Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Another openin', another show...

Just learned about a new animated Batman series coming to the WB. Could be good, could be bad. I certainly agree with the general consensus that the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini animated series was the best translation/adaptation yet of the Caped Crusader, capable of entertaining kids and grownups alike without the (lovely) campiness of the 1966 series. Its second incarnation, with Robin along for the ride, was a little more kiddie-fied, and I never quite got into "Batman Beyond" (though both of those later series had their deathtrap moments now and then). I admit to watching the current "Justice League" once in a blue moon, and the few times I've caught "Teen Titans," I've enjoyed it--mostly for the Shonen Knife theme song and the cool anime-style graphic design. So I'm up for a new series, even if I have my doubts. (FYI, I also learned tonight that a 4-disc DVD of the aforementioned Timm/Dini version is coming out soon, apparently with a few bonus features.)

Speaking of animation, my latest passion is the (vaguely) superhero-themed series that are part of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block, namely "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." The "heroes" of the latter are a milkshake, a bag of french fries, and a wad of meat from a hamburger (whose "superpower" is the ability to turn himself into an igloo and a hot dog; nothing else, just an igloo and a hot dog). I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that BirdMan and Space Ghost caused a stirring in my pubescent loins when they were first on the air in the (correct me if I'm wrong here) early 70s, so it's weird to see them turned into the stuff of stoner comedy three decades later. All these series remind me, in a weird way, of what DC's Vertigo line does with third-rate comic book heroes of my youth, throwing out everything but the name and using the character as a post-modern meditation on the non-heroic details of everyday life.

Oops, is that too highfalutin' for ya? Look, they're just fucking funny.

Now it begins...

I've gone and done it: started a new blog to tell an ongoing bat-story that picks up where my story "Bystander" left off. Been mapping this out in my head for the last few days, and now the first words are out there. Hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

BYSTANDER: One Piece at a Time

I've been gradually posting new chapters of a story called "Bystander" on the Perils of Batman Yahoo group for the last couple of days, despite (more likely because of) the huge pile of paying work staring me in the face right now. This is my first bat-tale in a long, long time; I actually finished the rough draft a few months ago and finally decided it was time to get it out there.

I love the serial form: post a little bit here, then wait, then a little bit more. Cliffhangers aplenty. (Not much happens in the new story for the first five or six chapters; it's all about building suspense--what WILL happen, when something finally does?)

Obviously I trace my fondness for the format to the "Batman" TV show and those interminable waits from one night to the next to find out how -- or if!-- our heroes were going to escape their latest deathtrap. In a more high-minded state, I think about how Dickens used to serialize his novels, which naturally shaped their form and style, and I remember how a friend and I used to say that soap operas had so much potential as a storytelling device with their gradual unveiling of character development and texture... but let's pretend I didn't just say that. Basically, I fetishize the phrase "tune in tomorrow--same bat-time, same bat-channel" as much as the batsuit. To me, the sexiest part of these stories is the wait between "to be continued" and "in our last episode..." In a way I wish I could draw it out even longer.

Anyway, the new story is an attempt to do something new, at least new for me: tell a slash story from the point of view of an everyday citizen who is wrapped up in one of these wild comic-book plots. Kind of a sex-friendly version of the graphic novel MARVELS. (BTW, the end of the story has given me an idea for a new one, but lemme get through this one first.)

The other thing I love, in addition to keeping readers waiting for the next installment, is the chance to refine and revise: first I write the rough draft, then I sit on it for a while, then I rethink and tweak the language (and whatever plot inconsistencies I happen to catch) before I post it to a Yahoo group, then I come back to it again before posting it on my "Secret Room" site. Probably doesn't sound very sexy, but I love the process. In its own way, it's as erotic to me as the original scenario in my head.

Now, THAT's a kink.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Spam of the Week

I hate spam as much as the next caped crusader fetishist. But I must admit the following little scam brought a twinkle to my eye for its sheer absurdity. (To truly appreciate this, you need to know that my "real name," according to my Yahoo profile, is "Dark Knight.")

Dear   Dark Knight ,
I am Barrister Adara Monday, a solicitor at law, personal attorney to Mr. K. C . Knight, a national Of your country,who used to work as a contractor in Lome Togo. Here in after shall be referred to as my client. On the 30th of April 2000, my client, and their only daughter were involved in a car accident along Kpalime express Road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost there lives. Since then I have made several enquiries here to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.
After these several unsuccessful attempts,I decided to searchthrough with his name which motivated me to contact you, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you.I havecontacted you to assist in repartrating the fund valued at US$20.5 million left behind by my client before it gets confisicated or declared unserviceable by the Security Finance Firm(bank) where this huge amount were deposited. The said Security Finance Company has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account confisicated within the next twenty one official working days.
 Since I have been unsuccesfull in locating the relatives for over 2years now, I seek the consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased since you have the same last names, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.Therefore, on receipt of your positive response, we shall then discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for transfer. I have all necessary information and legal documents needed to back you up for claim.
All I require from you is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

Best regards.
Adara Monday esq.

Yippee! Now I get to be a millionaire just like my hero, and I can invest my inheritance in crimefighting equipment! Funny, I thought my only relatives were Wayne Knight, Phil Knight, and Doctor Mid-Nite (his ancestors had their surname changed at Ellis Island). Give my regards to the citizens of Lome Togo, Barrister Monday.