In recent weeks there have been a lot of reviews of Batman Incorporated #13 and introspective pieces looking at the entire Grant Morrison run on Batman. These are all well-written and do a great job on unpacking the themes, motifs and concepts Morrison played with and/or introduced in his seminal run with the character.
Tom Bondurant, for example, talks about the way that Morrison made Batman “less of a jerk” and as such paved the way for the more compassionate but no less competent Bruce Wayne we are currently seeing Snyder and Capullo using in the current Batman title. However, there is one concept Bondurant (and others) ascribed to Grant Morrison when he merely took from somewhere else and added it to the DCU Bat universe: The Bat-Cow.
As cool as this concept is, and as famous Grant Morrison may be for mind-bending twists on familiar characters (Animal Man being the most beloved example), this is one mind-bending twist on a familiar character he did not invent. Instead, the Bat Cow first appeared in the criminally under-appreciated Tiny Titans by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. They created the character as a parody of the “Battle For the Cowl” storyline that was rampaging through the Batman books, having the Tiny Titans (in particular Robin and Jason Toddler) involved in the harrowing “Battle for the Cow” adventure. At the end of the adventure the cow triumphed, and wearing the cape and cowl of Dark Knight Detective became BAT COW !
Now, you could argue that the Bat Cow would not have come into existence were it not for Grant Morrison “killing” Bruce Wayne and sparking a storyline in which various heroes and villains battle for the right to be the new Batman. After all, without the “Battle for the Cowl” the parody “Battle for the Cow” would similarly not exist. Be that as it may, it was not in the pages of Battle for the Cowl, or any Morrison-penned Batman story, that the concept of the Bat Cow was moo-ted (sorry, couldn’t resist !), and the character did not appear in any form until that issue of Tiny Titans.
Now, I am not wanting to downplay the impact Morrison had on the bat-mythos, not denigrate his stories in any way (though to be honest I thought his run was only fairly decent, and not as good as the Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle run on Detective Comics and Batman in the 90s). I do want to ensure that when we talk about the great ideas and characters Grant Morrison brought to the table we do not include a character he did not create, and ensure that the true creators are given their due. Plus, I love Tiny Titans and think comic fans of all ages should read it !
So, Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, take a bow and receive the well-deserved plaudits for introducing a character that has won the hearts of Batman fans everywhere !
Oh, and if this upsets you, I simply say this:
Don’t have a cow, man !