Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dark Knight

The character was born into a time of heroes and villains; of adventure and deeds. Virtue, nobility and honor were central to this man/character who would attempt to give meaning to the senseless death of his parents to somehow make a world better by the protection of the innocent and bringing a form of justice to the predators. His plan; to strike fear into the hearts and psyche of those who would commit crimes as he stopped their individual acts of violence. His methods could be questioned as they certainly would be in a real life situation but he is a character of fiction. He is created to be and became a symbol of the best that we can be. He was created in the spirit of the greatest fiction and entertainment. He is the creation of writer illustrator Bob Kane…he is Batman.

“Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts.”                     Bruce Wayne speaks from “The Legend of the Batman”

Bob Kane drew on many sources when developing his “Bat-Man.” His influences range from the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci to Chester Gould’s newspaper strip “Dick Tracy.” The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro were wealthy socialites that hid their identities as they used their resources to “right wrongs.” They were among the source influences. Pulp fiction and movies all went into his work and perhaps that is a reason for the characters longevity. Batman has been Interpreted and reinterpreted over the years in every medium; novels, radio, animation, comic strips and film.

It is in film today that Batman has reached his greatest audiences and his most recent brilliant incarnation. The award winning films of Christopher Nolan have given us a timely and reflective view of Batman’s Gotham City. Like all great works of art it speaks to us and our times. Sadly life imitates art in a twisted demented way when cycled through the mind and heartless soul of a socio-path. This past Friday night at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” the final installment of Nolan’s trilogy innocents were visited by a dealer in death and mayhem. It was the greatest cowardice; a cowardice that is all too often repeated in the world, the society of today.

Why was it the Batman film debut? We may never know with any certainty. Probably just in the unfortunate timing of the release; a terrible misfortune. A movie is released; a psychotic plots mass murder weeks or month before. He chooses the venue of the highest visibility.  He dyes his hair and calls himself “The Joker” (the previous film’s antagonist) and gargs himself like the villain “Bane” from this latest movie. Nolan’s version of Batman is the darkest to date. Remember the sixties version starring Adam West. Video/ role playing games, movies and the comic books of the day are all increasing and disturbingly violent. Who’s at fault? The makers, marketers or are we all unwitting accomplices in our own demise. When will the trends reverse?  When will the pendulum swing back? Where do we go from here?

In this time of mourning our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We will attempt to give them as much understand and comfort as we can. Our nation has experienced the loss of too many magnificent, loving souls. We search and pray for answers.   
A character of fiction…a terrible tragedy…the nation mourns.

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