This states the blindingly obvious – so what’s the solution? Those of us in desperate need of career mentors would like to know.
The whole thing was staged beautifully, and I particularly loved the lighting they used for a ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ piece.
There was many a love letter to Amy Pond over the course of the night, but you’ll not believe – they managed to make her and Rory’s departure even more devastating. In the graveyard as Rory disappeared and Amy decided to follow, they inserted scenes from their love story over the course of the show. You’d think Tumblr would have desensitised me BUT YOU’D BE WRONG.
All the walls popping up between the rival social empires are getting absurd. Imagine if Ford built a series of freeways where Chevys, Hondas, and other makes were banned – that’s Google . Imagine if the Chevy Malibu drove at half speed on anything other than Chevy-owned freeways – that’s Facebook’s Instagram. Imagine if the California state freeway department Caltrans started building their own cars to discourage people from driving around in the half-speed Chevys – that’s Twitter.
I love this — it’s a great sum up! I use a lot of different “Social Media” sites (Live Journal, Linked IN, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and now Tumblr) and guess what? I use them for different things! I’ve set up some auto-links between them now (chiefly from Twitter to elsewhere because that’s SO easy), but even then, that means I’m now getting double-posts on Facebook, and stuff that makes absolutely no sense out of context on Live Journal. Seriously, can’t we all just get along in the digital world?
Is Batman a modern-day Sherlock Holmes? The two characters are similar in some ways. First, one of Batman’s titles is “The World’s Greatest Detective”. This has been somewhat forgotten in recent years with the emphasis in the Nolan films of Batman, or Bruce Wayne, really, being “The Dark Knight” or “The Caped Crusader”. And I’m not saying those films are bad – I loved them (see reviews elsewhere on this blog) but it’s a different emphasis on the character. And the comics now, with the newly introduced “Batman, Inc” plot (which I’ve only partially read, I’m working my way through the graphic novels, having read: Final Crisis, Batman: RIP, Battle for the Cowl, Long Shadows, Time and the Batman, and The Return of Bruce Wayne), make Bruce the CEO of a Batman franchise, rather than a solo hero. But originally, Batman was a detective. He was a character in DC comics, that’s detective comics, and the early Batman books (or books set in the early era, such as the wonderful The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, or Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One), Batman used his detective skills to solve crimes.
Second, one of the most notable aspects of Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories was the incredible yet unlikely friendship between Holmes and Watson. This friendship is what keeps readers and fans of Sherlock Holmes (like myself) returning again and again to the stories. It’s also why Sherlock Holmes can be lifted out of the Victorian era and still be successful in the BBC’s Sherlock. Without going too off track – Sherlock is a brilliant series that modernizes Sherlock Holmes. There’s modern equivalents to Victorian items (Holmes sending text messages instead of telegrams; Dr. Watson keeping a blog, rather than writing memoirs, etc) and references to some of the original stories but besides the brilliant, clever writing, what makes the show work as modern Holmes is the friendship of Holmes and Watson, and the chemistry between Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch.
How does this relate to Batman? Especially solo, pre-Robin, Batman? Because, even in the pre-Robin era, or, more precisely, stories set in the pre-Robin era, Batman was never alone. Not nearly as alone as he thought he was. He may have protected the streets of Gotham City by himself – but he had Lt. Gordon (later police commissioner) on his side. He had Lucius Fox coming up with tech for him and running interference with Wayne Enterprises. And most of all, Bruce had Alfred. Sir Alfred Pennyworth, with experience as an OSS officer during World War II, and as an MI6 officer after the war. Alfred – the only person in the entire DC universe to have any idea what Bruce was like prior to his parents’ death. Alfred, Bruce’s loyal butler, but also his medic, his best friend, his “parent”, his sounding board and his anchor. I’ve always loved the relationship between Alfred and Bruce. Alfred is the only one who can stop Bruce when he starts to go too far. It was Alfred who gave Bruce the tickets to the circus and urged him to go – therefore introducing him to Dick Greyson, the first Robin. Alfred who’s sardonic, intelligent, and caring, and the Yin to Bruce’s Yang (or is it Yang to Yin?). Without Alfred, Bruce may have well become another of Gotham City’s costumed villains, rather than a hero. Alfred can easily be seen as Bruce’s Watson. Alfred provides balance, and a humanity that sometimes, in his worst moments, Bruce lacks. Hum, just like Dr. John Watson.
So we have a great detective, with a loyal partner, what else?
Well, like Holmes – Batman uses the latest technology but also his brain to solve crimes. Bruce, like Holmes, isn’t going to dismiss a crime-solving technique because it’s new technology. (This is why, in Sherlock, I have no problem with Sherlock Holmes using smartphones and laptops; I also have no problem with Batman using Crey computers, DNA analysis, or driving a tank or flying car – all things to appear in various modern updates of Batman, and all things that didn’t exist in the 1940s, when Batman was created. Or in the case of the flying car from the newest Batman books or the TV series Batman Beyond – something that still doesn’t exist). But Bruce, also like Holmes, isn’t a slave to technology either. Holmes, in one story proves that the thumbprint that Lestrade finds at a crime scene is meant to throw the police off the scent and to frame an innocent man. More famously, in Holmes we have “Silver Blaze” and the curious incident of the dog in the night time. Watson: “But the dog did nothing in the night time”. “That,” says Holmes, “Is the curious incident”, he then goes on to prove that someone in the household stole the horse, or otherwise the dog would have barked. Batman/Bruce is also able to use his intelligence to realize when a villain such as the Joker is laying false clues.
So, is Batman a modern-day Holmes? He could be!
Batman had always been my favorite costumed superhero for a lot of reasons. For one thing — Bruce is just “this guy” – he’s not an alien from another planet, he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider or exposed to Gamma radiation. He’s just a guy turning his own personal tragedy into an attempt to do something good for his city. Which makes it a bit more realistic than other superhero books. Now you still have the over-the-top villains, and futuristic tech, but Batman is much more down-to-Earth than the majority of comic book heroes.
Second, I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, including film noir/hard-boiled detective fiction. And Batman, in concept, is closer to Dashiell Hammett than Superman or most other super-heroes. True, most traditional detectives don’t run around in capes, masks, and tights catching bad-guys. But you could easily take Bruce’s backstory (the death of his parents) and make him a private detective or cop and it wouldn’t really change the story or Bruce’s personality. After all, one of Batman’s titles is “The World’s Greatest Detective” and DC did, originally, and still does, stand for “Detective Comics”.
The other thing is that Bruce’s entire motivation is that he wants to see that what happened to him, never happens to another child. He’s not motivated by vengeance. If Bruce was motivated by vengeance he would have found the guy who killed Martha and Thomas Wayne and killed him, then a few years later found the guy who hired the guy to kill Thomas Wayne and killed him too. But, never in canon, or in any of the “slightly non-canonical” graphic novels does Bruce ever seek out strict vengeance. He’s out there protecting Gotham and it’s citizens. He gets angry with the various Robins when/if they go over the line (esp. Jason Todd). Bruce also doesn’t use guns and turns over the bad guys he catches to the police. Not exactly the vigilante he’s sometimes portrayed as.
So, you have an angst-ridden, hero – often suffering from horrible Survivor’s Guilt and PTSD, but who still attempts to turn that into something positive. I find that inspiring in a superhero. Bruce has his faults, which make him more human too. (Superman, for example, always seemed “too perfect”. Not only completely invulnerable to everything bar Kryptonite, but as a person/character Clark always seemed to perfect. Please don’t flame me.) But Batman rocks in whatever specific universe you find him. I love the Nolan films (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises). I quite enjoy the DCAU (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond, various films). And I’ve enjoyed many of the Batman graphic novels (too many to list) and soft-bound books.