Posts Tagged ‘dark knight’

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Bat To The Future

March 21, 2016

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Author’s Note: With BuffaloComedy.com having gone the way of the dodo (where this piece originally appeared in January of 2015) and Batman Vs. Superman just 5 agonizing days away from its theatrical release (which I’m not laying any bets on until I see it), I  thought now might be a good time to revisit my reflections on the 75th Anniversary Year of the Dark Knight Detective.  This is an essay from the upcoming book Travesty.   

By the time you read this, the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics (in 1939, for those of you who don’t have a calculator nearby) will have come and gone. He’s a character who has endured the test of time, and you may know Detective Comics by their abbreviation: DC. I caught hell some years ago for defending the cultural importance of the impending theatrical release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). It was a week-long troll battle in a lesser publication and I hate to be the guy who said I told you so, but I was right, Buffalo. That film changed the superhero film forever and demolished most (if not all) box office records. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. What follows is a personal recollection/celebration of the mythos. Dates and citations have been left out, messed up or guessed at because the author is lazy.

I’ve been a Batman fan almost all of my life. As a child, I got into the comics around the same time that I caught the syndicated reruns for the high-camp television version with Adam West, three separate Catwomen and the famed ‘Bat-usi’. This led of course to Batman:The Movie, which we have to thank for the ‘Bat Shark Repellant Spray’ incident. The utility belt can only hold so much. The Caped Crusader has gone through a lot of incarnations over the decades he’s traveled through, which may be one of the secrets behind his staying power. While it was corny and cheesy (‘camp’ is an ironic form of comedy that borders on being an endangered species), the tv series hit home for at least a few seasons.

The ’80s was a great time to get into comics since the medium was growing up in terms of maturity and readership. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns made such a gritty impact on the pulp multiverse that college courses are still taught dissecting its importance. The story zeroes in on Batman coming out of retirement in order to stomp out the threat of a mutant gang, subvert government opposition to superheroes and to square off with Superman. Miller followed this up with Batman: Year One, a mini-series that focused on the roots of billionaire Bruce Wayne’s lifelong war on crime.

Toward the end of the decade, comic icon Alan Moore applied his craft to The Killing Joke, a one-shot story where the reader is taken through a retelling of The Joker’s origin, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter is crippled by same, the Commissioner’s sanity is tried by The Joker and Batman’s is questioned at the close of the arc with a punchline and a recurring pattern of raindrops. The Joker postulates throughout the book that the difference between sanity and insanity is just one bad day. Batman tries to prove him wrong.

In the early ’90s, mainstay Grant Morrison took a turn with Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth. I re-read this book almost every year and always come away with something new in this layered psychological examination of the aberrant psyche. Batman infiltrates the asylum (which the inmates have taken control of spear-headed by the Joker) and tries to keep his head while everyone else’s is long gone. This is interspersed with the story of how Arkham Asylum came to be, which is quite haunting to say the least.

Meanwhile, in the single issues, there was the groundbreaking A Death In The Family, a story arc that was revolutionary because DC set up 1-800 lines so that readers could vote on the fate of Robin at the hands of (you guessed it) The Joker. For you younger readers, people used to have phones in their house attached to the walls that we called ‘Land Lines’. A 1-800 number was a ‘toll free’ number that residents could ‘dial’ on said Land Lines. Spoiler alert (not sure if it’s a spoiler alert twenty five years later): the readers killed off Robin. Luckily, nobody ever stays dead in comics for some reason, and that particular Boy Wonder (there have been around four) came back in Under The Red Hood.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 18: ‘Mythos’

January 14, 2016

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Graham Nolan has been on my bucket list since I started Big Words Video.

He’s a phenomenal artist, a veteran from DC Comics and the man co-created Batman’s Bane, for god’s sakes.  Delving into the research and prep for the episode, I gained an even greater appreciation for his career.  A 6 year run on Detective Comics, 6 on ‘The Phantom’ comic strip, 12 years on ‘Rex Morgan: M.D.’, a creator-owned web comics (‘Sunshine State’)…the list goes on and on and on.  I saw this a lot, but it was an honor to sit down at the same table with Nolan.  We take for granted that we have such an artistic visionary in our own back yard.  Michael Hoffert Jr. was a natural fit for the Co Host Hot Seat on this one because he knows more about chapter and verse in the comic industry than I ever will.  Just watch the episode for yourself, will ya?

A huge thanks goes out to Mr. Nolan for not only making the time to do the show, but braving some pretty gnarly ‘Lake-Enhanced’ (the new buzz term the meteorologists are using this year) snow on the drive out and back.  Thanks are also in order to producer Richard Wicka and Michael Hoffert for knowing the biz back to front.  If you want, did you know that you can SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on YouTube?  For FREE?  Well you can.  I’ve also heard that it’s possible to LIKE & SHARE these clips on the YouTube interface.  You should try it.  You really should.  There’s another episode en route in less than two weeks, so we’ll all see you soon!

Tom

 

 

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Big Words Video 18.5: Graham Nolan-Batman

January 14, 2016

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Okay, so this was really, really cool.  As a Big Words Video bonus clip, this is something that was in the back of my mind for a long time.  We did an over-the-shoulder shot with Graham Nolan while he went from a blank slate on his IPad Pro to a rough finished sketch.  The entire process took about seven minutes while we peppered the clip with some follow-up questions.  Just a really, really cool way to complement Episode 18.  Check it out right HERE:

Thanks again to Nolan for doing the show!  And for those of you reading, SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on YouTube already, will ya?

 

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Big Words Radio One Man Mobile Unit Episode XIII: The Intentionally Bald Mike Show!

October 22, 2008
Yo yo yogurt!
 
    Last week, while I was enjoying my voluntary exile on ‘this half-Lake of Rushford’, Intentionally Bald Mike took the prestigious honor of hosting the Intentionally Bald Mike Show on Big Words Radio.  In this ‘reversal of roles’, Mike used his vocal ‘shotty’ to blast both barrels of comedy directly at yours truly.  Dark Knight lines were employed, Guinneii were pounded down in rapid succession, Red Bull was funnelled through our mouths after three hour mini-comas, and local yokels were goofed on within the vicinity. 
 
-Cost of a novelty whoopee cushion, railroad whistle, plastic hand-clapper and portable half-tambourine: $9
-Cost of a twelve pack (bottles) of Guinnei: $12.95
-Cost of gas driving to and from this ‘Hotel of Belfast’: $8
-Cost of restorative and miraculous powers of Red Bull: $4
-Bar tab for one evening with Tom & IBM: $40
-Cost of dry wood for cabin stove in the middle of nowhere: $5
 
-Cost of implicating, insinuating, and infuriating Tom’s former company of employment:
 
Priceless. 
 
Tune in to all the madness and government cheese references by clicking on over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
Big thanks go out to Intentionally Bald Mike (best host EVER), Richard Wicka’s phenomenal audio work, the Belfast Hotel, and last but not least, Gamestop for providing such great cannon fodder.  Soak it up, kids!
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Final Calendar Of Events For Fiscal Year 2008/Some Promotional Spots for ’09

October 15, 2008

Monsters Of Verse/Breathing Room Bookings Fall/Winter/Spring 08/09:

Friday, October 24th, 7 p.m., Think Twice Studios, Greg Sterlace t.v. show (Tom only)

Saturday, October 25th, 7 p.m., The Center For Inquiry, Amherst (Monsters Of Verse)

Tuesday, October 28th 8 p.m., Clarence High School, Poetry Club, Lit Mag reading, Q/A (Tom Waters only)

Wednesday, October 29th, 7 p.m., Think Twice Radio Studios, Big Words Interview with award winning comic writer/artist Jeff Brown (Top Shelf) and special co-host Michael Hagler (Tom only)

Friday, October 31st, 7 p.m., Think Twice Studios, Greg Sterlace t.v. show (Tom only)

Tuesday, November 4th, 8 a.m., Clarence High School, Poetry Club, Lit Mag workshop (Tom Waters only)

Thursday, November 6th or 20th Main St., Talking Leaves Books, Main St. (Monsters Of Verse)

Sunday, November 16th, 7pm, Desiderio’s on Broadway, (Monsters Of Verse)

Tuesday, November 18th, 7:55 a.m.-1:35 p.m., East Aurora High School English Honors presentation(s) (Tom only)

Saturday, November 22nd, FYE Transit (Amherst), 1-4pm, (Monsters Of Verse)

Thursday, November 13th, 7-9pm, Spot Coffee, Delaware & Chippewa (Monsters Of Verse)

Saturday, December 6th, 1-4pm, FYE Hamburg (Monsters Of Verse)

Saturday, December 13th, 3 p.m. -3 a.m. Tom & Lindsay’s pad, Batman marathon party, invite only.

Sunday, December 14th, Buffalo Indie Market appearance (Monsters Of Verse)

Saturday, February 7th, 1-4 p.m., FYE, Transit, Signing (Monsters Of Verse)

Saturday, February 7th, 6 p.m.-?, Don’s Atomic Comics!, Tom’s Atomic Poetry Kegger w/Monsters of Verse! Free beer for anyone with a book by Tom Waters, additional store discounts for everyone who brings a girl.

Wednesday, May 6th, 7 pm, Center For Inquiry (Monsters Of Verse)

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Major Arcana Poem #1 (or would it be 0)?

August 17, 2008

(this one shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out)

fOOl                                                                   fEll in a vAt

                                jusT liKe tHat

                                                   Cut mY fAce

                     sO lEt’s lOse coNtrol

                                                                     plaY aroUnd

                       (By butChering)

                                                       tHe humAn racE

                             Cat & moUse mE

                                                                   plaY The straIght mAn,

           b

                             i’lL haVe Fun

           daYs iN tHe Sun

                                                               beaT uP youR boY

                criPPle jiMMy’s

                                                                          heLen Of trOy

                                       lAuGh

                                                          & tHe wOrld

                   lauGHs untIl

                                                     theiR laSt

                    bReaTh

                                                                            oPen fiRe

          whY reTire?

                                          wHen wE cAn pLay

              cOwbOys & IndIans

                                                         foReveR

                                                                              swEEthEart,

…I’m Only jOking!!!!

                                                   Don’t bE sO Dark

                i’M haVing a laRk

                                                                  leaVing yOu bOdies

                               lIke liTTle

                   lOve

leTTers

                                                nOne Of it mAtteRs

           & whAt doeSn’t kiLL mE

                                                           JUst mAkeS mE sTRanger

                  {WiTh caNdy!}

                                                          haPPy fiSh**

                               lAUghIng gAs

                                                                    sqUIrty flOWers

            airbORne crEAm pIEs

                           cyANide                           lieS

                                  grenadIEr lUck

              & a puCk-

                                               Ish

                         eXteriOr.

                                                   i cAn dO thiS

                                                                        aLl dAy lOng

                        evEry dAy

                                          fOr tHe reSt oF oUr

                                               courTShip.

                   nOw lEt’s geT doWn

tO braSS tACks

                                        iF i dOn’t sEE

 

             5 fAt laDIes siNGing

              oN a            trAMpOliNe             ovEr        5  millIOn dollArs $

                                       tHe bOy dOEsn’t see

          hIs 16th birTHday cAkE

                                                                      haPPy hunTIng!

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Afterthoughts on ‘The Dark Knight’ and a week of the flying rat at BRO

July 19, 2008

     The movie was perfection, plain and simple.  See it.  Multiple times.  On the opening weekend.  Bring friends, loved ones, pets and enemies and overpay for your tickets and concessions.  Above all else, see it. 

     As for the Buffalo Rising Online 5-parter, it is accomplished.  My work is done now, and I can relax and be at peace.  Think of Andy Kaufman from time to time.  I put some hard thought into the ‘trolls’ who post frequently with their two cents along with the other fifty percent of the readers who have some interesting, amusing and insightful feedback and came to this salient decision today:  the forum is for them.  That’s their headspace, not mine.  It’s not my right (nor my obligation) to chime in to the way they react to whatever nonsense it is that I have to contribute.

     Again, though, I’d like to point out that I care less than nothing about personal criticism or attacks.  Rip my writing to shreds all day and all night long.  That I can take.  I realize that my writing is an acquired taste (not unlike a single malt scotch) and that some people are never going to get a hankering for said taste.  That’s fine.  My objective has always been to polarize.  Love it or hate it, I want a response.  And that’s worked for me for a long, long, long time.  I’m more than happy to be the humble scribbler or the sinister villian: whichever role suits you best.  I’m cool with that, too.

     But don’t take it out on the comics.  I love comics, and as Ian (from Don’s Atomic) and I were discussing last night during a bar review at Marinaccio’s in Amherst, comics are taken a lot more seriously in the rest of the world.  The culture in Canada, Japan and Europe is much more advanced, supportive and encouraging where graphic novels and adult black and white stories are concerned.  Isn’t it time we got with the program where this is concerned?  I love rooting for the underdog, and comic books happen to be one of those horses that you don’t back.  So I’m taking the cause up.  I write columns for Night Life, bar reviews for the Buffalo News, and celebrity interviews and graphic novel reviews for Buffalo Rising.  Something different for everyone.  You can’t look at one piece of the pie and honestly think that that’s all I do.  It’s foolish to churn out the same creative rhubarb for every single publication in town and out of town, though.  Think on that for a bit and maybe it will make sense.

     Turning in for bed.  What a beautiful day.  Goodnight, moon.  Goodnight stars.  Goodnight, Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale and goodbye forever, Heath.  Great way to say adieu…

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