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Beyond A Joker

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Okay, while we all know Moore thought of the Killing Joke origin for Joker, who thought of the origin of Batman throwing him in the vat of toxins?

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Wasn't that taken from the very first appearance of the Red Hood...?

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Well, the original Red Hood origin comes from Detective Comics #168, from February 1951. As such, it was probably Bill Finger, although I'm not 100% sure.

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If only someone could reanimate Conrad Veidt.

Cheers for that excellent link. I wonder if The Man Who Laughed influenced the creation of the Joker character?

 

EDIT: Yep. :) Bob Kane obituary, page 2

 

 

Batman creating his own nemesis is also one of those ultra neat ironic circles that really bore me. ... it's a bit of a yawn really.

I'm with ya. For some reason postmodernism dictates that linking shit like that is desirable. Even the 1989 Batman had the Joker as the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents. I'm not sure if it's all about tidiness or significance or just cleverness, but I'm over it. Especially where Batman's concerned. It's a whimsy about a man who dresses up as a bat, for fuck's sake.

Edited by JasonT

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It's a whimsy about a man who dresses up as a bat, for fuck's sake.

 

Doesnt absolutely have to be whimsy, though. That's somewhat unfair. It's about what one does with the material.

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It's a whimsy about a man who dresses up as a bat, for fuck's sake.

 

Doesnt absolutely have to be whimsy, though. That's somewhat unfair. It's about what one does with the material.

I dig; but the more serious you make the material, the more ludicrous the central concept looks by contrast. And the more psychologically and intellectually complex you make it, the more you invite the reader to think about something that doesn't really hold up to thinking about.

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I don't think there's anything whimsical about Batman.

 

And having the Joker kill Bruce's parents is lame, not least because it means that their deaths are avenged and his central conflict is resolved.

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And having the Joker kill Bruce's parents is lame, not least because it means that their deaths are avenged and his central conflict is resolved.

 

I don't like this take at all, either, but how does that make their deaths avenged...?

 

 

<<<EDIT>>>

 

Or did you mean in the movie version from '89, then i can see what you're talking about.

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I agree that the "Joker killed Wayne's parents" angle is rubbish, but it's got nothing to do with their deaths being avenged. Joe Chill gets killed off in Batman Begins, and that's an excellent take on the origin story. Batman's not motivated by vengeance, he's out to ensure that what happened to him will never happen to anyone else - it's a quest for justice and order, not revenge. He's not the Punisher.

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What he said.

 

A mutual friend of mine and Macan's had a pitch for Batman, way back in the early 90's, which he had Carmine Infantino pushing at DC, about Batman losing his memory (i know, not original), and having to become Batman once again, but without the burdon of the parents guilt-trip, to do the ruight thing because of the right thing itself, not because of some childhood trauma.

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Nice.

That's on of the better pitchs/concepts i've heard.

 

Again Waids JLA had them split into their seperate identites to great and actually original results.

 

One would simplistically expect Batman to be some raging psycho and Bruce to be the playboy, it was quite different however.

 

Batman was completely undriven, and Bruce was the raging nutter who had no training both physically, mentally and emotionally to articulate, cathart or channel his rage through.

 

Rucka's Death and the Maidens, had some great insights too.

Bats is concerned that he can no longer feel his parents death anymore (which unbeknownst to him is really the healing process kicking in).

Much like John in Empathy is the Enemy, he sees this as a negative thing.

 

NB-The Punisher is a revenge story on Crime, not on the people who killed his family.

But tell someone in Hollywood that.

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i watched batman begins yesterday and i must say i loved it.

I think it captured the character perfectly and that is this movie greatest achievement.

 

Where burton´s firsttwo batman movies where awesome visually, i think they failed in capturing the character,specially bruce wayne´s character.

 

Anyway i cant wait to see the sequel,and i think the people involved are facing a real challenge telling a story that has allready been told during the first batman movie(1989)

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NB-The Punisher is a revenge story on Crime, not on the people who killed his family.

But tell someone in Hollywood that.

 

True dat - I should have made that clearer in my post.

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Or did you mean in the movie version from '89, then i can see what you're talking about.

 

Yes, exactly.

 

Batman's not motivated by vengeance, he's out to ensure that what happened to him will never happen to anyone else - it's a quest for justice and order, not revenge.

 

In some of the most popular versions of the character, he is (DKR being the most obvious).

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In some of the most popular versions of the character, he is (DKR being the most obvious).

 

The Batman in DKR is a very deliberately atypical version of the character, though. It's a Bruce Wayne who has, essentially, lost control as a result of denying his true nature for years. When he returns, it's clearly established that he's far more violent and angry than he had been in his prime - his festering frustration and rage have gotten the better of him. It's an excellent take on a possible future for the character, but the fact that it became the default way of writing Batman for much of the '90s is a sign of lesser writers failing to adequately grasp Miller's point, rather than a vindication of that interpretation of Batman's motives. It's particularly frustrating that Miller seems to have lost touch with that original point too, as time has gone by. He got it right back in the day, though - Year One is a pretty on-the-money exploration of the 'classic' version of Batman's motivation, even allowing for the various changes it makes to the original story.

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It's a whimsy about a man who dresses up as a bat, for fuck's sake.

 

Doesnt absolutely have to be whimsy, though. That's somewhat unfair. It's about what one does with the material.

I dig; but the more serious you make the material, the more ludicrous the central concept looks by contrast. And the more psychologically and intellectually complex you make it, the more you invite the reader to think about something that doesn't really hold up to thinking about.

 

I really don't think so. I'm a firm believer in the school of thought that says no subject matter is intrinsically whimsical/ludicrous. I'd consider DKR - for example - to be psychologically and intellectually complex and it sure doesnt make me think the core concept is stupid. I think it's attitudes like the whimsy thing that often give comics books/genre works a bad name. "Oh, its about vampires/robots/time machines/ninjas/men wearing tights, so it can't be anything more than whimsical". Sorry, I'm not buying. There are plays by Shakespeare that involve guys running around with donkey heads, talking to fairies. Watchmen involves a giant naked blue man. I could go on and on. None of these works lose anything owing to their subject matter. It's all in what the writer/artist does with the thing.

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In some of the most popular versions of the character, he is (DKR being the most obvious).

 

The Batman in DKR is a very deliberately atypical version of the character, though. It's a Bruce Wayne who has, essentially, lost control as a result of denying his true nature for years. When he returns, it's clearly established that he's far more violent and angry than he had been in his prime - his festering frustration and rage have gotten the better of him. It's an excellent take on a possible future for the character, but the fact that it became the default way of writing Batman for much of the '90s is a sign of lesser writers failing to adequately grasp Miller's point, rather than a vindication of that interpretation of Batman's motives. It's particularly frustrating that Miller seems to have lost touch with that original point too, as time has gone by. He got it right back in the day, though - Year One is a pretty on-the-money exploration of the 'classic' version of Batman's motivation, even allowing for the various changes it makes to the original story.

Quite excellant points.

 

Miller's Batman was very much of his time (the future sure, but an 80's future at that).

 

Morrison's JLA Batman stands as the best balanced Batman rendition I've seen.

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There's still that disconnection with reality that must go in to believing the character of Batman.

Making it a form of mythology.

 

If you do overthink it, you come to the conclusion that the guy's parents were killed by a mugger and he chose to dress as a giant bat because criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot.

We know that in reality there are a lot of people whose parents have been killed by criminals.

They react in many different ways.

Never once, did a person decide to dress up as a totem spirit in reaction to those events.

 

It's the problem with Marvel's "Civil War" (using an example that more people would agree is absurd). They expect the reader to take the event seriously as an analogy for the Patriot Act in America.

There's an immediate suspension of disbelief taken with a story like "Civil War" right from the start though, in that Marvel is expecting for us to connect a policy meant to enforce a law on vigilantes with protection of civil liberties.

An absurd concept when one looks at it through the lens of our reality.

 

I'm not saying that the idea of Batman is as ludicrous as the idea behind Marvel:Civil War, but when dealing with the realm of Fantasy fiction, there is that need to lose yourself within the Fantasy.

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I don't think there's anything whimsical about Batman.

batmobile2.jpgclimb.jpg

 

 

I really don't think so. I'm a firm believer in the school of thought that says no subject matter is intrinsically whimsical/ludicrous. I'd consider DKR - for example - to be psychologically and intellectually complex and it sure doesnt make me think the core concept is stupid.

TDKR and many other works certainly do get away with a serious or straight-faced use of essentially (for want of a better word) silly material. They successfully make the reader suspend disbelief. That doesn't change the fact that what's underneath is a shaky foundation.

 

Specifically in the case of Batman, he dresses up as a bat to scare criminals. Firstly, that isn't actually scary, it's laughable; and secondly, in real life a man who did that would be ridiculed, arrested, or shot dead. You can certainly use sleight of hand to tell a good serious story based on Batman — I've read several — but underneath it all the premise remains inherently silly.

 

I think it's attitudes like the whimsy thing that often give comics books/genre works a bad name. "Oh, its about vampires/robots/time machines/ninjas/men wearing tights, so it can't be anything more than whimsical". Sorry, I'm not buying.

Just to clarify, I read comic books, and occasionally use sci-fi for recreational purposes. So I agree with you there. I also agree that the treatment of the material can be as serious as you like. My point is just that it only works if you can suspend your disbelief, and for me, the more seriously 'they' want me to take it, the more suspension of disbelief required.

 

There are plays by Shakespeare that involve guys running around with donkey heads, talking to fairies.

Yes. The comedies. :)

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