Monthly Archives: November 2010

Psychology of the Superhero: A case of mistaken identity

As many that have stopped by my blog have noticed… I am stuck on discussing Batman. I would like to take a brief moment, and collect a rough sketch of the paper that will be posted here in the next couple weeks. I think that I am stuck talking about Batman because he is my favorite and other popular culture personalities resemble the Batman mantra, don’t kill the innocent. Well, they have a tendency to take it as a rule of thumb. I mentioned Dexter Morgan, from the Showtime series, Dexter. His code of honor differs from Batman’s I think would most likely be Alfred Pennyworth’s if he was a crime fighter, and that is to kill the bad guy. He saves the good people in this world. In one of the episodes it is interesting to see that he compares himself to a comic book hero, justifying his actions as a crime fighting vigilante rather than a sociopath, killing to quench the huger of his “dark passenger.” For the purpose of my discussion I wanted to look at the psychology that is being represented by these works. I want to engage specifically in a discourse that will look not only at Batman but at other superheroes with the similar agenda, using their public persona to engage in fighting crime and killing the “evil doer.” I will be looking at texts from such “The Anoedipal Mythos of Batman and Catwoman,” by Phillip Orr. More to the point, I will be arguing that Bruce Wayne’s traumatic experience transformed his mind. The subsequent transformation brought about the Batman, the true persona of the man. It is evident in Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns.” It can also be argued that the cartoon series the Justice League poses the same idea, as does Nolan’s Batman, that it is Batman that is the true identity and Bruce Wayne is the sociopath’s Fopp public image that is merely there to gain information to combat crime, (Watch the party in Tim Burton’s Batman, and one will see that he uses hidden microphones find out why Commissioner Gordon left his party early.)


Living Defender

Living Defender

Part I

By Sia Mozaffarimehr

There is a zombie head in the foreground, we see a close up of a hand clenched around a spiked baseball bat dripping with the blood of the dead zombie.

J (V.O.): I’m not exactly sure how I started down this path, but then again I suppose many of us never do-

J is seen from behind, sitting at his cubicle, typing, just about to answer the phone.
J: Fuck.

J: Hello.
NORM: Sup, you want to grab a coffee?

The cell is split in half with a cubicle wall. J stands up from his seat, he looks down at the man sitting down looking up from his desk.
J: You couldn’t have just stood up and said, hey J, break time. Coffee.
NORM: No, unlike some people I like to look like I am actually being productive.
J: Whatever-
NORM: It’s true man. Right now, you look so unprofessional.
J: Are we going or what?

J and Norm are seen at the coffee stand.
J (V.O.): Things seemed normal then.

This cell is enlarged, extending from the left hand corner of the page to the majority of the center. The present day is being shown now. J is holding his baseball bat in his right hand and a machete in his left. The bat, an old wooden one, made with some nails and a soldering gun. It reads, “Little Slugger.” This cell will show his fist clenched around the baseball bat and the words will be splattered with blood.

J (V.O.): Now-

Cell three is a full page set behind cells one and two. The image is shot from above, illustrating J facing off against five zombies plus three more that are already lying on the ground. A 1965 Lincoln Continental illuminates the scene.
J (V.O.): Now, I have a new job-

J is shown swinging his bat into the front of a zombie’s skull, while also spinning and slicing a head off of another.

J (V.O.): Protecting the remaining members of mankind from becoming zombies.


J kicks one of the zombies after slamming it in the head. As he begins to spin around. One of the zombies grabs him from behind, jumping at him to take a bite. A monkey wrench impales the zombie’s eye and it falls to the ground.
J (V.O.): How did we get to this point? I’ve been at this for too many days-
D: You’re getting reckless. What does it say in the handbook?
J: Don’t wear armor unless you are going into battle.
D: Alright smart ass.

J is seen from behind, D is seen from the front, rubbing the top of his head.
J: First rule.
D: Don’t get bit.
J: Exactly-

J pulls back his shirt slightly to reveal chain mail shark suit.

J: That’s what this is for. If it can withstand the bite of a shark. It sure as hell can stop a zombie.
D: But you still have some weak points.
J: True.

J and D are seen walking back to the car.

J: You make sure the car is empty?
D: You think I am an idiot or something.
J: I am just checking. You know, after the speech you just gave me.
D: Alright, shit.

J leans into the car, shining a flash light. As leans down a zombie comes up behind him.

J: D, don’t move.
D: Why?

J trows his ax into the top of the zombie’s skull, it falls to the ground and splatters blood onto D’s shirt.

D: You could warn me when you’re going to do something like that.
J: I didn’t want you to move. You can be distracting.
D: A zombie almost bit me!
J: It didn’t.

D starts to remove his shirt.

D: I could have.
J: But you didn’t.
D: Brooks is right, wearing armor makes one reckless.
J: This coming from the guy that sleeps in his!
D: You know what?
J: A simple thank you would suffice.
D: This was my favorite shirt.

J shrugs his shoulders, inside the car, D.

D: Can we just go home?
J: Yeah-

Shot from above, the car is seen with a plow attached to the front end. They slam into a zombie as they are driving down the alley.

D: We are kind of far aren’t we?
J: That’s why you should get some sleep.
D: But I’m not tired.
J: Very well then.

A side shot of J and D from inside the car.

D: Why do we have to hunt so far from home now?
J: We are trying to increase the size of our holdings-
D: Do you ever think we will get back to how things were?
J: I don’t know D, but I have to believe they will. I have to for my family-
D: You know what I miss the most?
J: Pizza. I know, going out for pizza. But are you sure its not because of what happened?

D looks out the window.

D: I don’t know.
J: I know its tough, but try and sleep.

The coloring of the next cells will be faded, some things will be colored in vividly while other aspects may be in black and white and light blue. D is sitting with his girlfriend Erica and her friend,

D:So, you guys know what we are going to order?

ERICA: Why are you even asking? It’s not like you’re new at this.

D:Yeah I know, it’s just that I… I just wanted to have the… (Mumbles) the sweet pig…

The waiter comes to the table.

THE WAITER: And what would you like to order this evening?
ERICA: Yeah, some water, oh and a regular ice tea. No lemon.


D is sitting in the car once more.

D (V.O.): I should have seen the signs-


Erica is lunging at D, blood spilling over her lips, her friend is slumped over in the booth next to her, neck split open. In the background, people are running out of the building. D is reaching for knife on the table.

A splash page is set behind cell one. D stabs Erica in the eye with a butter knife.
D (V.O.): I should have seen all the signs, the discoloration to her wound, not a cut. She lied, but why? She kept getting up and going to the bathroom, said she wasn’t feeling well. I guess I was drinking too much back then. I could have helped J save the world before the end came. He says it was going to happen no matter what I did, if not in Vegas, anywhere. It was a pandemic.

D manages to pull the knife out of her eye during their struggle, the eye still attached, he takes another stab at her, she continues to struggle, finally he breaks her neck, but she continues to move.

D running down the Las Vegas Blvd.
D (V.O.): I can’t believe this shit is happening.

Moments later he is standing in front of a hotel room door, putting on the dead bolt. He grabs his cell phone from his pocket.

The cell is split, Mick walking up to a black jack table and D in the hotel room.
MICK: Yo, D, come join me for a game.
D: Get your ass to the room now.
MICK: Hey, D, let me call you right back.
D: Mick, don’t hang up the phone.

Mick, is seen putting his phone away, he is smiling at the dealer, a young slender blonde woman.

MICK: Deal me in.

Mick setting his chips on the table, the dealer, placing cards on the table.

DEALER: How are you sir?
MICK: I’m great, how are you?
DEALER: Good, thank you for asking.

The people that were sitting at the table leave.

MICK: Wow, I guess this table is getting cold.
DEALER: We can still play if you like.
MICK: Well, then that sounds fine from a beautiful dealer such as yourself.
DEALER: Thank you, but I don’t think that we can…
MICK: Thank you will do just fine. (Looks to her name tag.) Josephine.


Mick’s phone sitting on the table, (Sound Effects: VBRRRVBRRR!)

Well, you know my name, what is yours?
MICK:Names, Mick. I am waiting for a few friends of mine to get back to the hotel so we can go for some drinks. They should have been back a while ago.

JOSEPHINE: Sounds like a fun night.
MICK: Care to join us?
JOSEPHINE: I can’t, I would love to though.

Mick gets up from the table.

MICK: Some other time perhaps…

JOSEPHINE: Perhaps. (She shoots him a smile.)

Mick is walking through the hotel. His phone begins to ring just as he opens it.

MICK: Hey, D that was scary. I was just about to call you.

D: Where are you?

MICK: I’m in the casino, why?

D: Meet me in the room. Just get here now.

MICK: What’s up man?

D: I will tell you when I get here.

D is seen sitting on the edge of the bed and Mick is seen entering the room.

MICK: Where’s Erica?

Close up of D, still holding the butter knife with an eye ball on it.

D: Dead.

Close up of D’s eyes.


Mick, sits down, just as D stands up.

D: Pack your shit.
MICK: But dude, we just got here.

D is looking out the window, Mick is still sitting on the bed.

D: She was infected some how by the virus.
MICK: You don’t mean you buy into that shit, do you? So where is Erica?
D: Aren’t you listening? She is fucking dead man. She is gone, I put a fucking butter knife through her head so I didn’t have to see her like that, fucking mindless and ravenous.

D is standing at the edge of the bed, Mick is staring at the eye ball at the end of the butter knife.

MICK: Is that?
D: Yes-
MICK: Fuck man.
D: I was going to propose-

MICK: So wait, you weren’t fighting? I’m sorry D. So what do we do now?

D is seen getting his bags and heading for the door.

D: I heard there was this crackpot giving a speech or some shit about the end of the world some place in town. I think he is still here. I think we should try to find him. Maybe he can help us.

MICK: I heard about him-

D: The car is close by, we have to make it down to the car without getting killed. You think you can keep up?

MICK: Yeah, I have dreamed about living this shit. I have always wanted to kill real live zombies, or you think they prefer the un-dead? Or how about the zombie practitioners? Or maybe some other cool job description-

D: I would rather not get into that discussion right now. All I know is that we need something sharp or blunt object to kill these fucking things. I mean I obviously didn’t get it right the first time with Erica, but the second and the third time seem to do the trick, well?
Mick digs through his bag.

MICK: Well what?
D: Get something sharp.
MICK: Like what? A butter knife?
D: Shut the fuck up ass hole.
MICK: Sorry,(laughing) I just couldn’t resist.
D: Yeah, yeah, this is no time for your jokes.

Mick is holding a machete, as D turns around.

MICK: Alright, I will see what I can find.
D: Where the hell did you get those?
MICK: My bag…
D: You know what I am not even going to ask.


Mick hands D a knife.
MICK: There’s a sword convention this weekend; which I am going to miss now because of you and your stupid ideas.

Page Eleven
The Cell is a splash page, there were zombies on one side of the door and D and Mick on the other.

D: You order room service?
D: You?
MICK: You don’t think?
D: Put your shit down. I think we better pack light.

Mick looks down to the Vegas strip, his eyes are up close, the reflection of the flames on the strip are shown from his eyes.

Mick is shown opening the door, zombies reach in and try to grab him.

MICK:Holy shit man, what the fuck is going on?

D kicks the door shit on the arms of the zombie. The arms fall off in the door.

D: I don’t know. Maybe we can get out through the adjacent rooms.
MICK: Sounds like a plan. You think there are more on their way?

D and Mick kick down the door between the two rooms and run for the front door of the room.

The two are seen running for the hallway.

D: You think that guy we were talking about is still here?
MICK: What guy?
D: The guy that said this shit was about to happen?

D and Mick kick a couple zombies down the stairs.

MICK: You think he will be able to help us?

Splash Page. J kicks open a door, he is wearing chain mail armor. He stands holding “Little Slugger,” D and Mick are standing frozen on the stairs.

J pulls his axe out of the dead zombie, then looks up at the stunned men.
J: You boys been bit.
D and Mick remain silent.
J: Have you been bit?!
J kills another zombie coming up the stairs.

J: I don’t have all day.
D: No-
J: Alright then. I see you armed yourselves already. Let’s go. Maybe we can take the elevator, get a little rest for a minute.

Inside the elevator, the three of them stand staring at each other.

MICK: You’re-
J: You know me?
MICK: You’re-
J: Who are you?
MICK: Names Mick, that guy over there is D.
J: Pleasure.
D: Mick, this is the guy I was talking about.
J: Again, you guys act as if you know me.
D: You’re J Lane.
J: The crackpot who gives the speeches about the end of days.
D: I was going to say-
J: It’s okay. Just be ready.

D is seen looking out the window of the car once again.

J: We’re home.

Splash Page.
J is shown sitting on the hood of his car, “Little Slugger” leaning on the bumper of the car. The lights are on illuminating the front of a garage door. In J’s hand there is a flask.

Splash Page.
An arial view of the compound, ten sets of fences separates it from the outside world. The Car is shown shining its’ lights on the door of the compound garage.

J: Some home-

Living Defender

Living Defender: Who is he? What is his name? What does he do? What are his powers? But first, where did he get his name?

Living Defender.

I know I said it was on it’s way, but I decided that since the drawing was done that I would give you a rough sketch of the character art work.
I have also done a brief and rough character name origin… Enjoy.

One evening he was sitting, with his weapon, Little Slugger sitting on the table. He turns to his close friend D, the mechanic. As he sits, trying to come up with his own name, his friend turns to him and says, wait, “As opposed to a cool name like Zombie Hunter or Zombie Slayer?”
J: Too much like Buffy
D: You could be Super Zombie Killer, Killer Z or Z Killer.
J: Sounds French
D: American Z Fighter
J: Sounds like the name of a prison inmate or worse yet a Marvel reject.
D: what is with the living defender then? Instead of the dead defender? Defender from the dead, ah, very clever… Living Defender, the defender of the living. I like it. Can I just call you L-D?
J: Sure, you could just call me J.
D: But you have to have a super secret identity.
J: I guess.
D: It’s important.
J: It’s only important if people actually know you exist.
(To be continued.)

Things to Come

“Living Defender” will be arriving soon. It will feature characters and stories created by your’s truly, Sia Mozaffarimehr. I will also be posting “Psychology of the Superhero: A case of mistaken identity.” my critical proposal for English 492 over the course of this week. The critical essay will be posted in excerpts over the course of the next few weeks as well.

Until Next Time-

I leave you with a question. I was watching Superman Returns tonight and I was wondering about a few things. Martha Kent, was she alive in the Richard Donner versions of the films? Next if superman is always using his X-ray vision, don’t you think Lois Lane or someone around him would develop some type of cancer? Hell, Jimmy Olsen might even develop some type of cancer…

Superheroes in culture: Toys and Politics

Toys, I just love toys. I am reminded of the Tim Burton version of Batman, when Jack Nicholson says, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” The he punches his right hand man, almost as if to say, “Why don’t I have toys like that?” However, today is not about superheroes in television shows, games, or even other books that are spawns of their original counterpart, the comic. This discussion is about the toy and maybe politics…

This picture is from the FAO Schwartz building in Manhattan. The photograph was taken by your's truly, Sia Mozaffarimehr, in March of 2000.

How did we as a society become so obsessed with the comic book, so much so that we had to make inanimate objects that we could control and fly through the air or pound the villain? It started with television, at least for me, and I will not begin to speak for anyone else. The toy becomes a proverbial “comfort,” yes much like the food that we have became accustomed to our mothers making when we did not feel well while growing up. But let me direct your attention to the photograph that I recently discovered while rummaging through some old stuff while moving. This picture was taken inside the store, the life size statue of Batman, the Dark Knight, which upon closer examination looks to be a cross between the Joel Schumacher version (Look closely, you will see the nipples on the suit.) and Tim Burton’s Batman. Notice to the far right there is a small Superman doll in the corner of the picture. First, I wonder why Batman is held in higher stature than Superman, I didn’t see a towering statue, or flying statue in the store. However, there were numerous Batman toys that lined this particular floor from front to back. If you wanted the bat-mobile, it was there. If you wanted to get your hands on night vision batman, they had him too. Merchandising has taken another path, getting into the minds of children (or my mind.) convincing them that they need to have the latest and greatest Batman toy. Only it appears that Batman’s counterpart, the toy version anyway, does not appear to do things as portrayed in the commercials that market the product. It has reached the point that if the detail is good enough, I will buy it, that is to also say that if it is within my price range I will collect it. The toy franchise has grown so much so that if you want to emulate your favorite superhero, you can even be made into your own toy!

Comic books have not stopped at the toy market. No, they have also infiltrated political discourse. Recently with the Iron Man movies, taking place in a post 9/11 era, discussing the war in Afghanistan in a subtle fashion, the war on terror converted into a war for total world domination. Interestingly enough these messages have also made their way into films like the Dark Knight, the super deluxe Sonor vision gadget that eventually turns every cell phone into a way for Batman to monitor the entire city to pin point the Joker’s location reminds me of big brother watching your every move. Could it be commentary on the Patriot Act in so many words? It is possible. But I have noticed that many of us don’t look at our superhero movies and say, they are trying to tell me something. Most of the time I find myself escaping into a fantasy world, one that is not of my own, and has no hidden message. If one digs deep enough or just looks beyond the surface of the film or comic, one can see the writer’s message. These messages were as apparent in the 1960’s as they are now. Perhaps our ability to acknowledge or pin point the propaganda or anti-propaganda in recent works will eventually become similar to our ability to engage texts such as those found in the forties and sixties, comics such as “Fighting American,” “OMAC,” or even more main stream comics such as Batman, Superman, X-Men, and Captain America will be engaged in from a critical perspective as the culture moves on into a new realm. This is not a simple topic to discuss, and I must say that I wanted to speak just of toys, but it was too tempting to at least touch on some of these other aspects of culture and politics that are present within comics.

Until Next Time…

Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had been exploring the world of comics, specifically those of Batman. As I mentioned in my post “Batman, the origins, the myth, and questions unanswered…” as a side note, I had been playing the game Arkham Asylum. It is unlike any game that I have played before. I am going to assume that it is bias to say, this has to be one of the best comic book games ever, but I think that it is safe to say that I am in good company, another blogger Griffen McElroy stated, “Rest assured, I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Batman: Arkham Asylum is unquestionably the best licensed game I’ve ever played. At the end of the day, however, that’s a fairly low hurdle to clear — it better reflects the game’s quality to say it’s one of the best stealth-action games ever made, and easily the best video game 2009 has had to offer thus far” in a review he posted on August 21st, 2009.

I know I am a little behind the great event and release of this game. However, I am fascinated with the stylized images of this game. No longer are we in the 2D era of graphics. We are now engaged in a fully engaging surrounding world that encompasses the character, one that draws the player in but most of all is not based on the campy colorful counterparts of the Caped Crusader. “Bats” as the Joker lovingly calls Batman is seen as more Millerized character, one that is aged in the gritty surroundings of the Arkham island. I have not made it that far into the video game yet, but I have found one aspect that I already love about this game. It is unlike many games that start with credits, or with a simple start up screen. It incorporates a playable starting point, as shown in the video images posted from youtube (See below).

The amazing part of the video game is that unlike earlier comic games, you don’t have to read the conversations, you get the voice talents of Mark Hamill (Joker) and Kevin Conroy (Batman).

Once inside the asylum, you reach the point of no return.

The game starts with a tutorial fight, getting a taste of the addictive action that ensues this third person gameplay. Meanwhile the Joker (Voiced by Mark Hamill) slowly lures Batman into his game along with the help of Harley Quinn. Along the way you run into Killer Croc, The Riddler, Poison Ivy, among many other Batman foes.

Rocksteady has made flawless gameplay, one can also collect character profiles along the way, which includes the first appearances of the characters within the comic book storyline. As with many interesting traits that Batman has, the story also includes the aspects of Batman’s credo, one of which is “Batman shall not kill,” although he is not prejudice of beating the hell out of his enemies. Other than lurking in the shadows and hanging people from the rafters, and searching for Riddler’s many clues, the game has a lot of depth for a superhero game. It is unlike anything I have encountered before and for that reason I have to give it praise. I also have to say that it is one that takes a while to get through if you do not have adequate time to just sit and play. As of right now I am only at the tip of the ice berg.

I can’t wait for what is to come in this game. Most of all, once I finish I am looking forward to playing the anticipated sequel, Batman: Arkham City.

A Companion Reader

Time Masters 4, meet “The Return of Bruce Wayne” or vice versa. As I mentioned I was a little new to the comic “floppy” and I recently discovered that a mini series, recently finished, and written by Grant Morrison, was connected and inspired another mini series, Time Masters: Vanishing Point, “The Search for Batman.” I find it interesting that the very first in the series of “The Return of Bruce Wayne” deals with the idea of a “Quantum Leap” Bruce Wayne figure. Not to sound too cliche, but we find the characters, Superman, Green Lantern, Rip Hunter, and Booster Gold searching Batman, racing against time to help him back to the future.
In “The Return of Bruce Wayne,” Batman seems to suffer from a sort of amnesia, but still has all the detective, and battle instincts that he normally has. I found it particularly interesting that one of the characters in this part of the story mentioned the presence of a previous “Man of Bats.” I have not wrapped myself up in another series, although I must say that “Time Masters” makes a great companion guide to the “The Return of Bruce Wayne.” I also begin to wonder if these two series are questioning ideas of fate, does Batman, or Bruce Wayne control his future fate? Is his journey through the past the reason his future self is able to create the bat cave? As Batman travels through time, does he create a template for his future/past self to recreate the bat cave or even discover this world that transforms him into the Dark Knight? Is it a secret that he keeps from other Super Heroes? I know that the majority of these questions are just my own speculation. Although, I do find the story lines to be interesting, the art is similar and a little better in “The Return of Bruce Wayne.” I enjoy the way the two story lines have integrated themselves into one another. Although, I don’t think there is a seamless transition between the two story lines. I think this is due in part to the fact that one story is written by Grant Morrison while the other has been written by Dan Jurgens (He does a pretty damn good job here in this mini series.) Another aspect of the Morrison comic that I found to be intriguing was the use of identity. Bruce Wayne, or Batman, assumed the role of “Man of Bats” or Batman. I would argue that Morrison is attempting to suggest that Wayne would ultimately assume the role of Batman regardless of his time period to protect the weak. Although, as it turns out he has his own criteria of what is considered to be right and wrong. So I wanted to ultimately suggest that the writer’s own beliefs or morals emerge through the voice of Batman or Bruce Wayne in some fashion. While I enjoy reading these comics I cannot help but wonder if Wayne would always assume the identity of Batman, always using it as a sort of symbol, or if like the majority of the first in the series of “The Return of Bruce Wayne,” would he keep the identity of Bruce Wayne? Again, bringing me back to the questions of identity, which identity (Wayne or Batman) thinks the other is the “actual” or real identity? Let me explain briefly, does Batman think he is the real or the true identity, or does Bruce Wayne think he is the true identity?

(Until Issue 5…)

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