Monday, October 25, 2004

LEGO My Bat, Man

Just watched Jonathan Markiewitz's Batman LEGO Film, "Batman: Revenge", which (of course) I found out about through the ever-useful site.

You heard me right: it's an (almost-)all-LEGO version of the Caped Crusader, a silent animation that isn't as weird--or campy-- as it might sound. (Watching it, I thought a little of Todd Haynes' Superstar, which tells the story of Karen Carpenter entirely with Barbie dolls, and the films of the Brothers Quay and various other dark animator types.) While it relies a bit too heavily on Danny Elfman's music from the Tim Burton films to establish its mood (a common tendency in batfan films, I've noticed), the amount of detail is pretty impressive.

The use of Legos is particularly interesting because it calls attention to the childlike nature of the bat-legend, and gives it a surreal edge at the same time. I've been thinking a lot lately about Franklin Rosemont's book Surrealism and Its Popular Accomplices (City Lights, 1980), a terrific compendium of pop-culture artifacts which either influenced or were inspired by the Surrealist movement, drawing connections between Andre Breton, Dali, & company and comic books, pulp heroes, the Three Stooges, Tex Avery, & so on. I read the book about 20 years ago but it's been on my mind in recent months, as I've thought just how bizarre the bat-saga is: man puts on strange clothes (which don't really look that much like a bat) to fight criminals in the middle of the night. As a kid, it never seemed the least bit odd to me; I just kind of took the premise for granted. Now, however, it feels like a waking dream, a mass hallucination shared by millions of fans.

For that matter, I'd love to watch Georges Franju's film version of Judex again sometime, too--another conscious meditation on the overlap of Surrealism and the masked heroes of comicdom that I saw almost 25 years ago, before I could really appreciate it. No Legos in that one, but a similarly dreamlike quality.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Knightfall 6: Edgeplay

Apologies for not writing more often lately (either here or in the "Beginnings" story), but as I noted last time, my Bruce Wayne life is pretty damn full these days.

Which has interesting ramifications for my extended roleplaying with The Monk. I'm so overwhelmed with mundane (and not-so-mundane) matters that my appetite for erotic/spiritual/psychological exploration is lower than usual, at least for the time being. (Should ease up a little next month.) But deep down I still feel the strong pull of the bat-self; after all, it's been the driving force of my life for more than thirty years.

Sometimes the break from nightly encounters with The Monk helps me regain my strength as a masked manhunter (even though he's long ago stripped me of my mask, and I'm pretty much the hunted man rather than the one doing the hunting these days). In those moods I feel reconnected with this central metaphor of my life, and I am convinced I will somehow find a way out of his clutches, or at least that this chapter of my saga will end sooner or later and I'll be able to resume my secret life on my own terms again.

Other times, however, I sense that all really is lost on the bat-front, that my story will not have a happy ending like in the movies and the TV show and the comic books, after all, that I'm destined to be broken for real and end my days doing his beck and call (in our mutual fantasy, that is). This latter thought is, I dread to say, intensely exciting to me. I hate to admit it, but the prospect of absolute failure is a tremendous turn-on to me. (And, of course, The Monk knows this and exploits it to his full advantage.)

So this is what M meant by "edging"--Batman's dance out on the edge between self-control and utter collapse. Something has to happen sooner or later: a breakthrough, a breakdown (of the bat-self), or both. My schedule notwithstanding, I'm hoping it's soon rather than later. The longer it takes, the more likely I'll come out on the losing end of the deal.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Knightfall 5: Two Faces have I

As I wrote in my last entry on the subject, I truly thought The Monk had broken me (or my bat-character, that is--this can get mighty confusing from time to time, which is part of the thrill for me). And we had exactly one encounter in my new fully-compliant role before I started to resist again. Guess the bat-self is just too much a part of me to purge so easily.

That's kind of disappointing on one level, because I'm fascinated by the notion of utter defeat/complete surrender (on the path to something ... Other, something as yet unknown) and I want to reach that state sooner or later. But I feel a real loss when I think about abandoning my batself, potentially for good (or, uh, eeeeeeevil). So I find myself divided once again, 90% of me ready to take the plunge and fall prey to whatever The Monk has in store for me, a stubborn 10% still resisting.

Meanwhile, my real life, beneath all the masks and all the roleplay, is as full as it can possibly be for the next several days/weeks, if not the entire month. It will be interesting to see how I can balance such a rich fantasy life with an equally full (if less erotically/spiritually/intellectually charged) reality.

BTW, I promised a second reason I've christened The Monk with that particular nickname (besides a character's appearance as an early and brutal nemesis of Batman in the comics). Sappy as this may sound, I visited a "spiritualist" a few weeks ago, who almost immediately started visualizing a man in monk's garb standing behind me. This hypothetical man--currently alive, but barely known to me at the time--would allegedly become my soulmate (as in a fellow traveller in matters of the soul, nothing more and nothing less), and teach me much about myself. This guy would be well versed in techniques of mind control (though MY Monk's techniques are probably not what the spiritualist had in mind) and various Eastern religions and spiritual practices (again, the Monk I have has other tricks up his sleeve... though I don't doubt they're related). We would become very close friends for a very long time. And so on. Sounds like my unseen online nemesis is a Monk if there ever was one.

Tonight I suited up (donning the batsuit for the first time in weeks, in direct defiance of his orders) for a final confrontation--perhaps. (I wanted to be wearing the suit if and when I reached a point when I'd truly have to put it behind me.) (All this provides me with a beautiful metaphor for the fear of facing my own death-more on that later, I'm sure.) But, damn the luck, I was just too tired in real life to get into the Monk-vs-Bat scene to the extent necessary. (Tip to anyone else trying this at home: like cooking,therapy, and offline batsex, it don't work if you don't have the mental energy. Best not to even try.) So I remain 10% free of his evil, and 90% in its sway. And that divide, while titillating in theory, is not a pleasant state to remain in.

Perhaps it's like I'm on a diving board, contemplating the water and trying to get myself ready to jump in. Once I do, there's no turning back.

And I've always been one of those guys who sits at the shallow end of the pool, getting my feet wet one toe at a time. So, like everything else in this little game, is a whole new experience.