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For the man who REALLY has everything

The other day, calamityjon and I were talking about the Alan Moore Superman story, "For the Man Who Has Everything." Then this happened:

Leonard:: I've always thought that it would be fun to see a little more of Batman's black mercy dream, because I think that if Bruce Wayne's parents weren't killed, he would have grown up to be the most boring motherfucker on the planet.

Jon:: He would've been Bob Kane, ironically. "I've got a, er, business trip to Miami, Kathy. Oh, and ain't this a hassle, I'm staying in a hotel that's hosting a perfume convention, so don't be surprised if I come home smelling like cheap tarts. I mean, can you believe it, I asked for a shirt collar withOUT lipstick on it. Well, whaddya gonna do?"

Leonard:: "Whoops, out of martooni juice! Alfred be a dear won't you."

Jon:: There's a conceit among Batman writers, in those rare "Bruce's parents didn't die" stories, where he eventually becomes Batman or something like Batman during some moment of clarity, despite a life of luxury. And I know his name’s on the cover and everything, but wouldn't it be nice if Bruce Wayne became something ... other than Batman? Just once?

Leonard:: Bruce Wayne would have only become Bruce Waynier if his parents hadn't died

Jon:: I reckon I'd have Bruce Wayne become a trustafarian college radical, and then becomes Richard Branson.

Leonard:: Right. Instead of the Batplane, he builds a big-ass balloon and flies it to the Himalayas for a photo op.

Jon:: And the only way he resembles Batman is that everyone loathes and envies him simultaneously.

Leonard:: He has Lex Luthor over for cocktails and is really sympathetic about that AWFUL Superman, then he has an interview with Clark Kent and bitches about Lexcorp. Throws Catwoman's bail so she'll sleep with him. He HONESTLY doesn't know who Harvey Dent or Jim Gordon are. "Gordon's the mayor, right?

Jon:: Has all these photo ops with orphanages he funds. Dick Grayson all seventeen and in and out of foster homes, Alfred drinking all the time.

Leonard:: Reads about Dick's parents getting killed at the circus and he's like "I should buy a circus!"

Jon:: Bat cave all filled with concrete.

Leonard:: He's always getting kidnapped by the Joker, waiting for Black Orchid to come rescue him, but it all goes Ruthless Peopleand the Joker gives him back for free. Back at stately Wayne Manor, Alfred all wearing a party hat and a noisemaker, then Joker dumps him on the front steps. "Oh DAMN it!"

Jon:: Man, Bruce Wayne, the most useless guy in the DCU. Simon Stagg all buying him out at auctions.

Leonard:: He does some crazy-ass shit, and Leslie Tompkins is all "Bruce, your father would be so ashamed of you." And then Thomas Wayne pops his head in from the kitchen, "Aw, go easy on the boy." Bruce is all "Thanks, dad, I'm going snowmobiling, is there any champagne left?"

Jon:: I can't even imagine where to take this. Except at age 60, Bruce appears on Dancing With The Stars after several years on the conservative pundit circuit.

Leonard:: He's a go-to crank for some obscure right-wing issue, like making Panama a U.S. state or something. Oh, and the bat really did fly through his window, but had no significance. And yet he still tells the story over and over.

Alfred, did I tell you about the time that huge-ass bat flew through the window of the study?"

"Only about a million times, sir."

"Yeah, how fucked up was THAT?"

"Very, sir."

Jon:: The World's Finest line-up changes like once every thirty or forty weeks, as Superman's unpowered partners never prove up to the task at some level. He starts his career partnered with The Black Pirate (d.1944, eaten by Saturnian Giant).
Ragman (d.1977, ripped in half by Anti-Superman/Ragman Revenge Squad). Codename: Assassin (d.1973) shortest ever term for a World's Finest partner, drowned when he forgot to charge his water-repelling boots.

Leonard:: The Big Three in the Justice League are Superman, Wonder Woman and whoever replaces the last guy to get fried by Kanjar Ro. "Man, I really thought the Human Target would be the one," says Green Lantern to a smoking pile of debris. Meanwhile, back at stately Wayne Manor, Bruce finishes his 83rd Sudoku book of the day.

Jon:: Superman and The Flash all interviewing The Protector from those Teen Titans anti-drug comics.

"Okay, we're going to give you some theoretical situations, we just want to hear your ideas of how you might handle these..." (flips through a stack of obituaries) "Okay, first off, you are trapped by the, let's see, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man. Keep in mind that 'tell him to say no to drugs' may NOT always be the best answer."

"Well, okay, let me think ... now, do we KNOW that he's already said no to drugs?
Because that's pretty pivotal to my message."

Leonard:: Man, this is the best 'Elseworlds' ever.

Jon:: Phone rings, Superman has to take it, it's the Composite SuperMan, "Hey, are you still with Prez? How's that guy wear his hair, kind of a Shawn Cassidy thing or more of a Leif Garrett? Uh, yeah, Prez got ... well, we were in the Phantom Zone? And ... listen, this is a bad time, I got a ... a guy right here? Yeah, we're interviewing. I'll let you know. Okay. Okay. Say hi to your mom for me. Okay. Haha, all right, I'll make sure we get a half-good looking guy, nice one, all right, see ya. Asshole."

Leonard:: Meanwhile, back in Gotham, Bruce Wayne donates $50,000 to the Boss Smiley campaign. "He had these amazing tapas at his fund-raiser, Alfred."


Mar. 18th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
I spent a little bit of time after that discussion composing a list of Superman's dead partners, stretching all the way back to the Golden Age. I got bored with it pretty quickly, but suffice it to say that Supes was going through them pretty quickly and that, by 1955, the Shining Knight was spending a lot of time wondering why none of the other Seven Soldiers ever returned his calls.
Mar. 18th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
I would buy this book, but only if Bruce Wayne committed suicide in public when he learns that his risky and sneaky investment strategies have bankrupted him and his parents, and plunged Gotham into an inescapable spiral of violent crime and unemployment.
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
"Billionaire Playboy and Gotham Socialite Bruce Wayne Disappeared Over Central Florida While Flying Private Plane. Presumed Dead."
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Holy crap, nice.
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
This is pretty awesome.

Would this be "Earth-Bruce Wayne leads an Interesting Life"?
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Ah, but that's Batman! Not Bruce Wayne!

Just once I'd like to see the alternate-earth heroes arrive and Bruce Wayne has a mountain of blow like Tony Montana, a hooker on each arm.
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Whaat I didn't know you were still updating GaF! I just sent a support request to LJ to update the feed address.
Mar. 18th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
I changed the feed some time back, because of atoms or something, rss_gaf. Been updating it a little since the end of last year, but I haven't done anything enormous with it yet ...
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
By the way, we just accidentally penned the three-quel to Alan Davis' JLA:The Nail. God help us.
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
Hooray for this.
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic.
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
"I should buy a circus!"
That's pretty magnificent.
Mar. 18th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
Awesome. You should be very proud.
Mar. 18th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
So, if his parents didn't die would Bruce be über-rich or just rich? Because I'm thinking trust fund + estate + double insurance payoff from mom and dad = more $$$ than he'd have with healthy parents.
Mar. 18th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Maybe Bruce hired Joe Chill in the first place! Darkpage that!
Mar. 18th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
And then Neal Hefti would have a top 40 hit with that one semi-instrumental pop song that goes "na na na na na na na na, SURFING" or something.
Mar. 18th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Na na na na na na na na, TAX FRAUD
Mar. 18th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
Even if his parents hadn't been killed, I figure Bruce Wayne would still have been some sort of physical and mental prodigy. At the very least, he would still probably be a billionaire philanthropist (although that probably wouldn't make for a particularly gripping comic book).

I think the more intriguing question is what would have happened if instead of a bat, something else had flown through his window?
Mar. 18th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Unless his super-talents were activated by his seeing his parents die.
Apr. 28th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
The best part of this idea is, most of Batman's enemies, especially the Joker, seem to be to be dependent on him to actually be villains. With him out of the picture Arkham Asylum wouldn't even need its paper-thin security. :D