blogging

Be Like Batman, Support Local Businesses

batman1

Why does Batman do what he does? Why does he throw himself out into the night only to be rewarded with bruised ribs and torn flesh? There must be a reason. There must be a rationale that justifies his pain, sacrifice, and unrelenting commitment. Some say that it was the tragic experience of witnessing his parents’ murder that caused Bruce Wayne to take up the cape and cowl. Or that it was the evil and decrepit nature of his city that drove him toward desperation.

But I like to think of things a little differently. To me, it wasn’t the evil in Gotham that lead Mr. Wayne to become Batman, it was the good stuff. The people. The history. The culture. Bruce took a long hard look at his city, and he found something worth fighting for.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in comic books. Throughout the years, Batman has established himself as one of the most popular superheroes in the world. Every day more and more people across the globe are falling in love withe the caped crusader. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of them.

He is my favorite comic book character, and in my opinion the greatest super hero of all time. What is it that makes him that great? Easy. He’s so damn relatable. We look into his dark eyes, and we can’t help but see a piece of ourselves. From the child dressed in a Batsuit for Halloween, to the weekend-warrior with a Batman t-shirt stuffed in his gym bag, we have all fantasized about what it would be like to be Batman.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here’s your chance.

All over the world, cities and towns just like Gotham need your help. Local businesses play a huge role in the economic and cultural development of a city. Unfortunately these local establishments often get ignored.  Instead of buying from a local bookstore, people will get their books online. Instead of eating at a local sub shop, people will hit-up the McDonald’s drive-through.

I’m here to tell you that buying local and supporting local small businesses is incredibly important. Yes, it may cost you a few extra dollars for your dry cleaning, but the benefits that your support has on your hometown are priceless.

Not sure where to start? Hundreds of local comic book shops and book stores across the country are offering free promotional items today in honor of Batman’s anniversary. Find a participating store close to you and check it out! Get some free stuff and while you’re there, maybe think about buying something that catches your eye.

If Batman has taught us anything, it’s that it only takes one person to change the world. Get out there and be like Batman. Stand-up for your city!

Batgirl Redesign Falls Short

batgirl_promo_poster2

DC Comics and MTV News just announced that a new creative team will take over the Batgirl title in October.  I wish that I could say I’m a fan of the new direction, but unfortunately, I have some issues with it.  Fan-favorite writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher joined artist Babbs Tarr to create a drastic revamp of a classic character.

The goal behind this revamp is to re-invent Batgirl as a lighter, happy-go-lucky character.  Apparently, she’s set to break-off all of her previous connections in Gotham, move to a hip/trendy neighborhood, and “live the life of a young, single girl in the city.”  My inner fanboy is weeping.

But before I get to the criticism, let me just say that I am 100% in favor of the movement to get the younger female demographic interested in comics.  The joy of comics should be given to everyone, and young girls do need strong female characters that they can look up to!  What I’m not happy about, however, is one of my favorite characters in all of comic book history getting carelessly wiped-out like a discarded drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Overall, I don’t like the art style but there are a few things that I do like about the new character design.  This version of Batgirl features a much more practical costume with a leather jacket as opposed to spandex and combat boots as opposed to heels.  On the other hand, I find the artwork overtly juvenile.  I’m usually not a fan of comics that are drawn to resemble doodles in a high school art student’s notebook.

BATGIRLMODEL2

Rumor has it that Barbara will make this new costume herself out of items she finds at various vintage boutiques and thrift stores. I guess I can see the folksy, light-hearted charm, but the problem is Batgirl isn’t really a folksy, light-hearted character.  She’s gritty and dark, and that’s what makes her so interesting.  She is (or at least was) a shining example of determination and unrelenting will, with a splash of vengeance. Think about it: Barbara has seen her friends and family members die, she witnessed her own brother become a mass murderer, she has been beaten and tortured countless times, not to mention she was put through all the events of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke…  Oh and did I forget to mention that she was paralyzed for years, but still managed to fight for good despite of her handicap!

That’s the character I want to read about, not little miss trendy’s adventures in Gotham city.

The new creative team will start their run with a fire burning all of Barbara’s previous possessions.  I think that’s an accurate symbolic representation of the new direction; all of Batgirl’s great history and character development going up in smoke.

Like I said, it’s great that the industry is recognizing the younger female demographic and writing heroes for them.  It’s just a shame that DC had to destroy one of my favorite characters in the process.

 

Winter Soldier vs Red Hood: Who Would Win?

3224861-deathbattle-wintersoldier&redhood

What’s better than one sidekick brought back from the dead as an antihero? Two sidekicks brought back from the dead as antiheroes! This match-up features the Winter Soldier against the Red Hood.

These two characters are somewhat similar in their skills and abilities, which means that this fight is going to be a good one! I want to thank Gamer Ramble for suggesting this match-up. If there are any specific fights you would like to see, let me know in the comments section.

Here’s the scenario for this fight:
Both Winter Soldier and Red Hood are contracted to take out an unidentified target. Little do they know that the contracts are actually a set-up for them to take out each other! They both arrive at an abandoned warehouse where a deadly confrontation ensues. Red Hood is armed with dual 9mm pistols, and Winter Soldier has an AR70 assault rifle with one clip. The first person to incapacitate his opponent wins.

Throughout comic book history, there have been several versions of both of these characters. But we’re going to stick with the most famous versions for this fight.

Bucky Barnes was Captain America’s sidekick during World War II until a tragic plane crash caused him to lose his life (or so we thought). Come to find out that Bucky had actually survived the crash and suffered torture and experimentation at the hands of Russian scientists. The experiments give Bucky amazing marksmanship and fighting skills as well as a bionic arm. His memory was erased and he came to be known as the Winter Soldier.

WSTBD2014001_Lee

Red Hood has a lot of similar skills, he is also an expert marksman and fighter. And he also began his career as a sidekick. Jason Todd was Batman’s second Robin. That is until Joker managed to kill him by beating him with a crow bar and then setting off a bomb. But have no fear, Todd was also somehow miraculously resurrected from the dead! He took up the mantel of the Red hood and began fighting crime through lethal force.

redhood-550x

The similarity between these characters is uncanny. They both have similar skill sets, training, experiences, and moral codes. So it ultimately comes down to who does what they do better. On the other hand, firearms are the weapons of choice for both guys, which means this match-up could potentially be ended by a lucky shot. This one would definitely be close, but here’s how I think it would play out.

The fight begins with both characters entering the warehouse. Bucky sets himself up in the rafters, taking aim with his rifle. He spots a target moving below. Jason enters through the main gate and surveys his surroundings. He senses that this might be a trap and jumps back towards cover. Just as he does, a round from Bucky’s assault rifle screams through the air and shatters a wooden crate. Jason peeks out long enough to lay down some suppressing fire. Surprised that his target has weaponry, Bucky vaults down from the rafters and switches his weapon to automatic fire. He begins spraying rounds in Jason’s direction. Jason fires a few shots of his own, two of which ricochet off of Bucky’s bionic arm. Bucky continues to shoot bursts towards Jason until his magazine runs out of ammo. When Jason hears his enemy’s magazine click empty, he seizes the opportunity and rushes towards Bucky. He attacks with a flying kick. Bucky anticipates the attack and hits him hard with his metal arm. The force of the blow causes Jason to drop his guns. Jason quickly rises two his feet and lands a few blows to Bucky’s back, but it is too late. In the brief moment Jason was on the ground, Bucky retrieved one of his 9mm pistols. He fires two rounds into Jason’s chest and one into his head.

winter-soldier-comic-1

Winner: Winter Soldier!

Like I said, these guys are similar in terms of their skills. So it comes down to who is a better marksman and a better fighter. I think Bucky wins in both these categories. He is a trained, hardened killer with extreme marksmanship abilities. Also, I think his bionic arm gives him the edge in hand-to-hand combat.

Who do you think would win? The Soviet sleeper soldier or the once-dead sidekick with a huge grudge and anger management issues? Give me your opinion in the comments!