Monday, 16 June 2014

You know...for kids...

So I started this blog months ago, then left it mid sentence. A sentence that implies Batman & Robin is my favourite's not. It's rubbish.

Anyway, I want to get this blog going again, and the quickest way was to actually post my thoughts on Batman.

Here we go...

We need to talk about Batman...

I like Batman. I may even go as far as saying I love Batman.

Being born in the early 80s I can only think that my first exposure would have been the Adam West 60's Batman through reruns on T.V. and the Movie. Going forward we then have Tim Burton's 1989 film which I distinctly remember wanted to see and being fed up that Brother Chris was allowed to go but I was not old enough.

Following this there was Batman That Animated Series and from then on I was hooked.

However this is all T.V. or film and we all know Batman began life in comic form. I did have a couple of books (book books not comic books) somewhere with early stories reprinted but it wouldn't be until after watching Batman TAS that I got into comics proper.

Anyway, long story short, due to issue numbers being so high I found it difficult jumping on. I collected a lot of key Batman collections and stand alone books (Long Halloween, Arkham Asylum etc) but despite not being a weekly collector my love for the character has always been there.

Why am I explaining all this to you dear reader? So that when I discuss the following, beloved story you will know that it comes from a fan. The story in question is The Dark Knight Returns.

Here goes.

So today I finally got around to watching the animated version of The Dark Knight Returns. I haven't actually read The Dark Knight Returns in a good few years so I could be off remembering the full story. Therefore the following is based on the animated adaptation (which in theory should be the same anyway).

I had heard a lot of good things about the film and was looking forward to watching it. However over the course of the film I stated to wonder about why this is considered by some a key book in the Batman Universe. Well maybe that's too broad. What I was thinking was how, going forward, it is still considered a key book. This thing came out in the eighties and completely redefined Batman. However when it came out all animated versions of the character were still based on Adam West. Therefore this thing comes out and shows a completely different side to the character, something for the kids that had grown up and now wanted something different. (I also understand that the comics had changed in the pre-ceding years and Adam West was no longer relevant).

My issue is that since the book was published it seems this has become the only view of the character. This was the problem that I had today. The thing I felt was missing was an element of fun.

There are rumours that they plan on using TDKR as inspiration for the relationship between Batman and Superman in the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman film. It got me thinking today that there is no easy access for younger fans. The bigger issue is the comics industry not giving a access point for younger readers, therefore if a child of 10 wants to get into Batman, The Dark Knight Returns is not necessarily a good jumping on point.

Alternatively if you've grown up on Adam West or Brave and the Bold and they want to see their hero in Live action, they have to sit through The Dark Knight?

At this point, remember that I love Batman so I'm not just moaning for the sake.

To look at the old rivalry and examine Marvel, their films are fun (they may also have fun comics but I'm a strict DC only reader). Looking at the recent Warner/DC reboot of Superman, Man of Steel, one of the main aspects it was missing was a sense of fun. It was it was all a bit too serious. I'm not saying never tell a serious story, but don't make that your main focus, especially in a reboot.

Batman's history does not a fun story make, however they managed it in the 50s/60s with Dick Sprang, Gerry Robinson and giant Typewriters.

I'm also not saying Batman & Robin was good but...

...and that's as far as I got. Since then I've calmed down a bit. Ben Affleck got cast and his 'hard as nails' picture released.

I do still love Batman, and I do still think there's room for fun. (He's even surrounded by side kicks - surely they can be the clowns).

Anyway that's enough of that.

I've been catching up on Kevin Smith's Fatman on Batman and recently listened to the Dean Trippe episode. After hearing his terrible childhood ordeal and learning of his autobiographical comic of how he came to terms with his past (with the help of our Caped Crusader), I had myself a read. I highly recommend it.

So go buy this. It's only $1 - Something Terrible - Dean Trippe

Next time I'll tell you about Screenwriting and what I've been learning.