You Ever Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight? In Praise of the First Batman Movie

You Ever Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight? In Praise of the First Batman Movie

Yes, I know. The first Batman movie came out in 1966, and was filled with moments of epic hilarity such as “Some Days You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb!” I watched it a little while ago with my oldest. It’s grand, campy fun. We all know what I’m talking about, nerds.

Red Letter Media, casting about for horrible movies to mock, as they do, settled upon supplying a commentary track for Batman & Robin, the ne plus ultra of ridiculous cartoony nipples-on-body-armor dreck that sank the franchise like a filagreed Batmobile at the bottom of the harbor until Nolan made art out of it.

And I suppose that said moldy pile of creative leavings deserves the mockery. I say “suppose” because I was wise enough not to see it, having been warned by my brother how bad it was. I wasn’t really that interested anyway. The franchise had been declining since the first sequel. Yeah, I said it. Batman Returns, the one that still had Keaton as Batman and Burton directing, is a confused, sloppy pile of whatever that people got excited about at the time because it had Michelle Pfeiffer in a tight leather suit with a whip (once, in the before time, in the long long ago, that was a thing). It has Penguin as some kind of drooling special-needs freakazoid rather than the most intellectually astute of Gotham’s rogues, and the actual bad-guy is Christopher Walken, as some kind of non-canon business dude. It’s boring, and it’s to Batman what Corpse Bride is to The Nightmare Before Christmas.

And Batman Forever is overwrought and underwritten, with way too many threads in the air and none of them given proper time. The silly Schumakerness of it replacis the Goth-ish Burtonic dread with a weird nod to the 1966-style camp, while trying to make us take it seriously. Only Jim Carrey’s over-the-top rubberface Riddler stands out (which is saying something). So overall, anyone would be better off watching the Nolan series, grim as it may be.

But there was that first movie. A movie that stormed the box office in the summer of ’89, proving that they could be successful. A movie that seems to smell like the 1980’s. A movie that was purple and black and bloody and may still be better than anything that followed it.

Continue reading “You Ever Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight? In Praise of the First Batman Movie”

March Comic Book Post: Please Don’t Humanize the Comedian

I finally got the last two issues of Three today, and I am absorbing the boulder-to-the-face that is their finale. At the fifth issue, finality. That’s several pleasant layers of verisimilitude mixed with  economy of storytelling. I’m saving it for next month’s post.

Plus any thoughts she might have about Darth Bader (sic).

Besides, I thought I might chime in on something that DC’s been doing that’s annoying me. No, not killing Batman. That was merely lame. No, not the whole New 52 reboot. That’s merely desperation. No, I’m talking about the whole “Before Watchmen” franchise, and specifically what it did to the Comedian.

On paper, the characters from Watchmen should be ripe for some prequel exploitation. They’re masked heroes who had a decades-long history in an alternate universe. Plenty of story to tell, and plenty of freedom to tell it in – provided you don’t abuse the chronologically-later storyline of the original graphic novel.

But this right here, this is garbage: Continue reading “March Comic Book Post: Please Don’t Humanize the Comedian”

January Comic Book Post: The 70’s Punching You Right in the Face

This was supposed to be January’s Post, but I didn’t get around to it. There will be a February post as well…sometime in April, the way things are going.

The most Jedi way to handle this situation.

I’ve been meaning to address this scene, from Issue #2 of The Star Wars, but I was waiting for it to get addressed. I’m waiting for Annikin to have to, you know, apologize for knocking a Princess the hell out. Leia does start to complain to Luke Skywalker in the following issue, but is cut off by the death of her father at imperial hands. That’s where it’s been left, and both characters seem as though their fine with it. We even see the obligatory romance blossoming between the two, for which this event must be the obligatory hair-pulling.

The other reason I haven’t gone after it with the vigor of say, this blogger, is because this is a rough draft. This is the part of the creative process when you just kind of throw things around and see what sticks. This is, thankfully, something that didn’t stick around. The actual princess Leia has far more spine than this silly little girl getting all upset about her lack of entourage (she’s more like Vespa from Spaceballs, really), and neither Luke nor Han ever lay a finger on her, not because they’re so fond of her (“no reward is worth this”) because it’s not necessary to beat a woman in order to awaken her to danger.

My guess is the contrary cliche worked its way through Lucas’ noggin onto the rough draft page, where it was excised as a cheap piece of tension that didn’t fit either character (both of whom largely ended up being other characters).


Continue reading “January Comic Book Post: The 70’s Punching You Right in the Face”

November Comic Book Post: The Geek Returneth

photo (2)

Yesterday I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do for years, organize and file my comic books. It took me the better part of a morning, but I’m terribly pleased with the general sense of imposing order on chaos.

I am no more than a dabbler in comic books. I read them sporadically as a kid – Mostly Batman, in the wake of the 1989 film (although I do have a vintage, wrinkled Transformers comic, from that long plotline when Optimus Prime had had a core dump or something and Ratchet was leading the Autobots).

In recent years, I’ve put my money in large-scale graphic novels, to the idea of getting more for my buck. I’ve got the Alan Moore masterpieces (Watchmen, From Hell), a few of the “classic” Batman Graphic novels (The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke), a few lesser-tiered (Dark Victory, Hush), and some of the USE-ALL-THE-DC-CHARACTERS tomes, Infinite Crisis and such.

I also have the Batman that was on the shelves in November of 1976, when I was born. Birthday present from my wife, who – bless her – encourages my nerderies.

Yeah, I’m a DC kid. Deal. Continue reading “November Comic Book Post: The Geek Returneth”