Thursday, January 15, 2009

Batman's Had an Accident... So May You All...

I thought about the silliest thing at today at work. My job is easy, so I tend to think about... eh... whatever. Lately, I've been really into reading Robert Graysmith's Zodiac Unmasked, so that's on my mind a lot. Arthur Leigh Allen-- was he the Zodiac? I tend to agree with Graysmith that he was. I've had Nana on my mind, too, because I recently picked up volumes 12 and 13 of that delightful and addictive series. Today, in between classes (and sometimes during them because my mind is great at multi-tasking), I pondered that jackass Batman and his latest zany predicament. Wow, this Bat-thingy story has really gotten people talking! My oh my. It sure dropped like a bomb on everyone, didn't it? A smart bomb or one of those ordinary stupid kind... only time will tell.

But given a few moments during the day to collect my thoughts about what this means to me as a comic book reading dork, what I came up with was this--

First, the Batman I used to enjoy reading died a long time ago. Frank Miller killed him and replaced him with a uber-fascist in bad need of anger management classes. And that story was actually compelling in a Leni Riefenstahl kinda way. Inspired by that success and all the press that went with it, lesser writers have really done a number on Bats' rotten corpse over the years since, culminating in what I think was his stupidest moment, the time he snarled at Blue Beetle and smashed a coffee cup in his petulant, childish rage. I mean, really, Batman has been a joke for years.

Second, and most importantly, I'd be way more upset if Yazawa Ai suddenly killed off Hachi or Nana. Or if Jaime Hernandez bumped off Hopey. Although I'm sure either creator would do those things in amazing ways, any of those deaths would certainly bum me out. More than just bum me out; they'd cut out my living heart for any number of reasons no standard-issue mainstream superhero bullshit can. To read Nana or Love & Rockets is to delve into rich and nuanced worlds where choices matter. Their storylines are way more compelling than the ongoing DC narrative, and much more dramatically and fictionally satisfying. Also, I know none of those characters would be coming back when it becomes financially advantageous to the authors for them to do so. Except maybe in flashback form.

So this new development? I feel pretty blase about it.

And don't forget-- there's always the Christian Bale Batman; his movie last summer was the best Batman story in decades. I also truly adore the Batman in the Batman: The Animated Series Batman from the 90s. Gotta get those DVDs! And even better, I have my Batman: Illustrated by Neal Adams books so the real comic book Batman can live again whenever I open the pages. These are what I've turned to time and again over the years as the ongoing monthly Batman increasingly lost his luster. Dead, schmead. If he's what you truly want, don't worry.

He'll be back in a year or two (at most, probably sooner), as dickish as ever.

But if Nana, Hachi, Maggie or Hopey die? I shudder to think about it! Losing them would be almost like losing actual human beings!

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