Okay, so, some peeps might have an opinion or two after reading this, and I respect that. In fact, feel free to share your thoughts about it. You'll probably find me somewhere on Twitter. Just don't be all you-know-what because of what I said about Ben Aff-...wait, I'm jumping the gun. Let me back up a bit.
Okay, so my "Indie August" series concludes with a two-parter interview with Dr. Sara Lodge. Part One will post August 27th and Part Two will close out the series on August 30th. To say I'm stoked about it would be an understatement. The reason why I'm so stoked about it will be known when you read Part One this upcoming Friday.
Til then, I kinda wanna deviate from the "Indie August" series to do a post in reference to something I read on social media. I won't repeat what I read, but let's see how far you get in this post before you're like, "Ahh! I see where KD is going with this." Some may agree, others may call me a purist. I'll accept that. Comes with the territory of being a geek, nerd, blerd, etc.
Okay, so typically as a rule I try to stay out of social media debates about comic book characters when the comic book character being referenced is based on the cinematic version of the property.
Guess before I go any further, this would be a good time to flash my street cred.
I've been collecting comics since the early '90s. I've lost count of how many I have. Best estimate is several hundred, give or take. The lion's share of my collection would be Batman, Justice League, X-Men, and Daredevil. My Batman collection starts just before Knightfall. My Justice League collection starts just before the Tower of Babel storyline. X-Men was what, Age of Apocalypse? No, more like the events that led up to it. With Xavier's son, Legion. When Legion went back in time to kill Magneto and killed his father, Professor X, instead. And Daredevil, like, around a few issues before #300 (Volume 1). Something about a Fall of the Kingpin storyline. I remember #300 because it was such a nice round number.
Then there are comics I've collected due to it being a limited series. The Heroes Reborn collection, for example. This was when pretty much every A-list hero in the Marvel Universe went up against the villain Onslaught. Onslaught was a physical manifestation of Professor X's darkest impulses with a bit of Magneto peppered in. So, all the major heroes, and they were losing. Thor had discovered the only way to even weaken Onslaught was by disrupting the villain's seeping energy. So he threw himself into the energy maelstrom. The other non-mutant heroes, seeing the effect Thor's sacrifice had on Onslaught, did the same. One by one the Avengers and Fantastic Four threw themselves at, and into, Onslaught. Even Doctor Doom, though not by his choosing (thank you, Iron Man). This gave the X-Men the upper hand. They unleashed everything they had. The monstrous Onslaught was defeated, but at the cost of the other heroes. Or so it had seemed. Franklin Richards, the mutant son of Fantastic Four's Reed and Sue, created a pocket universe to put the heroes in. This would start the Heroes Reborn storyline. The comics were Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and Captain America.
Okay, where was I? Street cred. My bad. Read on.
I have individual comics just for the artwork. Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man run, for example. Or his debut issues of Spawn. Ian Churchill's Cable. Rob Leifield's X-Force. And not just comics from Marvel and DC. I have collections from Image, Dark Horse, Zenescope, etc. I have one collection I just knew would have staying power. But alas, no. Still, Ascension from Top Cow is one of my fave comic series.
I wrote all that just to make a point. Wait, what was my point? Gimme a sec. I'm sure I had a point somewhere off in this ranting and raving...oh, there it is. Yeah, I know a lot about comics.
Thing is, whenever I watch a cinematic movie based on a comic book character, I've had to learn to suspend what I know about the character. That way I won't be all like, Hey! That's not one of his powers! Or, Hey! She's not able to do that in the comics! Sometimes it's easy to do. Michael Keaton as Batman in 1989, for example. True, he didn't have the physicality, but he made up for it with brooding, angst, and tension-filled introspection. But Wonder Woman 1984. Ugh! She used her lasso to grab bolts of lightning to propel her through the sky. Seriously? What exactly were the writers thinking when they decided to cobble that together?
Now, in a cinematic universe's defense, I recognize that in some cases it's about trying to capture the essence of that character's character. (See what I just did there?) A good example of this was the Marvel/Netflix collaboration. Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. Four individual series that not only had their lead and supporting characters crossover into each others' shows, they (in their infinite wisdom) also put all four heroes in one series that was collectively The Defenders. And no, I didn't forget about the Punisher. I was only mentioning the four hero series to emphasize...you know what? Nevermind. Anyway, Marvel managed to keep the characters true to their street-level roots without going over the top. There was as much focus on their day-to-day lives as their alter egos. They weren't trying to save the world, just a few city blocks.
But then there are some instances that had a good premise. Even started off well. So what happened? Henry Cavill, a wonderful replacement for Christopher Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman (as much as anyone can replace the one who made us believe a man could fly). In my opinion, Man of Steel was one of the best modern-day movies featuring Superman. So when I heard about Batman v Superman, I was like, okay, this could be interesting. But then I heard Ben Affleck was going to be Batman. Ugh! And yes, I know there are legions of fans that love him as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I'm just not one of them. My bestest friend Cletus loved Ben Affleck as Batman, but he's Cletus, so what does that tell you? I mean, didn't peeps learn a painful lesson when Affleck played Daredevil? To date, and in my opinion, the one who carried the "Mantle of the Bat" the best was Christian Bale. And yeah, I know BvS was eleven years after Batman Begins and four years after The Dark Knight Rises. So it would have been a bit of a stretch to have Christian Bale in the role again.
But c'mon, anyone but Ben Affleck. And I will die on that hill.
And yeah, I know Ben Affleck's Batman is loosely based on The Dark Knight Returns, where Batman is in his mid-fifties. Okay, I get that. But if you're gonna do that, have the rest of the heroes aged as well. Or Affleck in a stand-alone movie as that version of Batman. Or better yet, keep Ben Affleck away from Batman, Bruce Wayne, Gotham City, comic book properties...period!
Like, seriously? Jeez! Okay, I gotta remember my blood pressure.
Now the fight scenes between Batman and Superman were great. Enjoyable, even. And I was like, despite Ben Affleck, the movie could redeem itself. But then...Doomsday. What? Not only did he look nothing like the comics, neither his powerset nor the essence of his character fit. Justice League was better, but not by much. Of all the villains, Steppenwolf? I mean yeah, he's tough, but gimme Granny Goodness. Dear Ole Granny Goodness is the face of Darkseid's Elite. She's established across multiple media, from comic books to cartoons to live-action television. She has a better-known history, the Female Furies, and stage presence. But nope, they went with Steppenwolf.
And yeah, I can go on and on. Like, I think DC is better with animation than Marvel. Marvel is better with live-action episodic series than DC, with Titans being the exception. X-men cartoons are the bomb. X-Men movies bomb. (See what I just did there?) Seriously, get me talking about superheroes and comic books and I'm like the Juggernaut - hard to stop. (See what I just did there?) My point is, I see the controversies on social media about the "Zyderverse" (I mean, peeps be having beef with each other over Zack). Also Gunn's movies. Back and forths over Captain Marvel as the face of the women's movement in comics. And there have been so many times I wanted to chime in. Add my two cents. But then I have to tell myself, much of these debates are based on MCU or DCEU with maybe a few comics read here and there. Maybe based on the source material, but not true to the source. Margarine, not butter. Sweetener, not sugar. Turkey bacon, not pork. And I'm sorry, turkey bacon just don't come hard with that sizzle, y'know? Tofu meat just hits different.
So I just read the debates online and smile.
"Aww, they actually like Ben Affleck as Batman."