Less Tragic Origin Story

This popped up on my feed the other day:

“Tommy Wayne likes it toasty!”

Interesting take on the Batman origin, for sure. I think it really shows how Batman was created back in the 1930s, when transportation, communication, privacy, and pop culture were radically different from today’s standards. Could a Batman origin story happen today?

Well, if the Waynes had left the movie/opera early, they could just call Alfred with their cell phones to pick them up. Do not want to wait for Alfred to drive out from Wayne Manor? Well, they could always use Uber or some other ride service. Walking through an alley of any sort would be unnecessary.

Even if they did take a stroll through Crime Alley, though, it is hard to imagine that the Waynes would have a security escort. They were pretty far removed from the seedy aspects of Gotham life, and I doubt the Waynes felt enough of a threat for a full-time security presence. Other than Alfred, anyway, who did serve in the military.

And finally, while the Waynes were famous for their social status and philanthropic efforts, pop culture media back then did not compare to today. There were no paparazzi or crazed/obsessive fans like there are today, so if such a tragedy did take place, there is no chance in hell Bruce could drop off the face of the Earth for 10 years and train without anyone finding out.

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Fast Cars, Outrageous Clothes, and the Pursuit of a Destructive Lifestyle

… that is how I would like my life summed up, too.

Like I said when I got my new computer, the first game on my queue of years of Steam sales is Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Sadly, I am not getting as much play time as I would like. I’ve been purposely limiting myself to weekends only, and was too busy this last weekend to get any play in at all. It has been about three weeks, and I’m only about two-thirds of the way through the game. At this rate, it is going to take me forever to get through the trilogy.

Except it is now a tetralogy! Check out this awesome trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight!

This one will be made by Rocksteady again, who made Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. (Arkham Origins was made by WB Montreal.) The game will take place over a larger Gotham, and the streets themselves will be bigger to accommodate driving the Batmobile around!

This Is Not How Batman Dies

LEGO Batman

I saw The LEGO Movie over the weekend with some friends, and it was awesome!

(Expect this song to stuck in your head for days after seeing the movie.)

I had been excited to see it since I saw the first trailer. I grew up playing with LEGOs all the time, and it certainly did not hurt that the Batman minifig was featured in the trailer.

The movie itself was great. Fairly standard hero journey plot, very similar to The Matrix actually, but with tons of pop culture references and humor mixed in, just like the LEGO video games. I was a concerned that Will Arnett was the voice actor for Batman instead of Kevin Conroy, but it worked perfectly, because the Batman of the LEGO Movie was along the lines of Frank Miller’s Absolute Batman – a bit absurd and dickish. Arnett nailed it!

My friends kept joking that this was the best Batman movie, but I have to say, they are partly right. The LEGO basis allows him to be much more light-hearted and campy, and the interactions with the other members of LEGO Justice League were on point. I would not be surprised at all if I enjoyed this more than the upcoming Man of Steel 2/Batman-Superman movie. LEGO needs more feature films!

Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking

Heroes and Villains

I just heard about an exhibit that the Fashion Institute of Technology is putting on right now called “Heroes and Villains.” Too bad it is over in New York, or I would definitely go check it out. The pictures seem to be designers recreating super-costumes pretty faithfully, but what I would really like to see is riffs that keep the theme alive but take the designs in new directions.

Back in 2009, (it is hard to believe it was that long ago now…) after the Battle for the Cowl, there was a contest where fans submitted redesigned Batman costumes for Dick’s ascension, and I absolutely loved the winning entry.

Anjin Anhut's Batman

Not so much for Dick, just because it seems to stray a little far from the classic Batman design, but for fans and me personally, since it seems like a much more practical and realistic design a vigilante could use, especially one just starting out. If you follow through to the link, you will also see an Avatar-esque glider with a bat-shaped silhouette that goes with the costume.

Sad Batman

I have never really liked those family stickers people put on their back windshields. I suppose I am a single guy, so I am not really the target demographic for these things, but I feel like it always makes cars seem so busy, and my aesthetic sense leans more towards the clean de-badged look. However, the geeky riffs on these have gotten a good chuckle out of me, and the new Batman-themed one takes the cake!

Batman Car Decal

Avenge Me

Much like Batman’s appointment in Crime Alley,

Appointment in Crime Alley

April 30th holds a very special significance to the Vietnamese refugee population around the world. Often referred to as “Black April” or “The Day We Lost Our Country,” it is the anniversary of the fall of Saigon, when the communist army entered the Vietnamese capital, American forces withdrew from the war, and the Vietnamese government surrendered.

Vietnamese people are fiercely nationalistic. I suppose that comes from bring oppressed for much of our history. I grew up learning patriotic anthems and listening to folk tales about resistance fighters struggling against the 1,000 years of Chinese tyranny and 100 years of French colonialism. When I went to Vietnamese school as a child, the school motto was, “As long as we keep our language, we keep our culture. As long as we keep our culture, we keep our country.” At an International Viet Youth Conference I attended, when a friend of mine was asked, “Where do you live?”, his reply was, “I am staying in Australia at the moment, but my home is in Vietnam.” At my grandfather’s funeral service, during my father’s eulogy, he mentioned that my grandfather’s fervent wish was to see a free Vietnam, if not during his lifetime, then during his children’s or his grandchildren’s.

Sadly, I find myself doubting the likelihood of that wish coming to pass. No one in my generation (in my family, anyway) is as involved as my grandfather or my father was in Viet activism. In fact, most of my generation has trouble with keeping the language alive, let alone the culture or the country. My own Vietnamese language skills have dropped since I stopped going to Viet school, and while I can still hold a conversation, I do not believe I could teach the next generation. More than that, I find that many of my generation, unlike my friend from the conference, think of ourselves as Americans with a Vietnamese background rather than Vietnamese residing in America. I think my grandfather and my father must know this at some level, because we have had family talks about how my generation tends to think in English and translate into Vietnamese instead of the other way around. It seems like such a little difference, but actually is of fundamental importance. Language shapes perception, as is often demonstrated with Eskimo words for snow.

It makes me wonder if Batman ever wonders about his legacy. Sure, there can never be a ultimate victory against or surrender to crime, and you cannot truly move away from crime. But will future Batmen be as unrelenting as Bruce Wayne?

The Queen’s English

This week’s writing challenge is all about slang.

Slang, and linguistics in general, has been an interest of mine for a while. Growing up as a second-generation American, I learned pretty fast that accents shape perception. Watching My Fair Lady just solidified that theory. It is amazing to me that you can learn so much about a person’s background just by listening to their voice.

Batman is, of course, a master on this subject, and uses it to his advantage both when encountering others

and to disguise his own identity.

Batman Voice

On this blog, I try to write as properly as possible, striving to minimize the use of slang and even contractions. My friends will tell you that in person, I tend to use a lot more slang and cussing in my conversations. Some might say that I am disguising my real identity from my readers. I just see it as a compartmentalization of my life. Neither is the “real” me and neither is the “fake” me. I just have different faces I present in difference situations. I do not talk to my parents the same way I talk to my friends, and I do not write school papers the way I write on forums online. All of these aspects are still reflections of my identity, though.

Some people have a hard time wrapping their minds around this idea, and claim that kids today are ruining English with their txt spk and their urban dictionary‘ed vernacular. I feel there is no problem as long as they can accurately convey their ideas to the intended audience.