After The Lavender Room…

Another use of the collage technique.  Thanks, Jack Kirby.

Another use of the collage technique. Thanks, Jack Kirby.

You know the key reason that you KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Batman is NOT competitive with Superman, even with Dark Knight style Battle Armor? Seriously, the one, glaring, Everybody Knows It All Time Fact that makes it so resoundingly clear, you have to wonder why the film got made, or why anyone saw it at all? You want to hear it? Really?

Batman is constantly threatened by, captured by, defeated by, and generally harassed by Clowns.

Ask anyone…the Top of the Food Chain Bat-Villain is the Joker. That’s fine…sure. But at the end of the day, he’s just a creepy @#$%ing clown. Unlike Harley Quinn, he’s not even a clown with Advanced Degrees. He’s just a clown with serious emotional problems.

Superman, on the other hand, is an alien from Krypton who can bench press asteroids. Catch falling jetliners and set them down easily. He is completely untroubled by clowns, which can do him exactly no harm whatsoever.

So…upon reflection, it’s kind of amazing that the film got made, or that anyone saw it. One of my close friends saw it, and sadly, I spent a decent amount of time the other evening taking cheap shots at him for just that act. Even he seemed to regret the twelve dollar ticket choice, and subsequent mockery. I suppose the reason the film made decent box office figures owes itself to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Effect. I like peanut butter, I like chocolate…put them together, and I should have a thing that I like. Kind of hard to @#$% up. People figure the same thing, and buy a ticket.

Interestingly, by all accounts, the film was in fact WRITTEN by clowns, so there’s that.

Why the art? For a few reasons…one…I wanted to keep drawing Therapy Clown…like I said, I have some things to work out on paper this week. I hadn’t really directly addressed the Batman v. Superman thing…so the idea of the armored Batman made it into the picture. I wanted to use a more sleek, less 80’s vintage design than the Dark Knight suit, which is why we have the Arkham driven design above. I needed some batgear in the image because, well, clowns…and also, because I’m pretty cross that my beloved car is not yet parked back downstairs.

Incidentally, it is HARD to draw a Therapy Clown with lipstick held in her teeth, preparing to draw all over at BatSuit. Not something that any part is easily visually conceived of.

The original foreground pencils, sans graveyard and church.

The original foreground pencils, sans graveyard and church.

If the 1989 Batman film taught me anything, it’s that you battle clowns in massive churches, usually after crashing a personalized jet into that same church. So, when putting together the background for the image, I thought it had to suggest a church, and a graveyard near the church. The only thing more disturbing than fighting a clown in any environment, is fighting a clown in a church, while she is chaining you up and about to draw on your helmet with Cover Girl lipstick.

Well…it could probably get more disturbing…like, if worms were somehow obviously involved. That’s really gross, though, and pretty outside the scope of things that Batman might deal with, or might be within the Edu-Mountain setting. Well..the Edu-Mountain could have Worm-Men…or hyper-evolved worms. I guess that’s legit, as I think this out, kind of “stream of consciousness.” Even without worms…it could probably be more disturbing, but lets leave things where they are.

A sexy clown preparing to draw on your helmet with lipstick in her teeth, while chained up in a graveyard seems disturbing enough. I think I’ve probably worked through a bunch of mental garbage right there.

In the BatSuit, I have to imagine that we have one of the numerous people to have assumed the Batman identity. Jean Paul Valley, Jason Todd…doesn’t really matter. I just read the hardcover of “Superheavy”, where Commissioner Gordon is contracted to be Batman, by a big company, and they give him sort of a bunny looking armored Batsuit…so the idea of an armored stand-in Batman was really banging around in my head.

Also…the title of the post comes from the contents of Chapter Ten of “Catcher In The Rye,” which we read in class today. I felt like it was relevant to mention, since historically, murder clowns tend to reference the book, which weighs a bit heavily on me. Several shootings have been associated with Salinger’s novel, including Robert John Bardo’s shooting of Rebecca Schaeffer and John Hinckley, Jr.’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Additionally, after fatally shooting John Lennon, (which affected me HUGELY in my youth) Mark David Chapman was arrested with a copy of the book that he had purchased that same day, inside of which he had written: “To Holden Caulfield, From Holden Caulfield, This is my statement.”

That being said…it’s a solid book, that my students are responding very well to. It’s dark connection to history is actually no worse than the connections that Batman comics have to recent history…so i think that works out in the wash. Still…as a teacher, those are both something you think about…how any text may or may not influence people.

Heavy thoughts officially over for the day.

Next Issue: More Clowns! More Bats!


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