Tuesday, July 20, 2004


There's yet another offering atthe Batman Fan Films site: the new one is called GRAYSON and it's a trailer for a film which evidently may never be made, about the further adventures of the title character after the death of his mentor. Man, if I had the bucks, I'd pass them on to director John Fiorella immediately. This thing looks great, has a stellar line up of comic book heroes and villains, and the writer/director/star is a total dreamboat. (We see him bearded, clean-shaven, in Robin attire, shirtless, chained up, you name it.) Plus there's a mighty hot older-man Superman, and ... ah, just go see it for yourself.

As in my BEGINNINGS story, Dick Grayson is not a kid but a full-grown adult. Surprisingly, the Robin suit doesn't look silly on him, even though it's so clearly the attire of a youngun.

Once again, I long for a world where GRAYSON would be hitting my local multiplex instead of the DAREDEVIL/PUNISHER/BATMAN film du jour.

Fresh Air in a tight space

As I was writing the previous entry (re 6 Feet Under), I was listening to today's episode of the NPR show Fresh Air, an interview with a military interrogator and a journalist re methods used to extract information from prisoners in Afghanistan, along with some comments on the Iraqi prison scandal.

Despite what I just wrote about the distinction between bat-play and daily life, I found the radio discussion fascinating for the light it sheds not only on real-life prison methods, but (inadvertently) on the kinds of psychological games that can enter sex play. Check it out, if you're so inclined.

That's My Shark

I'm still reeling from this week's episode of Six Feet Under (#44, "That's My Dog"). TV shows don't usually hit me on this visceral a level, but I felt physically ill watching the uninterrupted/relentless second half hour. (Can't see how to continue without a few possible SPOILERS, so show fans who haven't seen the ep yet, beware.) I was even afraid to go to sleep because of potential nightmares.

That doesn't mean I loved the episode at all: far from it. My hubby/SO/whatever left the room in outrage, and I came close to turning the channel myself. (That used to happen all the time when we watched the horrendously written and performed QUEER AS FOLK, but never during 6FU before.) The show's plunge into soap operadom has been building for the last couple of seasons, and there have been many complaints from critics about the decline in the current season, but the previous episode (#43) was one of the best ever (if I may use that phrase without sounding like The Comic Book Store Guy from another Sunday show). I particularly appreciate the way the writers have handled the kink/BDSM element with Brenda's new boyfriend, for instance -- which has so far been respectful while still maintaining a healthy sense of humor.

But this business with David and the sociopath went way too far. My hub's theory is that I reacted so severely both because the episode was intense, AND because it was so badly done. Hub (how 'bout I call him that for a while?), a LEO not unlike David's on-again/off-again partner Keith, couldn't believe David never fought back, that he walked into the whole situation like a fool, and so on.

I didn't really have a problem with David's behavior, because I could see myself doing many of the same things he did (assuming I was naive enough to pick up a hitchhiker in LA in the first place, which is a miiiiiiighty big suspension of disbelief). No, that was where the sinking feeling in my stomach came from: I could identify all too easily with his reactions.

And that (in case you're wondering what this rant has to do with batsex) is where my superhero fantasies differ sharply from my Bruce Wayne existence. When I'm playing Batman, I may choose to walk into a trap, but I do so with the understanding that I have the training, the focus, and the equipment to free myself (and the knowledge that it's all make-believe, of course). In "real life," I don't have any of that, and so things that might make me hard in a play scenario would simply scare the shit out of me if they ever really happened to me.

The 6FU encounter included bondage, gunplay, physical abuse, and psychological terrorism, each of which I've employed in bat-scenes in the past at one time or another, but I couldn't get off on any of it in this context. It's like my problem with the show Oz: it looks so much like a porn video I might jerk off to, but it's placed in a different, more realistic world (well, if you consider the hellhole prison of the title to be realistic, and I simply don't) where there's nothing sexy at all about forced rape, torture, murder, and the other horrors onscreen.

While I recognized the quality of writing and performing in Oz (and found some of the actors, like Chris Meloni, absolutely fuckalicious), I didn't stick with the series past one full episode. It was just too dark too much of the time. I know I'll give 6FU another chance, maybe two, but I can't help thinking the program has, yes, jumped the shark.

[Any of youse got any opinons on the matter? Post 'em in the comments below...]

Monday, July 19, 2004

Our little Boy Wonder, all growed up

Just watched the new fan film Nightwing: A Knight in Bludhaven. The acting isn't very good, the effects are unconvincing ... but damn, you get to watch a cute guy in a skintight outfit getting captured and bound (twice!), soaking wet, and in various other states of sexy disrepair. Plus, there are a couple of cameos by a hunky/chunky Batman himself.

Elsewhere in fandomland, cleverly named "Project Blue Tights" (even the URL is hot: www.bluetights.net) seems to be the Superman-fan equivalent of the invaluable BatmanFanFilms site. Both will lead you to a page on an upcoming project, Batman: Madness. From the trailer, we intuit that Batman falls under the spell of Poison Ivy, then fights both Nightwing and Superman. Chains are involved, along with some tantalizing groping of the batsuit. Can't wait!

So this is what happens when fellow grownups pursue their interest in comic book characters and storylines. God, if only TV was like this every day of the week, I'd never leave the house.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Wild in the Streets

Look hard and you just might spot me at the Folsom Fair North this weekend. Actually, you probably won't spot me, since you don't know what I look like in my Bruce Wayne guise (and as a good masked vigilante I intend to keep it that way), but I'll be there, booted and gloved, scoping out leather fun in the streets. Will you?

Kind of an odd concept, this notion of taking an institution so totally identified with one city (San Fran, of course) and recreating it in another (Toronto). Then again, that's what Mardi Gras is all about, isn't it?

Seems my partner and I have become gay tourists. Yes, it's true: for all my railing against the commodification of queer culture, I do enjoy a good road trip, rainbow-themed or otherwise. For the last several summers we've been travelling to various cities far and wide to check out how they celebrate Gay(/Les/Bi/Trans/Leather/Bear/etc) Pride--including Atlanta, NYC, San Francisco, Toronto, and New Orleans, and a handful of smaller towns. (Ah, Southern Decadence--how we miss your sticky, blow-job-in-the-streets-y glory days of old, before the fundamentalist crazies forced you to clean up your act.)

If I were smart, I'd turn out this field investigation into some sort of book, or at least an article. I could talk about the unique characteristics of each city's festivities (obnoxious SuperSoaker squirt guns in Toronto, drunken rowdies in SF, unbridled corporate sponsorship in Atlanta, etc). Instead, I just walk around taking pictures of straight cops for my own personal amusement. To each his own, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Higher Ground

The conditions were finally right for a nice round of solo batplay this past weekend--my first truly fulfilling one in months. Through much practice, I learned that I have to be...
•wide awake
•in good health
•completely relaxed
•not up against some kind of real-world time restraints
and, last but not least, I need to do something to jostle me out of my rational brain a bit. If all the other conditions have met, this one may not be necessary, but I've found that it helps to ingest one of several mind-altering substances (often even a candy placebo will do--I just set up a scenario in which Batman is drugged, and take it from there). Tried a little codeine this time (very little since I'm kind of scared of this sort of thing, though the recipe on the site I've just given you looks intriguing). The response was very mild, but that's all it takes--my imagination can do the rest.

I like to set the scene with different kinds of music or other sound in different rooms of the house--perhaps some electronic dance stuff in one room, industrial noise in another, and a radio station in a third. (I vary the lighting in each space, too.) One of my favorite radio broadcasts to use during these middle-of-the-night sessions is the latest incarnation of conspiracy theorist/black ops tracker Art Bell's long-running show, currently called Coast to Coast. (Art is only a guest host these days.)

On this particular night, the guest was Daniel Pinchback, author of a new book called Breaking Open the Head, a study of the role of psychedelics in the shamanistic traditions of various religions around the world. While many of Bell's guests strike me as wacky if not outright scary cases, Pinchback made an awful lot of sense--I suspect he's investigating some of the same things I am, only via drugs instead of costumed play. It's clear that he's not just trying to get high or escape reality; he wants to reach an alternate reality. I know, I know: very 60s. But everything that goes around comes around, and maybe it's time to revisit that impossible dream for a new day and time. I haven't tracked down the book yet, but I plan to. (I'd also like to spend more time checking out a site he recommends, "The Vaults of Erowid," a remarkably detailed guide to psychoactive drugs of all sorts.)

For the last two or three years, the line between the sexual dimensions of my nocturnal activities and the spiritual dimensions has been very thin indeed. I'm interested in hearing from other batmen (and women) out there who are exploring similar territory in their own way, so drop me a line or comment below if you have stories or techniques to share.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Bats in the news

Two amusing bat-links I owe to Teresa at the always-delightful In Sequence:

1) This item about artist Mark Newport's embroidered superhero costumes, including a lovely acrylic batsuit.

2) This picture of Bush and cabinet dressed as Batman's archenemies.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Does whatever a spider can...

I'm still surprised how let down I feel about the new SPIDER-MAN movie. The trailers and stills I'd seen certainly whetted my appetite, to put it mildly: images of our hero in the clutches of Doc Ock, chained up, about to be unmasked, his outfit torn so badly there was barely anything left of it. (Stop me now before I shoot my spidey-webs on the keyboard!)

That's all there, and I'm sure the folks at the GaySpidermanFans Yahoo group will be posting plenty of pix in the weeks to come. But the movie itself was a tremendous disappointment: awful (yet not convincingly campy) dialogue, sloppy direction, one cliché after another. The first film still feels like one of the best comic-book movies thus far, even though I found most of the Peter-and-Mary-Jane business in that one really tedious. I've never been a fan of origin stories in any case, so I was really looking forward to the second installment, when we'd all be free to dive into interactions with villains without much set-up. (I think I developed my boredom with origins from the "Batman" tv show, in which we're plunged straight into the action from the very first episode--which, by the way, is also the only one in which Bruce Wayne's murdered parents and his subsequent vow to avenge them ever comes up, as far as I can remember. Who really cares WHY these hot guys suit up to do their business? Let's just see them in those outfits... and those deathtraps!)

No such luck with SPIDER-MAN 2. (Only minor spoilers in the rest of this paragraph.) First we have to deal with learning how the new bad guy comes into being, then Peter has to lose his powers and re-invent himself, which means MORE scenes of him training himself, blah blah blah. And that fucking Mary Jane! They're apart, they're together, they're apart, they're together, and so on and so on and SO on. Gimme a break. Leave the chick at home and go get yourself into the clutches of some supervillain bent on your destruction, Spidey hon. THAT's what we're paying the big bucks to see. Plus, by the end of the film--following a trend established by the BATMAN movies-- everyone and his brother knows who's under that mask.

A friend of mine said, "Come on, it's a comic book movie!" Pre-cisely. Comic books, for me--an old-school DC-er by birthright--are about the larger-than-life (and hotter-than-vanilla) interactions of heroes and villains fated to lock horns for years and years, not the mundane concerns of everyday people. If I wanted the latter, I'd watch "The O.C." This whole trend toward paying more attention to the Bruce Wayne side of a character than the Bat-self (see "Smallville," "Lois and Clark," "Daredevil," and, I fear, the forthcoming "Batman Begins") is for the birds, if you ask me. The problem with S-M 2 (oh, if only those initials were more descriptive of the actual film) is that it's NOT a comic-book movie at all, it's a fucking soap opera.


Okay, now if you've been keeping up with my OWN version of an origin story in the "Beginnings" serial/blog, you may be thinking to yourself, what's HE going on about? That thing is about as soap-opera as you can get without a cameo from Susan Lucci!

And maybe I am guilty as charged, after all. But all the Dick Grayson stuff early on is there for a reason. I'm really trying to retell a story we all know by heart, from scratch, with some serious revisions. I freely admit I'm fucking with some essential parts of the legend--all because I've been thinking about what conditions might lead to the appearance of a Batman in the, er, "real" world we all inhabit. ("We" being people -- like you, I assume -- who harbor fetishes about characters most everyone else discards after adolescence.) At the same time, I want to make it as sexy as the comic-book fantasies that have always gotten me hard. As of chapter 20 or so, I should have most of the basic framework laid out, and I have some major nastiness planned for our heroes, believe me.

But I'm eager to find out whether anyone cares. I've gotten a couple of encouraging and/or encouragingly horny e-mails so far, but I really want feedback--either via e-mail or the comments option below. I love plotting and writing "Beginnings" so much right now that I'll probably keep going for my own amusement/arousal for the next few weeks at least, but your response would be a great incentive to continue after that. So spill your guts -- or any gushy fluid of your choice.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Not-So-Dark Knight

Things are calming down a bit in my Bruce Wayne life for at least a couple of weeks, so I spent a lot of time last night updating the "Cop-Links" section of my SECRET ROOM site.

In the process, I remembered that National Night Out! is coming up again--it's the first Tuesday of August every year--so I'll put in a plug for it now, a mere month in advance while it's fresh on my mind. Events vary from city to city, but there's a good chance you can tour your local precinct house or, at the very least, get up close and personal with your favorite local boys in blue.

I'm starting to suspect the cops are onto us; check out the new NNO mascot, the "Night Out Knight," on their site. Not since the glory days of Joe Camel has a cartoon character looked so much like a walking phallus. (Either that, or his cleft chin is a plump pair of buttocks.) Turns out you can order your own version of the costume--perfect for the next Theme Night down at the Eagle!