July 2012

I saw The Dark Knight Rises last night.  Packed theater, lots of energy in the crowd, and I was able to get great seat by virtue of showing up more than an hour early. (I live in NYC, where the one constant is lines.  Because so many people live here, everywhere you go, anything you do, other people go and do it too.  And if it’s something particularly cool or anticipated… well.)

I liked the movie a lot.  I think that Nolan obviously set out to tell a finite Batman story through the three films (or perhaps that’s what he decided to do once he realized WB would allow him to, after the success of Batman Begins.)  It’s not the story of the comics version of Batman, but it’s A story of Batman, and in many respects a fantastic one – one of the best we’ve ever had, and certainly the best on film.  One of the reasons Batman has endured for more than 70 years is his incredible flexibility – you can have Batmen as distinct from one anoter as the one in the 60s show, the original comic version, Miller’s 80s-90s work, the day-glo Batman from Schumacher’s films, the mildly comic (but still badass) Batman from The Brave and the Bold and so many more.  I’ve seen a bunch of complaints about people being upset because ‘Batman wouldn’t do that…”  The thing is, Batman DID do that, in The Dark Knight Rises.  When a creator as talented as Nolan makes a film out of an established property, if you prevent yourself from getting into his version just because it’s not the way you’ve seen it done before, then you’re cutting yourself off from something potentially inspired.  The movie exists as the movie exists.  Calling one story beat or another “bad” for the sole reason that it’s not how many other creators working with the character have done it before is ridiculous.  Do we really want to see the same thing over and over again?  I know that many do, but for me, seeing a take on Batman that acknowledged the physical, mental and spiritual toll such a path would cost was exactly what the doctor ordered.  We see what being Batman did to Bruce Wayne, and we understand why he kept going regardless.  That’s Batman to me.
Can’t wait to see it again.

So, that’s my take on the film.  I can’t end this post, though, without talking about what happened in Aurora, Colorado last week.  Insanity and evil have always been a part of human society.  Sometimes we are able to prevent tragedies before they occur, and sometimes, god help us, we just have to deal with the aftermath.  I don’t think it’s American society and its easy access to guns that’s to blame – if that fellow hadn’t been able to get a gun he’d have found another way to kill, probably.  Things like this happen all over the world, even in countries with strict gun control laws.  Off the top of my head, there’s the psychopath who opened up at the summer camp in Norway, the Aum Shinrikyo attacks in Tokyo subways, the Madrid and London bombings, etc.  I know that if I hit up Google I could find dozens of similar events – but that’s not how I feel like spending even a part of my morning.  For the record, I do wish it were harder to get some of the truly deadly weapons with no apparent purpose beyond the murder of humans (handguns and assault weapons), but as I said, I’m not sure that would have prevented James Holmes from doing something horrific.

The difference between last week’s tragedy and, say, Columbine (at least for me), is that millions of people around the country are replicating the exact experience the victims had before the attack began.  The killer in Aurora began firing right when the first big shootout occurs in The Dark Knight Rises.  Going forward, everyone who sees the film in the theater sees the same images as the Century 16 crowd, sits in a theater very similar to the Colorado space, and yet we walk out a few hours later talking about Bane or Catwoman, and twelve people in Aurora did not.  We did nothing differently than they did.  We walked the same path in basically every way.  It’s not like saying “Oh, I went to high school – wouldn’t that have been terrible if some kid came in and…” or “I ride the subway every day, wouldn’t it be awful if…”  Those are nothing more than rough analogies – we’ve had experiences like the ones surrounding other tragedies.  In this case, however, this one, strange, horrible situation, it’s easy to imagine precisely what it was like for the people in that Colorado theater.  In fact, (for me), it was hard not to.  It’s like the country now has thousands of theaters which are inadvertently letting moviegoers role-play part of that godawful nightmare.  Strange and horrible.

What does this mean?  It’s just an observation, and I don’t know that I want to put it in some larger political context, or hope that the potential resonance of the experience causes some sort of political change.  This is just a silly little personal blog, after all.  Perhaps the inevitable cultural longevity of Dark Knight Rises will keep people thinking about tragedies like the Aurora shootings a little more than they otherwise would, as the blu-ray hits, and the inevitable three-pack, and it ends up on year-end lists, and so on.  And if that happens, perhaps people will reach out more, give more help, take better care… hard to say.  Anything’s possible.  The Dark Knight Rises is no longer just a movie – certainly for worse, but maybe just a tiny bit for better, as well.




Well, I really wasn’t planning to go this year.  San Diego Comicon, or SDCC as veteran con-goers call it, is one hell of a show.  It’s the biggest, most action-packed comic-related event of the year, with the best parties, incredible networking and immense numbers of fans.  It’s also by far the most expensive.  Hotels that normally cost $50/night are charging $250 with a straight face.  Airfare, food, table fees… all of it is jacked up.  However, it’s the big show, and so to a certain extent that’s to be expected.

I originally thought I’d go once every other year – after all, I live in NYC, and it’s not like we don’t have a massive convention of our very own (NYCC in October).  Since I went last year, this was supposed to be an off year.  But then, around May/June, something mysterious happens – the scent of SDCC starts to waft through the air, and everyone asks everyone else if they’re going.  I got an email about a nice table I could have at a great rate, I got asked to appear on a few cool panels… and soon enough I’m throwing caution (and fiscal responsibility) to the wind and booking a ticket.

So, yes, I will be at San Diego Comicon 2012!  Here’s the info on where I can be found:

Most of the time I will be tabling at the Image booth, which is 2729.  I’ll have plenty of cool stuff available, including plenty of 27, Strongman and some advance looks at Strange Attractors.

I’m also doing some great panels:

Saturday, July 14, 7-8 PM, Room 23ABC – I’ll be on the Writer’s Unite! panel along with a host of award-winning and best-selling writers, including Cullen Bunn, Ray Fawkes and Jim Zub, good friends all.  If you’re an aspiring comics writer, this is the one not to miss.  We’ll discuss pitching your indie comics, writing tips and process, and a ton of other cool topics.  I’ve done this several times before, and it tends to be a really informative, fun time for all.

Sunday, July 15, 2-3 PM, Room 4 Kickstarting Your Webcomics Career: Keenspot 2012— Pioneering webcomics publisher Keenspot returns for their insane 12th annual Comic-Con panel to drop some knowledge! Get words of wisdom from the man behind the second most-funded Kickstarter comics project of all time! Learn how a popular Image Comics creator doubled his book sales at cons by giving his comic away for free online! Hear an amazing major announcement about the future of comic books! Creators scheduled to appear include Thomas Fischbach (Twokinds), Jim Zub (Skullkickers), Benny Powell (Wayward Sons), Brion Foulke (Flipside), Jennifer Brazas (Mystic Revolution), David Campiti (Exposure), R. C. Monroe (Out There), Chris Daily (Punch an’ Pie), Charles Soule (27), and Bobby Crosby (Last Blood).

I have a signing scheduled at the Archaia booth (#2653) on Friday, July 13 from 4:30-5:30 PM, where I’ll be signing some exclusive Strange Attractors teaser posters, which I’ll have in very limited quantity.  These guys:

So, that’ll be San Diego.  It’ll be over before I know it, and I’ll be half-dead, I’m sure.  I’m taking a redeye back on Sunday night, landing at noon, and then heading to band rehearsal at 5.  Lovely.

See you at the show!