So, pretty much the worst thing in the entire world has happened…
Who? Fuckin’ Scotsmen. That’s who.
So, pretty much the worst thing in the entire world has happened…
Who? Fuckin’ Scotsmen. That’s who.
Unpopular opinions: we all have them. Sometimes you stand alone in loving a super niche-y run of a popular comic book series. Sometimes you’re the only person on the entire planet to ’ship a certain ’ship. Sometimes you simply Do Not Get a movie the rest of your geeky brethren is falling all over themselves about. And because a lot of fandom is about sharing loves and hates and communing with your fellow geeks, this can feel awfully lonely. But perhaps if we confess our most unpopular opinions for all the internet to see…well, we’ll feel just a little bit better.
This is an interesting topic for me to write about, mostly because I don’t believe in guilty pleasures and I don’t believe in apologizing for things you like or don’t like. A lot of life seems to revolve around concealing the former and a lot of fandom seems to involve the latter.
I love the Wests.
There, I said it. When I started reading comics, Wally West was The Flash. Sure, I knew who Barry Allen was from the awesome ’90s TV series, but Wally has been (and will always be) my Flash. And what I love most about Wally is that, probably more than any other hero in the DC Universe, he embodies the down-to-earth, blue-collar American dream. Even though Wally’s been a superhero for his entire life, he’s the quintessential everyman. And, what’s more everyman than settling down with a wife and kids? And, Wally’s had to fight for his family, too, whether it’s asking Uncle Hal Jordan/Spectre to magically erase knowledge of his secret identity or whisking his wife and newborn twins off to the safety of an alternate reality.
Normally, I’m anti-relationship. I think relationships between fictional characters prevent them from doing their jobs and that’s why I read books, go to movies, watch TV shows: to see people do things. But, as one of DC’s legacy heroes, the Flash is all about family and heritage, so it makes sense that Wally would eventually get married and have kids. And, if you have to get married, why not get married to a doctor/journalist:
Of course, kids aren’t always such a hot idea for superheroes, either. The biggest problem I had with Superman Returns was Bryan Singer trying to push that little hybrid tight-stain on me. I’m pretty sure the worst possible phrase to say in front of a Spider-Man fan is “Spider-baby.” And, don’t even get me started on that test-tube freak Damian Wayne. But, I’m not gonna lie, I love Iris and Jai West.
Sure, they aren’t perfect. For starters, Jai’s hyper-speed-force muscles were pretty damn creepy–but, I’ve always assumed the decision to give him that power was an attempt by DC Comics to avoid any comparisons between Jai West and Dash from The Incredibles. Also, the hyper-aging sub-plot never really worked for me, other than as a way to get the twins from newborn to pre-teen without signing Wally and Linda up for their AARP cards. However, credit must be given for coming up with the concept of the West twins sharing a link to the Speed Force, explaining all the problems that they’ve experienced since returning to the main DCU. And, while I’m a little fuzzy on what actually happened in Flash: Rebirth*, how goddamn sweet was it when Iris became the new Impulse?
Now, I’m not entirely sure if this counts as a “True Geek Confession.” I have seen quite a bit of negative reaction to the West twins on the Internet (although, the Internet has been known to say bad things about oxygen…so, take that with a grain of salt), but I don’t know if that’s the dominant opinion or just the louder one. Either way, I don’t care. I love the West family.
*: Here thar be possible SPOIL-ARRS!
In Flash: Rebirth, we learn that the West twins share a connection to the Speed Force. And, since they’re basically both feeding off the same tether, each sibling only has a 50% connection, which explains why they’ve had issues with their powers and all that crazy hyper-aging. Anyway, to save both twins, one of them had to accept the full connection. As I read it, Iris gave up her half of the connection to take away her brother’s pain, but the Speed Force decided to give her the whole enchilada, instead. Now, others have read it as Iris making the conscious choice to take her brother’s half of the connection for herself. Guess we’ll find out what really happened when the mini-series (eventually) concludes.
This new Sherlock Holmes movie is a bad idea.* There. I’ve said it. It just looks horrible on so many levels. Holmes doesn’t jump out of windows. He doesn’t get chained to a bed naked. He doesn’t toss about double entendres.
Anyway…despite the fact that the very thought of this movie causes me to vomit forth fiery gouts of scarlet rage, the universe sees fit to bombard me with posters, trailers, and (if I’m not mistaken) some bizarre Tac0 Bell promotion. There’s really only one way to handle this. Deception.
In the interest of my own sanity, whenever I see Robert Downey, Jr. (aka Mr. Awesome) and Jude Law (aka that pansy-ass cowardly deserter from that Mountain movie)…
…I will simply replace them with two actors who could actually do Holmes and Watson justice:
And David Thewlis:
*: Though, to be fair, any Holmes other than Jeremy Brett’s Holmes is a bad idea.
There’s really no good way for me to ease into this, so I’m just going to come out and say it: Vampires, at least many modern interpretations of vampires, are little more than Mary Sues.
Until recently, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of the Mary Sue, even though it’s fairly common in the world of fanfiction, a corner of fandom that I have never really had any interest in visiting. Anyway, in brief, a Mary Sue is an overly idealized, hackneyed character who functions as a kind of wish-fulfillment for the author or the reader. A Mary Sue can be either male or female and, despite originating in the realm of fanfiction, several canonical characters can be considered Mary Sues (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Men‘s Kitty Pryde have both been classified as Mary Sues in the past). There’s a pretty good explanation of the Mary Sue phenomenon here.
So, where do I get off calling vampires the Mary Sues of film, TV, and literature? Well, I think the prevailing depiction of vampires in fiction leans heavily on the “overly idealized” and “wish-fulfillment”parts of the definition. When I was growing up, vampires were monsters. They were evil, bad. They hung out in castles and abandoned crypts, killing and feeding on people. Then, somewhere along the line, an author by the name of Anne Rice showed up (perhaps you’ve heard of her?), and vampires experienced a thematic shift. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying Rice was the one who created the new, Mary Sue-ish vampires–in fact, I’m pretty sure she isn’t–but, she’s probably the writer who is most associated with the Sue-pires.) No longer were they monsters to be feared, hunted, and killed in the name of humanity. No. Now, they were to be pitied. And, in most cases, fucked. This is where the Mary Sue bit comes in. These new vampires were bad boys…but, bad boys who felt soooooo tortured by what they’ve done, that all they need is the love of the right mortal woman to put them on the path to righteousness and redemption. In the real world–y’know, the place we all live; the place we keep our stuff–guys who spend their time killing people probably don’t give a shit about redemption. No, they’re more likely to beat the crap out of you or throw you down a flight of stairs.
Now, I’m not knocking the whole “bad boy” thing. I get it. Bad boys can be wicked cool. Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, John Wayne: they all played a variation of the bad boy. Wolverine? Jayne Cobb? Logan Echolls? Yeah…they’re all awesome. I also understand because I suffer from the male version of the Bad Boy Fixation–the Crazy Girl Dilemma. River? Parker? Kara? Faith? Yes, please. I understand the draw, the excitement of never knowing what’s going to happen next. The truth is, in real life, both the bad boy and the crazy girl would fuck your shit up as soon as look at you. However, in the world of Mary Sue-pires, the tortured, immortal bad boy is easily tamed by the mortal woman, thereby providing the reader (and, possibly, the writer) with the best of both worlds: they get their bad boy who is dark, mysterious, and brooding, but all of the danger that would come with a real bad boy has been safely removed: “He may be a vampire, but he’ll never hurt me. He feels bad about all the killing and will never do it again.”
In closing, while I may not like the current crop of emo, metrosexual vampires plaguing modern fiction (don’t even get me started on the sparkly ones), that doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t. In fact, I insist. If you like something, by all means enjoy it…drink from the well of entertainment ’til your thirst is slaked. But, I think you should realize (and accept) that the tortured vampire bad boy is complete and total wish-fulfillment. In reality, this guy would be the abusive boyfriend, the rapist, or the wife beater.
I haven’t posted in a while, and with good reason(s).
First of all, my computer apparently caught the swine flu. I blame all of the spam I get on a daily basis. (Get it? Spam –> Ham –> Pig –> Swine) After spending a good week trying to repair the silly thing–which left me feeling a little bit like this:
–I finally had to break down and shell out the cash for a new machine.
Secondly, I was out of town for a few days on business.
But, now I’m back, have a shiny new laptop, and a bunch of posts just itching to be written.
Yeah, so this is it, cats and kittens: The Big Secret Final Invasion War of the Clone Crisis Saga Blog Crossover Event. Or, as we like to call it, “What’s Your ‘Scott & Jean’?” For those new to the party (where the hell have you been, anyway?), your “Scott & Jean” is your geek sacred cow–the one thing that you are so passionate about that you just can not discuss it rationally.
I was trying to think of a logical introduction for this extravaganza, when one of my fellow Crossover bloggers pointed out that the very notion of a “Scott & Jean” eschews logic and, therefore, I should just feel free to rant. So, here goes:
I love Batman.
There’s really no other way to put it. I don’t mean I want to have Batman’s babies…well, mostly (but, let’s be honest: Batman’s one true love is Justice, so what chance do I really have? Unless Talia has some spare Wayne-gravy laying around). When I was a little kid, I had Batman action figures, Batman Matchbox cars, a Batman cape–please note: I did not say a “superhero cape”, this was a Batman cape…this sumbitch was scalloped. One of the first superhero comics I ever bought was Detective Comics #603.
Anyway, my point is this: I. Love. Batman.
But, y’see, it’s really not that simple, especially when you’re dealing with a character who’s about to hit his 70th anniversary. In the past seven decades, there have been numerous interpretations of the character. Some good. Some bad. But only one correct one.
That’s right. You heard what I said: for me, there is only one correct way to portray Batman. (Hey, I warned you this was going to be a logic-free zone.)
First of all, Batman is dark and broody. He watched his parents get gunned down when he was a little kid, for Christ’s sake…you’d be a bit cranky, too. This is the point when “my Batman” kinda snapped. He’s driven by this event. He devotes his entire life to both avenging his parents’ murder and making sure that no one in Gotham City ever has to suffer the same kind of tragedy. He figures this out on his own. He doesn’t need Joey-effing-Potter to clue him in. So, when you take into account that he’s a guy who watched his folks get gunned down in an alley, you can understand why these are just wrong:
This, however, is more like it:
I’ll get to all those non-Batman people hanging around Ol’ Bats in a second.
Now, we’ve established that the right tone for Batman is dark and broody. His costume is to be dark to reflect this: black or dark grey bodysuit with either uber-dark blue or black boots, gloves, cape and cowl. Accept no substitutes. This guy runs around at night, why the hell would he wear bright blue anything? He doesn’t smile. He rarely jokes. If he ever utters the word “chum”, he better be talking about shark fishing.
You’re probably asking yourself, why the hell would someone like that go out of their way to surround themselves with friends and associates? Now you’re catching on, Eugene: my Batman does not have friends and associates. With the exception of loyal Alfred (who’s been on thin-ice a few times, himself), my Batman is too practical and paranoid to worry about something as useless as friends. Friends don’t keep the criminal scum off the streets. No. But, tools do. If Batman spends more than five seconds in your company, he clearly needs you for something and, when that task has been accomplished, you better get the hell outta Gotham, because Bats doesn’t take kindly to interlopers in “his city.” Oh, and you better not expect a “Good job” or a “Thanks, pal”…Batman doesn’t have time for that, crime’s afoot. Oh, and did I mention he’s a paranoid freak? Odds are, if you can run faster than the speed of light or bend steel in your bare hands, he has a file on how to take you out should you ever “go bad.” What’s that you say? What about Robin and Batgirl? Please. The second they mouth off or show the slightest bit of independent thought, my Batman brooms his sidekick and gets another pliable young mind to warp.
My Batman is also a freakin’ genius. He’s called the “Dark Knight Detective” for a reason. Hello, he premiered in a book called DETECTIVE Comics. Did Bruce Wayne study martial arts? Sure. But, he also studied criminology, psychology, forensic science. He’s been trained as an escape artist and a master of disguise. Christopher Nolan will have us believe that Batman is just some thug in a cape who beats the snot out of gangsters and needs Morgan Freeman’s help to come up with an antidote for Scarecrow’s fear gas. Um, no. Sorry, Mr. Nolan, but you are wrong. Batman does not need anyone’s help coming up with an antidote. He can come up with an antidote in his sleep, while he does the crossword puzzle and designs a new Batmobile. Why? Because Batman is a freakin’ genius! That’s it. End of story. And do you know what else Batman can do? He can break into a skyscraper all by his lonesome, as well, thank you very much. I don’t care if it’s in Hong Kong. I don’t care if it’s on the Moon. He’ll get there, he’ll break in, and he’ll do it without your help.
Finally, if it hasn’t been made clear by this point, only Bruce Wayne can be Batman. I don’t care what hack writer DC throws at us…what dumb-ass “event” sends Bruce Wayne back in time or to Never-Never Land or wherever the bloody hell we’re expected to believe Batman’s been sent…Tim? Dick? Jason? They are not, nor ever will be, Batman. Only Bruce Wayne can be Batman, because Batman is Bruce Wayne. The Wayne persona is the mask that Batman wears to conceal his identity, not vice versa.
That’s who Batman is. It’s who he’s always been. It’s who he’ll always be. If a writer or an artist portrays Batman in any other way, they’re wrong. End of story. Thanks for playing.
Here endeth the rant.