Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Knightfall 22: Enemy mine

I can't tell you how cool it is to have an archenemy.

One of the main things that has always appealed to me about the comic book and tv-series versions of Batman, as opposed to the films, is the fact that the villains stick around for years--decades, even. Oh, they may be sent off to jail every now and then, but their time in the stir only hardens their resolve to break out and return to their work destroying their nemesis with a renewed sense of purpose. The characters have a history together, a shared language. They're like forces of nature. And the intensity of their battles grows stronger with each encounter. Because Batman's moral code does not permit him to kill his enemies--and because I suspect they don't really want to do him in, either--they're stuck with each other for life.

Likewise, I've always been intrigued by the element of time in SM (or whatever you want to call it) roleplay: the longer the better, if you ask me. While it's not really in the cards for me, I'm fascinated by the prospect of a longterm master/slave relationship, or something similar. It's definitely the same in my solo batplay: when I get a weekend, let alone a week (or, on one glorious occasion ten years ago, an entire month) to myself, time to suit up and go wherever my imagination takes me for hours and hours at a stretch, I'm ecstatic--literally. There may be forays into the outside world now and then, but it's immensely comforting to know that I can return that night to an extended fantasy of my own design, and even more satisfying to know that I've been spinning an ongoing, albeit deeply private, saga for more than ten years.

So you can imagine how thrilling it is to realize that I now have a longterm cast of characters on my IM buddy list: the Monk, of course, but many others as well--fellow superheroes, current and past sidekicks, lesser villains, and a troubling number of "shifters" who tend to slide from good guy to bad guy without warning. Most of these characters know each other and have their own adventures that don't necessarily include me; sometimes two or more of them work in cahoots either with or against me. I'm not really interested in the brief encounter with a passing stranger, though there is certainly a place for those in the comic book world, too: the petty thieves and crossover cameos that add texture to the main storyline (or storylines, since my online saga is sometimes a bit different than the private one I conduct by myself, in the way that, say, Legends of the Dark Knight varies from Detective). The same is true of my Beginnings serial--unlike your average slash fiction, it goes on and on, with characters dropping out and returning from time to time, and having interconnected lives, just as real people do. I enjoy being able to incorporate the passage of real time as often as possible (and to imply that various things have taken place without my having to spell them out.) That's also been the appeal of soap operas as a narrative form for me--except in that case, the content is totally uninteresting. I just like the potential for a tale to span years, in the writing/telling/performing as well as in the reading/viewing.

As for the Monk, he's still out there, and resisting the sometimes burning desire to return to his clutches has become the struggle of my bat-career, the year-and-a-half-long battle that defines my very (fictional) character. He has long insisted that he is no mere outside force by this point but a part of me, and I'll be damned if I don't believe him sometimes. (And, er, perhaps I'll be damned if I do believe him, too.)

So stay tuned--the worst (or best) may be yet to come.

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a DICK!

I don't remember how I came across it, but I found myself with a copy of the August 19, 2005 issue of The Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine, which led me to Superdickery.com, home of Superman is a Dick, an extensive gallery of comic book covers and panels demonstrating just how often the Man of Steel behaves like a complete asshole. (Obligatory side note: I've always been slightly bothered by the slang use of words like "dick," "asshole," "pussy," and the like--or the phrase "that sucks"--to denote something negative, since it just perpetuates our culture's general hatred/fear of the body. But saying that, I realize, makes me sound like a total pussy.) Here's one of the less dick-ish examples of Superman's behavior, which I've obviously picked for the cameo appearance of another famous jerk:

Oh, wait, here's an even better one (as in hotter, since I believe "brainwashed killer" is a bit different than "dick"):

Believe me, there's plennnnnnty more where these came from (and I'm not really giving you the clearest illustration of the "dickery," most of which involves Lois or Jimmy--who totally deserve it, if you ask me). The pages take a while to load, but it's worth the wait. I'll be back with more highlights from another section of the site in a future post--but you really need to check this one out yourself.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Son Calls Another Man "Daddy"

(Somehow, I don't think this is what Hank Williams had in mind with that song title.)

Dorian at PostModernBarney.com has a nice appreciation of Tom of Finland on his blog, as part of a mini-series on "Objectifying Men." Not only is the writing interesting, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever seen Tom's--er, Mr. Finland's--work discussed by someone I associate with comics (gay or otherwise). Here, allow me to post a JPEG from my own collection that we may all enjoy:

Given my interest in cops, real and otherwise, I keep meaning to write more about Tom's stuff here, but I never quite get around to it. I've read portions of Micha Ramakers' book Dirty Pictures: Tom of Finland, Masculinity, and Homosexuality, a fairly academic tome peppered with, well, dirty pictures, and many years ago I saw the documentary Daddy and the Muscle Academy, both of which I'd recommend to fans of the artist who are interested in the deeper implications of his work.

Oddly enough, I first heard about Tom from a heterosexual woman artist/curator (with lots of gay friends), around the time of one of his first gallery shows in NYC in the mid-80s, just as the post-modernists were starting to discover him. So, hey, let's hear it for universal appeal!

--Wayne of Gotham

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Peek into the box...

I'm still not crazy about any of the Burton/Schumacher Bat-movies, but that hasn't stopped me from coveting the new boxed set of them, mainly for the voluminous extras, and the ability to freeze-frame those one or two images from each film that floated my batboat, like Michael Keaton literally tearing the mask off his face near the end of Returns, or this nice little moment from the movie everyone hates so much:

Somehow today I found myself at this Warner promotional site, which contains snippets of some of the featurettes, a trivia quiz (in multiple versions, though my score was always the same dismally low one since I honestly don't give a shit how many hours it took Danny DeVito to apply his makeup or how much Chris O'Donnell's outfit weighed), desktop themes, (slightly) interactive photos, and other goodies.

Like everyone else, I wish the TV series would get this sort of treatment (even though it seems like we'll never live to see it). Oh, to behold behind-the-scenes footage of Adam and company, in and out of costume! After all, if photos like these exist,

then is it too much to hope for moving images of this kind of thing, too?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Begins, again

Yes, yes, of course I picked up the DVD of Batman Begins right away, and of course I got the 2-disc version with bonus bat-goodies.

I headed straight for the extras, and enjoyed them all. Nothing spectacular, mind you; I wish there'd been a commentary track (I'm a sucker for those), and the "Interactive Comic Book" menu makes for an annoying interface (it is kinda hot, but it's a pain to have to navigate through it to get to a conventional menu). The hard-copy comic included in the package reprints one chapter of The Long Halloween (gotta push that back catalogue) and two origin/early-days stories I didn't have. All in all, I gained a lot of insight into the making of a blockbuster circa 2005, and I saw just how seriously the writer and director take the Bat-mythos and their part within it. (Sorry, I hate that word "mythos," but what the hell.) And let me just say there are some migh-tee hot men involved in the making of that mythos.

In one of the featurettes--maybe the one on the fighting technique Batman uses--there's a note of explanation that the notorious/controversial quick cuts in the combat sequences are meant to convey what an encounter with our hero would look like from the perspective of a bad guy: lightning-fast, impossible to follow, and then it's over. Makes sense, but this and some other passing comment made me realize that, once again, filmmakers feel that Batman himself is not interesting enough to hold a film. In the Burton/Schumacher era the emphasis was on the villains (in ever-increasing numbers each time), and for Nolan it's Bruce Wayne in his pre-Bat days. And I just don't agree. Both classic tv incarnations--the 60s show and the 90s (?) animated one--place Batman, AS Batman, at the center of the story, and that's just where he belongs. Wayne and the baddies need to be there, but they're not what have kept me transfixed for the last four decades.

Sermon over. DVD good. Waiting on pins and needles for the next installment of the Nolan/Goyer saga. Here's hoping they're both along for the long haul, too.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Skin Tight and ready for action

Just got an e-mail alerting me to this entry from the Terminally Single blog about the SkinTight (formerly HardComixxx) parties in NYC, which I'm passing along because there are some nice photos, and the blogger has some good stuff to say about the events, too.

I've never been to one of these parties, but man oh man do they ever look tempting.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


1. I tell you, I am kicking myself HARD for not being a regular, or semi-regular, or even occasional, Today Show viewer. Matt Lauer is my kind o' cutie any day of the week, but the thought of him in a batsuit on Halloween is too much for my poor heart to bear. Here's one teensy taste, in case you missed it, too:

That outfit borders on the freakish--believe me, if Batman really wants to strike fear in bad guys, maybe he should go for the steroid-abuser look on display here--and I shall hold my tongue regarding the matter of Al Roker as Robin. But the idea of Bat Lauer has me all atwitter--hottest of all for me would be a shot of him in the suit but unmasked, and I haven't come across that yet. There are a whole bunch more images here, and maybe you will have better luck than I did viewing this video clip. (Ah, how painful it is, knowing there is footage out there and not being able to see it!)

2. In the course of finding the links above, I stumbled upon this page of photos from a San Francisco stage show with the somewhat unwieldly name Batman!!! The TV Show: The Play. Here's an unauthorized sample (the best image for my twisted purposes):

The show itself (which apparently just closed) looks like a spoof of a spoof, which is very hard to pull off. (I'll never forget a painfully unfunny "parody" of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman I saw during the run of that classic series, created by folks who were far less clever and creative than the show's creators.) But the villains in particular look great, and I'm sure I'd have paid the bucks to see the show if I'd been able to go.

3. Oh, and here's a personal Halloween update, in case you've been hanging on the edge of your seat waiting to find out: dreary daylight-world obligations kept me from doing the bat-thing this year for the trick-or-treaters, dammit. I was also surprised to find only one pint-sized Dark Knight at my door. No other superheroes that I recall, which was a letdown. Costumes tended to be surprisingly old-school: your ghosts, your witches, your fairy princesses. Here we are in the golden age of comic book movies (well, maybe not so golden, come to think off it), and none of the kids in my little corner of suburbia can be bothered to rise to the occasion? Holy letdown!