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Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice (2016) 
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
God no. The Batman vs. Superman fight has happened at least a couple dozen times since Dark Knight, and it has never been good again. 99% of the problem is that hack writers understand that the original version resonated with people, but they have no idea why. They don't get that it was more than just boneheaded action, that there was a greater significance to it in the circumstances. So there've been plenty of reiterations of that that relay the action without the resonance.

"Repeat good idea with no idea why it worked in the first place" is a motto in the entertainment industry that has ruined so many things over the years.

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Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:15 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Ken wrote:
One of my favorite modern day Wonder Woman stories is Spirit of Truth, written by Paul Dini (of the '90s Batman cartoon) and Alex Ross. Normally, Ross's photorealistic paintings are better-suited for poster art, but Dini's script was written specifically to be sparse and let the visuals do most of the work. Ross is a big stickler for giving his characters individual looks. Identical twins aside, no two faces or bodies look exactly alike, and that's something he tries to keep in mind with his art.

Image


Can you provide some context for this picture, Ken? It's an intriguing image and I'm curious. Thanks!


Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Diana has infiltrated a hostage camp run by a cruel despot who uses a line of innocent people as a human shield against American soldiers. She disguises herself as one of the women, burqa and all, and allows herself to be captured and added to the shield--partly for stealth and partly because she wants to be treated no differently from the rest of the women while she's there. When she learns that the hostages are to be disposed of, she informs the foot soldiers that nobody's going anywhere. One of them tries to slap her and she breaks his arm.

The full sentence is "If what they want is a human shield, I gladly offer myself."

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:54 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
It's a very provocative picture isn't it?!

Almost belonging to a pre-PC era of feminism.

When was this produced?

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:06 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
2001.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:24 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Before 9/11?

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:22 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
I'm pretty sure it was a Christmas release. Or a Christmas season release, at any rate. It was a well-promoted book--part of a series of oversized, square-bound releases done in sort of a hybrid comic book/storybook style, with Paul Dini and Alex Ross, both of whom are superstars in their field. Kind of a big deal.

The complete series includes Superman: Peace on Earth, Batman: War on Crime, Captain Marvel: Power of Hope, Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth, and Justice League: Liberty and Justice, plus a retelling of all the characters' origins called Justice League: Secret Origins. It's all collected in a pretty nifty volume called (none too humbly) "The World's Greatest Superheroes".

My favorite part about these books is that the authors deliberately stayed away from superhero/supervillain slugfests, instead pitting the heroes against realer problems that are more difficult to solve--Superman and world hunger, Batman and the roots of urban crime, Captain Marvel and children in need, Wonder Woman and people living under oppressive regimes, Justice League and a misunderstood plague that threatens the world. This is a better sort of storytelling, in my opinion. It's stuff that superheroes were originally invented for, before the genre got stuck up its own ass.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:30 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
If Superhero movies like The Avengers were based on deeper premises like that, I'd be tempted to watch them.

The Batman you mention there seems more liberal than Frank Miller's :)

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Yeah, Frank's Batman covers all the ground between troubled and straight-up psychotic. Not the most community-spirited version of the character.

Image

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Haha! :lol: I love All Star Batman just for how completely insane and off-the-wall it is(like when Green Lantern gets brought to his knees by yellow paint).


Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:19 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Or when Black Canary gets into a barroom brawl for no apparent reason and wrecks everything and everybody. Or when Batman uses the Batmobile to wreck a bunch of cop cars... again, for no apparent reason.

It's kind of a theme in the book, really.

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Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:23 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Ken wrote:
Yeah, Frank's Batman covers all the ground between troubled and straight-up psychotic. Not the most community-spirited version of the character.

Image



I don't (yet) own the Dark Knight Returns, but I was flicking through it at a mate's house a few months ago after a few beers.

The prevailing philosophy of Miller's Batman seems to be that if on balance his presence is a force for good, then he should be permitted to indulge in whatever grotesque excesses he chooses.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:52 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Well, this requires that one chart Frank Miller's progress with the character through time. He's written Batman a handful of times, and there are four majors.

First, there's the aforementioned Dark Knight, which is my personal favorite Batman story by anybody. This, in my opinion, is an incendiary statement on the superhero archetype in the same way that Dirty Harry was an incendiary statement on due process and 1984 was an incendiary statement on the security state. This is a Batman who largely ignores any larger noble implications of his mission and is hellbent on forcing a vision of society that makes sense to him. It's not a story that rams down your throat whether you're supposed to think of Batman as being right or wrong in doing this--in fact, the book very baldly defies being thought of that way. To paraphrase Gordon, some things are just too big to judge in those terms. I appreciate its courage in trusting its audience that way, in the same way that I brought up in the Wolf Of Wall Street thread. Sometimes, it's enough to just depict morally complicated situations without the author steering the reader toward his own conclusions.

Then there's Year One, which came out soon after. It isn't as radical or (I'd guess) as personal, but in many ways it's a much more definitive statement on Batman. This is Frank being given the chance to lay out the quintessential Batman from here (1988/89) on into the foreseeable future. He does a damn good job of cherry-picking the best characteristics from throughout the character's checkered history and weaving them into a crusty, hard-boiled urban vigilante story. I like the way that this is a distinctly street-level Batman--no Batmobile, a minimum of mostly realistic gadgets (batarangs, a rope, lockpicks, a collapsible blowgun), and so on. Just the man and his wits. Of course, he does have one crazy gadget: the bat-summoning doohickey in his boot that later showed up in Batman Begins. Still, this is a version of the character who doesn't conspicuously show off his wealth and he doesn't go toe-to-toe with superpowered demigods, so it's a version of Batman who earns the character's reputation as a distinctly human hero.

Then there's The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which is the sequel to The Dark Knight that was in the midst of production when 9/11 happened. Frank's a little off the deep end here. He'd been out of the superhero genre for a while, focusing instead on Sin City and assorted other projects, so it's strange to see him return with a project that's off the wall and more than a little rough around the edges. There's a sense that he's trying to go even bigger and bolder than he went with the original Dark Knight, but it's only mildly successful at that. It's much wackier, and therefore harder to take seriously, especially when he goes for the repeat of the Batman/Superman fight that has Batman equipped with a pair of kryptonite Hulk hands. Where did he get them? It's one of many details that never gets explained. It's that kind of book. The original Dark Knight wasn't.

Then he returned to Batman again about a decade hence with All Star Batman and Robin, which was hyped as being a part of the same universe as Dark Knight, with popular art guy Jim Lee doing the pencil work. Words cannot describe what happened, except that the level of contempt Miller shows here for the character, the genre, and even his own past work can only be summed up through images such as this:

Image

In conclusion, Miller's work on Batman is very much a catalog of his progressively declining standards and his worsening insanity.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:57 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Ken wrote:
Well, this requires that one chart Frank Miller's progress with the character through time. He's written Batman a handful of times, and there are four majors.

First, there's the aforementioned Dark Knight, which is my personal favorite Batman story by anybody. This, in my opinion, is an incendiary statement on the superhero archetype in the same way that Dirty Harry was an incendiary statement on due process and 1984 was an incendiary statement on the security state. This is a Batman who largely ignores any larger noble implications of his mission and is hellbent on forcing a vision of society that makes sense to him. It's not a story that rams down your throat whether you're supposed to think of Batman as being right or wrong in doing this--in fact, the book very baldly defies being thought of that way. To paraphrase Gordon, some things are just too big to judge in those terms. I appreciate its courage in trusting its audience that way, in the same way that I brought up in the Wolf Of Wall Street thread. Sometimes, it's enough to just depict morally complicated situations without the author steering the reader toward his own conclusions.

Then there's Year One, which came out soon after. It isn't as radical or (I'd guess) as personal, but in many ways it's a much more definitive statement on Batman. This is Frank being given the chance to lay out the quintessential Batman from here (1988/89) on into the foreseeable future. He does a damn good job of cherry-picking the best characteristics from throughout the character's checkered history and weaving them into a crusty, hard-boiled urban vigilante story. I like the way that this is a distinctly street-level Batman--no Batmobile, a minimum of mostly realistic gadgets (batarangs, a rope, lockpicks, a collapsible blowgun), and so on. Just the man and his wits. Of course, he does have one crazy gadget: the bat-summoning doohickey in his boot that later showed up in Batman Begins. Still, this is a version of the character who doesn't conspicuously show off his wealth and he doesn't go toe-to-toe with superpowered demigods, so it's a version of Batman who earns the character's reputation as a distinctly human hero.

Then there's The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which is the sequel to The Dark Knight that was in the midst of production when 9/11 happened. Frank's a little off the deep end here. He'd been out of the superhero genre for a while, focusing instead on Sin City and assorted other projects, so it's strange to see him return with a project that's off the wall and more than a little rough around the edges. There's a sense that he's trying to go even bigger and bolder than he went with the original Dark Knight, but it's only mildly successful at that. It's much wackier, and therefore harder to take seriously, especially when he goes for the repeat of the Batman/Superman fight that has Batman equipped with a pair of kryptonite Hulk hands. Where did he get them? It's one of many details that never gets explained. It's that kind of book. The original Dark Knight wasn't.

Then he returned to Batman again about a decade hence with All Star Batman and Robin, which was hyped as being a part of the same universe as Dark Knight, with popular art guy Jim Lee doing the pencil work. Words cannot describe what happened, except that the level of contempt Miller shows here for the character, the genre, and even his own past work can only be summed up through images such as this:

Image

In conclusion, Miller's work on Batman is very much a catalog of his progressively declining standards and his worsening insanity.


Perhaps Miller has (mistakenly) made that maxim his own - "if I write Batman, I can do what the hell I like with him"

I know the comic community has turned on Miller for a perceived swing across the political spectrum - but it just seemed odd to me that he was anything but. Perhaps more subtle. From what I've seen of Batman in literature, there seems to be a very strong leaning towards "might being right".

And (the female) Robin's parents, weren't they blow smoking hippy wastrels? But it's not just the literary themes, it's the art too. Batman's image in these comics (far more than any other hero) seems to represent pure, unadulterated power and will. Perhaps suggesting that beyond token left-right politics, this is what Miller values.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:19 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Miller's always had that "might makes right" cowboy streak in his work, and he's always had a rugged individualist thing going on. If his politics have evolved in any sense, I'd say that his alignment is still generally the same, but that he's gotten a lot more reactionary. Too much time in a bubble, is my guess. He used to be a young rabble-rouser with his fingers in the dirt.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:38 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Ken wrote:
Miller's always had that "might makes right" cowboy streak in his work, and he's always had a rugged individualist thing going on. If his politics have evolved in any sense, I'd say that his alignment is still generally the same, but that he's gotten a lot more reactionary. Too much time in a bubble, is my guess. He used to be a young rabble-rouser with his fingers in the dirt.


Perhaps in the 80s he identified power differently to today.

Didn't he portray Regan as a kind of dumb pawn in the DKR? Suggesting that this stance, and his disrespect of him, wasn't owed to politics per se, but because he didn't exercise his own will?

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:41 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
I think his objection was to government totalitarianism more than anything else--which is odd, because in this context Reagan's crime is that he isn't the right kind of totalitarian.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:57 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
I think the perception may have been that Miller was ridiculing Reagan because he was of the right. But in retrospect it may have been because he was a tool of the right, which aren't the same things.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:11 am
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
Ken wrote:
I'm pretty sure it was a Christmas release. Or a Christmas season release, at any rate. It was a well-promoted book--part of a series of oversized, square-bound releases done in sort of a hybrid comic book/storybook style, with Paul Dini and Alex Ross, both of whom are superstars in their field. Kind of a big deal.

The complete series includes Superman: Peace on Earth, Batman: War on Crime, Captain Marvel: Power of Hope, Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth, and Justice League: Liberty and Justice, plus a retelling of all the characters' origins called Justice League: Secret Origins. It's all collected in a pretty nifty volume called (none too humbly) "The World's Greatest Superheroes".

My favorite part about these books is that the authors deliberately stayed away from superhero/supervillain slugfests, instead pitting the heroes against realer problems that are more difficult to solve--Superman and world hunger, Batman and the roots of urban crime, Captain Marvel and children in need, Wonder Woman and people living under oppressive regimes, Justice League and a misunderstood plague that threatens the world. This is a better sort of storytelling, in my opinion. It's stuff that superheroes were originally invented for, before the genre got stuck up its own ass.


Ah, that's where I recognised the image from. I'm a fan of Alex Ross's artwork (love Astro City), but I didn't find "The World's Greatest Superheroes" particularly memorable, to be honest. I still agree that it was a nice change from the "superhero/supervillain slugfests", as you put it so aptly, and I appreciate the genuine attempt to get to the essence of the characters.

Ken wrote:
Well, this requires that one chart Frank Miller's progress with the character through time. He's written Batman a handful of times, and there are four majors.
...
Then he returned to Batman again about a decade hence with All Star Batman and Robin, which was hyped as being a part of the same universe as Dark Knight, with popular art guy Jim Lee doing the pencil work. Words cannot describe what happened, except that the level of contempt Miller shows here for the character, the genre, and even his own past work can only be summed up through images such as this:

Image

In conclusion, Miller's work on Batman is very much a catalog of his progressively declining standards and his worsening insanity.


I actually found this particular bit from "All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder" hilariously funny. The series itself has its moments, but isn't good, overall. It is even more disappointing if you consider how good "The Dark Knight Return" and "Year One" are. Speaking of which: If 'Batman Begins' had been a straight adaptation of "Year One" rather than lifting a number of elements from it, it would have made for a much better movie.

I think Miller's right-wing political leanings are very much in evidence in "The Dark Knight Returns" as well. His depiction of the psychiatrist, who is promoting the Joker's reintegration into society, is basically lampooning social rehabilitation as a concept. The media discussions on Batman are also shown in a very one-sided fashion, because the people arguing against Batman's one man "war on crime" are portrayed as sissies and not being in touch with reality, although, if you think about it, you should really question whether a highly privileged billionaire with access to military-grade equipment should really be allowed to dish out rough justice without any accountability whatsoever. It's a shame that 'The Dark Knight Rises' only touched on this issue very superficially before dropping it altogether.


Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman 2015
On topic, I think that this movie will probably do very well in the U.S. regardless of quality, but might have problems internationally. The image of Wonder Woman, which Ken has provided above, shows why: She's a buxom babe in star-spangled hotpants, which will look absolutely ridiculous to many non-Americans, I believe. In fact, the name "Wonder Woman" sounds a bit ridiculous, too, even by superhero standards (and don't get me started on the "lasso of truth" or the invisible plane). Further, Wonder Woman has little recognistion outside of the U.S. and perhaps the UK. I think the 70ies TV show, which my British wife remembers as a camp classic, hasn't been on the telly anywhere else. Marvel were rather clever when they introduced their lesser-known and/or more outlandish characters in stand-alone movies before bringing it all together with 'The Avengers'. Many moviegoers, who aren't into superhero comic books, would have probably thought that the idea of a Norse god as a superhero is laughable, and I suspect they'll think the same about an Amazonian princess.


Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:41 pm
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