The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. In the spirit of the success of “The Batman,” I decided to do a video about one of my favorite episodes from “Batman: The Animated Series.” It’s an episode that I feel perfectly encapsulates what makes Batman great, as well as his villains. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: Batman
I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I certainly did. It always warms my heart to see so many kids dressed as superheroes. This year, I can confirm that the impact of both Loki and Shang-Chi was quite extensive. The Loki costumes alone warranted extra candy. I made sure they all got their share. I also made sure I still had some left over to enjoy for New Comic Book Day.
It’s one of the underrated joys I’ve come to appreciate over the years. I always make it a point to buy extra candy for Halloween so that the kids know my place is one of the best places to go. I also make sure there’s some left over for the next New Comic Book Day. That way, I can both enjoy new comics and eat some of the leftover candy. It’s a small, but satisfying joy that has become a post-Halloween tradition of mine.
For those who went trick-or-treating and got a nice haul, I encourage you to incorporate that candy into New Comic Book Day as well. Comics are like the ultimate spice. It makes everything you mix it with a little more awesome. Get yourself a bowl of candy, a fully charged iPad, and a Comixology account and you’ve got the perfect post-Halloween trifecta. To those who dress up as their favorite superheroes, I can confirm that this makes the candy taste even sweeter.
I’ve got both my candy and coffee in hand. I’ve got my iPad ready and stocked with comics to start my day. To all those who seek to share in this little tradition, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
My Pull List
My Pick Of The Week
Dark Knights Of Steel #1
There are a certain group of people, many of them pundits, trolls, and wannabe celebrities, who whine about adults who love comics. They’ll frequently tell them to grow up or that comics are for children and that clinging to them is akin to clinging to your childhood.
These people are wrong, misguided, and have a general antipathy towards anything fun or fulfilling.
Fuck those people. Fuck them with an adamantimum dildo.
Comics aren’t just for kids anymore. There was a time when they were mostly marketed towards children, but their appeal has never been that narrow. Many of the stories they tell have messages and appeal that transcend age, gender, race, creed, and background. They embody values, ideals, and emotions that impact everyone on some level. We shouldn’t whine about that. We should celebrate it.
That’s what I do every Wednesday with New Comic Book Day. I might have been a kid when I first got into comics, but the joy they give me is every bit as important to me as an adult. Plus, knowing that this enjoyment pisses off the likes of Martin Scorsese and Bill Maher just makes it all the more fulfilling.
Again, fuck those people and fuck their hatred of anything fun and enjoyable.
I encourage all my fellow comic book fans to share in that sentiment. Use today to give those who say comics are for kids an omega level middle finger. Below is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
My Pull List
My Pick Of The Week
We all need an escape every now and then. Sometimes, the world is just such a mess that we need to take a step back, close our eyes, and pretend we’re not in the middle of an unfolding shit storm. Needless to say, we needed a lot of escapes last year for obvious reasons.
For me, personally, I needed a lot of escapes when I was younger. As I’ve noted before, I was a pretty miserable teenager. I had a lot of issues and whenever I needed an escape, comics were there for me. In my house, the TV wasn’t always available and we didn’t have smartphones yet. Sometimes, the best thing I could do for myself is just dig into my comic collection and forget about the world.
Flash forward a couple decades and things have gotten even easier, at least with respect to diving into comics. Thanks to Comixology, I can access my vast collection of comics through my smartphone and tablet. I don’t have to go digging through any boxes. I just have to have an internet connection. On Wednesdays, it’s even more satisfying with a new batch of comics to choose from.
After this past week, anyone who has followed the news in any capacity probably needs an escape. The world is in an objectively awful place right now and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. It’s a depressing thought, I know. That’s why we should all make the most of New Comic Book Day. It’s a temporary escape, but one I think we all need.
To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. I hope it helps you escape the awfulness of this world, if only briefly. Enjoy!
My Pull List
My Pick Of The Week
Superman: Son of Kal-El #2
You don’t have to be a lifelong fan of superheroes to know the role that secret identities play in their over-arching narrative. It’s one of those story elements that often goes hand-in-hand with a hero’s journey. Part of becoming a hero involves forging an identity and, more often than not, this identity can’t function alongside the one they start with.
It’s a story that has roots in the early days of modern superhero comics. It wasn’t just a common plot point. It was practically a given. It was as necessary as capes, colorful costumes, and punishing masked criminals.
From a practical standpoint, having a secret identity has some legitimate merit. There are things Bruce Wayne can do as Batman that he cannot do and vice versa. The same goes for Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and many other iconic heroes. In “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne set the stage for his secret identity by crafting Batman as a symbol, one that conveyed an idea that went beyond the person in the costume.
In recalling that scene, I think that idea was more prophetic than Christopher Nolan initially intended. When I look at how secret identities have come to define many characters, I believe they’re more important today than they have been in any other era.
I don’t just say that as a long-time fan of superhero comics who has used his knowledge of the genre to explore serious issues. I believe that we, as a society, are entering uncharted territory when it comes to how we manage our identities. The influence of the internet, social media, and an increasingly connected world is more powerful than any fictional hero. It’s already finding its way into superhero media.
This topic became especially relevant for Superman fans because back in late 2019, the release of “Superman #18” officially revealed Superman’s identity as Clark Kent. Now, it wasn’t not the first time Superman’s identity has been exposed, but this time it wasn’t a gimmick. Now, Superman had to learn how to be Superman without a secret identity.
Over the past decade, the value and vulnerabilities of secret identities have been under fire. One of the most jarring moments of the original “Iron Man” movie was the very end when Tony Stark didn’t attempt to hide the fact he was Iron Man. For those not familiar with the comics, it might not have seemed like a big issue. Trust me, it was a major shift.
While Tony Stark debuted as Iron Man in 1963, his identity didn’t become public until the early 2000s. That’s nearly four decades of him operating with a secret identity. In the context of his journey, this was not a trivial decision.
What happened to Spider-Man at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was even more jarring. While his secret identity has been revealed many times in the comics, it’s almost always retconned. Like Batman and Superman, he has to have a secret identity. He has to have a civilian life that’s separate from his superhero life.
There’s even a notable episode of “Superman: The Animated Series” in which Superman flat out admits that he’d go crazy if he couldn’t be Clark Kent. Think about that for a second. Superman, one of the most powerful and iconic superheroes of all time, admits that can’t handle a life without a secret identity. This is someone who can handle Lex Luthor, Darksied, and Brainiac. If he can’t handle it, then what hope do we have?
That question might not have been too relevant 20 years ago. Before the age of smartphones, broadband internet, and social media, a superhero might have been able to get away with having their identity exposed. You could say the same for anyone who happened to have a dirty secret or a double life. Whether it was an affair or a secret hobby, you didn’t have to work that hard to keep it secret.
Back then, not everyone had a fully-functional camera in their pocket or a means of sharing their media on a mass scale. Even if someone did manage to take a compromising picture or video, it wouldn’t be a huge revelation unless it was published by a major news source and even then there was no guarantee it would have staying power, especially if other major stories broke at the same time.
Now, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can capture compromising footage of anyone and share it with the world in seconds. In the world of superheroes, it makes keeping an identity harder than ever. Spider-Man found that out the hard way at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Ordinary people and major celebrities are finding that out as well in the real world.
The internet and social media has created an unusual, yet potent system that skews the dynamics of having an identity, secret or otherwise. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to create an anonymous persona on the internet. With that persona, people are unbound by the propriety of real-world interaction.
It’s part of why the comments section of any website or social media feed is full of deplorable rhetoric that highlights the worst in people. Ordinary people can use the anonymity of the internet to say thing they would never say to another human being face-to-face. At the same time, celebrities and people of influence have the opposite problem.
In this hyper-connected world, every word and every action is permanently archived and subject to greater scrutiny. Every mistake or misstep is amplified and blown out of proportion. Every bit of subtext and nuance is completely lost in the various biases and agendas of the public. In essence, public figures have little to no control of their identity. They are very much at the mercy of how others perceive them.
That kind of scrutiny can have benefits and drawbacks. You could argue that the added scrutiny of social media has held celebrities and people of influence to a higher standard. They can no longer operate in the shadows with impunity. Dirty secrets will come out. Bad behavior will be documented. The O.J. Simpsons and Bill Cosbys of yesteryear could not get away with their deplorable behavior in today’s environment.
That may be a good thing on some levels, but it comes at a cost and not just for those who have had their lives ruined by the internet. In a world where anonymous identities are easily created and valued identities are easily ruined, how can anyone hope to maintain a balanced perspective? Whether you’re an accomplished celebrity or just some random blogger, don’t you still need a persona that feels true?
For people who are stuck in difficult situations, such as those belonging to racial, religious, or LGBTQ minorities, having that secret identity might be the only one that feels true or genuine. If that gets exposed, then those individuals could be in legitimate danger. There are parts of the world who will punish these individuals in ways far more serious than online trolling.
In the past, these kinds of people didn’t have an outlet or a means of connecting with others who share their struggles. They either had to organize in secret or set up their own communities, which often meant making themselves real-life targets. The ability to create an identity, secret or otherwise, can be a powerful mechanism for helping people forge an identity that feels true to who they are.
To some extent, superheroes embody the importance of these identities. They can’t do what they do without them. They can’t remain connected to the people and the world they’re trying to protect if they’re always in costume, trying to maintain this persona they’ve created. Without it, they become disconnected and overwhelmed. As a result, they can’t be the heroes they need to be.
For people in the real world, having these identities is more important than ever. You don’t have to be a superhero to appreciate their value, but as our world becomes more connected, it’s become a lot easier to understand why Spider-Man and Batman work so hard to preserve their secret identities.
The fact they still struggle, despite having super-powers and billions of dollars, is a testament to just how difficult it can be. As the world becomes increasingly connected and increasingly tribal, it’s only going to get harder.
I’ve always been an early riser. Going all the way back to high school, I’m often up before the crack of dawn, even when I don’t want to be. It can be annoying, at times. I honestly would like to be able to sleep in to a meaningful degree. I still can, but by and large, I’m wired to get up early. That’s just how I am.
That certainly has its share of benefits. It has served me well in some capacities, especially when I need to catch a flight. However, one of the best benefits from being an early riser often plays out on New Comic Book Day. Thanks to the wonders of Comixology and day-and-date releases, I can take full advantage of my propensity to be up early. Before the crack of dawn, I can have a fresh stack of comics on my iPad ready to go before my coffee is done brewing.
I can’t tell you how great it is to wake up to that, no matter the hour. Waking up that early on a Wednesday didn’t used to be so enjoyable. In the days before digital comics, I still had to wait for the afternoon mail or until a comic shop opened. I do not miss those days.
I may one day not have a reason to get up so early every morning. I may even one day condition myself to actually be able to sleep in every once in a while. However, even when that day comes, I’m still going to prefer waking up extra early on New Comic Book Day to enjoy a stack of new comics. There’s just no better way to start my morning. I hope other fellow early risers appreciate that too.
If not, now is as good a week as any to start. Here is my pull list and pick of the week to help. Enjoy!
My Pull List
My Pick Of The Week
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s another thought experiment about superheroes and what makes them effective. It was an extension of sorts of an article I wrote years ago on how to be an effective superhero. However, this video is a bit more open ended in that it takes a big picture approach to heroics. To all that check it out, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments. Enjoy!