Throwback Thursdays: Batman & Robin

BatmanRobin.0The 1997 movie Batman & Robin is quite possibly one of the strangest movies I have ever watched. The last time I watched it, I noticed that the story liked to switch back and forth between two different things—being completely awful and being completely awful. It does literally nothing else. At any given time Batman & Robin is so awful it’s boring, and during all the other times, it’s so awful it’s baffling. Nevertheless, it’s a movie that has stuck with me over time—not because I particularly want to remember it, but because my traitorous mind won’t let me forget it in the slightest.

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Fanfiction Fridays: The Changeling by Silver Spider

Talia JasonThere is a special place in my heart for just about anything Silver Spider writes, and this isn’t the first time we’ve recommended fics by her. The Choice of Family remains one of my favorite series on, and The Changeling and its sequel, The Guardian, are currently ranked pretty high on my list as well. However, The Guardian is a post for another time. For now, let’s just talk about The Changeling. Yes, this is another Jason Todd story.

The Changeling is an AU fic that starts during the first issue of The Red Hood: Lost Days. Jason is still in a semi-catatonic state after his revival, but due to reasons, Ra’s al Ghul is away, meaning that when Talia throws Jason into the Lazarus Pit to jump-start his memories, Ra’s is none the wiser. This allows Talia to keep Jason around at her mansion as a captive for the next couple months. During his time living with Talia, Jason, who naturally wants nothing more than to get back to Gotham and Bruce, makes a startling discovery: Bruce and Talia have a son, Damian, that Bruce knows nothing about.

Potential trigger warnings for rape and suicide ahead.

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Manga Mondays: What Do You Do With a Rubber Sailor?

Usually with Manga Mondays I like to keep a couple tentative weeks ahead in different manga series so I’m not flailing around trying to figure out what I’m going to write about. For the past month, I haven’t been able to do this. Somehow I’ve managed to become absorbed into not only a series entirely, but also a completely different fandom.

In my defense, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. But I should have known better, read the signs. There is no way that a manga becomes a national icon without any reason.

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In Brightest Day: The Makings of a Batman

Batman is widely considered to be the superhero that is the most doable. All one would need is billions of dollars in equipment and years of martial arts training.

Oh, and your parents have to be violently shot down by a mugger.

Now, for the purpose of this piece, I’m going to go with Joe Chill as the mugger. I know there are versions where it’s the Joker or another person. Those versions are wrong. It’s Joe Chill. Moving on.

When Chill guns down the Wayne’s in cold blood, it is the first piece toward making Bruce Wayne into Batman. Let’s be honest, most superheroes are made because of a serious tragedy in their life. Superman’s planet had to explode and his people had to be wiped out. Comparatively, Wayne got off easy.

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Holy Movie Reviews Batman It’s The Dark Knight Rises

MadameAce: So this movie is okay. I like it. I certainly like it more than other movies for DC. But I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. Maybe that’s because I built it up so much in my head before watching it that it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. Or maybe it’s because the conflict is the exact same conflict in the previous films, only with an even drearier tone. Or it might just be the fact that I couldn’t understand Bane’s character at all. Among other things, of course. And that’s Bane, not Bain, dear Rush.

Lady Geek Girl: I was actually fairly pleased, probably because I didn’t build the movie up in my head. So it actually went beyond my expectations. Here’s the thing, if you were expecting the movie to be just as good or better than The Dark Knight then you were probably disappointed. I was so worried about being disappointed that I ended up liking it instead. That’s not to say that this movie isn’t without flaws though, because there are probably more flaws in this movie than in Batman Begins or in The Dark Knight.

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Theatre Thursdays: Holy Musical B@man!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s another Theatre Thursdays! Today we’ll be discussing the new Starkid sensation, Holy Musical B@man!

As both a Batman and a musical fan I have to say that I greatly enjoyed this musical, though it’s not without its problems.

The opening song of the musical is fantastic “Holy Musical B@tman” is both an interesting and tells you the story relevant to both Batman’s beginning and to the actual musical. The musical starts by informing you that the Joker is officially dead, which was a risky move for Starkid Productions, but they later introduce a character that pretty much replaces the Joker. Batman is now alone and missing the Joker and laments not having any real friends. This allows for the introduction of Robin who becomes Batman’s best bro. Poor Alfred, meanwhile is constantly fired by Batman and in an attempt to take care of him pretends to be different replacement butlers of various nationalities.

There’s also a story line incorporating the rivalry between Batman and Superman. Superman seems desperate to both prove that he is the best superhero and upset that none of the other superheroes want to be his friends.

The next song in Holy Musical B@man is “Dark, Sad, Lonely, Knight,” which is sung by Alfred, Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern. I have to say out of all of the songs in the musical this one was not very good. It felt jumbled to me, like several different songs in one and I didn’t really start to enjoy until the almost the very end of the song. If I can’t get into a song before it’s almost over then it’s not worth it.

The rest of the score is all pretty much gold. There wasn’t any other song that I didn’t love so I suppose that if just one song isn’t then the score itself deserves a gold star. There is usually two or three songs in some Broadway shows that I skip because they aren’t good or just aren’t as good as the others. Starkid manages to get me to listen to every song over and over except for the one. I think that’s pretty good. The last three songs are especially good. “The American Way,” “To Be a Man,” and “Super Friends,” are amazing and funny. And “The American Way” is actually surprisingly deep.

I should note here that I haven’t seen many of Starkid’s other productions. A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel were the only musicals from Starkid that I watched before. So it may be irrelevant to say this, but the production value has certainly gone up from the Potter musicals. The costumes, set, and choreography are all so much better in Holy Musical B@man than in the other musicals.

Holy Musical B@man is of course a comedy poking fun of the things most Batman obsess over. As stated earlier the Joker is killed off stage at the very beginning of the musical and replace with the original character Sweet Tooth… if you can really call Sweet Tooth an original character. He is intentionally exactly like the Joker and points out some of the flaws of the “chaotic, realistic Joker” that fans love. My favorite has to be when Robin is kidnapped by Sweet Tooth and says, “That’s the true nature of humanity, Robin. See how quickly I made society crumble, brought the city to it’s knees, and all it took was a Facebook poll and some guns… months of meticulous planning, several hundred thugs, countless man hours, a cartoonishly large Sour Warhead, and millions upon millions of dollars. Not to mention all the money I spent on fucking candy!” This was something I thought about all through The Dark Knight, that the Joker’s assertion that he didn’t do much is pretty ridiculous.

The best example of the show poking fun at Batman fans comes up in the song “Robin Sucks.” During the song several nerds come out to give their opinion of Robin saying, “Batman should always be a solitary figure as the concept of a child superhero is ridiculous, and ruin the gritty realism of a man who fights crime dressed like a bat.” If you don’t realize why that quote is hilarious I can’t help you. But really, when people get down on Robin a lot and it bothers me. Is Robin really more ridiculous that a man fighting crime dressed like a bat or even a super-powered alien in red and blue spandex fighting crime? I admit that some of the story telling from the comics was silly and stupid, but now the Robins fit in seamlessly and are an extremely important part of the story, and very important to the development of Batman’s character.

I also loved how the musical pokes fun at the idea that Batman’s identity is so much more protected than someone like Superman’s. Throughout the musical Batman constantly reveals his identity on accident and people either don’t notice or figure it out through some other means.

I should point out that the message of the musical is not “don’t take comics seriously because they are all silly” but rather it seems that the message is to enjoy your comics, love the characters, but realize the flaws and goofiness that comes from simply being apart of the comic book genre.

Overall, Holy Musical B@man is an excellent show and I highly recommend it to everyone whether you are a fan of comics or not you will greatly enjoy this musical.

Sexualized Saturdays: Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman

Ah, Batman. If there was a prize for a character’s sexuality being questioned, Batman would win every year. This after all was the character that inspired The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, is well known as being a very typical archetype of the stoic brooding male figure. He’s a badass. He’s the Goddamned Batman! And maybe it’s because Batman is so cool that people are constantly asking questions about his sexuality.

The artists and writers were doing a decent job outing Batman themselves.

The first person to attempt to “out” Batman was Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist who wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent, and argued that Batman and Robin where homosexuals in a very homoerotic story and these stories were encouraging children to be gay… yeah. (He also accused Wonder Woman of being a lesbian, because a strong woman that doesn’t rely on a man for everything must be a lesbian. Obviously!)

This accusation caused trouble for DC Comics and the writers were quick to create Batgirl and Batwoman as love interests for Batman and Robin. Ironically, Batwoman would be later reintroduced as a lesbian.

Despite many people believing Batman is gay, the comic books show the exact opposite. Bruce Wayne is a notorious playboy with a (extremely) long list of woman (civilian, superhero, and villain) as potential love interests. Of course many people point out that this could be Batman overcompensating for is homosexual urges. Furthermore, there is much speculation as to whether or not Bruce Wayne is actually a playboy or if he just pretends to be one. I think this reflected best in the recent Nolan films. In both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has many women on his arm, but as far as the movies show, he never actually takes any of them home with him. He’s too busy being Batman to actually have sex and be a playboy.

In the comics, this is not usually the case. Bruce seems to have many relationships, but the women Bruce involves himself with usually don’t stick around, because he is unable to commit to them and still be Batman. This doesn’t stop Batman from getting his groove on though. He had a son, Damian Wayne, with Talia al Ghul, and Catwoman is often regarded as his one true love despite their often toxic relationship.

The writers for the Batman comics have all been questioned about Batman’s sexuality. Regardless of these numerous heterosexual relationships, here is what they had to say:

The Comics Bulletin website posed the question “Is Batman Gay?” to their staff and various comic book professionals. Writer Alan Grant has stated, “The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn’t gay. Denny O’Neil’s Batman, Marv Wolfman’s Batman, everybody’s Batman all the way back to Bob Kane… none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view.” Writer Devin Grayson has commented, “It depends who you ask, doesn’t it? Since you’re asking me, I’ll say no, I don’t think he is… I certainly understand the gay readings, though.” While Frank Miller has described the relationship between Batman and the Joker as a “homophobic nightmare,” he views the character as sublimating his sexual urges into crime fighting, concluding, “He’d be much healthier if he were gay.”

So is Batman gay? He certainly has many woman attached to him and the creator/writers don’t seem to think he is, but could he be?

The relationship between Batman and Robin is the main reason people think Batman is gay. Everything involving Batman and homosexuality inevitably leads to Batman and Robin. I should say Robins, because there have been several and most have been romantically linked to Batman.

Dick Grayson, the first Robin who later becomes Nightwing, is the one most often tied to Batman. There are many comics that show Batman’s close relationship to the eldest Robin and of course some the hilarious early Batman comics don’t help. After all who could forget that famous shower fight scene?

I don’t even have words for this scene…

Jason Todd, the second Robin who later becomes Red Hood, is also often romantically linked to Batman. Jason notably was very, very jealous of Batman’s relationship with Catwoman and even tried to break them up.

Thankfully, as far as I know, neither Tim Drake nor Damian Wayne have ever been romantically linked to Batman, nor has Steph Brown, the only canon female Robin. In fact none of the Bat Women have ever been romantically link to Batman in recent canon.

Now you might be looking at the above thinking, “Four tiny paragraphs talking about Batman and Robin(s)’s relationship when this is the pairing that started the gay rumors in the first place! What the hell?”

You are right in thinking that I’m dismissing these pairings. Why? Because it’s creepy, that’s why! And don’t go accusing me of homophobia or any of that nonsense. The Batman/Robin pairing is not homosexual. If this pairing really did exist, since Robin is a minor, it would be pedophilia. Even if you tell me that Batman and Robin will get together when Robin is all grown up it’s still creepy. It’s child grooming at best. Furthermore, Batman raised all of the Robins, giving their interactions a familial touch to them. Making any relationship between Batman and the Robins as creepy as Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter.

Apparently some people think Batman and the Joker are madly in love with each other. Well, maybe in your fanfic they are, but I really doubt it—no, I know Batman has absolutely no interest in the Joker.

Now don’t get your panties all in a twist. That doesn’t mean the Joker isn’t interested in Batman, but we’re discussing Batman’s sexuality today. We’ll come back to the Joker’s another time.

While Clark Kent is very straight, he is not a minor or family member of Bruce Wayne’s, nor is he in fact a psychotic maniac. So I feel this is a step in the right direction for Batman.

Despite very few accusations about Superman’s sexuality, there is a surprising amount of evidence here. First, in the early comics, Batman and Superman got along extremely well, unlike in today’s comics, but while I don’t want to demean their friendship, the early Batman and Superman were about as close as two men could get and still be straight. So their relationship was teetering on the edge there.

Then there is the fact that Batman and Superman kind of raised Robin together, particularly Dick Grayson. There’s no denying that Superman is often in the lives of the Bat Family, but he seems to have made the greatest impression on Dick who took on the name Nightwing after he moved on from being Robin. Nightwing is the name of a great hero in a Kryptonian legend from Superman’s home world. Though this in no way indicates a relationship between Batman and Superman, their close friendship along with Superman’s connection with Dick certainly creates an interesting pseudo-family dynamic.

In later incarnations this extremely close friendship disappears in favor of a rivalry. Frank Miller was the first to realize that Superman’s strict code of ethics would in fact clash with Batman’s often morally grey ones. Admittedly though, Miller takes this rivalry too far, making the two characters out and out hate each other. In later comics this rivalry would remain, but eventually would fade away to become respect, and then friendship, though both Batman and Superman could still get on each other’s nerves at times.

Now Superman still seems to hang around the Bat Family a lot. Dick still takes on the name Nightwing, Tim Drake (the third Robin) is best friends with Superman’s son Conner Kent, and Batgirl and Supergirl are very close. Superman even gets along with Alfred! Superman worries for Batman a lot and usually becomes distraught when he dies. He even went so far as to verbally attack Dick Grayson in one comic for daring to become Batman after Bruce Wayne’s death, because it meant to Superman that his Batman was really dead.

So it seems that Superman just fits well into Batman’s life and cares about him a great deal. Batman seems to react the same way for Superman, often worrying about him, watching out for his friends and family, and freaking out if Superman dies or is injured.

There was so much speculation about these two that this happened:

Apollo and Midnighter exist in another universe, but while not Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, they are meant to be the Batman and Superman figures in their universe—and they’re gay. They even marry and adopt a child together. Again this proves nothing about Batman and Superman’s relationship, but it’s enough to make the readers wonder.

In conclusion, I actually don’t think Batman’s gay. Straight or gay it doesn’t really matter because Batman is so emotionally stunted by the trauma of his parents’ death that he pushes everyone he cares about away. Something that is often lamented about by the Robins, Superman, Catwoman, and literally everyone else who knows him. So again, I do think based on the comic’s canon that he is straight, but should a writer choose to write Batman as a gay character, well, I don’t think it would be difficult.


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Fanfiction Fridays: The Choice of Family (And Its Sequels) by Silver Spider

Sometimes comic books don’t do what I want them to do (see: DC Comics Reboot). Comics for the most part tend to be more concerned about the action that is occurring in the story than the relationships between the characters. There are notable exceptions of course, but for the most part comics are focused more on action and fighting. For those of you that long for some more character and relationship building I suggest you turn to your favorite fanfiction site.

I love all things Batman and I love the Bat Family. The dynamic in that family is fantastic, interesting, and multilayered, but because many of the characters in the Bat Family are emotionally stunted, and because comic writers aren’t often going to create a series simply to explore characters’ relationships, the dynamics of this family are often not explored.

Silver Spider’s fanfiction, The Choice of Family and its subsequent sequels, fills this gap in the comics to explore the familial relationships in the Bat Family.

Silver Spider wrote a series of one-shot fanfics that focus primarily on the relationships between Batman and the various Robins. The Choice of Family is the first in the series and begins in a hospital with Damian Wayne (Robin) and Tim Drake (Red Robin) watching over an injured Dick Grayson (Nightwing). As the story progresses the reader learns that Dick was injured in a gang altercation involving Jason Todd.

Jason, for those maybe less familiar with Batman, is a former Robin who was murdered by the Joker and later resurrected. Jason is the estranged son of the Bat Family, angry with his father and his siblings for not avenging his death by killing the Joker. The Jason Todd of the comics often struggles with his own anger toward his family, but occasionally the fact that he still cares about them is made known.

Silver Spider shows this amazingly well. In The Choice of Family, Jason feeling guilty, shows up at the hospital to check on Dick and even attempts to apologize for his actions, though he doesn’t take full responsibility for what happened at the time.

I might be a bit bias, but Jason’s journey throughout the series is arguably the most compelling. Jason begins by being angry and vengeful, blaming everybody but himself for his problems, but starting with Antidote for the Poison and climaxing in In Father’s Honor, Jason changes and grows. Jason becomes more mature and learns to turn to his family with his problems, which then allows him to begin to overcome his past and start on a better path.

As a Jason Todd fan girl this is kind of my wildest dream.

But perhaps the thing I like most about this series is that the familial relationships are stressed far more than in the comics.

In the Batman comics, the only one of Bruce’s children that calls him father is Damian, and the Robins never really refer to each other as brothers, but in Silver Spider’s series the Robins often refer to each other as brothers and refer to Bruce as their father.

Simply by using names like father and brother, Silver Spider takes the Bat Family to a whole new emotional level than the comics really have. It’s a nice and much needed change.

This is an amazing fanfic that I would highly recommend to anyone. For those interested in a good fanfic that doesn’t focus on pairings (though there are a few het pairings, they aren’t usually the main focus) and really deals with interesting canon relationships between the characters, Silver Spider’s The Choice of Family and it’s sequels are few you. Check it out!

Trailer Tuesdays: Arkham City

So far I think I should mention that this is shaping up to be just as epic and badass as Arkham Asylum. The gameplay, from what I’ve seen, looks pretty similar, but Batman does take down quite a few henchmen in ways that he didn’t in the first game, such as smashing their heads together from behind. Then, there are also times when the player apparently fights as Catwoman, which looks pretty epic too.

Speaking of Catwoman, there seems to be a lot of characters making their first physical appearances in the series, such as Robin and the Riddler. The Riddler himself wasn’t entirely absent from the first game, but it’ll be nice to see him in person here. Unfortunately, both them seem a little out of character to me. I noticed this first in Arkham Asylum during the Riddler’s interviews. Edward Nigma was never someone who actively murdered people. Well, maybe on occasion. He’s a glorified bank robber. His OOC didn’t bother me that much and his riddles were fun—especially when he accused me of looking up the answers on the internet, which I was—so I let it slide. Robin, on the other hand, seems to suffer some character-identity crisis in everything he’s in. Whether this or Young Justice or otherwise, it’s as though the creators just can’t decide if they want Dick or Tim, so they use one name and slap on the personality of the other. Arkham City seems has gone the extra mile and added Jason’s personality to the mix.

And I have to wonder what everyone’s obsession is with putting Harley in a corset. A corset, really? Harley’s always had an air of naivety to her, but the newer versions just don’t want to capture that. Not to mention, in what way is a corset conducive to an acrobat? And why is Catwoman showing that much cleavage? As Lady Geek Girl said to me, her outfit is already skin tight. How much sexier are they trying to get?

Rants aside, the game looks well worth checking out. The graphics are good, the story intriguing, and a battle system that seems just as fun as the first game’s. After all, it wouldn’t be Batman without great violence, and I personally can’t wait to play it for myself.