Saturday, September 20, 2014

Football Counter-Programming #4

The last few weeks, I've been re-examining my (slight) collection of comic books--ahem, GRAPHIC NOVELS. I've got all the one's you would expect a dilettante to have: The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Batman: Year One, The Killing Joke, and a few others that I won't bore you with.

They are all Batman titles (well, except for Watchmen). When I collected these stories, back in the 1990s during my college years, I was much more interested in Batman than I was any other comic book hero. He had been getting all the movie-related press back in those days (the days before Marvel's series of tentpole movies and fifteen year to colonize Hollywood had not yet begun). I had been an unabashed fan of the original Tim Burton/Michael Keaton Batman movie and experienced a steady decline in satisfaction as the subsequent sequels came out.

But I watched Batman The Animated Series on television and I watched its cousin spinoff about Superman. And later, Lynda and I even watched Batman Beyond and found that pretty good as well.

But I really enjoyed The Dark Knight Returns for all the same reasons that everyone else did. It helped revive the idea of Batman and re-established his hard-boiled credentials in the time that many people just enjoyed the campiness of Adam West. (Oddly enough, in the on-going "New 52" reboot of DC Comics, the "Batman 66" comic title that is heavily influenced by that Adam West television style is enjoying a lot of popularity, I think.)

Anyway, I'm no expert, so don't expect lots of insight from me. I'm just a fan that has been dabbling here and there.

And my latest dabbling is centered around the new "Batgirl" comic title that I think is launching next month. The new creators of the title have generated tons of interest in the work (as is evidenced by ME getting involved) because of the style they bring both to the character of Barbara Gordon and how that style is reflected in the book itself. Outwardly, there is a great deal of fan love for the new costume design--which is almost always the first and most polarizing part of any fan argument about a superhero. You start with the outward appearance and begin tunneling inward IF you remain interested.

So far as I can tell, fans are responding to the DIY-nature of Gordon's new Batgirl outfit, which gives the impression that you could knock it together in a weekend of careful shopping and a bit of home-ec driven customization. (Leather jacket, sewn on bat symbol, snap-on cape, Doc Marten boots, etc.) And the fact that this version of Barbara Gordon's outfit is still tied into the history of the character--both in other "Batgirl" books as well as in the 1966 Adam West show . . . well, these are all good things.

So . . . the interest generated is also driven by the obvious modern-ness of this twenty-something Barbara Gordon. And, since the new title has yet begun it's publishing run, it is almost ENTIRELY centered on the first promotional image of Batgirl, in new costume, taking a selfie with her camera phone while involved in her derring-do. (Check out that first Comics Alliance link again and you'll see what I mean.)

The selfie image also inspired a bit of time-travelling weirdness that I ran across recently as well. And that is just fun.

What will it all mean? Does this start me down a path of comics purchasing and reading that I never would have guessed? And what does it say that I'm starting this road with Batgirl? Is that wrong? (And there are so many things wrong with women depicted in comics. I GET that. The costuming is RIDICULOUS for sure and insane in most cases.)

So, I guess I'm opening myself up for TONS of criticism here. Let me have it. What are your thoughts?

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