Musings on Batman

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Over the course of this blog I have mentioned many heroes that I have admired over the years. Heroes that I would like to aspire to due to the qualities they possess. Spider-man would be the most obvious superhero I’ve talked about. I loved the character as a kid. I read the comics, I watched the cartoon Spider-man and his amazing friends and the later 90’s cartoon. Along with the X-Men, they were the heroes for my young self and for a while I was more Marvel then DC.
In all honesty I’ve never really considered myself a Batman fan. I can’t recall reading any of the comics or watching the cartoons although I did use to watch repeats of the old 60’s series. I also remember going to watch Batman at the local cinema in 1989 and although I watched the four prequels I didn’t think they were that good. A couple of years ago I decided on a re watch of the films as I had them on DVD. I watched the first, fell asleep half way through the second and never went back. When the reboot came out I wasn’t that enthralled and it was a while before I watched both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I have never watched the third movie. Likewise although I thought Ben Affleck did a good enough job in Batman vs Superman I wasn’t a fan and still haven’t watched Justice League. I got through two series of Gotham before, due to Channel Five dropping it from their schedules, giving up and although I may go back to it sometime in the future I found it very dark and also long winded. Likewise apart from the more common elements associated with the character I know very little of the long history of the hero.
And yet thinking about it tonight I find Batman merchandise is the second most numerous items I own. (Of course number one is Doctor Who merchandise, if there was any doubt).
I have an action figure, a number of t-shirts which I wear more often than other items of clothing. A Batman floor mat and a large picture of the various Bat symbols over the years (presents from my Brother and family) and the Arkham series of games for the PlayStation. Recently I’ve just brought a pair of Batman earrings which I’m actually wearing right now along with a Bat symbol t-shirt. As such I’ve started to take more of an interest in the character recently watching the Killing Joke and Gotham by Moonlight.

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So what is it about this character that has such a hold on me despite my lack of interest in his films or comics? Well there is the bat symbol. Like Doctor Who’s Tardis it is instantly recognisable and in fact the symbol is even used to call Batman to action lighting up the skies of Gotham. True much of what I own is dominated by that symbol but not everything and the image of Batman himself looks cool. I would rally love a change to wear a Batman costume to a costume party or something because it looks so good.
What we have with Batman, and I’ve mentioned this before (see Secret Identities – Not just for superheroes), is a hero who hasn’t got superpowers. He is a hero who has worked to become a hero through learning martial arts and science and of course developing great detecting skills being dubbed the world’s greatest detective. There is something appealing about a vigilante who takes on criminals just using the skills he’s learnt and not some power he has endowed with.
This is in some way the reason I like Arrow apart from his skill with a bow. I came to Arrow through watching the Flash and I think that season one is one of the best. It has Oliver Queen just going up against criminals’ way before Meta humans, magicians, aliens or alternate Earth Nazi’s. There was a sense of realism to this first series. Rather like Hawkeye in the Avengers when we see Green Arrow up against a super villain their skills seems rather lightweight compared to speedsters, ancient Gods and magic users.
Batman as well I think works better when against ordinary villains such as the Joker, Riddler and Ra Al Ghul. Put him with super beings too often and he can seem the weakest link although there are some interesting stories that explores those themes.

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I also love looking at the philosophy and psychology behind the character himself. We all know the tragedy that led him to take up the mantle of crime fighter but there is also how that affects him until it is unclear whether he is truly Bruce Wayne or Batman. It reminds me of a quote I used for my own novel. Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be. While I was writing my novel and working on the themes of identity it was the complexity of Batman that was in the back of my mind.
So what we get is a very dark complex character (well if you ignore the 60’s series that is) who still doesn’t cross that line where he would intentionally kill a villain. Whether he is seen as a vigilante hiding from the police or on call whenever they need him, he has one mission and that is to help save his city. Despite any psychological issues that he has, despite any limitations he is a person who is ready to step up to the fight when needed. He may not be a role model to me but it seems there are still some things that I can take from the character.Batman-4

 

Musings on Saturdays and Sundays

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So the aforementioned walk. It’s a gorgeous sunny Saturday. And one of the things that crosses my mind is that it feels like a Saturday and that I wished that I had got up earlier in the day. I wanted to do some tidying before going to do some writing. I wanted to do something. But what.
I begin to think back on my childhood. Saturdays to me was always a day that felt like it was made for adventure. Friday night I always seemed to stay at my Nan’s so Saturday morning I would be up. Watch cartoons and Going Live whilst eating an Animal bar and having a hot chocolate (I never drank Tea until much later in life) before going out to play with my friends. Later in life Saturday meant meeting up with my mate Nick and might involve a shopping trip to the city or washing his car. Even as an adult Saturdays were spent hanging out with friends, weather off doing something or just relaxing. Ut that’s my Saturday and more than once over the years I’ve wondered how others spend their Saturdays. I use to see strangers in their gardens or through the window into their houses and I’d get a brief flash of imagining what their life was like. Weather I was ever right I’d never know. I also remember a girl I worked with and thinking how does she and her husband spend their Saturday. What do they get up and do.
You see I have this notion in my head of what a Saturday should be like. I think it’s getting up and putting the TV on. Maybe the music channels to listen to whilst having a morning cuppa and maybe doing bits around the house. Perhaps it’s relaxing with a book on the sofa. Or just sat watching movies on TV and preparing lunch. What is this idyllic lifestyle I’m dreaming of? AS I walk I see people out cutting their grass. Ah now there’s a memory. A strong one, a favourite one from my childhood, my dad cutting the grass, the sound of the mower, over head the sound of a propeller plane or helicopter. The smell of the cut grass in the heat of summer. The smell of petrol. The feel of heat on my skin and the feeling of happiness and carefree. It is a moment I think of whenever I hear the sound of propellers faintly in the sky or the sound of a mower or the smell of cut grass.
Saturday to me is for relaxing after a week of work but also doing something. Work on the car or pottering in the garden. Going out shopping somewhere or maybe cutting the grass and having a BBQ. Maybe it’s out playing football. I just know that with so few Saturdays in our life they should be lived to the full and enjoyed.

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But what about Sundays. Sundays are also part of the weekend but somehow they feel different. True all those things I’ve mentioned above could be done on a Sunday. Indeed I plan on cutting my grass tomorrow. But for me Sunday has always got Monday looming over it. It’s back to work the next day. No staying up late. Sunday is a day for relaxing. Not doing anything. Maybe a pint or two in the local. That’s what my childhood always thinks of. Going down he local football club on a Sunday morning. My Mum would be working behind the bar and my dad drinking on the other side. We would have a bottle of coke. Proper glass bottles and hopefully get on the pool table. In fact even when I and my brother stayed at my nans in the holidays this is what happened with my Gramp. Him drinking at the pub whilst we eat crisps and drink coke.
Then followed by a Sunday roast. Actually our Sunday roast was always on a Monday due to my mum working. But yeah for most people, even myself now it’s a roast for Sunday. When I live with one of my girlfriend years ago Sundays followed this pattern. She would cook a Sunday Roast then we would relax in front of the TV.
So that’s Sunday, relaxing ready for a week of work ahead and not really doing anything. It’s funny how to days, both on the weekend can feel different. To have some kind of idea in my head of what those days should be like.
It’s now half seven on a Saturday evening and I haven’t tidied nothing up as planned. But I’ve done some washing. I have washing up in the sink. I’ve done some work on my novel and written a few blog posts. I’ve been for a nice long walk and had a pint with friends. Maybe this Saturday hasn’t been too bad overall and there is always tomorrow morning before the Sunday roast.

 

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