He plucked the flower with his massive hand. Its roots strained to hold onto the dirt in between the cracks of pavements where it had grown. The guy gave it to his girlfriend, who was standing by the fountain whose overflowing water had fed the little flower. She kissed him and their romance flourished but at what a price. Poor little flower, just another sacrifice for love.
This super-short story was inspired by a roll of story dice. Yes, the image is photoshopped. I didn’t take a picture of the dice, so take my word for it.
WARNING: Spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises abound in this article.
My friend and I were talking about a lot of things the other night. Mostly about The Dark Knight Rises and two girls we knew got married this past weekend. We talked about how fucking crazy the 00′s were and all the nonsensical shit that happened in our lives. We talked about how Christopher Nolan‘s Batman movies encapsulated so much about this time period, while also standing alone as a statements about the human experience.
In conclusion we hoped that The Dark Knight Rises may give us an ending not just to this particular Batman story but to an entire era of human bullshit that reach its peak in the past decade.
Yes, part of of what made the 00′s crazy was 9/11. That shit was earth shattering, literally, for those of us alive today. There’ve been other events of this magnitude, or greater, in the past but nothing that most generations alive today were around experience. We’ve all seen a lot of fucked up shit but a massive attack, successful executed on the homeland of the world’s most powerful country trumps all that. It shattered any illusion we may’ve held about finding a place that’s guaranteed to keep us safe. It showed us that nothing – not the best army nor the most money – could necessarily keep us from losing our lives in the blink of a crazy person’s eye.
But then Batman comes along and says “fuck it, there are better options.”
I believe The Dark Knight Rises is not just an awesome movie that ends an awesome trilogy of entertainment. I think it’s a message in a bottle, even if the people making the movie didn’t realize it. It tells us a story that, before any of us saw it, didn’t realize we wanted. I think if you told people how this movie would end before they saw it, they would say it’s antithetical to all that makes Batman such a popular character. Yet, when we see that closing scene with Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, it brings an uncontrollable smile to even the most cold hearted person’s face.
Who ever thought you could actually end Batman’s story with “and they lived happily ever after?”
And I hope that reflects the end of the world we’ll see in 2012. I’m tired of living in a world that expects heroics to end in tragedy. In second movie of Nolan’s trilogy an idea is stressed that can sum up an entire epoch of human history: “you can either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” In The Dark Knight Rises Batman gives us a new and much better option:
“Be a hero then retire to Italy with Catwoman.”
Count me in.
I’m keeping pretty busy these days. One of the things keeping me busy is writing more Revenger. I just lettered the first page of #3 and had to share it with the world. I’m still working on the script while Michael Powell does his drawing magic. In the meantime, enjoy this preview…
I’ve been working a bit on a new character. This is something I tried writing in his voice. It needs a lot of work. A LOT of work. But I haven’t posted in a while, so, I figured “what the hell?”
I understand villains because we all want the same thing: to watch the world burn. Actually, I want to personally light the fuse.
Seriously, fuck the world. Fuck it’s existential angst. Fuck it’s hedonistic yearnings. It took 13 billion years for life to evolve on Earth. In 5 billion years the whole planet will burn in our sun’s supernova. Technically speaking, it will be uninhabitable only half a billion years from now. Why wait? That just gives assholes more time to be assholes.
I don’t have rage issues. People with rage want to stand over their enemy and gloat. When people fuck with me, with someone I love, or with something I believe in, I don’t just want to destroy them. I want to destroy everything. And, yes, I’m fully aware that “everything” includes me. That’s the definition of “everything.” Nothing is too small a price to pay to destroy people who suck.
But doing so would mean believing nothing was worth saving. I would have to give up all hope that anything could ever be better. And I want to have that hope. It’s the only thing I want more than to destroy everything. In the context of the whole world and any objective truth, that may not really make me a hero. In my own personal struggles, though, it’s good enough for now.
Oh, and because this Mojo comic strip fit the theme so well, I just had to include it:
Comics are cool ’cause:
epic shit happens often.
Wish fulfillment, duh.
Droppin’ a little poetry on you. If you haven’t been to revengercomic.com lately, you’ve missed some cool shit in our new story, “Giant Future Robot” starring Sovereign (written by me, drawn by Michael Powell). Cool shit, like this:
And this, too:
Oh, and we’re also working on Revenger #3, featuring epic shit like this:
So, you know, keep an eye out.
One of my new favorite shows is Psych. Sure, it’s mostly because of the immature, silly humor and my deep down desires to have wacky, heroic adventures while making pop culture references from my childhood and teenage years. But there’s a reality underpinning the fantasy that reveals a truth about humanity.
In case you don’t know the premise, here goes: Shawn Spencer is an expert but amateur profiler who uses lateral thinking and basic truths about human nature to solve crimes. However, since he has no other socially acceptable way to validate his skill, he tells the cops he’s a psychic.
The first truth: people are not that unique. If you’ve paid enough attention and let your instincts take charge, you can figure them and their situations out pretty quickly. Yes, YOU. Any of us can. That doesn’t excuse a lack of due diligence.I’m just saying the amount of time needed to “get to know someone” isn’t really that much. It takes a lot less time than most people think it does, which is why most don’t let themselves do it.
Which leads to the second truth: when faced with a person who can sum up a situation quickly, people really would rather be skeptical or believe in a fantasy like psychic abilities. Probably because it shatters the aforementioned deception that it takes time to get to know people. The easiest way to explain someone who does it successfully without shattering that illusion – unless you’re a skeptic and just say “phooey” at things like gut instinct – is to describe them as somehow gift or outside the norm.
A topic like this deserves a deeper breakdown. My English teachers would tell me this is a good start but I need more than declarative statements to make my point. Luckily it’s my website. But I do hope that throwing these ideas out there get some of you thinking. Or, at least, I hope it convinces you to watch Psych so you get my references.
You know that’s right.
Here are some previews of a few comics I’m writing and are being drawn by some pretty fucking dope artists.
First up, one of three stories I’m writing for Joe Cook’s Shattered Myth. This one features Samson versus Mammon and is being drawn by Micah Weltsch. This story will initially only be available in print – yes! print! – in Volume 3 of the Shattered Myth collection. Here’s a fun excerpt from the first page:
Next up is another Shattered Myth story I’m writing. This one is part of the Spotlight series and will be featured on the website in the coming months. Eric White and I will be telling a story about Hermes that has been heavily inspired by the classic Superman vs. Flash race stories of the past. I’m really excited for this one. Here’s a look at his pencils from the first strip:
Finally, and most dear to my heart, is my latest collaboration with my partner on Revenger, Michael Powell. We’re taking a breather from Revenger but staying in the same universe, albeit 7 years in the future. This the second most important character in our world, Sovereign. Here’s a look at the first full page, completely inked. This will also be our first colored story, thanks to Eric White!
Batman always has been and always will be my favorite superhero. The other night I had a dream that I saw an early screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In my dream it was a meta-existentialist film that included a Robin who also dressed like Batman and Jack Nicholson playing an older version of Heath Ledger’s Joker.
That doesn’t seem like a bad way to bring back Nicholson, by the way.
However — and I know this will sound “controversial” as far as comic book fandom goes but whatever — I think Superman’s psychology is far more interesting. Batman is not complicated: a kid sees his parents killed and goes off on a vendetta, complete with a rigid moral code. It’s interesting, sure, but only because it’s relatable and, by extension, uncomplicated (that is to say, if it were complicated it wouldn’t be so relatable).
I can’t actually wrap my head around Superman’s psychology, though. A lot of it stems from his relationship with Lex Luthor. One of the first things I wrote about on this blog is why Batman must not kill the Joker. Yet I can’t understand why Superman hasn’t flicked Lex Luthor’s head right off.
Seriously. That dude’s a giant dick. All Superman has to do is look at Lex Luthor and made that bald head blow up. Do it!
Over and over, Lex Luthor finds other people to take the fall for his crimes. Superman knows this. But he chooses to do nothing until he can capture Lex fair and square. Maybe this is why it’s better that only fictional characters be gifted with powers beyond those of mortal men. I’d be hard pressed to not overreact at least once, after deciding I knew better than everyone else, and take matters into my own hands. Lex would be the first guy who’s head I’d take off with a superdropkick.
Honestly, there’s a very good chance l would decide most people are too stupid to be trusted and crown myself ruler of the world.
That’s where the psychology becomes even more interesting to me. It’s not that Superman resists temptation to be selfish (i.e., take shit because he wants it and he can) but how does he resist the temptation to take care of humans by simply treating them like children? That’s probably what I would do with his powers. I’d force everyone to obey my rules for their own good. I’d be like the scary kindergarten teacher that no one wants to fuck with. Only my students would be everyone on the planet. And I’d teach lessons like “don’t be stupid assholes.”
Maybe Superman just realizes all-powerful does not mean all-knowing and his rules are just as likely as anyone else’s to be flawed. He seems to understand the need for democracy over dictatorship, if only to try and compensate for the inherent mistakes of any one person. Which implies an incredible amount of healthy self awareness on Superman’s part.
I think we can say that Superman’s greatest super power may be super mental health. Is that a by product of his other super powers? Is it a product of his upbringing? What’s it like to be some mentally stable?
We all deal with mentally unstable people in our lives. We all have our own psychological issues. These are important things to explore. But Superman’s healthy mental state will always be more fascinating to me. If only because people like that are so rare both in real life and in fiction.