Batman: No More Sparklies!

David Patterson is playing the next incarnation of Batman, what? Pattinson? Vampire Pattinson?

I’ve been doing wayyyyyyyy too many serious posts, so I thought I’d do one a bit more lighthearted. And what could be more lighthearted than a tormented soul embracing his own darkness to wreak fear, justice, and vengeance on the seedy criminal underbelly of a corrupt Gotham City?

First off, when I heard Pattinson was gonna be the Bat, I cringed. I know some of you love Twilight, and that’s fine, the books have some very enjoyable elements, and I think anyone who aspires to write a best seller should read them. Having said that, I was always Team Jacob, I always thought Edward was….well….just a teenage girls fantasy of what a man (vampire) should be, whereas Jacob is (until the creepy stuff with the baby) much more realistic of what us men really think and behave.

Awoooooooooo……werewolves in Tulsa.

The trailer does look pretty ledgit to me. Pattinson seems to have bulked up some (though the camera does add ten pound) and he seems to have the right balance of tortured soul and twisted strength. For some reason he does remind me a bit of Edward Scissorhands, but I rather liked that movie, so I’m ok with that.

Batman has always been a big deal to me. When I got home from kindergarten the sixties Adam West version was always on, and while I find the show way too campy now, as a six year old it was delightful. And we had a few Batman comics as a kid, and the violent, tortured images of Batman as the incarnation stood in the seventies matched the abuse I saw around me.

This is usually the way I imagine Batman in my mind. Determined, running at breakneck speed to save someone or catch the bad people. The Batman of the 70s was still strong and confident, but he actually got hurt, and sometimes did questionable things to achieve justice.

My family had a history of being fighters. My dad, grandad, and great grandad were all amateur boxers. I never took it up because I was clumsy, slow, and small, and it took me about forty years to come into my full strength, but the Selbys were renowned in Northwestern Oklahoma from about 1920 to about 1980 as fighters. Before the comic book, Grandad was known as Batman. It stood for “battling Selby.” In retrospect Grandad and Dad were sometimes little better than bullies (I don’t know enough about Great Grandad. He died before Dad was born, and Dad is one of my biggest sources of information about the family). But as a kid I looked at the pictures of Batman in the comics, and imagined that was my Dad or my Grandad, fighting not for their mere egos (which was more true than my fantasies) but for Justice, and for the Downtrodden.

When I was a young boy, I often imaged zipping through the air on those spiffy bat rope thingys. My Dad would be Batman, I would be Robin. As time went on the whole Robin thing felt silly, but when I was very young it made perfect sense.

Another thing that drew me to Batman was that, in spite of his darkness and violence, he was very much a father figure. He had Robin at this side, and when you are young you aren’t thinking “child endangerment,” or “pedophile.” Your thinking “Father.” Your thinking that you want your father to be like Batman, and take you on the adventurous life he surely has, and that the two of you will fight Crime and Injustice side by side. And you will learn from him, and he will be proud of you, and you will protect each other.

The naivety of youth.

The moment that changed comics forever

Things kinda went to hell when Dad became an alcoholic. Things got worse and worse, and I had promised myself never to allow or take abuse again. Naivety. But eventually things got too bad, and for good or ill, I ran away from home. One day, I was in a convenience store in Jet Oklahoma, and saw the graphic novel of “A Death in the Family.”

Lots of ink has been spilled by better writers than I talking of the importance of this moment. I’m going to talk instead of its importance to me.

In my heart, at that time, my father was dead. He was still living, but in my heart he was dead to me, and I was grieving in my own way and trying to make peace with the possibility that I would never see him again. And it was at that time that I saw the above image on the comic book.

My youth was dead, just like Robin. My dad was “dead,” just like Robin. I was no longer Robin, I was the Batman, cradling his dead adopted son in his arms, with a heart full of grief and a darkness normal people would never understand. But this Batman knew. He knew suffering and loss. He had lost both his parents, and now his son.

Yeah, I still love the Batman. The Gauntlet passes to me, and now I “am” the Batman. And all I know to do, is to try to be the best Batman I can be. Survive one more day against all odds, fight the villains that are mostly me. Survive.

May not be “Eye of the Tiger” but it tells it as well as anything can.

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