chap22 wrote:I feel like I'm the only person here who gets Waid's point. He's not saying Batman can't or shouldn't be dark. Or even, I think, that he himself can't be cynical.
But there's a difference in writing Batman as a cynic, and writing him cynically. Don't write the character as "aw this is bulkshit, nobody can do the stuff he does so let me take the piss out of him." don't turn him into a murderer b/c you think "this moral code is bullshit, nobody believes that."
Put him in dark stories. Push him, by all means. But always remember Bats is supposed to be a hero...deep down he doesn't fight crime for vengeance, he does it to keep any other child of Gotham from having to grow up an orphan.
Which reminds me of what I think is TERRIBLE cynical writing: any writer who writes Batman like they believe he's as crazy as the Joker. Yeah, realistically...he may be. But don't write him that way. It bores me, and it doesn't entertain me.
I think you've had the key insight here. It's not cynical stories
that Waid is complaining about, it's cynical writers.
The characters can be dark, the tone can be gritty, the stories can contain violence and so forth all without the writer having a cynical attitude to the stories.
I think what Waid means by cynical is that on some level the writers are thinking, 'this is stupid, the people who like this are idiots.'
Now, having said that I think it's pretty clear that a lot of comic book creators do and have had that attitude. Stan Lee probably had a very low opinion of his audience. The whole notion of a 'No-Prize,' for example, is a pretty clear instance of utter contempt for the audience. This is a man who knows that people will buy any old shit and is happy to sell it to them. That's cynicism. The stories
he wrote, on the other hand, were all ultimately positive stories.
Most superhero movies are deeply cynical even when they're hokey. That's why Avengers was so awesome, it's one of the few superhero movies that was genuinely created by people who like and understand the genre. With Green Lantern, say, it's pretty obvious that everyone involved thought that it was adequate. They thought, 'it's sufficient to just put some schmuck in a mask and spends hundreds of millions of dollars on SFX and marketing. They might not care about Super Lantern Man now but wait till they see the trailers, then they'll turn around. Whatever, you know? It's only superheroes.'