Issue #22: How The Batman Made A Fan Out Of Me
& Why Bruce Wayne Should Listen To Chromatica
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Major spoilers are avoided, but in the piece, The Batman: A Reckoning, some references are made to Batman’s character arc and one part of the film’s ending. Read with caution.
The Batman: The Most Successful Movie Marketing Campaign Of All Time
I don’t have the statistics to back up this bold title. What I do have is photographic evidence that I, a bat-fearing, mask-averse1, petrified-of-clowns person2, contributed to the second-highest-grossing pandemic movie debut3. And I liked it!
What could move someone like me, with no allegiance to the caped crusader, to spend three hours of a spring-like Saturday afternoon in a dark theatre?
This picture of Zoë Kravitz on her hands and knees lapping milk off a table. MEOW!
Other film campaign moments that piqued my interest were Zoë Kravitz’s red carpet looks and Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson sexing it up in Wonderland Magazine.
My obsession with Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman got me into the movie seat, but it was Batman’s character arc that kept me there.
The Batman: A Reckoning
A madman bombs the city sea wall leaving citizens at risk of drowning in the Gotham City streets. Batman perches high and safe above the chaos. Having been recently confronted with his own social and economic privilege, Batman sees his position, cuts ties, and plunges into the water below. Upon surfacing, he offers a hand of rescue to leaders and countless everyday residents. He lights a torch, holds it up high, and leads them to safety.
Up until the film’s climax, Bruce Wayne4 uses his Batman persona to act out trauma-induced vengeance against criminals like those who murdered his parents. Unfortunately, two years into his career as Batman, Bruce Wayne realizes that Gotham City is overrun by a trifecta of corrupt politicians, mobsters, and dirty cops. At the same time, a group of disenfranchised men forms a small militia, successfully threatening the newly stable government.
Batman’s moment of reckoning comes when the Riddler stops playing games and calls out Bruce Wayne for being a part of the problem. The message from the lunatic is surprisingly sane: Bruce Wayne is wealthy, holds valuable social status, and benefits from public sympathy as an orphan of the former Mayor and his wife. He could use those assets to help the less fortunate. As the Riddler tells his origin story, Bruce Wayne disguised as Batman sees that focusing on his anger masks his privilege, making him nearly as guilty as the people he has been trying to take down. His brooding eyes lighten with a flicker of self-recognition.
The pandemic and increasing global distress make the darkness, corruption, and chaos plaguing Gotham City look much too familiar. We spend a lot of time looking inward at our anger and fears. What self-serving narratives are we telling ourselves? How do those narratives justify our actions and inactions? Are we able to look outside ourselves and see the needs of others?
Like Batman, we do not have superpowers, but most of us have access to material resources, and all of us have emotional and spiritual gifts. So let’s take inventory, find uses for what we have, and offer them to others.
Our collective reckoning and inspired action will lead humanity away from darkness into the light.
World Central Kitchen 🇺🇦
My super cute parents are currently making blue and yellow ribbons and selling them to raise money to support Ukrainians. Mom and Dad live in a Florida retirement community, and residents are purchasing the ribbons and tying them to their golf carts. The money they raise goes to World Central Kitchen, an organization currently providing hot meals to Ukrainian people fleeing home and those who remain in the country. So far, they have raised $1500!!!
Click here if you would like to learn more about World Central Kitchen, and donate if you are inspired to do so.
Dear Bruce Wayne,
I’m just checking in to make sure you are okay. You have discovered that you can use your assets to help others, but it will not be easy. I’ve been in the helping profession for two decades, and burnout is a real thing. Been there, done that! So, I am offering you five tips to prolong your career.
Brighten things up. Gotham is going through some very dark times, so it wouldn’t be a good look for you to jet off to the Florida sunshine, but there are other ways to bring light into your life. For example, your bat cave is much too dark; get some good lighting in there and turn it all the way up! It will be a real mood-booster!
Make friends. You don’t seem to get out much. Your only friend is Alfred, and you let the hottest woman on earth get away from you. Social media is a good way to find people who have common interests. However, you might be vulnerable to incels (look at what happened to the Riddler!), so I recommend that you stay off Facebook and start with something cute — like Pinterest.
Maintain a well-balanced diet. You look pale, and there are dark circles under your eyes. I know that helping people is hard, but if you are going to be a hero, you will need to eat more than a handful of berries. Fruit is essential, but so are carbs and protein. I know, I know, I’m annoying, but I am a wee bit further along in life than you, and I’m just trying to pass along some well-earned wisdom.
Take care of yourself first. That whole oxygen-mask-on-a-plane analogy is the real deal.
Listen to Chromatica. It looks like you will be wading through high waters for a while. When I feel like I am physically and emotionally drowning, I crank up “Rain On Me.” It boosts my spirits every time! While you are at it, consider yassifying your costume with some pink flare. You’d look even cuter!
Wishing you well, my young grasshopper.
Lady Gaga Read My Letter and Said, “You’re Going To Chromatica!”
All of you Little Monsters have me to thank. A couple of issues ago, I wrote a letter to Gaga begging her to save our collective emotional health by announcing the 2022 dates for The Chromatica Ball.
On Monday, Mother Monster answered! The 2022 tour dates were announced, and tickets purchased in 2020 are still valid!!! Gaga, ooh la-la!!!
My social media response to this news was joyous and celebratory, but private correspondence revealed my darker side.
In messages to a couple of friends, I typed, “Will COVID or WWIII or some other unknown horror interrupt The Chromatica Ball 3.0?”
(Note to self: I need to tell Batman that doomsday talk is not always conducive to making or keeping friends).
One friend’s pessimism showed up differently; he informed me that he gave up on The Chromatica Ball long ago and had his tickets refunded.
But I am holding on to these tickets until 1) I sing “Rain On Me” with Lady Gaga and 53,605 other gays, or 2) I die.
Pandemic, war and older age be damned! I am going to Chromatica!
If you enjoyed this issue, show me some love 💕 and buy me a coffee. ☕️
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I am not opposed to masks being worn to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the mask worn by The Phantom Of The Opera. Musicals make everything better.
No one told me that the Joker isn’t in this film (or is he?..wink, wink).
The Batman earned $128.5 million at the North American box office. Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $260 million on its December 2021 debut weekend.
If you are unfamiliar with Batman, Bruce Wayne is Batman out of disguise.