The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘shared universe’

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?

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Business As Normal

Posted by BigWords on July 25, 2009

The last couple of posts were kinda lazy, pulling up stuff from disk and fobbing you guys off (which sucks – I know), but the course, my writing and a commitment for the end of next month have eaten into my already-tight schedule. So it’s back to business as normal…

Which means that I’m off on another tangent, and thinking strange thoughts.

I spent a while yesterday afternoon looking at my western-not-a-western and trying to decide when to drop the bomb. The story has taken a leap into deep mythology without me even trying to be smart, and there are now references to Aztek curses, angry spirits and ‘ghost lights’ alongside the usual shootouts. There was a half-second when I considered using a little bit of Cthulhu mythos in there as well, but I don’t want to over-egg the weirdness factor. And I took out the zombies, ’cause that would be too much even for me.

This all built itself up from a couple of completely disconnected scenes which I couldn’t figure out. Now there is a couple of thousand years of back-story, two time frames and a massive monologue which (hopefully) ties everything together. I’m still patchworking in some facts, strange characters, references and sly call-backs, but at least it looks like something that I am not completely dissatisfied with.

It was only when I got to the beginning of the mid-section (a long and convoluted trek through the middle of nowhere to find lost gold) did I realize that I have managed to link it in to some of my other stories. This is where I should explain that my stories were never intended to share a single universe, but the cumulative effect of simultaneously writing different eras, genres and formats (short stories and novels) has manifested a few common points of reference:

  1. The Native American whose skeleton is discovered in a thriller short story is of the same tribe who appear in The Reverend. Might even be a character from the novel…
  2. There’s some loose threads from Faerwither which get tied up in the monologue, though it is presented as a myth in this instance. I may leave it as it is, but the coincidental use of a common legend is slightly jarring when surrounded by other elements.
  3. A similarly-described charm to the one the MC wears turns up (chronologically) a hundred or so years later in Ghost Bureau, and has an important plot surrounding it.

It isn’t as if I am deliberately creating a cohesive universe across my work, but it seems to be happening regardless.

I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of whathefuck moments passed by completely, when something extraordinary happens and none of the characters seems too put out. The tidying up of the absurdisms will get done soon, when I have time to edit properly. There are many people who use anything they like in a story, but I have always had a hard time censoring my own thoughts – That goes some way to explain one of the stranger concepts (which has been shunted to one side now), but was originally going to be my first novel…

The novel in question began life when I was probably six or seven years old. Yes, six or seven years old, because you’re never too young to start. I didn’t write anything, but that is when the idea came to me for a fantasy story which, looking back on it, is probably no sillier than many ideas which have made it into print.

The basic concept came to me – and stuck in my brain for the better part of a decade – when I was playing on the floor, my toys laid out in front of me. I remember sorting the action figures into ranks, standing them in rows according to how large they were. The giant Voltron robot (which may have been a Hong Kong knock-off come to think of it) was at the back, with all of the Action Man figures. In front of them were the slightly smaller figures from Super Powers, He-Man, ThunderCats and other mid-sized toys.

In front of those stood the Action Force, Star Wars and tiny little toys. I seem to recall a handful which had shiny silver 3D stickers for faces, or maybe on their chests… The very smallest toys stood in the front, little 5mm tall yellow figures (I have no idea of their origin, so they remain a question mark) and some Dinky cars. The basic thought which kept interrupting my already-logical little mind was one of scale, and I struggled to put them all in a single story. When I think about it, most of the other kids had no problem whatsoever accepting the varying sizes of their playthings…

The story unfolded itself over the course of my school days, when I discovered lots of little facts that could help me orchestrate the idea of a planet with characters ranging in height from a few inches to dozens of feet tall. I also came up with a massive cast of characters at this point – somewhere in the region of two thousand main characters and many, many secondary ones. I threw everything and the kitchen sink into the epic, with werepeople, robots, the ghosts of dinosaurs, talking monkeys (just because) and other strangeness.

The original story now exists as a series of tales (300-500 pages handwritten) in the bottom left hand drawer of my desk. I’ll eventually look through them to see what I can salvage, but I have a feeling that I will be disappointed. So there you have it… The roots of my writing addiction, and a disturbing glimpse into the mind of a child who was plotting out an epic when he should have been playing in the sun.

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