Showing 11 - 20 of 166 posts found matching keyword: batman
Wednesday 16 September 2020
In late 2011, DC transitioned to "The New 52," a publishing initiative intended to attract new readers to comics by reimagining the DC Comics universe of characters for 21st-century audiences. In that regard, it was a big success. New readers did flock to DC's titles, but at the cost of many longtime readers who had supported the publisher for decades and now felt betrayed. When the new readers moved on to the next fad, DC was left without any readers at all.
Four-and-a-half years later, in 2016, the company predictably responded to the failures of the New 52 with a return to the characters and stories the New 52 had discarded. They called this event "Rebirth," and it was in some ways good and in other ways more of the same poorly thought-out, short-term behavior that had doomed the New 52. For example, it was promoted from the beginning that the famously enigmatic Batman villain Joker would finally get an origin story. Fans loved that idea, so, naturally DC didn't follow through on it for four more years as they instead focused on revisiting stores from the 1980s. And they wonder why their market share keeps shrinking.
Which brings us to the year 2020 and The Three Jokers, its name alone an overt reference to the self-inflicted damage that decades of navel-gazing reboots have done to what passes for history in the lives of DC superheros like Batman. As so much else from DC these days, the story of The Three Jokers is woven around some of the biggest Joker stories ever told, most of them more than thirty years old.
Why should any young reader be interested in returning yet again to stories written when their fathers were children? Why should their fathers buy the same old story a third, fourth, or fifth time? Nostalgia is a game of diminishing returns, and all this navel gazing only continues to alienate readers already concerned that DC has nothing new to offer in exchange for the $5 cover price cost of a modern comic book.
Clearly DC learned the wrongest of lessons from their New 52 debacle a decade ago and have reverted to repeating the same mistakes that got them into that mess to begin with. Something tells me that if the Joker was a real person, he'd get a kick out of that.
This page was published in 2010. The more things change....
Tuesday 8 September 2020
The following strip is as on-the-nose today as it was when the fantastically talented Coleen Coover created it in 2010 — because Batman is timeless.
Friday 4 September 2020
Someone asked if I had drawn the Batman PSA I posted on the 2nd. No, I did not. That came straight from DC Comics.
I didn't make this, either. It come straight from the people who made The LEGO Batman Movie.
Wednesday 2 September 2020
Welcome to the 15th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 80% less football! Past Septembers have included travelogues of my adventures attending UGA football games in Athens, GA, (and occasionally elsewhere around the South), but there will be none of that this year. (Thanks COVID-19!)
I find I'm not excited about football this year. I mean, I haven't been excited about anything the Miami Dolphins have offered in decades, but college football is usually another story. My ennui is probably COVID's fault, too. What is there to get excited about when everything we've seen in the past six months points to a significant disruption in schedule? Do I really need entertainment so badly that I'm willing to watch football players get sick and die needlessly for the sake of a game?
The Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American, and Mountain West conferences have all decided that the risk to fans and players alike is too great to play football in 2020, but the SEC is pushing ahead despite already having the highest percentage of cases per population (31 per 100k) of any football region in the country. As I've already said, I won't be attending. "It Just Means More℠" makes a fine motto, but let's not get carried away.
Maybe I'm just a snowflake. Maybe everything will turn out fine. It might happen. Sh'yeah. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.
In the meantime, I'll be following the advice of a billionaire philanthropist who doesn't have a financial interest in selling me football tickets.
It's easier for him. His parents are dead.
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Saturday 18 January 2020
from DC Special Series #6 (1977)
I might have watched that Gotham television show if there had been a greater emphasis on giant props. Or *any* emphasis on giant props.
(Also in that issue: Captain Comet cures his own concussion with telepathy, Wonder Woman saves the U.N. building with her lasso and invisible jet, and Green Lantern quotes Rhett Butler. Because comics are awesome.)
Friday 13 December 2019
Created by Kerry Callen of KerryCallen.Blogspot.com
That's my Batman!
Monday 23 September 2019
Batman Day was this past Saturday. It should not be confused with Batman's birthday. According to the 1976 DC Comics Calendar, Bruce Wayne was born on February 19. Or April 7, depending on whether we're talking about the Earth-1 or Earth-2 version. (Don't even get me started on Earth-3.)
If you missed the date, don't blame yourself. Batman Day crawls blindly around the calendar like its namesake. In the past five years since it was created, it has never been held on the same date twice: July 23 (2014), September 15 (2018), September 17 (2016), September 23 (2017), September 26 (2015). If you can find a pattern in those dates, congratulations! You can be the super villain who crashes Batman Day 2020. You can call yourself "The Sequencer" and wear a costume covered in brilliantly colored, shiny sequins. Trust me; that's how comic book villains work.
In celebration of the "holiday," 10 cities across the globe gave promoters permission to shine the Bat-signal on their skylines despite it not being a Bat-emergency. Fans in Barcelona, Berlin, Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo. That's a lot of cities for one hero to visit in a day. Batman's a billionaire, not Santa Claus.
The event advertised participation in 13 cities, but Los Angeles denied permits and Paris had an infestation of anti-government rioters (a situation that sounds more like a job for Superman). Meanwhile, Montreal's celebration was interrupted by a nutcase with a megaphone, which if you ask me, is about as Batman as it gets.
Hrm. He needs more sequins.
Friday 13 September 2019
Speaking of movies I don't know why anyone would make: Batman: Hush. That's the latest direct-to-video animated Batman film from the factory at Warner Bros Home Entertainment.
The movie is based on 12 issues of the Batman comic released in 2002/03. Jeph Loeb — the pen behind Commando — was credited with "writing" the story, although he admitted that most of what he did was create ad hoc justifications for what Jim Lee wanted to draw. Jim Lee, you see, is one of the true superstars of the comic world. Back in 2002 he has just been bought out by DC Comics and they wanted to get their money's worth. That meant putting Lee on the best-selling comic, Batman, and letting him do his thing.
As you might guess, the result was that "Hush" is a series of cool looking images hanging from a story frame that barely makes sense. ("Barely" is probably too generous a word.) Few cared at the time because of Jim Lee, and the collected comics continues to be best sellers because of Jim Lee. Creating a movie from that story while subtracting Lee's distinctive personal visual style is like reading War and Peace translated from the original Russian into pig latin.
So why would Warner Bros bother with such a doomed exercise? I'm guessing because people have heard of "Hush" and don't realize (or care) that it is based more on visual art than story. And Warner Bros is only interested in squeezing as much cash from each extant property as possible forever and ever. Their corporate motto: Diminishing returns are still returns!
If you're really interested in who/what "Hush" is, do yourself a favor. Go buy a comic instead.
Wednesday 11 September 2019
Friend Chad recently asked me if I had any interest in the upcoming Joker movie. You know the one. It just won the Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. My answer, in short, was no. In long, it was *hell* no.
As a longtime reader of comics, I have a well-established mental image of what I expect from Batman and his rogues gallery. As a general rule, I don't enjoy films about gangsters (which Joker was in the 40s) or films about serial killers (which Joker has been since the 80s). I've seen both Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers exactly once, and that's each one time too many.
My biggest problem with the film is that the Joker is unequivocally a villain. Pure capital-E Evil. However, a story's protagonist has to be relatable to its audience. Just as the short-lived Joker comic series of the mid-70s focused on its eponymous star's zany antics (and minimized the collateral damage), to put the character at the center of a film it becomes necessary to humanize him, to turn him from villain to anti-hero. No, thank you.
Call me a prude, but I don't see any reason to make a film exploring how someone becomes a narcissistic, mass-murdering sociopath on the scale of the Joker. In fiction, the Joker has beaten a child to death with a crowbar, slaughtered an entire talk show audience on camera, and gassed the United Nations General Assembly. All for giggles. If such a monster existed in the real world — an Osama bin Laden-squared — would you pay to see that person's biography on the big screen?
Joker works best in comics as a larger-than-life malevolent force of nature, the personification of the chaos that Batman strives to eliminate from the world. That's exactly how "Why so serious" Heath Ledger played him (and "This town needs an enema" Jack Nicholson before that). If you insist on reinventing the character, I'd say making him mortal is the wrong direction to go. Forget realism for a character that is inherently unreal. Give us a film about how Cesar Romero's wacky Joker earned his place as Gotham City's Clown Prince of Crime with a painted-over mustache (the anti-Groucho Marx!). Or choose to elaborate on any random Joker entry from silly The Super Dictionary.
But don't try to remake Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy with a super-villain behind the greasepaint. Once was enough for that one, too.
Tuesday 3 September 2019
The Super Dictionary has a well-deserved reputation for, shall we say, unusual definitions of words, but the above is not really a page in the Super Dictionary. It's a poster by artist Marco D'Alfonso currently for sale on m7781.storeenvy.com.
I still have my original Super Dictionary on the shelf right in front of me, and I'm sure that its actual definition for "happy" is much less warped.
Never mind. Super Dictionary, you win again!