The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘philip josé farmer’

Batman & Willpower = Green Lantern Batman?

Posted by BigWords on February 7, 2010

I’ve gotten bored waiting on the Comic World News forum sending me posting privileges, so I’ll post my response to Kurt Busiek’s answer to The Hooded Utilitarian’s question of why Batman (with all the willpower and intellect he displays) hasn’t been tapped by the Corps for a Green Lantern gig. The various answers about why he hasn’t received the ring are all valid, though there is perhaps a little too much “outside looking in” going on, with people justifying the non-ring status by way of saying that the books work better with Green Lantern (who is always Hal Jordan to me, no matter who else wears the ring) wielding the alien tech while Bats skulks around in alleyways and rooftops. True. But also true is the fact that the ring, when looking for a suitable replacement, would have the smarts to avoid those who would spur its’ offer.

I’ll play ‘What If…’ for a moment (even though the House Of Ideas lays claim to that particular title) and say that Batman is up against a foe who not only outguns him, but potentially outsmarts him: He’s on the rooftop, doing whatever he does between breaking the teeth of goons and mooks… Eating a sandwich perhaps, or checking Wonder Woman’s Twitter updates even. Then he hears the sound of a bank’s alarm ringing through the night, the wail of police sirens rushing to the scene, and faint screams in the distance. This is when he gets to do his stuff, rushing to the scene. But what if it isn’t just The Penguin, or some other rogue from his assembled list of walking, talking punching bags? Lets say there is a maniacal genius who has closed each end of the road with tanks. And there are a bunch of ex-military types brandishing FBG’s.

This is the point where Nightwing, or Green Arrow, or The Question, or any number of similarly non-powered characters would decide that making a call to the JLA for some serious back-up would be a good idea – 1-800-SAVEMYASS please. Not “Bats”, because he likes to like up to that nickname. He would see it as a challenge. He’s played the archetypal Badass Normal for so long that even thinking of wimping out would be completely unacceptable. Now, as he’s checking out the enemy he’ll probably spot the one critical weakness in the plan (because that is what he does), and he might let the merest trace of a grin flicker over his features for a second. But only ever in the shadows, because ‘Batman’ doesn’t smile.

Right at this moment, if it were in a P.J. Farmer novel, we would be gifted to a nice little description of a stretching of his underpants, nudging his utility belt into his stomach. Point being – Batman gets off on beating the shit out of his enemies without resorting to anything more than his brains and his fists. It is the defining aspect of the dark knight detective. And even if he did get tapped by the ring to bear the mantle of an intergalactic police force, he wouldn’t go flying off to some other planet to save little six-armed purple aliens, or talking horses, or… y’know, whatever…  when there are still pimps and drug dealers on the streets of Gotham waiting to get seven shades of shit kicked out of them. He would refuse the call to arms. C’mon, honestly – can you imagine him reciting the “In brightest day” schtick without dying a little inside.

So the ring wouldn’t approach him because he would refuse it.

And if it did reach him, he would refuse it anyway.

And if he really, really wanted a green ring (ignoring the current BN storyline) he would only have to ask GL for a loan of the damn thing. No, scratch that. He would have a plan in place whereby he would get it, even if he had to do pull some really nasty and amoral moves to get his hands on the ring, because he has plans for everything. That is who Batman is. He exists for the dank, horrible side streets of a city where you’re as likely to get gassed by the Joker, or eaten by Killer Croc, as you are to make it through the rush hour traffic in time for work. He is part of the city in ways that other heroes just… aren’t. Beyond the connection to Lois, Superman could be based anywhere on the planet. Same with Wonder Woman. Batman’s family is part of Gotham history, tying his existence as Batman to the place.

Those are the reasons why Batman wouldn’t become a Green Lantern in regular continuity.

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You’re still thinking of Batman’s boner though, right? All my points, laid out in logical fashion, and the Bat-stiffy is all that sunk in?

Posted in comics, Over The Line | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

A Little Bit Of Tape And A Dab Of Glue

Posted by BigWords on July 21, 2009

or, How To Create A Cohesive Universe From Disparate Sources

There is a litany of characters already firmly established in Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton concept, but I thought it might be fun to tie together some of the wilder and weirder ideas in one place. Why? Well, why not? Lets see how far this can be taken…

The incorporation of ‘lost islands’ is one which is incredibly difficult to reasonably incorporate into the overall WN ethos. There are very few places on planet Earth that have not been comprehensively mapped, analyzed and placed on charts and maps, and those (very few) places where no studies have been conducted at length are so small in comparison to the ‘known’ world that inclusion of some of fiction’s most recognized islands is largely being eroded in the WN “canon” (a hotly disputed concept in itself).

I propose an elegant solution to placing ‘lost islands’ in a sideways dimension so that they may still be referred to in Wold Newton fiction.

We have some idea of the layout of Alice’s Wonderland, and Godzilla’s Monsterland (Site Omega if you have seen the 90’s cartoon) has been explored enough, so some rough geographic features can be aligned. Yup, that all adds to the reality for the concept. But the most important aspect to the WN idea is the pruning away of unnecessary additions. Meh. Bring on the fun…

The whole ‘secrecy’ subject relating to the locations poses a problem if they are located in physical areas which can be easily accessed, and from which creatures and characters can enter real locations. The solution I propose involves the removal of all these places to an ‘other’ reality, separated from our own by a means of hidden ‘doorways’.

Time flows at different rates in Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, where an hour on earth can represent a few seconds, a minute, a week, a year or longer in that realm. I get the feeling that Narnia, with weird time dilations and characters who know of Earth, is somewhere in Dreamland. Lovecraft’s magical dimension is also a good entry point due to the nature of the natural inhabitants, who can be considered immortal as long as they don’t or disease. This would give us room to place the mythical Olympus (and thus all of the Greek gods) firmly within its’ environment.

If the archipelago of strange locations is actually located in another dimension, then it is safe to say that Gulliver would have somehow managed to end up there for his adventures as recounted by Jonathan Swift. I’ll come back to Noble’s Island, from The Island Of Dr. Moreau, later on. We’ll just stick everything else here too: Valhalla, Olympus, Avalon, Gort Na Cloca Mora and other mythical places all located in this dimension. Simple.

I like the idea of adding a few comic book and television characters into the Wold Newton line as well, so Torchwood (which already has the concept of The Rift in place) can get added. The old Warlord comic-book, which is itself set in a kooky dimension, lends itself easily to inclusion, as does Shangri-La (which ties in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and The Champions TV show). Bulletproof Monk is in the mix as well, though I can’t recall offhand if it was specifically mentioned as Shangri-La he came from.

The Savage Land, home to KaZar, seems to be King Kong’s home as well. Turok (Gold Key comics) probably passed through here as well at some point, and Tarzan is a logical anchor to the Wold Newton family tree, so he gets to play with the giant animals as well. This is where I come back to Dr. Moreau, and his experiments. I pointed out the strange time-bending properties of the Dreamlands a few paragraphs ago, and it makes sense that Moreau was one of the earliest visitors (chronologically) to the island. His experiments, and their descendants, are the monsters which pop up every so often. I figure that The Savage Land would probably be near the centre of the island chain due to its rain-forest appearance in the comics.

With Turok, his original appearances being the ones I concentrate on, we get aliens as well. Fine. That opens up other planets in both this dimension and in the Dreamlands. I’m liking this idea.

There is nothing to say that a person entering the Dreamlands in 188? will appear thousands (or millions) of years in the past or future when they enter the dimension, so it doesn’t discount the myths, legends or fables which are tangentially tied to this concept. The seas around the islands can also accommodate underwater beings, as well as the not-yet-submerged Atlantis. And we can use this to add Namor, The Man From Atlantis (TV) and Aquaman. Which, of course, ties back into Conan and a bunch of Lovecraft ideas anyway.

So, in short, we have gods, dinosaurs, mutated monster-men-creatures, the dead, the undead, extinct creatures, ‘aliens’ and a whole host of problems for a clean introduction into the WN continuity. There can be no (or, at the least, limited) interaction with the wider world from these locations. It is hardly conductive to maintaining a sturdy world-view if there is a stream of ‘exotic’ creatures running around. There is a need for their inclusion in the overall continuity to maintain the stories in which characters appear as canonical, but enough distance needs to be created so that their existence is maintained shrouded in secrecy.

Not that I’ve thought about this much…

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »