I read an article recently about why the new Batman vs Superman trailer is worrisome and while I agreed with about 70% of the authors points his issue with the new Bat-Mech suit is completely out of place and shows how he is not a true Batman fan.
Readers of the Dark Knight Returns (the comic, not the movie) will recall that Batman did indeed have a suit of mechanized power armor that he did used to fight against none other than Superman. Seeing that suit in the trailer actually gave me a sense of reassurance that maybe there is hope for this movie.
Of course with the exception of the Dark Knight Returns and a couple of Justice League stories (the Tower of Babel for example) most of the Superman/Batman crossover has been dead boring. They are just not in each others league. Batman can’t actually compete against Superman should Supes opt to stand a ways off and burn of Batmans head with heat vision and Superman can’t compete with Batman either intellectually or in coolness. It’s like watching two guys missing the opposite arms try to arm wrestle.
That being said I do have hope for this film and will keep my fingers crossed.
The image above is a Batman hoodie that we just added to the Arkham Knight collection. I just like it a lot.
the Infamous Dave Inman
In the wake of the controversy of the variant cover of Batgirl #41, I have discovered many articles. One link lead to a headline posited by a (self-identified) feminist Twitter activist who’s name was blocked on the screen-captures. She said, “Show me the cover where Batman is the Victim of the Joker… Show me Batman helpless, stripped of all agency.” This was followed by several followers posting what they thought met that request. The only one that I thought came close to the Batgirl cover was one of Batman #674, showing Batman tied to a chair with a power drill being wielded threateningly by the (off-panel) Joker, in vaguely the direction of Batman’s genitals. This still doesn’t equal the Batgirl cover to me on a few levels: 1) Batman has agency, his facial expression is fierce there, defiant—He is still fighting. 2) The Joker is only implied and not shown, we are actually made to side with the Joker as the angle forces us the viewer to see things from the Joker’s perspective. 3) The Joker has never sexually assaulted the Batman—He has sexually assaulted Batgirl/ Barbara Gordon, in the pages of 1988’s “The Killing Joke”, which the cover in question was referring directly to. (For more Batgirl, Batman and the Joker, please redirect to our Batman Hoodie category.)
So to me, this all begs the question: Does the Joker want to rape Batman? We know next to nothing about the Joker other than that he’s a violent psychopath who is locked in a mutual obsession with the Caped Crusader. Even in the Joker’s own short-run series or when referred to by other villains, most notably his sidekick/ not exactly girlfriend Harley Quinn, he is oddly non-sexual, at least when immediate pain and power are not involved. And in the Killing Joke, he didn’t rape Barbara, and he didn’t know she was Batgirl, he just shot whoever answered the door and got lucky: it was Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, whom he then stripped naked while she bled out and took photographs of her to show to Jim later, in order to torture Jim, not to do anything with Barbara.
The Joker in films is often depicted as sadistic, delusional, deeply narcissistic and more than a little… Effeminate. The idea of the “Gay Serial Killer” is an unfortunate reminder of old prejudices we still see in cinema, most often in Film Nior, which Batman has it’s roots firmly in. In 2008’s “The Dark Knight” Heath Ledger won an Oscar© for playing the most infamous nemesis as a spooky, kooky, sometimes dressed-in-drag anarchist who tells Batman: “You complete me”, arguably the most quotable line from a romantic comedy in the 20th century.
Backing up for a second, the first cover in the thread that I mentioned wasn’t Batman and the Joker, but Batman and Harley—A female Joker who is less threatening than the real thing. She has Batman tied up on the floor, his bat-manhood shoved toward the viewer, and it’s still not about her threatening him, sexually or otherwise. It’s about making Harley Quinn a desirable object in the foreground for the assumed white-hetero-male demographic, and about making Batman a fetishized self-insert wish-fulfillment character. The viewer is supposed to say, “Yeah, I’d let her tie me up anytime. Crazy chicks are great in bed.” It’s not about Batman at all, and it’s not about him being threatened with sexual assault, because the person who commissioned the cover or who drew it decided, consciously or subconsciously that women either don’t or can’t be a sexual threat to men, at least not if the woman is hot enough.
But nobody is saying that Batman wants the Joker to tie him (or anyone else) up. Nobody ever saw Batman stripped naked, without his cowl and cape and armor, bleeding and violated and unconscious at the mercy of someone who was doing it in order to say… Emotionally harm Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. Batman has endured great horrors and losses, he’s that kind of Hero, he’s dark and he’s human and he comes from tragedy, but he’s not a woman. And yes, men can be, and unfortunately are raped and sexually assaulted, by both women (of all levels of attractiveness) and by other men. But women are sexually assaulted a great deal more often, and usually by men who are close to them—not strangers in alleyways with weapons. Women in comic books are harmed so often in order to get an emotional response from the Male hero that writer Gail Simone started a website about the trope: Women in Refrigerators.
Back to the Joker: it has been posited that during the death of Jason Todd, the Joker takes a sexual pleasure either from the brutality of Todd’s murder at his hands itself, or simply in molesting Todd’s unconscious/ dead body (off-panel) after the fact. Does the Joker get off on anyone’s pain, or does he get off because he knows he’s indirectly causing Batman trauma? Or because Todd was a pretty teenage boy in tights? Maybe all three. Also, on Batman: The Animated Series, especially in films such as “Mask of the Phantasm”, the Joker laughs hysterically, even euphorically whenever Batman causes him physical pain, even imminent death. This can be interpreted as more than just common madness—The Joker is aroused by Batman beating him, conquering him, physically overpowering him and having to give in to Batman’s darkest desire: to finally kill the Joker. There is undoubtedly something psycho-sexual there.
How do I answer my own question here? The Joker doesn’t much care for sex, and he gets off on power and abuse, regardless of whether there are sexual overtones or not. He may desire a sexual relationship with Batman, but it doesn’t come off as one where he wants to particularly assert himself. He is playing a game with Batman, and playing chicken with Death, hoping he can get the Dark Knight to go off the rails and break his one rule. There’s the same sexual tension between the Joker and Batman that someone with a car-crash fetish has when they don’t hit the breaks, or a storm-chaser goes through when getting too close to a level 5 twister: the Joker wants to lose himself in Batman, and in so doing, have Batman be lost as well. (Joker Poster – “Bats” can be found with our other Posters.)
In that case: nice try with those covers, but no cigar. Batman doesn’t lose anything from the Joker winning some of the time, because that is not representative of the relationship that they have as characters. Barbara Gordon was dealing with PTSD from her encounter with the Joker when I last read her, and rightfully so. I think that’s what the woman who had her Twitter handle but not her picture erased was trying to say: there is a double-standard in how female super heroes are treated vs. how male super heroes are treated in comics. You can’t show me a cover of Batman being reminded of that time the Joker took his power away—because that never happened to Batman. But it did happen to Batgirl, and in a Batman book.
DC was my first comic book love, starting with Catwoman Year One on a grocery store spinning rack when I was about 9 years old. The women of the “Bat Family” have continued to enthrall me over the years, but around 2012, I stopped and dropped many of my formerly favorite titles due to changes in tone, direction and creative teams. Feminist dynamo was fired, then re-hired, then voluntarily left the Batgirl title, and things haven’t been the same since. I made no secret of the fact that I’m no fan of Dan DiDio’s practices as head of creative at DC or of the New 52.
I wanted to have something nice to say about DC and feminism—I met Babs Tarr, the current artist on Batgirl, and San Francisco resident, and she seemed really cool. But I don’t like the book any more than I did before and I don’t buy it, or any other DC titles anymore. They’re boring retreads of continuity with constant re-branding instead of hiring actually diverse creative teams. And anytime I’ve seen Batgirl in the news, it’s because of some new, unfortunate decision.
I read the Killing Joke a few years ago, and it’s a great book, but 2 things it is not: It was never meant to be in main Batman continuity, and it was never about Barbara Gordon. This is why making it the focus of the “Batgirl #41: Joker Variant Cover” was a bad idea to begin with. The cover showed a terrified Batgirl with blood-like makeup smeared over her face as the Joker threatened her in a sexual manner with phallic handgun. The sexual assault overtones are enough to make this inappropriate for a cover in a Teen or Family aimed female-led comic, but the fact that it isn’t about Barbera or the batsuit at all made it way over the top, making her an object, de-powered. Girls and women are not props to be used to evoke feelings in men, and especially should not be depicted that way in their own books.
I didn’t watch a lot of the movies that were nominated for Academy Awards this year, but I did recently watch Birdman. Was it the Best film I saw this year? Sadly, no. That dubious honor goes to the LEGO Movie. But I’m not a member of the Academy, so what do I know? Birdman was however worthy of praise, and far and away the weirdest movie I saw in the last year.
(Batman T-shirt from our Batman Hoodie collection.)
Michael Keaton, whose Birdman costume was molded from his own body form of over 20 years ago when he played Batman, did not win the Oscar for Best Actor. In fact, none of the nominated cast of Birdman won their respective statues, despite being front-runners and hailed with tons of praise by critic and fans alike. Were they robbed? Yeah, maybe.
Birdman is a funhouse mirror play-within-a-movie about a former blockbuster success star who made superheroes mainstream now a relic of his glory days, slipping ever more into madness and trying to prove he’s more than the gruff voice behind the mask, even if he doesn’t believe it himself. It’s kind of like if David Lynch directed Magnolia, and it was supposed to be a family comedy of errors. It was funny, but less funny ha-ha and more funny-weird. Spoilers: you get to see old Batman beat the sissy slapping crap out of former Incredible Hulk, so that’s great.
“You know what they say about those ‘Fake Geek Girls’ don’t you?”
“Yeah, that they don’t exist.” –Dialog with a vendor at APE 2014.
I started collecting comics when I was about nine years old. Catwoman (DC) and Sam Keith’s the MAXX (Image) were my first loves, (Catwoman “Kitten With a Whip” from our Batman Hoodie collection) but as I grew up I found many more comics and graphic novels to collect, obsess over and love. The argument could be made that I was a geek because I had an older brother who was also a geek. It would be wrong, but it could be made. I went to Magic the Gathering tournaments, played tabletop RPG’s and knew maps in Zelda because of my brother, but I would have found comics all on my own. My tastes in them never matched at near 100% with my big brother’s anyway. Before long, my friends and family stopped giving me Barbie’s and cosmetics and began giving me art supplies and comics. I wasn’t ever just there as a passive spectator: I wanted to contribute.
In this series, I’m going to discuss the female characters represented on the page (in many forms) and the women who work behind the scenes in the comics industry. Some I admire, some I hold in disdain, mostly I just want to write about what I know: Chicks dig comics and these days, sisters are doing it for themselves (and for male fans).
While at Supernatural Con 2014 Fan Q&A, Misha Collins asked a young lady if she wrote fan fiction, and she said that she’d tried, but to no avail because of her own distracted laziness. So, Misha tried to help her out, especially after it had been explained to him that “50 Shades of Grey” was a “Twilight” fan fiction originally. He told the audience to raise their hands if they would be willing to work with the young lady to help her write and publish a sexy fan fiction for Supernatural, and maybe actually make some money on it. Many hands were raised, including my own. (Girls “I like Guys with Cars and Money” batman hoodie because Misha Collins is amazing and has both things.)
I’ve never read “50 Shades” nor written any fan fiction, slash or otherwise, but I have had erotic original works published and made some money off of it and I do like the idea of Castiel sort of endorsing Destiel style writings being out in the world. Misha called on a young man closer to the front row to exchange information with her instead of me, which was just as well. I have a full plate of writing to do without taking on special projects for a stranger.
Very disappointing, honestly. I had real hope for this film and have seen about 200 trailers for it. In the past I would have said I was a fan of Christopher Nolan but in light of this film and the most recent Batman fiasco (Batman hoodie image from our massive Batman collection) I think I am going to have to amend that to say that I am a fan of Inception. If you are not a fan of sci fi but want to dip your toe in the water to see what all the fuss is about you will probably enjoy it (unless movies dragging on forever with a myriad of plot threads makes you mad) but don’t think that makes you qualified to discuss what makes a good sci fi film with me.
I had a choice between seeing this film or Big Hero 6 and now I wish I had watched the cartoon (or any film with a coherent plot). 2.5 of 5 phasers.
Speaking of Big Hero 6, the reason I didn’t see it is I am going to watch it with some friends and then film a video review with them. Very exciting and I will be mentioning it a lot in future blogs and via Twitter and Facebook. You don’t like us on FB or follow on Twitter? Get on it! There is some good stuff on there (and my blog posts).
the Infamous Dave Inman
Some stories don’t really need telling.
Astute readers of this blog might have noticed that I have backed off on the really long blogs and am opting for shorter, more to the point diatribes. The fact is with the hours a day I spend buying hot sports cars and kissing pretty ladies on the mouth I have less time than ever before for blogging. I was also given a refresher by my SEO people about how shorter blogs are both read more frequently and have more impact with the ultimate gatekeeper of the internet, Google. Therefore I have been trying to do more posts but shorter. Quality over quantity.
That being said my one true love in blogging will always be writing movie reviews so I will try to keep on doing so, albeit less often. I do also enjoy coming up with fun lists and beating up on certain TV shows I feel have somehow betrayed me so you will see a lot of that, but for the reviews I will have to be more selective. I am also going to often break them up into smaller chunks but will include handy “next” buttons so you can follow along. For reasons I don’t want to get into too much this really helps me out.
So Dracula Untold. Honestly it wasn’t horrible. Certainly better than I, Frankenstein. It also is a movie about vampires that almost manages to get through it completely without romanticizing the crap out of them. The vampires do not sparkle, nor do they debate the morality of eating people. Of the classic story remakes it is probably the best thus far. Of course when you realize you are comparing it to the likes of Hansel & Gretel, Jack the Giant Slayer, Snow White and the Huntsman, and the Legend of Oz: Dorothy’s Return you realize it is the man who skipped breakfast competing in a hot dog eating contest against a group who crushed a breakfast buffet.
But the thing is in my reviews not horrible is not the same as good, and Dracula Untold is not good. The story has gaping plot holes right at the water line, the dialog was retro 70’s Batman TV show bad without the comedy (I found this Batman hoodie in the big comic book t shirt category), the uber PC attempt to make the Turkish invaders not look Muslim reeked of white guilt, the protagonist was ridiculously out of the league with his antagonists (anyone else like watching baby seals get clubbed? It was about that bad), the action was some of the worst ever with everything devolving into a blur of arms, swords, and bats, the struggle and gravitas implied in the trailers was conspicuously missing, and the entirety of this action/horror film was under 10 fathoms of murky PG-13 water with a cinder block tied to its feet.
2. Bruce Wayne
Not Batman, but rather the billionaire party boy that hangs out with super models week long. What part of that doesn’t sound awesome? I wish I had some really, really rich friends. I have several who are well off but if I had one friend who had the capability of owning his own island that would be pretty cool. Of course, the fact that he’s secretly Batman means I would always be safe(er) with him around. Plus it would be hilarious if I showed up at a party at stately Wayne Manor wearing this Batman hoodie.
Why would Bruce Wayne want to be my friend? Well, when it comes to sucking up to rich people I think would have a talent. Also I’m always very respectful to help and I think I would get along really well with Alfred. Plus if Bruce were getting super tired from partying all the time and then fighting crime all night long and needed someone to take care of all the super models and ballerinas I think I could take some of that burden on for him. I’m just that much of a giver.
So I painted my first Skaven using my new stippling technique to simulate rusty metal. Basically you start off painting a red brown (I used GW dark flesh) on the metal bits. You then take a round brush and cut it off flat. Then you stipple on (like dry brushing, but instead of brushing you dab it on) with first black, then bright orange. After that you stipple on a metal and do a hard line metal on the sharp edges. Brown ink and good to go.
The results are impressive, but I have to ask myself if I am willing to go over my entire army with this labor intensive technique. I think I have to, as my new army is based around maximizing soft points and that includes paint. I’ll go unit by unit I think.
I played the Dark Knight while painting on DvD. Great movie, but if I had the remote control in hand I would probably fast forward to all the parts with Heath Ledger in them. He really carried that movie. I am a huge Batman fan but Christian Bale doesn’t really do it for me. Plus I heard him bitch out that poor lighting guy on the set of the most recent Terminator movie and he sounds kind of like a D-bag. I will stick with classic Batman as featured in this Batman hoodie until the next movie comes out.