Author Archives: blkdragon

From the Rubble a Superhero Walks.

If you were looking for something clever and insightful, you will have to look to the previous posts. This is just an update to what I have been doing. I wanted to do more, but I wanted to take a break for a week. I had several thoughts about what to write as a culminating blog for my 492 class. I decided that after the class finished, I wanted to continue on with this little side project of sorts. Mainly because it is pretty fun to read the new things out there and play the new games being developed. In the spirit of Christmas I was reminded of what my professor said before class was over. His son had asked him if there were any pictures of Batman in a Santa suit. I wanted to go one step further and see if there were any other characters that were featured in the spirit of the holidays. Here is what I found…

Perhaps, that is not exactly what you had in mind. I saw the character of the Joker as a twisted version of the Grinch, only he doesn’t become nice. The next series of images were just because I thought they would be fun.

I think the beard is an excellent addition to the bat suit.  It reminds me of the campy sixties television show. I enjoy the picture of the Hulk fighting Santa Claus. Does this mean that the Hulk is considering Santa to be evil? Or perhaps vice versa. This brings me to my final thoughts about Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game started off great, it had some intense moments. The gameplay was still amazing but the story had came rather rushed. I enjoyed the scenes in the final closing of the game but I just thought there could have been more. I know I am  a bit late with my thoughts, but still, the next installment looks promising.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Until next time…


Batman: The Psychology of a Superhero (Re-Posted)

Batman: The Psychology of a Superhero, a Case of Mistaken Identity.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m telling you right now: I can’t take you seriously in that getup I’m guessing your real face is in that briefcase?
– The Joker, Batman: Cacophony 2009.

It is only fitting that the ultimate villain to Batman, The Joker, frames this psychological debate for the purposes of this discussion. I do not begin to speak for anyone else when I ask the question, which one is the real persona, Batman or Bruce Wayne? Kevin Smith’s “Batman: Cacophony,” stands out mainly because it is one of the more recent graphic novels that I have read. In the quote that I have already referenced, Batman visits the Joker under the guise of his attorney. Upon entering the room, Joker greets him as “Bats,” ultimately declaring that he cannot continue to talk to him without his “real face.” The identity debate is one that cannot be traced to an exact moment because of the inconsistencies in the continuity of the character, changes in the writers and the multiple mediums from which the character can be found other than comics. Although, some would credit the introduction of the identity debate with the original origin story written by Gardner Fox in Detective Comics Number 33, in November of 1939. While some comic book fans would consider the origin of this debate with Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” The discussion is one that permeates Internet bulletin boards, blog sites, journal articles and numerous other forms of publications. Since the publication of Kane’s or Miller’s Batman, the character has undergone several reinventions. Despite the lack of continuity and countless retellings of the Batman story over the years, the question still remains; is Batman the true identity or is Bruce Wayne just a mask so he can hide himself from the world?
Although, Superman will not be discussed at great lengths in this discussion, there is a similar question that emerges regarding the ego and the alter ego of the character. Having been made the subject of similar discourse in films such as Kill Bill: Volume 2; Bill (David Carradine) suggests that it is Superman that is the real identity and Clark Kent is the mask. Similar to this argument made by Carradine’s character, I intend to examine Batman in his different mediums focusing primarily on his incarnations from the mid-eighties to the more recent Christopher Nolan adaptations to determine why Batman is who he is, ultimately arguing that Batman is the ego and Bruce Wayne is the alter ego.

Tom De Haven writes extensively about Superman in his book Superman On Earth. De Haven discusses the controversy that continues to rage on about which persona, “Superman or Clark Kent, is the “real” guy. (38) De Haven continues by asking, “Which is the ego and which is the alter?” (38) In Siegel’s version, De Haven declares that it is without question, “Superman.” Similar to De Haven and his declaration that Superman is the ego. I declare that it is without question, Batman. Bob Kane introduced Bruce Wayne sitting with Commissioner Gordon, when there is suddenly a call for him to report to the scene of a crime, Bruce accompanies him saying, “Oh well, nothing else to do, might as well.” (Chronicles 4) Batman operates on a different level, hiding his face to protect his alter ego. Without the mask, Batman cannot be Bruce, wealthy heir to the Wayne fortune. Bruce dawns the cape and cowl in order to strike fear into the hearts of criminals while inadvertently protecting his sociological mask in the process. Unlike Superman, Batman does not need to pretend to be like the average person because he is human. Batman has no super powers, human to the core, driven by anger and guilt. Regardless of which interpretation one is reading, Batman is the name he gives himself after encountering the image of a bat. Tim Burton is quoted by Philip Orr, expressing this fractured persona in different terms, quoted by Philip Orr as saying, “These characters are all fucked up. They are impurely pure. If Batman got therapy, he probably wouldn’t be putting on this suit, and we wouldn’t have this weird guy running around in a cape. So there is a form of things not being integrated that is quite appealing.” (1) Burton’s interpretation of Bruce Wayne suggests that Wayne is in a constant state of denial. Wayne does not seek help not because he does not need it, but rather because he does not think he needs help. Many people have what is referred to as a coping mechanism. For Bruce Wayne, his coping mechanism is to maintain an identity that seeks to maintain order and justice in the world as Batman.
According to Robin S. Rosenberg, “psychology suggests that the underlying process of the birth of Batman isn’t farfetched and is, in fact, common: After people have experienced a traumatic event, they often struggle to make meaning of the experience, and one such path is through social action.” (23) If one looks at historical figures as suggested by Christopher Nolan in “Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight,” Batman parallels the psychology of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt’s father started the Museum Natural History, resembling Thomas Wayne. Roosevelt undergoes similar tragedy, losing his mother and wife on the same day and as a result he reinvents himself becoming the iconic Commissioner of New York City, riding through the streets at night on a bicycle, fighting crime. Child Psychiatrist, Michael Brody suggests similar ideas presented by Rosenberg and Nolan. He suggests that when children undergo a traumatic experience, it shatters “the illusion of invulnerability.” (173) This effect can occur when “children experience a parental death, divorce, are sexually abused, or are very ill. The shield of protective innocence cracks. The child is even more devastated by the helplessness he perceives in his parents. A sense of trust in the world is lost.” (173) Brody explains that unlike “his alien predecessor, Superman, this hero was human and vulnerable.” (171) Bruce Wayne is limited to his physical and mental capacity, all of which are human. However, he pushes and exceeds the boundaries of the normal man developing a disciplined mind and body. Wayne also had an inheritance that allowed him to “equip a crime fighter’s laboratory on a grand scale, while maintaining secrecy. Searching for a symbol both to frighten others and to mask himself.” (Brody 171) Bruce Wayne is given the opportunity to reinvent himself. Wayne is enabled by his fortune, which by most standards can be considered to be never ending. As Brody suggests, Wayne is “a survivor,” ridden with what he refers to as “death guilt,” a condition that he defines as “survivors that blame themselves for having lived while others died.” (173) If one looks at the original comic describing the events that led to Wayne assuming the Batman identity, it was an integration that immediately ensues. He sublimates his rage, anger, and guilt, thereby pursuing his solo fights against crime. This sublimation of rage and anger is seen as recently as Christopher Nolan’s 2005 adaptation of the Dark Knight, in Batman Begins. Wayne is imprisoned and a brief conversation with Ra’s Al Ghul (Portrayed by Liam Neeson) under the guise of Henri Ducard. Ra’s asks him “Are you so desperate to take on criminals that you lock yourself up with them to take them on one at a time?” Bruce Wayne’s (Christian Bale) response surmises in a silent, yes. Unlike its’ predecessors, this retelling of Batman’s first years does not rely on a quick pseudo-like recovery of the hero. Nolan’s Batman embarks on an international crusade. Wayne is more developed in his quest for vengeance. As a result of his experiences, he feels that he cannot understand the criminal without first living among them. In “Batman Begins,” Ra’s Al Ghul introduces the idea that Bruce Wayne has become lost in his quest, but that he can help him become more than just a vigilante, but an idea, a legend. It is evident in every telling of Bruce Wayne’s story and his path to becoming the Batman exhibit slight variations, but all conclude the same way. Each story embraces the idea that Bruce Wayne’s tragedy is a symbolic fall, one that allows him “to get back up” (Batman Begins), thereby allowing him to reinvent himself to become Batman.
Again, it is Wayne’s psychological symptoms and money that enable Batman to exist, Brody continues to argue that as a result of his psychiatric trauma, the Batman plugs into the psychology of the audience because it remains credible. Batman has the symptoms of personality fragmentation and recovery. “As a result, the Batman character, like his alter ego Bruce Wayne, has survived” because of his “traumatized childhood” which “serves to make Batman a true myth.”(Brody 177) Brody suggests that Batman becomes the ego, while Bruce Wayne is the alter ego when he says, “like his alter ego Bruce Wayne.” On the other hand, the alter ego survives because Batman continues to thrive. Together the ego and alter reaffirm the existence of one another. “Dark Batman isn’t any more ‘authentic than crazy, silly Batman,” Jaime Weinman suggests in his article, “Holy Identity Crisis, Batman!” Batman is the primary ego. Another example that reaffirms that Bruce Wayne is the alter ego and Batman is the true persona is in Batman Begins, when Rachel says, “Your real face is the one that criminals now fear, the man who vanished, the man I loved, he never really came back at all.” Rachel tells Bruce that his mask is not Batman, rather the socially acceptable image of Bruce Wayne. His true image as Rachel suggests in the final scenes of Batman Begins, “is the one that criminals now fear.” Nolan’s Batman is what Frank Miller would refer to as, “the goddamn Batman.” In Frank Miller’s adaptation, the Batman persona is introduced as being the real persona, while Bruce Wayne is the human condition that is left for him to inhabit, to become the shell of what he once was when he is too old to continue as Batman. The Miller interpretation can also be seen in the animated series Batman Beyond. Recently, I watched an episode of Batman Beyond, a post Miller archetype Batman that exists in the retirement phase of his life, much older than fifty now, and enlisting Terry McGinnis as a new Batman with a super suit. The only persona left to hold Batman is now the Wayne persona, but he spends the majority of his time in the Bat-Cave watching over Gotham and aiding the new Batman. This ego also supports the argument that Batman is the ego; in the episode entitled “Shriek.” At the end of the episode the following conversation takes place:
Terry: Tell me something, why were you so sure those voices weren’t coming from you?
Bruce: Well first, I know, I’m not psychotic.
Terry: I hope your other reason is more convincing.
Bruce: Second, the voice kept calling me Bruce. In my mind, I don’t call myself Bruce.
Terry: What do you call yourself?
(Bruce shoots Terry a look that suggests that Terry knows the answer to his question. They stare at one another.)
Terry: Hmmm. I suppose you would. But that’s my name now.
Bruce: Tell that to my subconscious.

Wayne acknowledges that his subconscious operates as Batman. There is no declaration of names within this conversation. However, the body language illustrates the sentiments being conveyed in the motions of the characters. Also, Terry’s response stating, “But that’s my name now,” demonstrates that he knows that Wayne is telling him that he refers to himself as Batman in his mind. Bruce Wayne’s reply, “Tell that to my subconscious,” suggests that Wayne is saying, you have the title now, but declares that his mind will always acknowledge him as Batman.
Batman’s identity is not only an acknowledged by his self image, but it can also be found in his costumed adversaries as Philip Orr notes, “William Uricchio and Roberta Pearson” argue that “Batman’s costumed adversaries, “…they steal not because they want the jewels (the money, the gold, etc.) but because the challenge of grappling with the Batman reaffirms their identity” (Orr 170) Orr suggests that by confronting the villains in his world, Batman simultaneously reaffirms his own identity. By engaging his enemies Batman is forced to confront his own rationalization for continuing his fight against evil. Orr unfortunately neglects to define Batman’s need for this similar reaffirmation of his own identity. Without the villains, Batman would not have to dawn the cape and cowl. Batman has other ways demonstrates other ways of reaffirming his identity when he revisits the death site of his parents and fights crime as suggested in the images depicted in Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns.”
Grant Morrison’s, “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne,” illustrates evidence that Bruce Wayne is the alter ego. Morrison’s story arc has been emerging since he killed off the Dark Knight. As he has continued in the same fashion, the Dark Knight has been re-imagined once again. Batman’s storyline has integrated science fiction elements, allowing for the storyline to project Batman through time. During Batman’s jump through time, he engages people under the guise of Bruce Wayne, always maintaining his one true persona, Batman. During the first issue of “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne,” Batman has no recollection of his alter ego, Bruce Wayne. He does have remnant memories of his ego Batman, as well as the “bat” symbols remaining to guide him in his journey through time. Most recently this image of Batman has gone from a local ideology to a globalized market with the introduction of Grant Morrison’s “Batman Incorporated,” selling the ego’s ideology as a world market, using the alter ego Bruce Wayne as the benefactor for these future endeavors. While it is clear through the different storylines that Batman has been the ego for the characterization of Bruce Wayne persona, the question lingers, could this persona exist without the wealth that he inherited as a result of his parent’s death? It would have been easy to suggest that Batman and Bruce Wayne are in a symbiotic relationship, requiring the other to survive. As I have declared Batman to be the true ego, I have noticed that other writers have also declared Batman to be the true identity, suggesting that people are more interested in story where the dynamic characteristic of the hero is one that is the iconic un-fractured image, the Batman. These ideas ultimately suggest that the story loses its attractive quality if its character is damaged, flawed to the point where he is simply trying to escape the haunting images he had as a young boy, but if he is something more than just the traumatized boy, he is much more interesting.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Works Cited

Batman Beyond. “Episode Seven, Shriek.” Dir. Curt Geda. Writ. Berkowitz, Stan. Per. Warner Bros. Animated; DC Comics. 1999.

Batman Begins. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Christian Bale; Michael Caine; Katie Holmes; Warner Bros. Pictures.; DC Comics. 2005.

Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of The Dark Knight. Writ. Steven Smith. Prometheus Entertainment. 2008.

Brody, Michael. “Batman: Psychic Trauma and Its Solution.” The Journal of Popular Culture; Vol. 28, Issue 4. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 1995.

Daniels, Bradley J. The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration. “ Arkham Asylum.” Ed. Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD. Benbella Books, Inc. Dallas, Texas. 2008.

Dark Knight, The. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Christian Bale; Michael Caine; Maggie Gyllenhaal;  Warner Bros.; DC Comics. 2008.

De Haven, Tom. Our Hero Superman on Earth. Yale University Press; New Haven & London. 2010.

Fox, Gardner. The Batman Chronicles. “Detective Comics No. 33, The Batman Wars Against the Dirigible of Doom.” 1939. New York, DC Comics. 2005.

Miller, Frank. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. 1986. New York, DC Comics. 2002.

Morrison, Grant. Batman Inc. First Issue: “Mr. Unknown is Dead.” New York, DC Comics 2010.

Morrison, Grant. Batman: The Return. First Issue: “Planet Gotham.” New York, DC Comics, 2010.

Morrison, Grant. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. First Issue: “Shadow on Stone.” New York, DC Comics, 2010.

Smith, Kevin. Batman: Cacophony. New York, DC Comics. 2009.

Tate, Chuck. The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration. “ An Appetite for Destruction.” Ed. Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD. Benbella Books, Inc. Dallas, Texas. 2008.


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

PAGE ONE.
SPLASH PAGE
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-

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

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

CELL THREE/FOUR.
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?

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

CELL TWO.
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.
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-

CELL FOUR.
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.

PAGE FOUR.

CELL ONE.
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.

CELL TWO.
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-

CELL THREE.
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.

CELL FOUR.
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.

CELL FIVE.
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?

PAGE FIVE.
CELL ONE.
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.

CELL TWO.
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.

CELL THREE.
J shrugs his shoulders, inside the car, D.

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

CELL FOUR.
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.

CELL FIVE.
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?

PAGE SIX.
CELL ONE.
D looks out the window.

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

CELL TWO.
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…

CELL THREE.
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.

THE WAITER: Got it.

CELL FOUR.
D is sitting in the car once more.

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

PAGE SEVEN.

CELL ONE.
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.

CELL TWO.
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.

CELL THREE.
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.

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

CELL TWO.
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.

CELL THREE.
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.

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

MICK: Deal me in.

CELL FIVE.
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.

CELL SIX
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.

PAGE NINE.

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

JOSEPHINE
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.

CELL TWO.
Mick gets up from the table.

MICK: Some other time perhaps…

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

CELL THREE.
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.

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

MICK: Where’s Erica?

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

D: Dead.

CELL SIX
Close up of D’s eyes.

PAGE TEN.

CELL ONE.
Mick, sits down, just as D stands up.

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

CELL TWO.
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.

CELL THREE.
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?

CELL FOUR.
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?
CELL FIVE.
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.

CELL SIX
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.

CELL SEVEN.

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
CELL ONE.
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?
MICK: No-
D: You?
MICK: You don’t think?
D: Put your shit down. I think we better pack light.

CELL TWO.
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.

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

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

CELL TWO.
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?

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

CELL FOUR.
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?

CELL FIVE.
D and Mick kick a couple zombies down the stairs.

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

PAGE THIRTEEN.
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.

PAGE FOURTEEN.
CELL ONE.
J pulls his axe out of the dead zombie, then looks up at the stunned men.
J: You boys been bit.
CELL TWO.
D and Mick remain silent.
J: Have you been bit?!
CELL THREE.
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.

CELL FOUR.
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.

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

J: We’re home.

PAGE FIFTEEN.
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.

PAGE SIXTEEN.
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…


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