Would Batman ever fight dirty and why
Does Batman have a rule against killing in comics?
Yes, he has the rule of not killing people, and although he initially killed some of his opponents as mentioned in previous answers, it didn't last long. Within a year of the character's introduction, the writers decided they needed a buddy Batman could talk to. and so Robin was born.
Batman stops killing - 1940:
A new comic book solo series was then introduced to give Batman the ability to operate independently. The first installment of the new series marked a milestone in Batman lore as it was the first appearance of the villains who would become his most famous opponents: Joker and Catwoman. At this point, Batman was still carrying guns and in the same issue he shot some monsters. That incident, combined with newly introduced underage pal Robin, inspired editor Whitney Ellsworth to proclaim that Batman should never kill or carry firearms again. This edition was published in 1940, within a year of Batman's first publication.
The Comic Book Code Authority - 1954:
While some of the previous answers suggested that the creation of the Comic Code Authority in 1954 was somewhat related to the decision to ban Batman from killing people, this is not really true for a number of reasons. First of all, he had stopped killing people 14 years before the CCA was founded. Second, and perhaps surprisingly, the Code did not specifically prohibit killing in comics.
The Code was more concerned with promoting civic virtue and moral responsibility, and aimed to prevent the moral degeneration of American youth. Superhero comics were a secondary concern, and the Code was primarily intended to curb the incredible popularity of horror, crime, and monster comics. Violence was not prohibited outright, only blood and excessive violence.
Some examples of things specifically forbidden in the 1954 version of the comic code:
General standards part A.
Crime should never be portrayed in a way that arouses sympathy for the criminal, arouses suspicion of the forces of law and justice, or inspires others to want to emulate criminals.
No comics are allowed to explicitly depict the unique details and methods of a crime.
Police officers, judges, government officials and reputable institutions should never be presented in a way that would disregard established authority.
When crime is depicted, it is a dirty and unpleasant activity.
Criminals must not be portrayed as glamorous or in a position that encourages imitation.
In either case, good will triumph over evil, and the criminal will be punished for his wrongdoings.
Scenes of excessive violence are prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and weapon play, physical agony, bloody and cruel crime are to be eliminated.
No unique or unusual weapon concealment methods may be shown.
Cases where law enforcement officers die as a result of the activities of a criminal should be discouraged.
The crime of kidnapping should never be detailed, and no profit should be made to the kidnapper or hijacker. The criminal or the kidnapper must be punished in any case.
The letter of the word "crime" in a comic magazine can never be significantly larger than the other words in the title. The word "crime" must never appear alone on a cover.
The use of the word "crime" in titles or subtitles is cautious.
General standards part B.
No comic magazine is allowed to use the word horror or terror in its title.
All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, bloody or gruesome crime, depravity, lust, sadism and masochism are not permitted.
All garish, unsavory, cruel illustrations must be eliminated.
The inclusion of stories dealing with evil may only be used or published with the intent to illustrate a moral problem and in no event shall the evil be seductively portrayed or the sensitivity of the reader be harmed.
Scenes dealing with the dead or torture, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism and werewolfism are prohibited.
The examples given above are the only ones relevant to this discussion. The rest of the provisions of the Code relate to issues that were then considered to be critical to the moral health of young people. Some of the provisions in this sense include the prohibition of: division and nudity, seduction, "sexual perversion", profanity, vulgarity, promotion or lighthearted display of divorce, sexual innuendo, ridicule of religion, display of racial inequality (a code enforcer) actually tried to prevent the publication of an issue of EC comics owned by MAD magazine creator William Gaines on the grounds that the protagonist was a black astronaut when Gaines threatened to reveal his reasons for preventing the comic from being published on the grounds that enforcers withdrew ) and so on.
As you can see from the information above, the Code has never forbidden the representation of murder, except in the specific case where law enforcement personnel were killed as a result of criminal activity, and even that was merely "discouraged", not specifically prohibited. Torture and excessive physical abuse and cruelty were banned, but it seems that a character could kill someone as long as they did it quickly and without undue suffering. The general tone of the Code, as shown above, was less about what the characters could do than about what lessons a young reader would likely take out of the story. If the reader came to the conclusion that crime is something that should be avoided; that persons in authority should be respected; and that "crime doesn't pay," as the old saying goes, then the comic in question would likely receive the stamp of approval, both literally and figuratively.
In 1971 the code was revised and made much more relaxed. In some cases, for example, it was now acceptable to portray criminals as personable characters. It was further changed in later years and the bans were almost completely lifted. By the turn of the century, the CCA had very little authority and had largely become redundant. In 2001, Marvel Comics decided to break away from the CCA, and in 2011, DC Comics did the same. Nowadays, the only comic labels that are still subject to the CCA are small, child-friendly labels and mostly irrelevant.
To get back to the subject at hand, we have to conclude that the reason Batman doesn't kill his opponents could somewhere else without the CCA causing any problems. As I said in the opening paragraphs of this answer, it was an editor who made the policy of non-lethal violence long before the CCA was created. It was simply decided that he didn't have to kill and, in fact, would be a more convincing and admirable character if he didn't kill people. This problem was covered in detail in another question on this website.
Since then, Batman has stepped up this idea too many times to count, although there have also been instances where Batman killed someone, usually accidentally and unintentionally. The idea that Batman's reluctance to kill is related to the murder of his parents is a later retcon.
Explicit references to the rule:
Some examples of this rule that are mentioned are given below.
Here Jason Todd (the second Robin) has just called Batman on the subject and asked why he refuses to kill the Joker.
Even Superman criticized Batman for refusing to kill the Joker, knowing full well that the Joker will flee Arkham Asylum, kill more innocent people, re-imprisoned, flee again, kill even more people and so on, Ad infinitum.
Note that in both cases above, Batman's argument is the same: if he kills once, he will kill again. He can't start killing because he can't stop.
Here the Joker himself refers to Batman's "no-kill" policy.
And finally, we have this scene that shows the Batman / Joker relationship in a different light than we normally see it. Batman appears to be related to the Joker and to have sympathy for him. He makes a surprisingly emotional plea of the Joker, asking him to find a way the arch-rivals can rehabilitate each other and avoid the seemingly inevitable outcome of their mutually destructive relationship: one or both of them kill the other. These images are from the conclusion of Alan Moore's masterpiece The Killing Joke .
Before the exchange we see below, Batman says:
I've been thinking lately. About you ... About me. About what will happen to us in the end. We're going to kill each other, aren't we? Maybe you kill me Maybe i'll kill you Maybe earlier. Maybe later. I just wanted to know that I had made a real attempt to discuss things and avert this outcome. Once only. Are you listening to me It is life and death that I am talking about here. Maybe my death ... maybe yours. I don't fully understand why our relationship should be so deadly, but I don't want your murder to be in my hands.
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