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.

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