The Bat is Dead, Long Live the Bat

Death of Batman, Final Crisis, Superman, Batman, Superman carrying Batman

I’ve spoken about this before but nothing prepared me for Omega Beam Fried Batman.

This post is a bit late, coming to the party. The cynical among you would diss this as just another publicity attempt and that Bats would “return from the dead” soon enough.

To that, I say… “Bah”

We already know that Bats (version: Bruce Wayne) is not dead from the final pages of Final Crisis. But this doesn’t stop DC from dishing out a plethora of “Life after Batman” stories.

Unlike the publicity stunt that was Death of Superman, the follow up stories to the death of the Bat were surprisingly good. The ongoing “Battle of the Cowl” series brilliantly highlighted many of the bits characters of the Bat-verse fighting it out to see who would be the next Batman.

Of course, special mention goes to “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” by, who else, Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman Batman, Whatever happened to the caped crusader, alfred, batman, cape

I got the comics a few weeks ago.  I had to visit 3 comics shop before being able to acquire Part 2 and Part 1 of the tale… at a cut throat price. I had to do it all with a ranting Girlfriend in tow.

So, the question to ask is… Was it worth it?

To be honest I bought the books based solely on the brand name of Neil Gaiman.

I am a Blind Fan.

And to be even more honest, I kinda hated the books on the first reading. It felt like Neil Gaiman was trying to outweird Grant Morrison, who, of course was the guy responsible for the death of Batman in the first place. (Check out: Batman: R.I.P. and Final Crisis for more information)

Grant Morrison is weird. Grant Morrison has a HUGE fan base from him being weird. Reading a Grant Morrison story is like trying to ride a roller coaster through the House of Mirrors while ingesting copious amounts of Magic Mushrooms.

I don’t like Grant Morrison.

Neil Gaiman, on the other hand, Neil Gaiman wrote the Sandman, for goodness sake. I simply cannot believe that he weird write just for weird writing’s sake. I had to assume he was doing a “Game of You” again. “Game of You”, for the uninitiated is one of the Sandman collection featuring Barbie (yup, actual name and not the doll) and her adventures into her dreamland. The story features a talking cockatoo, a man with a chestful of blackbirds (chest as in breast and not the wooden variety) and  witches traveling by way of menses.

Hated the story the first time. Loved it on re-reading.

So I dug out “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” again today to give it a second reading.

whatever happened to the cape crusader gaiman batman

Ok. Even on the second reading, I wouldn’t say it is a story that would live on through the ages.

But it’s starting to read good.

You start to appreciate how the various eras of Batman is represented in the stories.

You’ll appreciate the “Dream” leimotiff (fancy french word for snails) that Gaiman has since the start of his career.

You’ll see how Gaiman used the various short stories scattered in the series to showcase different aspects of the Batman myth. It’s almost like Neil Gaiman’s love letter to Batman.

There is even a central message through the whole story. A message of “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you die. People will always remember you for something. And that something depends on how you lived your life. On your part, you just die at the end of the day.”

I kinda like that.

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Year of the Bat

This will seem blasphemous to some, but I did not really enjoy “The Dark Knight”

After raving about the hype in a previous post, I felt a bit underwhelmed by the whole experience. “Batman Begins” was an awesome flick. I think that’s partly because it seems like a breath of fresh air after the farce that descended on the whole franchise when Joel Schumacher took over the series. (I shall not bitch about bat nipples and neon villains). We had a tank-like Batmobile, we have Aslan as Ra-shal-gul, we even have a wise cracking Alfred and Lucius Fox. Batman remains as the dark, methodical bastard that he is, but we could still see glimpses of Bruce Wayne.

“Dark Knight”, however is a dark, dark flick with nothing to counter balance it. The plot is semi-deep (which is twice as deep as most Hollywood fare these days) and there seems to be no end to the blanket of doom and gloom that envelops the whole show. Batman (and the denizens of Gotham, of course) just keeps finding himself mired in deeper and stickier layers of shit as the movie progresses.

You’d think that the presence of the Joker will elevate that. After all, he is created to be the Super ego to Batman’s Id. He is wild abandonment compared to Batman’s cold calculations. He is everything that Batman is not. In other words, the Joker is supposed to be fun.

No offense to the dead guy,(preparing for more gasps of disapproval…) but this will always be my Joker.

“Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Kudos for Harvey Dent though. He is definitely one of the most 3 dimensional character in the show. Because we are the sadistic bastards that we are, we all love the story of a fall from grace. “Schadenfreuder”, if I remember my Boston Legal correctly. Huge Kudos for the design of Two-Face too. Don’t think I could’ve sat through another one of this…

On other news, (warning: HUGE geek alert), NEIL GAIMAN IS WRITING BATMAN!!!

And if I did not make myself clear on that statement,

WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!

Right, now that we have that out of the way.

I know, I know. It is probably more of a marketing move than a creative one. I mean, there are fanboys out that who will just buy ANYTHING that Gaiman even scribbles on right? So Batman + Gaiman =  Ka-ching, Kaching.

Having said that, this is not the first time Gaiman wrote Batman. If memory serves me right, he actually wrote some tales about the bats that was collected in Batman: Black and White, along with other stories from Frank Miller and such.

Don’t remember the story, but I don’t remember it as particularly outstanding. Which can be looked at from both ways.

But that’s the thing about anthology short stories. They don’t really have time to grow. I know some of the best stories are the shortest ones. But I also believe in the rewarding of loyal readers. To be there from the start of an epic and looking at all the pieces coming together after a long build up is something else altogether.

Gaiman’s take on Batman will come by after Grant Morrison’s arc that is ominously named “Batman R.I.P.” I have no idea how long Gaiman’s arc on Batman will be, but I hope that it has time to grow and mature..

And that the Joker’s in it…

And that it involves no Bat nipples.

I HAVE to do that

Oh right, if it warms your cockles to (probably) see Batman tears (literally) someone a new one, there’s also this lil thing coming up…

Yeeeesh….

The Camel’s Back

I’m back!

Been back for some time already,in fact.

The Girlfriend actually asked if i’ll be continuing with this when I get back. My answer then was quite a firm “no” since it seems like time will be a premium when I get back. So far, I’ve not been proven wrong.

So work started and I got into the flow of work. It was a new challenge and everything was really exciting, but I just can’t help feeling that there was something missing.

Cue back to the Girlfriend. We were just walking around when she commented that she “seems to be planning her life around weekends”. We laughed about it… sortof… It was only later that I realised how deep a chord that struck.

One of the reasons why I took on this job was because it was not your standard 9 to 5 deskbound job. But now, increasingly, I’m finding myself working late hours and a lot of times even staying overnight at the Workplace. Not really what I signed up for. But for now, I’m attributing it to the steep learning curve. And like I’ve said, the challenge is still pretty enticing… For now…

But such long hours mean that sacrifices must be made…I’m meaning blogs and stuff, of course… And for the most part, I was ok.. I thought. Like i’ve said, I figured it would be a temporary thing and I was still relatively happy.
This is where the Girlfriend comes in. After listening to what she said, I’m starting to question, “Would this be worth it?” This blog is an ok sacrifice. I don’t think I am much of a writer to begin with. Then I started thinking of other stuff.

For the most part, I try to have dinner with the parents much as I can. But now it’s increasingly becoming a conscientious effort. I needed to make sacrifices on other fronts just to accommodate these meals. Ditto for friends. Ditto for hobbies. And ditto for gaming. I think that for the first time in my life I’m having the feeling that there ain’t nearly enough hours in a day.

But the straw that broke this camel’s back is when I came to the stark realization that it’s been 2 weeks since I bought some books from a local book sale and I’m not even a quarter way through them yet! Granted it was nearly $200 worth (DEFINITELY a story for another time), but for some reason or other that SERIOUSLY upsetted me. It has never happened before!

So, seeing that I have a big presentation on tomorrow, I guess this is my little “Damn you” to the system. Yeah yeah… I know it’s not much, but every little bit helps… Or so the old woman says as she pees into the sea. (an actual folk saying if Neil Gaiman is to be believed) (further re-enforcing my belief that comics are an educational medium)

So there!

Ermm… “Damn you, System”

*I am not a Camel*

Om Shanti Om…

Prologue
In summary, this post is about my movie going experience here. This is a relatively long post, dealing with 2 COMPLETELY different issues, so I’ll split it into 2 parts for your convenience. Kinda like how these people still have an intermission during their movies. Yes, it’s true… read on, true believers…. IF you dare…

Part 1
I’ve finally gathered enough courage.

I’ve gone 3 months without watching any movies (at the cinema, there’re many DVDs here… ) (legal ones) (I swear). That is an eternity by my standards. Also, I was taunted by this posters that are everywhere! So I decided that I should just give it a try… Who wants to live forever, right?

Beowulf, Movie Poster street, gaiman

I am a big Gaiman fan…

So I got myself a “Super Premium VIP” ticket ($2) at the local cinema. (Is it me or does “Super Premium VIP” sounds a bit excessive? It’s like the “Wonderful, Spectacular Spiderman” or the “Ultra Incredible Hulk”. These people really like their “Super”s though… They use it to describe anything that is halfway decent…) (“Super Super Man”?). It basically means a “balcony” seat above the “common people”.

Got myself some popcorn ($0.20) and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. (It was… SUPER!!). “GIVE THIS MAN A COIN AND SEND HIM HOME… He has a story to tell…” Sweet, sweet stuff…

Buoyed by the success of this lil endeavor, I decided that since I am already at the cinema, I should (now this is the part where even I have to marvel at my own genius) start a movie marathon! I mean the ticket price is 1/3 of the price back home. So theoretically, I can get a 3 movie marathon for the price of one. And don’t everyone love a bargain?

I’ve decided that the second movie should be Farah Kahn’s “OM SHANTI OM”, since I’ve heard so much good things about it. Also, movies with posters this (intentionally?) tacky cannot be bad. Also, I’ve decided that it was high time I went native…

Om Shanti Om

Went into the cinema again with another popcorn and some drinks ($0.40) and actually enjoyed the movie. The songs were quite awesome. And the acting was so campy that it was fun. I was actually able to catch some of the jokes, despite there being no subtitles! There are times (every time they start a dance sequence), however, when I think I laughed inappropriately (and loudly). Those will be the times when the guys in front of me would turn around and give me “The Look”.

1.5 hours into the show, I started to feel queasy. I think that all good movie marathons should have moments like these. You know, the moment when you REALLY need to go to the toilet but need to find the Appropriate Time so that you will not “miss too much”. I started squirming in my seat… After *spoiler alert* seeing both the male and female lead die in a fire, I figured this is the golden opportunity and DASHED for the emergency exit where the toilet was….

This is only the 2nd time in my life that I’ve actually encountered a solid wall of smell. I mean that quite literally. When I opened the door to the toilet and try to run into it, I was knocked back by this physics- defying (and almost) tangible wall… I think I staggered for a bit. I vaguely remember running to the streets before puking my guts out. Now that is… (priceless)

Intermission

Ask me about the 1st time I’ve encountered this solid wall… It is entertaining, I promise…In fact, that was of a higher level… that was a solid wall of heat AND smell…

Part 2

There was no way in hell I was going back to the cinema again after that.

But I really did enjoy the movie, so I went to the shop next door and got the DVD for it.

Went back home, popped it in and sat through the first half again. Yes, it is THAT good… just suspend all your beliefs in that lil thing called “Reality” and take in the songs and the dances. Incredibly Campy fun. I think I laughed more at this than I did during Kungfu Hustle. That’s saying a lot because I think that Kungfu Hustle is a comedic Masterpiece of our time… (Besides Nacho Libre of course). Anyway, the time code on the disc reads 1 hour 40 minutes, so I thought, ok, I did not miss too much of the movie after all…

I started noticing something was wrong when the main characters only *spoiler alert* started dying at the 1 hour 35 minutes mark!!! So for the next 5 minutes I was cursing and swearing… Sure that I was ripped off and that this lousy dvd will end before the end… but at the 1 hour 40 minute mark, something happened… it… skipped to the NEXT track… which is another 1 hour 40 minutes long!! Apparently, after the main characters die, they *BIG SPOILER ALERT – TURN BACK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE…* got Reincarnated???? What the Fuck????? Yes, it’s true…. Only in Bollywood…

Epilogue

So the moral of the story?

Clear your bowels before going for a movie marathon, and

don’t drink too much dubious chai… I think I might’ve gotten my first Diarrhoea since I got here… And boy, did it announce its arrival with a bang (not THAT literally)…

The Cinema OM Shanti Om

The main PR of this show revolves around Shah Rukh Kahn’s 40 year old abs… And to be honest, I can see why…