Let’s talk Batman

A couple of Friends on Facebook have been in a discussion, on one of my threads, about Batman. It seems one really likes the Nolan pictures featuring Bale and the other thought Affleck was a bad choice. Here is my take, coming from a person who has read Batman comics, watched almost everything filmed or televised offering related to the Dark Knight, on and off, since I was about 9 years old. The one and only Batman, to me, will always be Kevin Conroy [Batman: The Animated Series] with Jason O’Mara [DC Animated Universe] coming in a close second. Batman: The Animated Series, along with Conroy, is the reason we have the Batman mythos we have today… good or bad. Batman’s voice VS Bruce Wayne’s voice, The “No Killing / No Guns” rule [even though Michael Keaton’s Batman has 50 caliber machine guns on the Bat-Wing], and of course Mark Hamill’s take on the Joker. The DC animated films and television shows tend to be much, MUCH better than the Live-Action movies. Now, onto the discussion …

Ben Affleck’s Batman is the best on screen Batman we have been given. Better than Bale, Keaton, definitely Clooney, and, until Affleck, my personal favorite Val Kilmer [a great Batman in an awful movie]. I say that being a fan of Ben Affleck the Actor, Writer, & Director, at the same time loathing Ben Affleck the person. His portrayal of the Dark Knight is a perfect amalgamation of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” Dystopian retiree and Denny O’Neil’s Batman from which Christopher Nolan [along with writer David S. Goyer] took so much influence for his “Dark Knight” trilogy. Affleck’s Batman is brooding, violent, vengeful, angry, willing to kill the vilest amongst us knowing that if he lets them live, he is just as responsible as the criminal for the lives that will be lost in the future. He is utterly charming as Bruce Wayne, whilst at the same time being attentive and aware as the Brilliant Detective we have loved since his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, in which he wore a sidearm, and dealt with Criminal thugs, Uncaring Landlords & Petty Immigrant Housing Owners in a decidedly brutal fashion. Affleck sums up the Batman I fell in love with in the 90’s. The one who took on the Genius Manipulations of Bane, fought with and against, The Avenging Angel of the Order of St. Dumas… Azreal, Dealt with the sinister machinations of Doctor Hugo Strange, all the while having to deal with one of the Deadliest and well known Rouge’s Gallery in the Comic Book Universe [DC or Marvel].

The DCEU films [DC Extended Universe] do need a serious overhaul to match up to the level of the first Iron Man release, the Russo’s Bros. Captain America films, the under-rated Ant-Man movie, and of course Joss Whedon’s cinematic circus known as The Avenger’s… and I am sure they will get it right [especially with Geoff Johns heading the DC arm of Warner Brothers films]. Just as a note, Affleck’s Batman is barely in Suicide Squad, but when he is, it is a joy. He seems to almost lament having to take in Will Smith’s Deadshot, especially in front of his young daughter. He is unrelenting, like a Gotham Terminator, going after Margot Robbie’s spot-on Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s forgettable Joker. I am looking forward to what Affleck does in the next few years with my favorite DC Universe Character. He makes up for the misgivings I had about Bale’s interpretation [only a couple of Hiccups, but, they are there] making my inner-child jump up and down with fevered-insanity at the thought of another “Bat-Flek” sighting.

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40 YEARS OF HEAVY METAL

 So… a big “Hey there!” and “How have you been?” to the 3 or 4 people that read this blog. It has been a while since I have written. When my job intrudes on my life, it tends to do it in a big way. I just wanted to write a little something about the month of June, in  particular, June 1970. In June 1970, on the 24th day… I opted to join the Human Race. I was born in a very large, small town in Alabama. The town is not all that different, politically and spiritually (if a town can have one of those), than when I was born. I no longer live there, but I work there. Here is a little bit about my hometown. The most popular forms of music are Country, Pop, & Hip-Hop… in that order. Politicians run smear ads against their opponents, accusing them of believing in Evolution and not believing that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I AM NOT JOKING! It is legal to Marry a 2nd cousin in my hometown. You get the idea. I hated growing up in that place. I don’t have one friend from childhood, even though I lived there, or near there, most of my life. The friends I have now are people I met, as an adult, who knew how to grow-up and be adult. I didn’t like children when I was younger, and I am not exactly fond of them now… but I digress. I was, and in some ways still am, a Pariah. No one sets out to be that, but I have become that never the less. I state all that to state this. Much like when GOD created Adam and realized what a miserable existence Adam would have without a mate, he also created Eve. The fates seemed to have a similar realization when I was born. On the 24th of June, I came into a world where the number 1 single was “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkle and the heaviest bands on the planet at the time (as far as the United States was concerned) was Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple. It seems the fates decided “that will not be enough for the new citizen” and on June 30th, less than a week later, the fates bestowed upon The United States of America the beginning of the truest, and purest, form of music. The music that is the truth when all other music is proven false. The music that celebrates Power, Strength, and Honor, when all other music is just fodder for punchlines and soundtracks for the weak. The forefathers of what would become known as “Heavy Metal” unleashed on American soil their dark masterpiece “Black Sabbath” by the band Black Sabbath. Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Gezzer Butler, and Bill Ward brought into the world, a new era of music. Now, 40 years later, the album which clocks in at just under 40 minutes, is still regarded as one of the finest examples of Heavy Metal music, as it should be. Anyone who listens to Heavy Metal and understands it to be the example of what music should aspire to be and embrace the genre as their own, knows that album. It was the forerunner for bands like KISS, Judas Priest, Motorhead, etc. Black Sabbath brought to us so much more over the years. Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.), Tony Martin, the Devil Horns (courtesy of RJD). And inspiring artist as diverse as Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Hip-Hop artist ICE-T. I could go on and on. I just want to show appreciation to the Universe, Fate, Kismet, whatever… for allowing me to exist in a time where Heavy Metal is an art form. I could not imagine my life without it. As long as I have been alive, there has been Heavy Metal, and long after I am gone, it will still be here. LONG LIVE HEAVY METAL!!!!!!!