24 July, 2010

At the Hop

Thanks to Oh YA! Comics I found out about this fairly awesome Book Blog party! And, since it seems like fun, I thought I'd join in. I've already found a bunch of fun new book blogs - check out my sidebar for all the blogs I think everyone ought to check out :D

Book Blogger Hop

This week's challenge was TELL US ABOUT THE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING!, which is a little hard as I've only just started reading my current book. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon, is the story of two comic book creators in the 1940's, one of whom is desperately trying to help his family escape Nazi Europe. I've read Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union and loved it, so I'm pretty excited about finally getting my teeth stuck into this one - I borrowed it off a friend back in February, oops.

If you've hopped here:
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be making that Famous Five post I've promised! I'd rather be doing that than what I'm currently doing, which is transcribing interviews. Sigh.

21 July, 2010

Wednesday Moment - Ti(c)k to(c)k

Since we're on the subject of Batman...

20 July, 2010

Teen Detectives Inc. Presents: The Boy Wonder Special

No, I haven't disappeared! I've just been super busy with a research project. I'm working on a Famous Five post, but in the meantime, here's a bit of frippery, courtesy of my indistinguishable love for all things Batman.

Have you ever heard of Batman? Of course you have, you're alive. You are perfectly familiar with the masked vigilante with abs of steel and a penchant for flying mammals and women who dress like cats! What you might not know, unless you are big into comics, is that Batman wasn't originally conceived as a superhero as such, but more of a detective. His original appearance was in the appropriately named Detective Comics, a title which is still running. And while Batman may be an adult of questionable sanity, he has often had young, teenaged sidekicks helping him solve crime. And unlike the teen detectives who work in children's books, the comics industry is not averse to showing something absolutely shocking: sometimes, teen detectives grow up.

Oh, and sometimes they die.

So what will future bring for our favourite teen detectives - the Nancy Drews, the Hardy Boys, the Trixies and Fives and Megs? Or rather, what would the future bring, if they were ever allowed to age? Batman's sidekick, Robin - er, Robins - can teach us some valuable lessons.

Robin #1 - Dick Grayson
This is probably the Robin most people are familiar with. Dick Grayson's parents were acrobats in a circus, who were cruelly murdered after witnessing a crime. Batman then took in Dick, leaving millions of fans to wonder a) why a single man was taking in an orphaned boy 2) whether letting him wear a bright red costume and fight crime was in any way sane and iii) seriously, how hilarious is the name "Dick".

Where-to from Robin: Dick eventually became frustrated with always being Batman's sidekick, and eventually took on a new identity, Nightwing, and moved from Gotham City to Bludhaven, where he began to fight crime on his own. Since Bruce Wayne, the original Batman, got lost in time*, he has taken on the identity of his mentor and is the new Batman in Gotham City.

The Lesson: Once a detective, always a detective. Detecting is in the blood, and our teen detectives are going to grow up into... adult detectives.

Robin #2 - Jason Todd
Jason first brought himself to Batman's notice when he stole the wheels off the Batmobile, giving him the honour of being the Robin with the biggest balls. Batman thought the kid had potential, and took him in with the hope of setting him on the straight and narrow. It didn't entirely work. Jason frequently disobeyed orders, he rebelled, he even - gasp! - smoked.

Where-to from Robin: Jason found out the mother he remembered was not his biological mother. He eventually found his birth-mother, but was brutally slaughtered by the Joker for his efforts. Batman put up a memorial to him in his Batcave to provide years of angst. Jason was later accidentally brought back to life**, and has since proved to be kind of a sociopath. Waking up in your own coffin will do that to you, I guess. He was last seen falling off a building, but it's not like being dead has ever stopped him before.

The Lesson: Not every villain will make do with tying up a teen detective and cackling before revealing all their plans. Our teen detectives ought to have a bullet proof vest, at the very least. Although may I suggest a tank?

Robin #3 - Tim Drake
Tim is what many people may term a stalker. That is, he stalks people. He stalked Batman and Nightwing until Batman finally gave in and let him be Robin 3.0, because Batman appreciates that kind of dedication.

Where-to from Robin: Tim stayed as Robin until his Dad asked him to quit so that the two of them could have a semblance of a normal life. He later returned to the position, but at Bruce Wayne's disappearance he decided to go his own way, taking a new name.

The Lesson: You may be a detective, but you're still a teen, and you have to do what your parents tell you. You better have tidied your room and taken out the trash by the time I get home, young lady, or there'll be hell to pay.

Robin #4 - Stephanie Brown
Steph's dad was a D-rate villain, and she wasn't very happy about it. She made her own costume - a purple cloak and black mask - and taking the name of Spoiler set out to, uh, spoil his plans. She met Robin/Tim Drake and the two started a thing, but he and Batman were supremely unhappy about her doing her own vigilante/detecting, claiming that her recklessness would only get her killed. However, after Tim quit the first time, she finally convinced Batman to make her part of the team, and she became the first, and as yet only, female Robin.

Where-to from Robin: Steph's recklessness... eventually got her killed. Batman wouldn't put up a memorial to her in the Batcave, either. However, it later turned out that Steph was only pretending to be dead so she could find herself***. She went back to being Spoiler for a little while, but is currently the latest in a short line of Batgirls.

The Lesson: Even if you're a great teen detective, not everyone is going to believe you can hack it out there in the adult world. (Oh, and Batman is a dick.)

Robin #5 - Damian Wayne
Damian is Bruce Wayne's son. Well, biologically, anyway. His mother, Talia, probably drugged Bruce and had sex with him in order to raise his son as the perfect assassin****. Damian badly wants to impress his father, but his early training means he is ruthless and completely lacks empathy. He's also ten years old, which means he spends a fair amount of time staring at Stephanie Brown's chest.

Where-to after Robin: Unknown, as yet.

The Lesson: If our teen detectives are too successful, assassins may use them to breed future detectives. Actually, that might explain the horror that is Famous 5: On the Case.

* Everyone thought he was dead, see, but then they found that there were clues all through history which were pointing to the existence of a Batman through the ages and... look, comics are messed up. You just learn to roll with it after a while.
** There're these pits, OK, and if you throw a dead person into them they come back to life. It all makes perfect sense!
*** She didn't suffer from recklessness so much as bad writing. Fans hated that she was tortured and killed, but they hated even more that she was blamed for her own death and wasn't even really allowed to be mourned by the other characters.
**** This is where just rolling with it comes in