Scott Alexander, on Batman as a triumph of personal branding over effectiveness, here:
There’s an old joke about Batman. Suppose you’re a hypercompetent billionaire in a decaying city, and you want to do something about the crime problem. What’s your best option? Maybe you could to donate money to law-enforcement, or after-school programs for at-risk teens, or urban renewal. Or you could urge your company full of engineering geniuses to invent new police tactics and better security systems. Or you could use your influence as a beloved celebrity to petition the government to pass laws which improve efficiency of the justice system.So true, although I'm guessing that a comic strip about a socially-responsble philanthropist who doesn't wear moody fancy dress, drive a fast car and biff crims probably wouldn't have fulfilled nearly enough adolescent male fantasies to launch the franchise in the first place.
Bruce Wayne decided to dress up in a bat costume and personally punch criminals. And we love him for it.