An Unnecessary War

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.”- Anais Nin

Fans. Oh fans! Fanatics, why can’t we use our noggins? Does it all need to be about emotions? Who our favorite is? Are the pitchforks necessary…every time we disagree?! I don’t think so.

Here’s the view from where I sit: the court of public opinion has grown, especially in the era of the interwebs. What irks me is…despite the wealth of knowledge provided from said internet, people, most notably, critics, have a willful reluctance to actually use it. No matter how you spin it, willful ignorance is a serious problem (also a very human one).

For example, the volume of books being converted into movies has increased exponentially in the last few years. Twilight, Ender’s Game, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, and countless others have been subject. Hell, some of the moviegoers who carry these franchise and make the successful ones just that have not even read the former medium. That is nuts to me.

Being someone who isn’t abhorrent to reading or researching, I perceive such a finding, unsettling.

A more glaring genre lies in the wide world of comic books. I, a self anointed comic-phile, immediately see the hypocrisy and contradiction in people’s arguments. They want to tear down franchises, actors, directors, and studios for utilizing an interpretation some do not favor. Your entire stance is… subjective.

Marvel Comics have fortunately have established a strong enough continuity to weather almost any critical storm. However, the DC Comic Universe is not so lucky…

The benchmarks and archetypes, Batman and Superman, have had multiple launches and have yet to establish a sustained momentum. Each hero has been played by many actors: Christopher Reeves, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Brandon Routh, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Henry Cavill, and most recently, Ben Affleck. Throughout near misses, blockbusters, feature failures, one factor has not been captured…longevity.

I have spoken to so many in the case of favorites. In Batman’s case, Keaton/Burton or Bale/Nolan usually get the nod. Rarely I have encountered an opinion like mine; one where both or all could be liked and/or respected as great renditions. I didn’t really know why. I figured that certain people related to particular characteristics or personal histories or a sexual attraction to aforementioned casting (that last one is more influential than you would think). A few months ago I realized the difference, between me and some others: comic book knowledge.

Mainly, a  detailed knowledge of continuity and the contrast of ages (Golden, Atomic, Silver, Bronze, Dark, and Modern). My point is in each “age”, Bruce and Clark have had personality transplants. Whether it was campy or grim and gritty, there was no one consistent iteration.

One for each: In the early days, Batman used to have blue in his costume and a gun in his holster. A gun. Nowadays, he would never carry, use, or brandish a firearm. The main argument is that he is a weapon; one of the world’s best martial artists. Also his origin, the way his parents died, would naturally lead to a trauma-laden disdain for guns.

In contrast, Superman, in his heyday, was so powerful that he could juggle planets. Literally. In addition, he was a chauvinist and a selfish jerk. All and all, he was better than others and he knew it (which separated him from humanity). The most prominent version of Supes (throughout the ages) and the one we all know and love, acknowledges his time on Earth, life as an Earthling, and uses his parents ideals (Jonathan Kent and Martha Kent) to be a morally just man and symbol for truth and justice. His humanity defines him.

Don’t get me wrong…the core of who these heroes are has not changed (at least not in the last two decades). So to say one is better than another is purely subjective.

Period.

Bye for now, KS.

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