Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ooh, Batsy or Goth Symbols Week Day 4

Bats of a different kind today: Specifically, Batman symbols! Yes, I was just thinking today how shamefully negligent I have been about blogging the "geeky" part of Geeky Goth Girl, so I decided I would combine an outfit post appropriate to my theme with a bit of nerdy exposition about my love for Batman. Here's the outfit (and I totally need to get a better light source for night pictures, my apologies for the terrible lighting):
Black t-shirt: Wal-Mart
Batman print dress: Made by me
Black leggings-Wal-Mart
Black combat boots-DAV thrift 
Here's a close-up of the print on the fabric-though someday I would like to get a really big, bold Batman print fabric and make a huge, foofy dress out of it, for now this one does quite nicely in its subtlety:

So, Batman geekery ahoy: When I was a kid, I had the passing interest in Batman that most kids do in all superheros-I watched a couple episodes of Batman Beyond here and there, I actually (cringe) thought Batman and Robin was good, and I generally didn't think about him all that much. I also watched a few episodes of the 1960s TV series, and enjoyed them for the campy cheesefests that they were. Fast forward to my young adulthood (14 or so), and I got deeply into Justice League Unlimited, and find I love the relationship between him and Wonder Woman. I started reading all the Batman comics I could get my hands on from my local public library's VERY limited stock-Brian Azaezello's Joker and Neil Gaiman's Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader among them. I wanted more, but couldn't get it-so what was I to do?

I re-watched the two Tim Burton movies focusing on the Dark Knight and find them fascinating, and of course Chris Nolan's fantastic Batman Begins and The Dark Knight played no small part in pushing along my newfound fascination with the character. Actually, the development of my interest in Batman dovetailed neatly with my budding babybat tendencies. As I explored the darker aspects of the world around me, I found a lot to like in the dark-but-heroic man who used shadow, symbology, and intimidation to fight for what was good and right. One of the central tenents of Goth is that darkness is not evil, and Batman really encapsulates that idea. The character's story, which even by the admittance of Bob Kane, his creator, follows very closely to that of Zorro and The Scarlet Pimpernel, contains enough tragedy and darkness to sate even the most sorrow-hungry darkling. Dead parents, a dashing man with a hidden alter ego, a forbidden love that can never truly be realized, hideously deformed villains-all the elements of our favorite Gothic stories are in there, and when combined with the action and adventure of a comic book, they make for a killer story.

When well-written, Batman can be an incredibly compelling character-but now that I am into the comics, I love his supporting cast nearly as much as the character himself. From Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl-cum-wheelchair-bound Oracle, to Dick Grayson, the original Robin all grown up into Nightwing, to current Robin Tim Drake and ruthless Huntress Helena Bertinelli, the Bat Family is simply fantastic to read about. My hope is to someday see these characters used in a good movie or television adaptation of the Batman mythos, because they add so much to the narrative. They both ground and humanize Batman and give him more conflicts. The only media so far to depict them have been the hokey '60s series and the atrocious candy-colored abominations that are the Joel Schumacher movies, and neither one did any sort of justice to the great characters. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to do it!

So what would this Bat-geek recommend to those who would like to learn about the character beyond the mainstream movies? Alan Moore's The Killing Joke is considered the definitive Batman graphic novel, for good reason-I am not always a huge fan of Moore, but that book makes me understand why people love him so much. The series of recent comics ranging from The Black Glove to Batman R.I.P is incredible, and The Long Halloween is another exemplary graphic novel. For those who aren't into comics, the Batman animated series and Batman Beyond are both incredible-honestly, anyone who writes these off as "kid shows" because they are animated is missing out on a hell of a lot of great writing and acting. One of my meters for a "real" Bat-fan vs. someone who only knows the character casually from the movies (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it annoys me when movie-only fans act all know-it-all!) is if their answer to "Best Joker" is Heath Ledger or Mark Hamill; if they say Hamill, I know they know what they are talking about. If you want a primer on where to start, the Nostalgia Critic recently made a very funny and edifying video discussing his Top 11 Batman Animated Series episodes; it's definitely worth a watch! How big of a Batman geek am I now? Last Halloween, I cosplayed Harley Quinn.

Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel for more geekery and gothery, this time vampire centric!

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