Saturday, March 20, 2004

I hadn't looked at the Edge's blog in a long time, and I was intrigued to learn he's been posting despairing messages similar to my recent entries here (too much going on on too many fronts, not enough time for the deeper pleasures of life, like play). I don't know the guy except through his marvellous writing, but I do know the feeling he expresses.

Things have calmed down ever so slightly lately on my own front(s), which means I've been able to slip into the old batsuit a few times over the past few days for the first time in ages. And last night, while avoiding "real" work in any way I could think of, I started revamping my "Secret Room" website. (Go there, now, I beseech you, ye nonbelievers, and behold it in all its obsessive-compulsive glory.)

At long last, my stories are better organized, making it easier for me to add new ones in the future, and the links page actually exists (two of them, even, divided by my two primary fetishes), rather than being a line or two of Angelfire boilerplate. I'm definitely no techie, so it's pretty rough, but I'm using this project to learn as I go.

Speaking of which, can anybody reading this who knows a damn thing about HTML tell me why pages like this one -- or,hell, any of the other main sub-pages for that matter -- contain those little rectangles all along the left side? Until I fix the problem, I'm telling myself they represent sprockets on a film strip and it's all an ingenious tribute to celluloid. Yeah, that's the ticket... Anyway, if you know what I'm doing wrong, please drop me a line and let me know so I can make it all better. Any other comments on the actual content are more than welcome, too. For now I'm just so damn happy to be working on this thing decked out in my most comfortable stretchy clothes instead of occupying my time with more mundane matters.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Judging from the promo pix I've seen so far, it looks like the forthcoming movie version of THE PUNISHER will be the latest in a long line of film adaptations of comic books to dispense with the hero's skintight costume. (Yes, I'm talking about you, DAREDEVIL.) I've never been a huge fan of the Punisher (too much machismo, too direct a ripoff of DEATH WISH), but I must say his body-hugging lycra outfit (and occasional tendency to stumble into b&d situations) has inspired me to buy an issue or two of his comic over the years, and even to rent the earlier, awful (and equally spandex-free) movie version starring Dolph Lundgren.

I know I'm not the first comics fan to bitch about this, but what's the big problem with portraying characters the way they were originally drawn? Guess we could trace the trouble back to the baggy trunks of the Superman TV show (and, before that, to various movie serials), then to the way that presumably absurd image was playfully satirized by the costumers of the 1966 Batman series. Of course, as this blog has surely made abundantly clear by now, the sight of Adam West in gray long johns might have been intended as a joke, but it had quite a different effect on the likes of me and many other future perverts around the world.

Ever since then--even though we now possess a whole bunch of miracle synthetic fabrics straight out of Jack Kirby's imagination--movie moguls have felt compelled to shy away from tight-fitting fantasy outfits for fear that modern-day hipster audiences wouldn't take them seriously. (As if anybody takes action heroes seriously, in or out of costume. I mean, it's not like we'd want them as elected officials, for god's sake!) Meanwhile, the world of championship wrestling has been packed with well-built men stuffed into lycra for decades now, and that doesn't seem to have hurt ratings one whit.

There have been a few promising exceptions to moviedom's rampant lycrophobia: The Phantom, the TV version of The Flash, and, of course, Tobey McGuire as Spider-Man--that last one being proof positive that you can hire an actor with some emotional depth who still looks good in lycra.

As for my beloved Caped Crusader, I've recently discovered a Yahoo group devoted exclusively to the black rubber batsuit of the recent movies over the Adam West version. Truth be told, by this point in my life I've come to prefer the rubber outfit to the version that first floated my boat--but either is preferable to the kind of leather-jacket compromise the Punisher now finds himself encased in.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Things have calmed down a teeny bit in my Bruce Wayne existence, so I've had a couple of opportunities to slip back into the batsuit for the first few times in months and months. And it has felt ... good. Not earth-shattering, but comfortable, a welcome return home all the same.

On one such occasion, my partner and I played out a bat-scene of the kind we haven't done in ages (this time it was me as caped crusader, him as dastardly villain). In the midst of it, I felt myself being very aware of my mask, both the feel of it brushing against my cheeks and forehead, and the mental image of me wearing it in front of somebody else. He's seen me it many times, but for some reason this time I felt naked in it, exposed--as if I was unmasked at last and the bat-cowl was my true face.

By coincidence (or not?), I've felt similar sensations in dreams lately: sort of like the classic one in which you go to school naked, or find yourself in some public situation wearing nothing but your underwear. Only in my case, the costume was the private self I was showing to the world, either by accident or design. Caught up in the moment, I can't tell whether I'd intended to reveal this secret self to onlookers or not. My hunch is the former: that I've set out to expose more of my true self to others, and then been caught in a flash of doubt and second thoughts. In the dream I want to retreat, to hide myself, but it's too late. There is no turning back.

In waking life, I really have been a bit more public lately. Not so much about my bat-fantasies, but about other aspects of myself. In various ways I've left my comfortable circle of friends and my familiar work environment, and it still feels a bit new and scary.

The bat-costume is a perfect metaphor for that dance of advance and retreat: it conceals the wearer's "true identity," but in wearing it he assumes--pretty much announces to the world--a whole new identity, too.