Thursday, September 18, 2008

The one where he talks about how people get you into things

Livejournal, Myspace, Facebook, and now this.

Granted the blogability of these various mediums varies.  Some are more social than others.

A friend of mine got me training at the dojo that I still visit periodically.  He stopped going.  We both started playing WoW at about the same time.  I stopped playing.  He got me a job at Gamestop.  We both stopped working that time.

I'll most likely be importing this.  Somewhere.  So I'll just pick up on my life where I left off.

Onto the comics.  
This was a Summer of Batman for me, and I imagine a lot of people, and a lot of children as well.  You might think that this had a lot to do with The Dark Knight coming out, which it of course did, but it was more than that.  One or two nights during the Summer I spent at Boeun's house, with Brendel asleep on the couch, we would watch the old Batman:  The Animated Series from the early 90's.  Both those times we just talked about Batman, a lot.  The various plot lines, the villains, the Robins.  Everything.  After one or two of those nights, I just couldn't stop thinking, "Man, I really love Batman.  I wonder why it took me so long to realize it."

So I wanted to look into some further suggested reading material for zee Batman.  I wondered, "Where exactly do I start?"  Well there's this amazing movie that came out, you might have seen it.  It only broke records and climbed into one of the top spots in movie history in a manner of weeks not months.  I wasn't really interested in reading Batman, from the beginning, partly out of convenience, since it would be difficult to get my hands on those old comics (not that I would have to read the originals) and partly because that era of Batman is not what I find to be the most interesting.  As is, Frank Miller's take, the Adam West rendition of Batman is fairly accurate portrayal of the original comics of it's time.

So from this movie, comes, source material.  I read that for Heath Ledger's role as the Joker, a major influence was The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland, so I bought that, along with Absolute Batman, which had Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again, along with a spiffy cardboard sleeve for the near phonebook-sized anthology. 

The Dark Knight Returns is often credited with single handedly bringing a dark and edgy side to comic books in the 80's.  Authors like Frank Miller and Alan Moore both revitalized the entire genre with complex story telling and fresh takes on classic characters, and later their own characters a la, Sin City and Watchmen.  So naturally, with how much credit was being given to TDKR, as it is abbreviated, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  And I was not disappointed.  

I think a valid criticism of Frank Miller is that his heroes are unbridled in their manliness.  There are flawed and less than masculine male characters, but the protagonist is constantly a jaded, hardboiled, burning effigy, of masculinity that is something beyond what real men can be.  But I suppose the ideal bodies and serendipitous situations are matched by this blatant idealization of the male ego.  If you can't tell by my tone, I love this.

Back to TDKR, Miller's portrayal of Batman is so raw, so perfectly flawed in every way.  I love the realism in how he finds himself constantly at ends with self destruction.  How he portrays, Batman, Bruce, as blaming himself for the deaths of the innocent, Jason Todd, his family, because the survivor of a tragedy has only that to do with themselves when they're all alone.  Boeun asked if Batman got any "sexy ladies" in this particular comic, since the playboy is part of Bruce Wayne's identity (fake or not), "I don't think so. . .I think he's kind of past all that."  Of course he does meet a sort of jailbait love interest later on in Carrie Kelly/Robin.

Then there was Batman:Year One, which was a heavy influence for Batman Begins.  What really interested me in reading this wasn't actually Batman's role at all, since really, it was all cut and dry, nothing I hadn't already known before, the costume, the striking of fear, the training and all.  What surprised me was how much Miller fleshed out the story of Commissioner Gordon, as a struggling lone honest police officer in a nest of corruption, and at some points as a total badass.  The struggles of his relationship with his pregnant wife and his short lived affair humanized him as something much deeper than that guy that Batman likes to abandon in mid-sentance.

I have a problem ending blog entries.  Not because I don't want to stop writing, like, right now, I really want to stop.  But I suppose I put a lot of pressure on myself to make the endings of all my paragraphs, updates, etc. as something rather edifying.  I want to leave people with something that makes them glad that they read this in the first place.  I suppose that's unrealistic of myself.  I just hope that they came for the story, and not for the ending.

No comments: