Archive for September 13, 2006


1d19

 

You may not be aware of this, but there is a new Batman cartoon series on TV. Fortunately it can only be seen by those who have pay TV because it is truly awful.

I am talking about The Batman, which currently screens on Cartoon Network. This is not Batman: The Animated Series, which is 100% superior to this rubbish. I’ve had the misfortune to watch a couple of episodes of The Batman and it seems as if it is just another cartoon. The storylines are nothing special, but one thing I cannot get over is the horrible, horrible character designs. The above picture is apparently supposed to be The Joker. Really, it is! I know that it looks nothing at all like the Clown Prince of Crime, but that is who it is meant to be. The designs of other Bat characters, such as The Penguin and The Riddler are also awful and bear little resemblence to the way they have been drawn for the last 60 years. The person who designed these versions of the characters must have been smoking copious amounts of illegal substances to even think that they look in any way like the characters that they are meant to be.

Now, I may just be a dsigruntled fan boy or a silly old fart. I don’t think I am in the target demographic for The Batman. But I still wonder whether any child out there would even watch this trash. Who knows!

This also gets me to another rant. What are Warner Home Video doing in regards to the Batman: The Animated Series dvd box sets? I believe that only season 1 has been released in Australia and even that is extremely difficult to find. I had to buy these off Amazon. It was a great show and I think any child who loves Batman would want to see these shows, which is probably more than can be said for The Batman. Batman: The Animated Series is also a cartoon that those of us over the age of 16 can watch and enjoy.

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2ddb

Man Bat

Issues 1, 2, 3, 4 + 5

Writer – Bruce Jones

Pencils – Mike Huddleston

One of the things that I’d like to do with this blog is write some comic reviews, then the people who actually read this thing will get an idea of the comics that I like. Perhaps they will actually like my reviews and buy things on my recommendations or avoid things that I don’t like. The just finished Man Bat 5 part mini-series by Bruce Jones is one set of comic books that should be avoided at all costs.

The first question that needs to be asked after reading this is, “What type of drugs is Bruce Jones smoking?” Seriously, Mr Jones either has an extremely vivid imagination, or he writes his comic books whilst taking acid. This book is not as trippy as his recent run on Nightwing, where he turned Dick Grayson into a male model and had Jason Todd briefly turned into a toad (a toad with tenticles), but it is still really craptastic.

In the first issue of the series there is a major development, one which you would think have a major impact on the future of the Man Bat character. At the end of this issue Man Bats’ family is brutally murdered, supposedly by Man Bat himself. The only problem is that DC has already disregarded this, perhaps showing the faith that they have in Mr Jones’ work. You see, in Grant Morrisson’s recent Batman story (issue 655), Man Bats’ wife Francine turns up alive and well, with no explanation being given over just how she could be alive.

Another prblem that this book had was that even though it was called Man Bat, the main character of this story seemed to be D-grade villain Hush. For those who came in late, Hush was a villain that was created by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee who was the main villain in Batman way back in the 2003 Hush storyline. He then returned to the Gotham Nights book before that was cancelled. Many people, myself included, think that the reason why Gotham Nights was cancelled was because Hush became the main character of the book. He became so tiresome and boring and had stupid plotlines that involved two of my least favourite plot devices/characters, Clayface (there are way too many Clayfaces) and one of Poison Ivy’s plant people. Towards the end of the book many fans were actually hoping that Hush would die!

Anyway, back to Man Bat. I stuck through with this book right to the end, probably because I like the Man Bat character. The plot of this book seemed to just involve Hush trying to frame Man Bat for various murders and also trying to get back at Black Mask for some reason. The whole point of the book seemed to be to make Man Bat into a villainous beast with no control over its actions. The biggest problem with this is that other than in an Elseworld’s story from a decade ago, Man Bat has never been a true villain. He even did quite a few heroic things and I don’t think that he was ever a killer. The whole thing that made Man Bat such a popular character was that he was always struggling with his inner-beast, but ultimately he just wanted to be left alone. If he ever hurt someone it was only because he was trying to protect his family or because he was trying to avoid the real beast, those men who were trying to hunt him down.

Jones tried to change the way that Man Bat has been characterised. He tried to turn him permanently into a beats, with no hint of humanity or self control at all. Naturally enough Grant Morrisson has completely ignored this and made this Man Bat story obsolete even before it finished.

My only hope is that Bruce Jones is never again allowed to write another Batman related comic book. This book should be totally ignored. While it is not as awful as his run on Nightwing, this is still a totally horrible book. If DC ever release this as a Trade Paperback or you see cheap back issues, avoid this at all costs. If anyone wants good a Man Bat story they should track down any reprints of the orginal Frank Robbins/Neal Adams tales. (A good place to start is the excellent Batman: Illustrated by Neal Adams)


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In this blog entry I would like to talk about the death of a comic book character that once was Robin. No, I am not talking about Jason Todd, who was killed due to a fan phone poll (he’s been brought back to life anyway!), but Stephanie Brown, the fourth Robin.

For those who have no idea who Stephanie Brown was here is her Wikipedia entry.

Project Girl Wonder is another website that looks at the disgraceful treatment that Stephanie has suffered at the hands of DC Comics. They could perhaps articulate things better than I.

Comics writer Gail Simone has made a list of female comics characters who have suffered. It can be viewed at Women In Refrigerators.

One of the things that has struck me about this whole Stephanie Brown ordeal, is not just how DC Comics treats its female heroes, but how it treats its female readers. (You’d think that being a male I wouldn’t know about these things!)

When Bill Willingham started writing the Batman story that became known as War Games, he was told by his editors that Stephanie was to die by the end of the run. Willingham has said it was his idea to have Stephanie accepted briefly as Robin, so that she would have done something memorable in her time as a Batman supporting cast member. I’m not sure if his plan worked too well, as when Stephanie became Robin it created a buzz. People became interested in the Bat comics and it could have created great storylines and a great chemistry between Batman and his new Robin, that had not been seen since the days when Dick Grayson wore the pixie boots. Perhaps Stephanie, with her enthusiastic attitude, could have helped Batman lighten up a bit, since one of the main criticisms of the way Batman is currently written is that he is too grumpy.

If Stephanie had of remained Robin the writers could have allowed Tim Drake, the previous Robin, to gain an identity away from Batman. They could of allowed him to grow up.

However, Willingham and DC decided to keep their plan of killing Stephanie and having Tim return as Robin. Stephanie had to suffer one of the most horrendous deaths after she was tortured endlessly by Black Mask and a cordless power drill. Steph somehow survived this barely, only to have another one of Batman’s allies, Dr Leslie Thompkins, refuse to treat Stephanie’s injuries. She basically allowed Stephanie die just to teach Batman a lesson.

Since then much of Batman’s family have disappeared. Stephanie is dead, Leslie has been exiled, Oracle has quit Gotham City and Batgirl has inexplicably turned evil. (Mmm, it’s just the female Bat characters who have left!) These of course were all editorial decisions and perhaps contrary to what readers really wanted. DC editor in chief Dan Didio wanted Batman to return to being a loner, where if he wants help he will get it from Robin (Tim again) or Alfred. Basically DC are going to give us Didio’s vision of how Batman should be, regardless of whether we want it or not. Personally I think he should just allow the writers to go about writing comic books without any of his editorial interferance, but that is perhaps just my opinion!