Polygon Senior Games Editor Maddy Myers recently took to Twitter to claim that Batman is “deeply conservative to the point of being leftist by accident.”
Myers made her opinion clear on the matter in a series of tweets that began, “the whole point of batman to me is that it’s deeply conservative to the point of being leftist by accident because all of the villains are marginalized and mentally ill and queer and have great reasons for hating gotham and being pissed off that rich people won’t ever fix it.”
In a follow-up tweet, Myers added, “anyway, i thought the batman (2022) was pretty much fine in terms of this. it does batman stuff.”
Myers then stated, “i have pretty low expectations of a universe in which harley quinn, poison ivy, and catwoman are literally all queer sexy lady villains and that’s canon and writers have had to bend over backwards to not make that offensive anymore.”
The Polygon editor then wrote, “i think it’s cool when my mentions fill with people who tell me to read more comics because then i can feel extremely smug that i already do. at the very least you could all be explaining to me that gotham city sirens was actually very progressive for its time! (it was, sadly)”
She then criticized the male writers who had previously tackled Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman albeit without actually stating what was wrong with their works other than the fact they were men.
She wrote, “i’ll read anything with poison ivy, harley quinn, and catwoman in it because i love those freakin’ gals and it’s within my rights to point out that men wrote them poorly for decades. thanks for coming by!”
She added, “i also have an x-men podcast that i bet is going to piss you all off too.”
Directing the thread towards the X-Men, Myers tweeted, “honestly, if you want a more explicit political allegory in your comic books, i am on my knees begging you to read some x-men.”
“The allegory is oftentimes NOT good, but at least it’s trying to do that, so you can critique on those grounds and have a great time doing it,” she concluded.
Following that she plugged an interview she conducted when she previously worked at The Mary Sue and asked for comic book recommendations for Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn.
Myers’ opinion on Batman makes absolutely no sense. Her claim that the character is somehow “leftist by accident because all of the villains are marginalized and mentally ill and queer and have great reasons for hating gotham and being pissed off that rich people won’t ever fix it” is a rejection of the actual reality of Batman and the numerous stories he’s involved in.
Not only is it a rejection of the actual reality of Batman comics, but it’s also a warped view that somehow justifies doing absolutely vile and heinous things because you are pissed off that rich people in Gotham aren’t fixing the city, something many of the rich people in Gotham actually try to do including Bruce Wayne on numerous occasions.
It’s also absurd on its face to claim that Batman and his stories are somehow leftist because the villains are “marginalized and mentally ill and queer.” If the reason Batman is leftist is because his villains are “marginalized and mentally ill and queer” it implies those traits are somehow inherently evil, which they are not.
First, let’s address the idea that Batman’s villains are all “marginalized and mentally ill and queer.” One of the most popular Batman villains in recent years is Bane. He’s not marginalized, mentally ill, or queer. He’s an extremely strong and intelligent criminal mastermind who enhances his physical strength through the super-steroid known as Venom.
Another prominent villain who is not mentally ill, marginalized or queer is Mr. Freeze, who was originally conceived as a cunning criminal named Mister Zero, who used numerous freeze gadgets to rob a jewelry store and even steal jewelry from a visiting prince and princess.
The character would be reimagined to commit crimes in order to find a solution or cure for his terminally ill wife, Nora, that he put into cryo freeze following an industrial accident.
Other villains that don’t fit in Myers’ box include Riddler, Carmine Falcone, Ra’s al Ghul, Victor Zsasz, Anarky, Brother Eye, Calculator, Calendar Man, Catman, Cluemaster, Copperhead, KGBeast, Kite Man, Owlman, Prometheus, Lady Shiva, Talia al Ghul, Bronze Tiger, Arnold John Flass, and Harvey Bullock among others.
Clearly, there are plenty of Batman villains and many top tier Batman villains who are not mentally ill, marginalized, or queer.
Second, there are plenty of rich members of Gotham society who attempt to fix the city and help all of its citizens. Bruce Wayne is a prime example. Not only does he try and aid the city through his company and its technological advances, but also through its charitable work. Wayne also becomes Batman and fights crime head-to-head.
Even if there are rich individuals in Gotham who have no interest in helping Gotham and only want to exploit the individuals of the city, of which there are numerous like the Penguin and Carmine Falcone, it does not justify other villains committing heinous and despicable crimes.
Two wrongs do not make a right. Joker murdering Psimon is still murder. Stealing from Penguin is still stealing.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, “There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.”
Finally, to reiterate there is nothing inherently wrong about being mentally ill, marginalized, or queer. The Catechism clearly teaches on homosexuality, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.”
It continues, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
As for marginalized individuals, one only needs to look at the Church’s teaching on social justice, which states, “Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man.”
It further notes, “Respect for the human person entails respects for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority.”
St. Pope John Paul II also stated in a Papal document, “Whoever suffers from mental illness ‘always’ bears God’s image and likeness in himself, as does every human being in addition, he ‘always’ has the inalienable right not only to be considered as an image of God and therefore as a person, but also to be treated as such.”
To conclude, Myers’ claims are not only ridiculous, they are absurd. Not all of Batman’s villains are “marginalized and mentally ill and queer.”
Claiming to identify with any of these labels does not justify heinous and immoral acts of violence. However, there is also nothing inherently evil about identifying with these labels.
What do you make of Myers’ claim about Batman? Do you think Batman is so conservative that he’s actually leftist by accident?