture knowledge to the test as he responds to your reader questions!
Q: Batman dies, and leaves Robin in a My Two Dads situation. Which superheroes does he select as dads? -- @MagicLoveHose
A: For those of you who haven't been listening to War Rocket Ajax -- the podcast that Matt Wilson and I produce each and every week right here at ComicsAlliance -- I've been thinking a lot about the sitcom My Two Dads lately. It's gotten to the point where I've actually had a conversation about it once a week for an entire month, which I'm pretty sure no one, even the people directly involved in the show, have done since at least 1993. And yet, as hard as it might be to believe coming from the World's Foremost Batmanologist, this is the first time I've thought of it in the context of my usual obsession. If only you'd found a way to work the Bring It On franchise in there, you would've hit the trifecta.For those of you who aren't familiar with it, My Two Dads was a sitcom that ran for three years in the late '80s, and it was based on what is unquestionably one of the most ludicrous premises ever recorded on film.
It focuses on two guys played by Paul Reiser and BJ and the Bear's Greg Evigan who are called before a judge for the reading of their mutual ex-girlfriend Marcy Bradford's will. Despite their past as romantic rivals who didn't get along, the two men haven't seen each other in fifteen years, which is why it comes as a shock that their mutual ex has demanded in her will -- which is apparently as legally binding as it is completely bat-sh** insane -- that they move in together and raise her daughter Nicole, because one of them is the father. And here's the crazy part: Paul Reiser's a businessman, and Greg Evigan? He wears jeans! Ha ha, how can those guys possibly get along! So wacky!
No, wait. Sorry, I got my notes mixed up: The actual crazy part is that if these two dudes -- who have hated each other for over a decade and both broke up with the woman before she even knew she was pregnant, presumably because she was shtupping both of them -- don't both agree to mutually raise the daughter of questionable lineage that they had no idea even existed before right then, she would be remanded to the custody of the state and be placed in an orphanage that is described in the show as Dickensian.
This is, I think you'll agree, the grandest, most complicated dick move in history on the part of the mother in every single way.
The idea that Batman would engage in such an act of post-mortem dicketry is flawed right from the start. For one thing...
For another, while I think it's safe to say that the idea of an intricate plan involving fifteen years of secrecy would hold some appeal for Batman, it's really not his style. I'm pretty sure that barring the occasional unfortunate incident with a crowbar -- and let's be honest, that kid was asking for it -- Batman would already have plans in place for his wards, children and various hangers-on in the event of his demise that did not use them as pawns in elaborate schemes to get revenge on his friends and/or teach them the meaning of togetherness. It doesn't really fit his goals.
For the sake of the question, however, let's assume that he does. And following the stated, completely insane premise of the show, Robin's Two Dads have to be super-heroes that a) he would enjoy seeing forced into a reasonably uncomfortable situation that would last for years, b) that he would actually trust to keep one of his sidekicks safe, c) someone who was unlikely to just say the hell with it and send Robin to the orphanage before going on with his day, and d) the complete social opposite of the other Dad.
The first choice is pretty easy to make: Superman.
Let's face it: If you want to raise a kid to be a decent human being and a top-notch crime-fighter, Superman's probably the guy you're going to want to go with. He definitely has the ability to provide for a kid, and more importantly, Batman trusts him. After all, for the forty years before everybody and their brother decided they wanted to be Frank Miller, those two dudes were best friends:
That said, I can't imagine that he wouldn't think it was hilarious to inconvenience the heck out of the guy by binding him inextricably to his final request. The last line of his will would probably be "gotcha."
Plus, he's already aware that Robin exists, which puts him a step ahead of Nicole's dads.
The only tricky part is the question of whether he'd bother to actually do it. Yes, Superman's a great guy who exists as a being of absolute, perfect morality who has devoted his life to helping others, but he's also a dude who discovered a second survivor of Krypton who was also a member of his family and decided to drop her off at the orphanage so fast that I'm surprised he didn't break the time barrier.
There's a good chance that that's the harshest thing I've ever seen in a comic. "We have each other now... just, you know, pretend you don't know who I am and let's also not tell anyone you exist for a while. I'll call you. Promise."
Batman would know this, of course, and so his second choice of Dad would have to be someone who would counterbalance this by being the kind of person who would refuse to let a youngster go to an orphanage. Combine that with the other requirements -- especially the one about being opposite extremes -- and there's only one person I can think of that really fits the bill as Batman's chosen Evigan: Tommy Monaghan, alias Hitman.
I know, I know: It sounds completely insane that Batman would ever recruit someone who kills people for money to raise one of his kids, but I think it'd work for a few reasons.
For starters, it solves the problem of Superman dropping the kid off at the local orphanage so that he could return to his happy bachelor life of messing with Lois Lane's head. Tommy had a pretty rough time growing up in an orphanage himself, and there's no way he'd let someone else go through that if he was called in to stop it. Well, "no way" might be a little strong. I have to admit that it certainly never stopped him from making his fair share of orphans to begin with.
Second, he already has a history with Superman that fits the pattern!
They used to be friends (see Hitman #34), and while their friendship became strained partly due to not seeing each other for a while (and, uh, partly because Tommy kills people for a living), it wasn't so far gone that they couldn't build at least a mutual respect (see JLA/Hitman #2).
But there's an even more important aspect that really makes it work: The entire point of Marcy Bradford's Machiavellian plot was to teach her exes a lesson about how they should come together and be friends, because she wasn't just a f***ing lunatic, she was a smug and pretentious f***ing lunatic who wanted to tell other people who they should associate with even after she died. With Batman, friendship probably wouldn't enter the equation; his relationship with Tommy mostly involved punching him in the face and trying to throw him in jail for killing people.
But! What Batman would want is one less gun-toting murderer on the streets of Gotham City, and it's awfully hard to kill people when you're constantly hanging out with a guy who can outrun your bullets and stop them from hitting their targets. Plus, if you're generally a decent person -- which, despite the killing, Tommy is -- there's only so much time you can spend with Superman before his goodness starts to rub off.
And now, The Lightning Round!
Q: Other than Uncle Ben, how would you rank the various suitors that Spider-Man's Aunt May has had over the years? -- @pbarb
A: Best to worst: Jay Jameson, Nathan Lubensky, Edwin Jarvis, Otto Octavius.
Q: If you got to choose one musical artist that you could make a comic anthology out of from their songs who would it be? -- @jason1749
Q: Did Batman go to college? I hear conflicting answers to this question? -- @terrusse
A: Of course!
Unlike Batmanology, actual Batmanning requires a degree. And usually some intense post-graduate work in the fields of punching, batarang dynamics and butler management.
Q: What superheroes are most and least appropriate as subjects for airbrushed t-shirts? -- @RaeBeta
A: Least appropriate? It's a tough call, but I'm going to go with Jack Hawksmoor from The Authority. The most appropriate, though, is unquestionably Dark Horse's own Rebel!
In fact, now that I'm actually looking at him again, I'm pretty sure that dude can only exist on an airbrushed t-shirt.
That's all we have for this week, but if you've got a question you'd like to see Chris tackle in a future column, just put it on Twitter with the hashtag #AskChris, or send an email to email@example.com with [Ask Chris] in the subject line!