"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" Trailer Officially Released
Some men just want to watch the world burn, and some cats … well, they only want to ruin Christmas.
BaneCat, equipped with a respirator mask, fleece-trimmed coat and Tom Hardy’s inexplicable Dark Knight Rises voice, debuted in May to menace his unsuspecting owner. (“And this gives you power over me?’) Now he’s back, with a creepy rendition of “Silent Night” and enough booby traps, pee and poop to ensure this was one Christmas his arch-nemesis would unlikely
“Sleep in heavenly peace” never sounded so threatening.
Batman is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, which may come as a surprise. I mean, look at that smooth, handsome face, or what little of it is visible beneath his cowl. Look at those ripped muscles, or the way he runs across rooftops and beats up criminals — why, Batman doesn’t look a day over 35!
Now just as it did recently for Superman, DC Comics is releasing a pair of hefty, 400-page hardcover collections that serve as a sort of survey for how the character has been portrayed and functioned in the publisher’s comics line during since his first appearance. Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years and The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years aren’t exactly the comics equivalents of greatest-hits albums, but they are nice starting points for newcomers and/or casual fans, offering quick, compelling overviews of the title characters through the decades.
The Batman volume, featuring Jim Lee’s rendition of the character from the 2003 storyline “Hush” on the dust jacket, must have been particularly challenging to assemble, given the thousands and thousands of pages of Batman comics, featuring dozens of different takes by scores of creators.
In late February, the NBA asked Miami Heat forward LeBron James not to wear the black protective face mask that drew comparisons to Batman and Bane. Now the NFL is making its own move against masks with similar comic-book parallels
NFL Network reports the league will ban non-standard/overbuilt face masks in the 2014 season, saying they aren’t up to safety standards. That means Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck will have to say farewell to his “Shredder Mask,” which he named because of its similarity to the one worn by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain. So too will Raiders rookie Khalil Mack, who wore a similar design in college.
And no Bane masks, either. According to NFL Network, four players last season wore what will soon be considered illegal face masks.
It’s been nearly two years since the release of The Dark Knight Rises, and we’re no closer to figuring out the reason for Tom Hardy’s bizarre and grating Bane voice (the actor has said it was based on bare-knuckle boxing champ Bartley Gorman, but that doesn’t explain why). Still, it gave Bane the most recognizable voice of any Batman villain since Burgess Meredith’s Penguin, and paved the way for … BaneCat.
Somehow, that voice is less annoying when it comes from a plump, plotting feline wearing a respirator mask and fleece-trimmed coat — one who’s apparently getting his own series.
When the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 invaded and seemingly conquered Earth-New 52 in Forever Evil #1, claiming to have killed the members of the Justice Leagues, the home-Earth villains took over DC comics, scrawling their names over the logos of their foes and initiating other evil acts like using decimal points in their issue numbers and putting the wrong stories in the wrong titles. (A Dial H epilogue and a Lobo one-shot in Justice League comics? A Batgirl story in a Batman comic?). But, most nefariously of all, the villains of DC Comics raised the price of each issue by a dollar and launched one of the biggest gimmick covers schemes in the modern history of direct market super-comics: heavy, plastic, 3D lenticular covers primed to be collected more so than read, and sparking insidious speculation, goosed my unpredictable shortages to many retailers. The monsters.
But while most attention has been focused on the covers, there are, in fact, stories beneath them, and so for the past three weeks we’ve been not judging the books by their covers, but by their contents. (Here’s Week One, Week Two and Week Three, if you missed ‘em.) As in the previous months, I’ve been ranking the books on their overall quality, on a scale of one to 10: Not Very Good, Somewhat Disobedient, Naughty, Morally Deficient, Without Scruples, Iniquitous, Wicked, Maleficent, Evil and Absolute Evil (although, as none received a perfect 10, you might want to adjust your reception of my ratings up by one).
Also, and perhaps more importantly, I’ve been noting how connected each is to the Forever Evil event that ostensibly led to this state of affairs at DC, so, if you’re only interested in these things for their narrative import rather than their creators or characters, you’ll know which are worth your attention. So let’s take one last wallow in the evil of (almost) every issue of this week’s Villains Month, and hope for the swift and triumphant return of our heroes starting next month.
Comic books have long cast a spotlight on the school lives, and all the associated trials and tribulations, of superheroes, from Spider-Man and the X-Men to Blue Beetle and Amethyst. But what about the supervillains? Judging from the series of yearbook portraits by
Francesca J. Hause, they haven’t had it any easier than the heroes.
It turns out Green Gobin was a stoner (no surprise there), Bane was no stranger to wedgies, and Loki was an orthodontic headgear-wearing D&D player. Venom seemed to do OK, though. Check out those, plus a fashion-victim Two-Face, below.
Bane may be gone from Gotham, but he’s alive in Mexico. A luchador named Mephisto has recently taken to wearing a rendition of Bane’s popular mask from The Dark Knight Rises in his matches for the Mexican wrestling promotion CMLL. And that’s not all — his finishing move is the backbreaker. There’s no word on what DC Comics has to say about this development, but Mexico’s intellectual property situation is famously murky.
This isn’t the first time a wrestler has borrowed something from comics. In the 1970s, a young wrestler named Terry Bollea was a guest on a Memphis-area talk show beside bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who was there promoting the television series The Incredible Hulk. The host noted how the wrestler was even bigger than the guy who played the Hulk, and the wrestler took up the “Hulk” moniker as a nickname … first as Terry “The Hulk” Boulder, and later morphing into Hulk Hogan. Hogan has been able to use the name through a decades-old agreement with Marvel.
[Bane co-creator] Graham [Nolan] and I both signed participation agreements, which are good in perpetuity. So it’s not up to them whether they take care of us. We’re taken care of. We’ve seen money from Bane all along – the Lego games and the little Bane-shaped piece in the Spaghettios. We always get a piece of what Bane makes. We’ll see money from this movie. They have graphs and charts to figure out how much based on how many lines of dialogue he has and how much he’s in the movie and how much impact he has on the story. We were part of it the last time when Bane was in the last [Joel] Schumacher film really briefly. We participated in that.
– Chuck Dixon, on the benefits of creating Bane for DC Comics
Last month we posted shaky footage from a short from Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block called “Bat Man of Shanghai.” Featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China, it made me long for the return of DC’s Elseworlds imprint, in which creators reimagined familiar characters in different time periods and settings.
Now, just as the Elseworlds nostalgia had subsided, Cartoon Network has released a three parts of the series online — each spotlights a different character — showing us Bane’s ode to King Kong, Bruce Wayne’s transformation into Bat Man and a high-speed three-way fight.
Organizations | Jillian Kirby, the 16-year-old granddaughter of Jack Kirby, makes a pitch for Kirby4Heroes, a campaign to encourage donations to The Hero Initiative on Aug. 28, which would have been the legendary creator’s 95th birthday. [Los Angeles Times]
Comics | Roger Rautio, who’s spearheading an effort to establish a physical Comic Book Hall of Fame, said he’s received responses from officials in four cities — Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and San Jose — and he may meet with a Chicago city council member as early as next month. [North Country Now]
Creators | Cartoonist Reinhard Kleist discusses his graphic novel The Boxer, the true story of Polish Jew Harry Haft, who had to fight other prisoners at Auschwitz for the entertainment of the Nazi soldiers. [Deutsche Welle]
An uncomfortable familiarity hangs over much of The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman trilogy. Some of it comes from the disquiet of watching familiar characters and settings suffer. However, some of it comes from the use of overly familiar movie tropes. For example, one of the early “Batman must come back” scenes feels lifted from a style guide. Another scene, much later, echoes Luke and Han’s join-us-no-join-me exchange just before the Death Star attack. Oh, and William Devane shows up in a very William Devane-esque role.
Accordingly, The Dark Knight Rises is not a perfect movie. It doesn’t have the intricate plotting of its predecessor (2008’s The Dark Knight, like you didn’t know). Any socially conscious message about “the 99% vs. the 1%” is lost in Bane’s repurposed sloganeering and Selina Kyle’s disillusionment. In one spot, the movie seems to skip dusk entirely, going from twilight to pitch-black night in less than eight minutes.* Furthermore, although I hate to disagree with Sean, at times Bane sounds like Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery (and apparently — beware of spoilers past the link — I am not the only one who thinks so).
Nevertheless, its epic ambitions are mostly realized, and it exists mainly to give its principals (i.e., just about every major character still left from 2005’s Batman Begins) closure. This, I want to emphasize, it does exceptionally well. Four years ago I compared The Dark Knight to David Fincher’s serial-killer meditation Zodiac, but this time I’m going with Doctor Zhivago by way of James Bond. A macro-level exploration of Begins’ “why do we fall?”, it builds to a thrilling, triumphal, bittersweet final shot. I’m looking forward to seeing it again, and eventually to examining the trilogy as a whole.
Despite all of the fallout, and guffaws, from the Great Left-Wing Bane Conspiracy, Conan O’Brien suggests we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the theory. “Now before you judge Rush Limbaugh, I’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises,” he teased on last night’s Conan. “I think Rush might have a point.”
To back up his assertion, O’Brien rolled out a trailer for the Christopher Nolan film that features Tom Hardy’s Bane growling never-before-heard dialogue like, “I’m going to torture you like a dog tied to the top of my car” and “The streets will run red with blood before I release my tax returns.”
The Dark Knight Rises, with real dialogue from
Bain Bane, arrives in theaters at midnight.
Legal | In a motion for summary judgment filed Monday in the long-running legal battle for the rights to Superman, attorneys for Warner Bros. are revisiting their 2009 argument that the estate of Joe Shuster has no grounds to reclaim the artist’s share of the copyright to the Man of Steel. They point to a 1992 agreement in which the estate relinquished all claims in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included DC Comics paying Shuster’s remaining debts follow his death earlier that year, and providing his sister Jean Seavy with a $25,000 annual pension. Daniel Best has the documents, while Jeff Trexler provides context, noting that the new filing “filing wasn’t a Perry Mason-esque unveiling of surprising new facts. Rather, it was a routine motion for summary judgment.” A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20. [20th Century Danny Boy, The Beat]
When most comics fans see Bane, they think of a quintessential 1990s supervillain, the super-strong “Man Who Broke the Bat.” But when conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh sees Bane, he thinks of a left-wing conspiracy.
As Warner Bros. makes its final promotional push for The Dark Knight Rises, which features Tom Hardy as Batman’s hulking nemesis, Limbaugh launched into a screed linking the prominence of Bane in entertainment news with the prominence of Bain — that is, the venture-capital company co-founded by Mitt Romney — in the political debate. Oh, don’t act surprised.
“Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire-breathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” The Hollywood Reporter quotes Limbaugh as saying on today’s show. He apparently acknowledged that the development of the Christopher Nolan film predates the current line of attack by President Obama’s reelection campaign, but even the pesky tendency of time to move in a linear fashion — retroactive retirements aside — can’t get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!
In case we didn’t already miss DC Comics’ Elseworlds imprint enough, at Comic-Con International on Sunday Cartoon Network premiered a fantastic clip from DC Nation’s three-part short series “Batman of Shanghai,” featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China (there’s also a cameo by a floppy hat-wearing Bane). If DC Comics doesn’t do something with Shanghai Catwoman — I love that character design — well, they’re really missing the boat. Maybe they can relaunch the character’s solo title (again) in the next wave of the New 52.
Check a somewhat shaky, but surprisingly decent-quality, fan-captured video of the clip below.