Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Batman v Superman – 6 Days to Go until Batman Punches Superman in his Smug Face

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There is only six sexy days to go until Batman v Superman hits cinemas here in Australia.

Wearing this sweet black and white Batman shirt this week reminded me of how close it is.

While I’m super excited to see my main man Batman on the big screen again, I do feel like I’ve already seen a little too much of the film in the trailers. With yet another trailer released showing even more footage of the film, I decided simply not to watch it.

I’d like there to be at least some surprises when I watch BVS for the first time. It feels less like Batman v Superman at this point and more like the launching point for the inevitable JLA / Justice League movie coming down the line.

When BVS was first announced we knew nothing, then it had announcement after announcement, feeding rumors and speculation on the internet in a mad frenzy of anticipation and predictions. Eventually it morphed into the smorgasbord it is now. They threw in Wonder Woman (hooray!) and Lex Luthor (do we really need him?) they announced Aquaman (lame) but then they cast one of the manliest men on the planet – Jason Momoa.

As a fan of Stargate SG-1 and SG-Atlantis, I feel there is nobody better qualified on the planet to play Aquaman than Jason Momoa. I was genuinely excited to see them take traditionally one of the lamest and least liked of the JLA pantheon and actually make him cool.

I’ll keep this post nice and short, as I don’t see the point in talking about a movie until after I have seen it. I guess it’s something that is important to me. You can speculate all day, and sure it’s fun to talk with friends about the flick. But I don’t really want to write a damn word about it until after I have seen it.

And as big as BVS will be, it’s just a drop in the big bucket of Batman.

Batman is bigger than any comic book series, any movie, animation, video game or merchandise.

The focus of my blog always has and always will be on that timeless mythical archetypal Baman that transcends any one genre, that transcends any one medium. I’m happy to cover Batman from any medium, but I like the distance of time that gives us perspective on what is truly great and worth talking about in 70+ years of Batman history.

Some people seem to be giving Zack Snyder shit about BVS for his choices.

“It’s too dark, it’s too cynical, it’s too this, not enough of that”

I say it is important for any director to have a unique vision, and to captivate with their story, and for the two hours of so they have your hostage  in that cinema, they have to make those characters their own and make you want to care about them. And so far, Snyder has impressed the hell out of me with his cinematic action style. Snyder’s style is unique, over the top and great fun. Just what I want from a comic book movie. I’ve been a fan since his Dawn of the Dead remake, and loved 300 so much I had to see it twice on the big screen.

sucker-punch-cast 1 zack snyder movie

I will say Snyder understands characters and motivation, and has a great visual style and flair – but he can’t write for shit. Take a look at Sucker Punch if you don’t believe me. It’s his only film to date where he directed and wrote the story, rather than directing with someone else writing. I wanted to love that film, on paper it was his most superhero comic-book like film so far. And it was an all women super-hero team. It was like a mix of Avengers and the Dirty Dozen. It was like the best bits of Charlie’s Angels and Kill Bill on steroids.

Neither DC nor Marvel has given us anything like that on the big or little screen. The most similar thing is the upcoming Suicide Squad – which is a mostly male cast. So in that way Zack Snyder is kind of visionary and ahead of his time. Sure it was a rubbish movie, but it had some good points, and I believe he put his blood sweat and tears into that movie. With better writers, I believe it would have been something special.

I’m sure we will eventually get another all girl superhero team on the big screen, and it will be good. And whoever makes it will look at Sucker Punch and see the mistakes that were made and learn from them.

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Well, if you’ll excuse me I have more articles to write and some cool Batman Podcasts to listen to. I’ve been getting into the DC Superhero shows on TV finally, after not watching any of them. Flash kicks ass, but Supergirl is my current favourite TV show.

Not my favourite comic-book show. Just favourite TV show, period. I believe this new Supergirl show if the definitive version of Supergirl in the best possible way. She’s had some shabby treatment in the comics over the decades, and always plays second fiddle to the JLA and other DC icons. DC killed her off right around the time she had a big movie in the 80’s. Way to build up your female icons DC!

I’m sure fans were  confident they would see more Supergirl movies  after this Crisis on Infinite Earths cover  appeared in the mid eighties.

dc crisis cover death of supergirl 1

Free of the shadow of  Superman and the DC Universe, it is truly Supergirl’s time to shine. The crossover announcement with the Flash TV show had me practically wetting my pants in anticipation.

If you love those DC shows, and I know you do, well at least some you – then I urge you to read my favourite kick-ass mega blog of awesomeness on the internet Girl on Comic Book World, where Nav talks about the wonderful DC Universe TV shows (and films) in brilliant insightful articles on a regular basis. She’s a big fan of both Batman and Superman and has loads of great articles on those characters and the BVS film. Check them out. You’ll be glad you did.


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Why does Batman endure? From Superman clone to Dark Mythic Figure

Why is Batman such as appealing character?

I don’t really know.

Batman was created as a commercial character.  Superman was intentionally created to be a sort of inspiring figure, a sort of Space Jesus, or Moses, depending on whether you go with the classic Moses-like Superman, or the more modern Christ-like Superman.

Batman on the other hand was not intended to inspire anyone.  He was designed to be dark and scary.  He was created as a response to the sales of Superman in Action Comics, a sort of paint-by-numbers superhero.


His cover pose swinging on the cover to Detective Comics #27 a swipe from a Flash Gordon drawing, right down to the rope.  A mask swiped directly from Lee Falk’s The Phantom, that was later changed into a larger mask and cowl.  Wings like DaVinci’s flying machine that later were changed into a cape like Dracula or Zorro.  A gun and a don’t-mess-with-me-attitude swiped from the Shadow, not to mention Batman’s first ever story was a direct lift from an old Shadow story Partners of Peril from The Shadow became The Case of the Chemical Syndicate in Detective Comics.

It is easy to say some guy stole this from that character, and this part from that guy and that guy etc.

But in any of the various arts people swipe, or steal things all the time.  It is one thing to be influenced by another artists work, another to steal someone’s work and pass it off as your own.  One is influence, another is plagiarism.


Fortunately Batman was a mix of enough different elements, that nobody could successfully sue National Periodical Publications (later DC Comics) for making what was at the time, a relatively generic character, as were many of the heroes and antiheroes of the pulp era.

Batman before he appeared in print was a blonde-haired Superman clone in a red jumpsuit.  The wings and domino mask being the only visually distinctive additions to make him a little different.  Bob Kane’s Batman only became the Batman we know at the suggestion of Bill Finger, who suggested the colour black, cape and cowl and making the Batman’s eyes into small white slits rather than eyeballs.  What would Batman have been like without Bill Finger’s contributions was the subject of this amusing strip by comic artist Ty Templeton.

Batman without bill finger Ty by Templeton

So Batman was created as a cheap visual knock-off of Superman, he then evolved into a cheap knock-off of The Shadow.  However you look at it, he was a character created by numbers purely for commercial reasons, to make a buck in the rapidly emerging market of superhero comic books.

In his first year Batman was a nasty selfish brute, who killed without mercy.  A spoiled rich kid who got his jollies by putting himself recklessly in danger, and did not perform a whole lot of community service.

I doubt that version of the character could have lasted for 75 years.  Batman changed with the times of course, he became an iconic character along with Superman and Wonder Woman during World War II, promoting war bonds and supporting the troops on the covers to his comic books.

He became a sort of smiling cop and public servant in his post war years.  Later he became a science fiction hero in increasingly bizarre stories, followed up by a return to the smiling Batman, but this time with added camp value and over the top death-traps.  He morphed yet again into a James Bond-like hero, sans Robin.  He continued changing,  becoming a dark avenger character once again, like his original inception.

Batman is not a fixed character who is always the same, like any other superhero he changes with the times, reflecting our values and what is going on in the real world outside the borders of the panels of his monthly adventures.

Who would have thought that such a commercial, selfish, cynical character would one day inspire millions around the globe?  Who would have thought that Batman would last for over seven decades, while other generic heroes lived and died in quiet desperation, some not so much forgotten as never found in the first place.

Batman by Matt Wagner_Monster Men

Who would have thought that Batman would inspire fan films, documentaries, custom toys, real life custom built Batmobiles, more T-shirts than there are days in a year and multiple star-studded films.

Who would have thought that Batman could stand up to critical analysis from psychologists, film theorists and literary theorists?

I don’t think anybody could have predicted the staying power of Batman.  I don’t think anyone could have suggested that one day this cheap pulp knock-off would grow into his own self-invented myth, and be known around the world, inspiring children and adults alike.

Why are more people inspired by Batman than Superman?  Do we relate to the darkness in him, his flaws perhaps.  Is Superman the future of the human race?  Did Superman arrive too early and maybe we are not ready to be like him just yet, perhaps we need Batman to pave the way for us.  I like to think that each of the great superheroes arrived when we needed them the most, and they continue to live on as inspiring figures in hearts and minds around the world.

Perhaps we need characters like Batman to help us move away from our personal history of barbarism, torture, war and inhumanity to one another.  Maybe we need the darkness in Batman to acknowledge all that we are, and have been while stepping boldly into the future, diving off into the unknown like Batman  diving of a skyscraper, a mix of perverse joy and fear in his eye.

No tree has branches so foolish as to fight amongst themselves – Native American Proverb

To acknowledge that right now we are like Batman, still obsessed by our collective fear, trauma and pain, but one day we may be Supermen and Wonder Women, leaving behind our obsessions, transcending our collective pain, healing the individual and collective psyches of humanity, forgiving those who might do us harm, and no longer engaging in wars, whether wars of bombs and guns or wars of words and ideas.  I hope that we all follow Wonder Woman’s example and become ambassadors of peace and embody higher values within our own communities.

Batman Superman Wonder Woman by Dave Bullock Cliff Chiang Jim Lee

Superheroes are whatever we want them to be.  Simplistic Avatars of violence, messengers of the future potential of humanity, or just fun characters whom we see ourselves in, and use as vehicles to tell timeless tales.  Not unlike the stories of great heroes and heroines told around camp fires for thousands of years.  A heroic figure by definition is a character of inspiration, a character that hints at something greater than the everyday mundane world.

Whether we live a mundane existence, or accept the challenge to be the greatest version of ourselves we can imagine individually and collectively is up to us.

Our real challenge in life is not to turn away from our struggles and difficulties, but to embrace them and see them as essential to our own growth, to be the every day heroes of our own lives, especially for our loves ones, and those whom depend on us to take care of them.

I’m proud of our superheroes, they may be beings of pure imagination, but they inspire real lives, real emotions and real hearts.  I hope you find your own inner hero, and if you are not ready to do that just yet, I hope you can acknowledge that the potential exists in you right now, there is a place in you that already knows how to be a hero.

That inner hero is waiting for you to take action, to bust out of the chains of doubt, fear and insecurity, that inner hero is waiting to boldly live the greatest life you can imagine.

Why do we trust Superheroes?

Why do we trust Superheroes?

If Watchmen tells us anything, it is that heroes and superheroes are as flawed as you and I. Hell, some of them are far worse than you and I.  Some are downright terrible people, who only wear a false face of sanity to fit in.


Whether in fiction or in the ‘real’ world (whatever that is) heroes fail us.

They let us down.

They make promises they can not possibly keep.

They make vows no sane person would make.

They make mistakes.  They suffer the consequences of their own actions.

Despite their flaws, fallen heroes still appeal to us.  We hear that one of our favourite heroes turns out to be a child-molester, rapist or murderer.  Yes something in us doesn’t want to believe that it is true.  The elaborate conspiracy theories that spring up in defense of real world celebrities to explain away or justify their behavior shows just how far our psychosis goes.

Our collective insanity allows us to ignore the worst behavior of those we most admire.

In the real world, our heroes fail us routinely and predictably.  If there is a lesson to be learned, and I don’t know that there is – but perhaps we ought to rely on ourselves a little more, and on our heroes a little less.

If I read an amazing book today by a man of peace and compassion, and I am truly inspired to change my life for the better, to treat others better etc, but tomorrow the author murders someone in cold blood and says they enjoyed it and would do it again – and their book was all lies that they never believed – then what happens to that inspiration I had?

What happens to that shining light that turned on in me when I read those inspiring words?

It dies a little.  It retreats.  It surrenders to darkness.

Can we be inspired by the examples of others, and let go of the need to worship them or look up to them?

Can we accept a good idea, even if it comes from a bad person?

Can we be critical of the person, but still allow that spark of inspiration inside us to grow?  Do we violently reject our own selves, condemning every philosophy and good feeling we have ever had to an eternal limbo, merely because the author of the idea turned out to be a bad egg?

I don’t see any easy answers to these questions.

I do find a certain comfort in the morality and inspiration of comic book Superheroes.  Your Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Superman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer etc.

These fictional heroes will never fail us.  They were written to be champions of moral virtue, socially engineered to be the best of us, shining examples.  They will never let us down.


…Except when Batman let Jason Todd down by failing to stop the Joker from beating poor Jason to death with a crow bar. (Until he was ret-conned over a decade later, totally subverting any meaning in the story – thanks for that DC!)

….Except for when Spider-Man failed to stop the burglar who went on to kill his Uncle Ben.

…Except for when Wonder Woman came to man’s world on a mission of peace, love, and hair grease – only to find herself irrelevant in a world addicted to war, suffering and chaos.

…Except when Superman inconveniently died, allowing every super-villain in Metropolis to run rampant while ineffective and incompetent replacement “Supermen” tried to to fill the void created by Superman’s death.

…Except when Buffy failed to protect her sister Dawn by trusting an evil Vampire (Spike) because she found it convenient to get her rocks off with him and then ignore him, consequences be damned.

So of course our fictional heroes never fail us…

Except when they do.

Which doesn’t make them bad, or wrong or broken.  It just makes them human.  It just makes them more like us.

Some acts may be unforgivable.  Some things in life you just don’t get to come back from.  Some acts you can pray to God for forgiveness, but that is about your only option, as your life here on earth is forever marked by your actions.

But if we are floating in a life raft during World War II like Louis Zamperini in the recent film Unbroken – should we feed hope to the sharks and say “To Hell with it all!”

Like Viktor Frankl, who survived a German concentration camp, Louis Zamperini never gave up hope.  He didn’t give up when his plane went down over the ocean.  He didn’t give up when he was stranded in a life raft with no food for a month.  He didn’t give up when one of his friends died right next to him.  He didn’t give up when an enemy plane strafed the life raft, leaving it peppered with holes.

Louis didn’t give up hope when he was rescued by the Japanese who put him in sub-human conditions for the next two years in a prison camp (as an enemy combatant) where he was beaten and starved.

If our heroes fail us, do we then use that as an excuse to fail ourselves, to give up on life?

I hope not.

I hope that we carry on living life the best way we know how.  And I hope that when people do terrible things, rather than label them inhuman monsters and bury our heads in the sand, instead we ask “Why?”

What happened to that poor soul that made them that way?

Even if we can’t ever forgive those who have harmed us or those we love, or our fallen heroes, I hope that we can at least attempt to understand them.  Maybe not right away, when the pain of their downfall is still too raw.  Everybody in life has somebody that they have looked up to who has let them down.

Sometimes it is the people we love the most, the ones who are supposed to protect us.

I hope that individually and collectively we can all move past hate, revenge and self-loathing.

The world has enough hate.  The quota has been filled beyond capacity a long time ago.  Hatred is a selfish act that can only harm us and do nothing to heal the very real hurts we feel.

Hate and anger makes us less than what we are, never more.

It only makes sense to get angry about the injustices in the world, but we live in an unjust world.  Why do you think we invented Superheroes?  To remind us of hope, to remind us of our own potential.

Superheroes arrived right along with WWII.  If there was no World War II, we may never have invented superheroes.  Sure we had adventure characters, and science based heroes etc.  But Superheroes arrived to give us hope, to remind us that at our core we want to live and grow and love.  No baby was ever born with a gun in its hand. No baby was ever born full of hate and scorn for the world.  We learned that along the way.

Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them. – Buckminster Fuller

We came here to love one another, and to look after each other. I feel that Superheroes are a reminder of that.  A reminder that we can transcend out own limited cultural values and ideas.  A reminder that we are born to greatness, not mediocrity.  Every baby is born a genius.  We didn’t come here to trip, fall over one time and then get mad about it for the rest of our lives, and blame everyone around us for our situation in life.

We have an infinite capacity for greatness in equal proportion to our capacity for forgiveness, but how often do we exercise that capacity?

In the end it doesn’t matter if your heroes fail you…

it only matters if YOU fail you.