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Tuesday, March 08, 2022 

Where will Chip Zdarsky end up taking Batman? And why must new movie's Catwoman actress make a big deal out of bisexuality perceptions?

The Globe and Mail of Toronto interviewed Zdarsky, who's the latest scribe to get a job helming Batman. He told, for example, how he first worked in journalism:
Is it safe to say that your recent work on the anthology series Batman: Urban Legends was an audition of sorts, and you … passed?

I guess it was! The Urban Legends story was my take on modern Batman. But also over the pandemic I’d been writing Batman: The Knight, which is a miniseries about young Bruce Wayne travelling the world and acquiring his bat-skills. That was for the main Batman editor, Ben Abernathy, and we got along really well. I think he enjoyed the scripts and also working with me. As you know, I came from Canadian newspapers, so the daily deadlines of those jobs made me pretty good with the monthly deadlines of comic books. Never underestimate turning scripts in on time in career advancement.
Well what bothers me about this is that, as some could argue, he also comes from an industry where a whole lot of J. Jonah Jamesons dominate, and he surely condones the far-left leanings prevalent among these types for a long time now. For now, however, what's eyebrow-raising here is the likelihood Zdarsky's only getting into this so he can send Batman on the same path as Superman was in 1992-93, if Bruce Wayne hasn't been yet (and IIRC, over a decade ago, Grant Morrison once sent Bruce into limbo already):
You’re calling this upcoming Batman arc “Failsafe” the Dark Knight’s own “Doomsday,” referring I guess to Superman’s own infamous brush with death in 1993. What other inspirations are going to be felt here? And should I be stocking on up on the issues in the hopes they become Death of Superman rare (or, rather, in the hopes it becomes worth substantially more than DOS ended up being worth)?

Yeah, I mean, back in the day the Batman equivalent of Doomsday was Bane, who infamously broke his back in the comics. And then Tom Hardy broke Christian Bale’s back in the movies. Classic Tom Hardy! Here I wanted to design a villain with our artist Jorge that could challenge Batman in a bigger way. Look, I’m not discounting broken backs, but Christian Bale just healed his by chilling out in a pit and hanging by a rope, really stretching that puppy out. It’ll take more than that for what we’re doing in the comic. And hey, I’m in no position to be giving advice on how to balance your financial portfolio. And don’t look to Batman for advice either. Bruce Wayne got rich by paying that guy to off his billionaire parents in an alley.
Well it's not hard to guess where Bruce'll end up, possibly for another race-swapping stunt for PC's sake, if it hasn't happened yet. I'm amazed in retrospect Marvel didn't go that route, as it initially appeared to be the case over a decade ago, when Miles Morales was shifted into the 616 universe proper, effectively diluting Spidey's uniqueness within the Marvel world itself nevertheless. That DC's willing to go full force with such stunts just shows the problem with their absurd adamance to follow through with a tasteless story, no matter how noxious it ends up being in the long run. I can't remember if DC actually concocted the story in the past decade he's alluding to, or if that's what Zdarsky's writing now, but this is atrocious, much like some of the stories turning Superman (and Supergirl) evil. If what they have in store is to somehow retcon Bruce into getting his parents offed in retrospect, that's just more desecration of their creations.
This year, audiences will get three on-screen Batmen: Pattinson, Affleck and even Keaton. How will your on-the-page Bruce Wayne will stand apart?

Mine is surrounded by Robins. Surrounded! In the comics Batman has a very large supporting cast. A lot of what I’m doing in the book is having him deal with that fact. Is it a good thing to have an army of proteges? What’s his responsibility to the ones willing to follow him into this vigilante life? Also, thanks to our amazing artist, Jorge Jiménez, our Batman is way more handsome than those other chumps.
On this note, what are the chances Zdarsky will embrace the recent retcon of Tim Drake to bisexual? If that happens, it'll become one of various books from the past 2 decades where certain elements alone are reason enough to boycott it. And compound the perception Zdarsky's another overrated hack writer.
Do you think we’re reaching a point of Batman-saturation? Baturation? Or is the world simply in constant want of new Dark Knight tales?

He’s a popular character! The only thing that will derail the Baturation, or has in the past, is bad work. And it can be challenging to make good work when so many stories and versions of the character exist out there already. But man, it really feels like there’s stuff out there for every Batman fan from bat-cradle to bat-grave.
Well guess what? There's only so much bad work within the past 2 decades, and the recent Robin retcon is just the latest in a long line of PC directions that're tarnishing the material. All that aside, I'm afraid there has been way too much Batman, and cultivation of an audience that's obsessed with gruesome darkness, all coming at the expense of everything that made Superman enjoyable fare long before. Yet nobody, not even Zdarsky himself, cares to admit that.
Not long ago, it was unheard of for a writer to be working on both DC and Marvel books. Yet you’re still going to be on Daredevil. How does that work?

Ha! I switched from an exclusive contracts to non-exclusive contracts a couple of years ago because I’m so scared of commitment. It feels like there’s less of an intense rivalry between Marvel and DC these days, so everyone’s been really kind and supportive about my dual company work. At least they’ve been kind to my face! I think I’m the first person to write both books at the same time? It’s a weird world.
Depending how this is viewed, of course there's far less hostility, because they both sold out to PC, follow in each other's footsteps only so often in regards to repellent publicity stunts, and have only so much contempt for the core audiences. As for working at both companies, that was already possible by the end of the 80s, as predecessors realized it wouldn't look good to retain draconian rivalries. Yet conservatives, on the other hand, are shunned, and you don't even hear men like Zdarsky praising Chuck Dixon for his work on the Masked Manhunter, which was some of the last worth reading years before. So what's the point?

Since we're on the subject of yet more about Batman, Zoe Kravitz, who plays Catwoman in the umpteenth movie directed by Matt Reeves that's now been released to theaters, was interviewed by Pedestrian (via Breitbart), and they make such a big deal out of interpretations that her take on Selina Kyle is bisexual:
But there’s one aspect of the IRL Catwomen that has always disappointed me: although your girl is bisexual in the comics, the movies have routinely portrayed her as a heterosexual woman who lusts after Bruce Wayne.
And what concrete proof do you have Selina was always portrayed as bisexual in the comics? If there was anywhere where it may have been injected, it may have been Frank Miller who did it when DC was turning out "Year One" in 1987, although what was certainly established at that time was Selina working as a prostitute early in her career. It was dropped when Zero Hour came about, and goes without saying such a crossover was not needed to de-canonize Miller's retcon, if they're really that hysterically embarrassed by the subject of prostitution. Whether or not Miller's take was in good taste, this demonstrates how USA commercialism dampens art for the sake of moral panic. In any case, shame on Pedestrian for making such an entitled claim without offering any clear evidence to make their case. But, based on the following, you can see why:
Now, in the brand new flick The Batman, we finally see a slight nod to Catwoman being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Emphasis on the ‘slight’ though.

In one scene, Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) enters her apartment in search of her mate Anika, and while searching for her, she calls her “baby”, seemingly implying that their relationship is more than platonic.

But in other scenes throughout the film, she macks on with Batman (Robert Pattinson) and Anika is simply referred to as Selina’s “friend.” So is Catwoman bisexual in this universe or nah?

As both a member of the LGBTQIA+ community myself and a die-hard Catwoman worshipper from way back, I felt it necessary to ask Zoë and The Batman director Matt Reeves if this potential nod to Selina’s sexuality was intentional or if it’s just wishful thinking on my part.

Well, according to Zoë, my interpretation was accurate.

“That’s definitely the way I interpreted that, that they had some kind of romantic relationship,” Zoë told me.

When I expressed how happy I was to finally see Catwoman portrayed as a bisexual woman in the cinematic universe, Zoë nodded emphatically and said: “I agree!”
Again, we seem to have here somebody who's just so selfish, they wish to hijack somebody else's creation to represent their self-important platforms. (And all without even thanking Bill Finger and Bob Kane, who co-created Kyle in 1940). Which the film's director, intentionally or not, indulged:
In a seperate interview, I asked the director the same question and here’s what he had to say.

“[The film is] very true to the character of Selina Kyle. She’s not yet Catwoman, but all the elements of how she’s going to become Catwoman are there,” he said.

“And in terms of her relationship with Anika, I spoke to Zoë very early on and one of the things she said which I loved was that: ‘She’s drawn to strays because she was a stray and so she really wants to care for these strays because she doesn’t want to be that way anymore and Anika is like a stray and she loves her. She actually represents this connection that she has to her mother who she lost, who was a stray anymore’.”

He added, “So I don’t think we meant to go directly in that way, but you can interpret it that way for sure. She has an intimacy with that character and it’s a tremendous and deep caring for that character, more so than a sexual thing, but there was meant to be quite an intimate relationship between them.”
Something not brought up here is whether they believe it's great that a character who had been portrayed as a crook should be the one to represent a bisexual/lesbian figure, her honorable characterization and working on the good side at times notwithstanding. Or, put another way, why is it they're fine with applying the mentality to a character who's a criminal? That's where it really becomes wobbly, though nowhere near as troubling as it is to see these ideologues rooting for Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

In some reviews of this movie, like this one from Ft. Worth Report, they stress how it's basically an imitation of David Fincher's Se7en from the past 2 decades:
Matt Reeves gives moviegoers the darkest interpretation yet of Gotham City’s vigilante crime-fighter with “The Batman” a foreboding film noir that plays like David Fincher’s “Se7en” thus injecting “detective” back into DC Comics. [...]
But the irony is that, for a movie that touts grisly and gruesome elements like serial killers, the studio still secured a PG-13 rating, the violent themes in the screenplay notwithstanding. Making this additionally ironic is that, for a movie whose producers forbade depiction of the Penguin's cigarette smoking, it still contains drug content, as noted on the Rotten Tomatoes page. How much more of this hypocrisy will we be seeing in productions like these? It's just plain head-shaking how inconsistent they are with their standings on drugs of any sort, considering tobacco is, in its own way, a drug, just not as noxious as cocaine, nor as deceptive as cannabis can be. Tobacco may not be healthy, but compared to the mental effects those other drugs can cause and worse, that's why Reeves and WB's hypocrisy is stupefying.

In Breitbart's review, they let know of a part where the filmmakers didn't try to be PC:
Didn’t we get a grimy Gotham just a couple of years ago with Joker? As far as Batman, he does the same Batman stuff, but this time he does it for three hours. Three hours! [...]

I will say this… At least THE Batman is not sexless. Zoë Kravitz is allowed to bring some heat. But again, the fact that a little sexuality in a movie is now a novelty only proves how sterile, conformist, and Applebee’d we’ve allowed our culture to become.
Well that's mostly because conservatives of the past, religious or otherwise, succumbed to sex-negative hysteria, unwisely taking the same side as feminists with similar hysteria and lack of courage to deal with such topics. I'll admit, it's pretty amazing Reeves, Kravitz and company threw a bone, as one could argue they did, to an audience that's got no problem with the concept of sex appeal. Even so, it doesn't excuse other PC elements in the movie like the anti-smoking mandate, not to mention lines about "white privilege" or the fact this is a retread of too many cliches, not the least being the over-saturation of Batman on the marketplace at the expense of a lot of other comics with more optimistic themes. It reminds me, no matter what I think of live-action adaptations today, it's a terrible shame the Fantastic Four movies were such a disaster, particularly the 2015 movie. When you have such artistic failures along with financial, it's no wonder the concept of optimism - and comedy - risks being destroyed for the sake of darkness. The upper echelons will do everything they can to spin it as a rejection of optimism, though there's also a very valid case to be made many modern audiences are being indoctrinated to buy into the bleakness propaganda to the very end. And that's a shame.

The movie, wouldn't you know it, has fared very well so far in its first week at the box office. But it's still decidedly regrettable darkness has become the go-to angle that's selling big with any particular audience, while brighter superheroes like Superman fall into neglect, and so many creators refuse to recognize everything depends on merit to make optimism and humor work. Not to mention avoiding PC directions, for that matter. In any case, as the above info about Zdarsky's assignment suggests, even Bruce Wayne may soon become just as vulnerable as Clark Kent when it comes to PC eliminations to suit a PC narrative, and the cheap excuse the comics writer are using is that the movie audience won't bother reading the comics regardless. Which says quite a bit about what the film audience in attendance really thinks of the source material to boot.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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