This is not a post about Batman.

I own three superhero shirts. Two have the Bat-logo, and one has a Captain America shield.

A while back, right after Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, I saw a lot of people going on and on about how much Batman sucks, especially in contrast with Cap. (That debate may still be raging somewhere on Tumblr and I just don’t see it because I unfollowed people, because life’s too short to pit the characters I love against each other.) Blah blah grimdark blah blah rich asshole blah blah brooding blah blah etc.

But the way I see it, both Bruce Wayne — and the rest of the Batfamily — and Steve Rogers are the kind of people who, upon seeing an injustice, upon seeing people hurt, throw themselves into the fight fists swinging. Doesn’t matter if they havetheir suits and their weapons: they keep going until either the perpetrator is out of commission or they can’t fight themselves anymore. And even once they’re down and out, they try to get back up for one more blow.

Take away all of the Bat’s gadgets and money, take away Cap’s serum and shield, and what do you have left?

Well — someone with the same powers as me, plus the tenacity and the determination to help people be safe.

Erskine and Steve

“Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”

Maybe that’s my power fantasy.

A while back my roommate and I intervened in a situation in which a woman was being harassed by a guy, who ended up getting physically intimidating. I remember it was an unthinking, snap decision to go help, and I got scared right in the middle of it because I was so not prepared for how aggressive he became, and I hope that I would do it again anyway, because there were people who saw this woman fighting with this guy and walked right past and Bruce Wayne and Steve Rogers would never do that.

Poor Hawkguy.My favorite superheroes are not very super when you come right down to it. They have no advantages of super strength or invulnerability or psychic powers. Fundamentally, they’re just the kind of people who reject the bystander effect whether or not that’s the smart thing to do, because it’s the right thing to do. Clint Barton, Barbara Gordon, Clarice Starling, Peggy Carter, Frodo and Sam. I mean, clearly, that rejection of the bystander effect applies to pretty much every superhero you care to name (except maybe Guy Gardner? That guy’s kind of a jerk). That’s why they’re heroes. But I like best the ones who do it even when they’re at a disadvantage.

The show I’m working on right now, Little Bee, has a lot to say about being the person who steps forward when no one else will. There are times when asking a stranger if they’re okay seems as unthinkable as standing in front of a bullet for them — and just as heroic.

This show also has Batman in it. Not a coincidence, I think.

The difference between me and Steve Rogers is that I frequently fail to extend that hand, to call out of he injustices I see. Because damn, that stuff is hard. Because I’m running late. Because I’m uncertain. Because I’m embarrassed. Because I’m scared.

But that’s what superheroes do for us, right? They give us something to aim for.

And what Steve and Bruce tell me is that we don’t need utility belts. We don’t have to wait for an origin story to find us. We’ll be enough.

Bruce Wayne offering food to a street kid.

“On the other hand, the madness of being the first in the crowd to move.” —Little Bee

But where’s my Promethea movie?

Black Widow movie poster by Alice X Zhang

Not a real movie. (By Alice X. Zhang, http://www.alicexz.com.)

Making the rounds of social media lately is the Daily Dot’s article “Why we may never get a Black Widow movie.” Some highlights:

As Andrew Wheeler of Comics Alliance pointed out, Marvel Studios will soon have made 10 movies starring blond men named Chris before it has made a film with a woman or a person of color in the lead role.

The most obvious explanation for Marvel’s lack of a female-led superhero movie is, of course, sexism. The explanation for the lack of a Black Widow movie specifically is rather more complicated.

… Johansson reputedly signed a six-picture deal, but after Avengers: Age of Ultron and presumably Captain America 3, she only has one movie left. If Marvel wants a Black Widow franchise, then they’ll have to renegotiate and pay her more money. And because Marvel Studios is known for paying its actors as little as humanly possible (unless they’re Robert Downey Jr., who can demand the big bucks), they’d probably prefer to launch a female superhero movie starring someone much cheaper.

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Mini-review: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

By p1xer on deviantart.com.

By p1xer on deviantart.com.

I finally caught up with the rest of the world and saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier yesterday. I have a mess of notes I jotted down during the credits, in the vain hope that I might write a full review, but I have two posts in my drafts folder I really want to finish, plus at least two just-for-fun writing projects that I’m actually excited about, so that full review may never materialize.

I do want to touch briefly on the movie’s central ideological theme, though, before I get too distracted. Spoilers ahoy!


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Review: “Song of Spider-Man”

Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano as Peter and MJ, at the Tonys. They sound like nice kids. I forgive Carney for his lackluster turn as Ferdinand in “The Tempest.”

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine, Becca, acquired a copy of Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History, by Glen Berger. She then sent it on to a friend of ours in England, Debi who had seen the show with her in New York. They wrote about their thoughts on the book, and they agreed on several things: that Glen Berger is unnervingly in love with Julie Taymor, that Glen Berger finds it very important to tell everyone that he is a Serious Professional Writer, and that the book invites you to throw it across the room multiple times.

I, stressed out about the upcoming tech week for the spectacular production I was assisting on, commented to Debi that I HAD to read this book. And just before tech week actually started, I got a parcel from the Royal Post containing Glen Berger’s tell-all.

My cackling could, I hope, be heard across the pond.

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Vengeance, the Night, and Feeling Like A Fake Fan

The Origin Story

It’s possible you’ve noticed that I like Batman a lot.

(Also selfies.)

I blame this liking for Batman mostly on my college roommate, Lillian, who introduced me to characters like Harley Quinn and incepted me with the idea that Batman: The Animated Series is the perfect Batman. I also blame Christopher Nolan’s films, particularly The Dark Knight, which was the first time I’d consumed Batman media that got into my head and my heart. (I have fuzzy memories of seeing either Batman Forever orBatman & Robin in theaters with my cousin, but my uncertainty over whether it was Mr. Freeze or Two-Face ought to tell you how much impact that movie had on my psyche.)

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Link Round-Up: Women, Media, and Things That Are Cool

Alexander McQueen’s collection at the Met. Also known as what I would like my production of The Tempest to look like, in that daydream world where I produce it with an unlimited budget.

I am in that terrible place where, in spite of sleeping nearly twelve hours last night and drinking three cups of coffee before 1PM, I am still tired. Maybe because it’s 81 degrees F out there, and at least a few degree hotter in our un-air-conditioned apartment? That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

In lieu of a focused blog post like I usually try to do, here are some links to stuff that I’ve been meaning to blog about:

  • A Female Artist’s Foray into Male Modeling: Olympic swimmer and artist Casey Legler is a woman and a male fashion model. Favorite line: “Is it a stretch for me to be styled wearing men’s clothes? I mean, I think anyone can look at me fifty seconds and see that that part is actually not so complicated. I think the part that can feel complicated sometimes is that I also look really fierce in a dress.” Continue reading