Friday, April 13, 2012

Wolf Week #0

As long-time readers will know, one of our (least) favorite characters here at the Absorbascon is the Stupid Bronze Age Batman.

"If only I knew some form of... self-defense! Like any 23 year old female New Yorker would!"

The Golden Age Batman was a spooky, ingenius, smack-talking detective who pretty much invented Being Cool. The Silver Age Batman was absurdly unflappable, dealing coolly and casually with bizarre creatures from outer space and other dimensions, and was secure enough to put a cape on his dog. The later Iron Age Batman was five kinds of dark crazy-scary and slowly morphed himself into the omnicompetent Platinum Age Batman who needed nothing more than "time to prepare."

Like Clouseau, Stupid Bronze Age Batman is a master of easily penetrated disguise.

But in the middle of all that, from about 1970 to 1986, was the caustic, bumbling, overconfident and undercompetent Bronze Age Batman. Who, for some reason, no one seems to notice is an idiot. Really, the Stupid Bronze Age Batman is like Inspector Clouseau, blithely acquiring fame as a brilliant crimefighter with each stumbling misstep he makes, his idiocy hidden in plain sight.

"No nothin' "? Did Batman just say "no nothin' "?
Only in the '70s, folks; be glad you missed them.

How did he get away with this? Well, I credit the
Minor League Batman Theory. As much as I like Major League Baseball, I enjoy watching minor league baseball much more. Why? Because, thanks to the imperfections of the players, minor league baseball is MUCH more interesting; you never know quite what's going to happen.

Stupid Bronze Age Batman can't even get to first base without help.

Similarly, a flawless Batman doesn't allow for lots of suspense in a story. We certainly want Batman to be really cool and capable, yes; but if he's
too perfect, we don't identify with him, we don't fear for his safety, we don't thrill to his adventures. Perhaps the Stupid Bronze Age Batman's human imperfection was his literary strength. Think how much acclaim and popularity Scott Snyder's recent work on the character has won, in part by showing us a Batman who is overconfident, vulnerable, and possibly outmatched!

Well, we're certainly going to see a Batman who is overconfident, vulnerable, and possibly outmatched this week here at the Absorbascon, as we sit down to read the 1974 Len Wein story enitled...

...which first appeared in Baman #255 and surely won't appear anywhere else again, so enjoy it
here while you can.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Haikuesday with the Joker

Suddenly it's 1973 and you find yourself in the middle of one of comics' all-time classics, Batman #251.

There you are at the abandoned aquarium at the beach. You've dumped Batman and an old guy is a wheelchair into a shark tank, but in under two minutes Batman's escaped from his manacles, killed the shark, and rescued the wheeler. Batman is now wet, unhappy, and running after you.

Naturally, you should be crapping your pants and gibbering. There's no way you'd be smack-talking and telling Batman you're about to escape so you can punk him again some other day.

But you're not the Joker. Who not only does that but does it...

with haiku.

You'll get no battle
from me! I may be insane...
but I'm not crazy.

So I'll run away--
and live to put egg on your
face another day!

Not just any haiku, but a double haiku so face-flamingly fabulous that it became one of the Joker's most famous quotes of all time. How many times have you read that without even realizing it
was haiku? That's how good the Joker is.

What haiku can you compose in homage to the Joker's ice-cold genius?