Slate's history of the gay subtext between Batman and Robin collects the best panels and earliest insinuations from critics and commentators. It also looks at how the goofy 1960s TV show made Batman camp yet sexless, leading to D.C. comics nervously heteronormalizing the characters, which only solidified their earlier gayness in the public imagination.
What's interesting about it from a queer subtext standpoint is that the people involved in creating the art and stories universally insist that there was never any nudge-nudge-wink-winkery going on in their work. Batman and Robin are not lovers; the relationship is traditionally paternal. In other words, the queer subtext is either unintentional or imposed by the audience. Is this really subtext, then? Or is it just derpy inadvertent homoeroticism? Weldon's argument:
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Intention doesn’t matter when it comes to gay subtext. Imagery does. Remember: Queer readers didn’t see any vestige of themselves represented in the mass media of this era, let alone its comic books. And when queer audiences don’t see ourselves in a given work, we look deeper, parsing every exchange for the faintest hint of something we recognize. This is why, as a visual medium filled with silent cues like body language and background detail, superhero comics have proven a particularly fertile vector for gay readings over the years. Images can assert layers of unspoken meanings that mere words can never conjure. That panel of a be-toweled Bruce and Dick lounging together in their solarium, for example, would not carry the potent homoerotic charge it does, were the same scene simply described in boring ol’ prose.
Vigilante superhero tales tend to revolve around seeking justice outside of a failed system, and the idea that one man or woman can cause real change within that system by punching people. In short, they are fantasies, and popular in part because they suggest impossibly simple solutions to complex problems. In Cape, an interactive fiction story created by Bruno Dias for the ongoing Interactive Fiction Competition, you become one of those shadowy figures trying right wrongs in a crime-ridden city. But since wealth inequality lies at the heart of all the problems you encounter, well... let's just say that it's an uphill battle.
You can choose your gender and your nationality, though your options for the latter are limited: Whether you're Kenyan, Vietnamese, Slovenian or Mexican, you're going to be an immigrant, you're going to be poor, and life is going to be hard. You begin your story in a moment of desperation, about to break into a townhouse in a recently gentrified neighborhood to find whatever valuables you can and survive another day.
The story opens with a newspaper clipping that signals the precise flavor of dystopia that awaits. The article details a "passing tax" that will be levied on buildings based on their number of entrances and exits; apparently, suspects trying to evade police drones have been ducking into "passing houses" to escape surveillance, and they'd like to discourage that.
Yes, the watchful digital eyes of a corrupt police state are all around you, co-mingling with the more traditional violence of thieves and gangsters. Read the rest
This looks much more fun to me than whatever's coming next year. (YouTube)
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Leonard Robinson, a Maryland man known for paying visits to hospitalized kids while dressed as the iconic superhero Batman, was killed last Sunday night in a traffic accident. Robinson's Batmobile was not fully out of the line of traffic, and was struck by a passing car as he checked the engine.
More from the Baltimore Sun:
Robinson's custom black car — his version of the Batmobile — had broken down on eastbound Interstate 70 near Big Pool in Washington County about 10:30 p.m., state police said. Robinson was standing in the fast lane and checking the engine when he and his vehicle were struck by a Toyota Camry.
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He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The driver of the Camry was not injured and has not been charged.
Robinson, who has three sons, spent much of his time in the Batman character, spending his money traveling to cheer up sick children or promote charitable causes.
Jackie Tadeoni Sacha Goldberger created this wonderful series of superheroes (and Snow White!) as subjects of Baroque Flemish portraits. Read the rest
Photographer Rémi Noël explores the archetypes of American mythology: motels and their neon signs, desert expanses and the highways that crisscross them" and Batman. Read the rest
There are very few parts of Batman’s print legacy that aren’t readily available to the public. The various runs of newspaper comic strips are finally collected in hardcover form for the hardcore fan in Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (1968-1969). This great book from IDW gives us a second volume of the 1960s Silver Age comic strips in their original glory. These are strips that you literally couldn’t have seen until now, unless you had saved the original newspapers that they were printed in. The strips are reprinted in their original format, with the Sunday editions in color and the dailies in black and white. The book features all kinds of adventures that you’ve never seen before, including all the characters we love like Batman, Robin, Alfred, Catwoman, Batgirl and more. The occasional other Justice League hero will make an appearance as well, like Aquaman and Superman. This book is a phenomenal addition to the library of any Batman fan. – Matt MacNabb Read the rest
It can take blows from baseball bats, machetes and punches. Made with kevlar and silicone molds, this suit is ready for action. Read the rest
Batman is now on a postage stamp! Read the rest
Lisa Granshaw on why pop culture can’t let the Dark Knight go.
Brickbaron's LEGO rendition of The Joker's Fun House is decidedly Gotham's coolest evil lair. See photos over at Flickr. (via Devour) Read the rest
Holy holy! (Holy via Devour!) Read the rest
Kyle Roberts used Mattel's new classic Batman action figures to recreate the iconic title sequence of the 1960 Batman TV series. Oklahoma City's O'Fidelis covered the theme tune and Nathan Poppe drew the backgrounds for this stop-motion fun. "Batman Stop Motion Intro (1966)" Read the rest
The Vatican reassured the Catholic faithful that it hadn't been hacked Thursday after as unusual tweet--"Holy Switcheroo! Batman has grown bitter, more vengeful with the years"
--appeared on a popular news feed. Read the rest
A suspected burglar in Bradford, England, was arrested last week by Batman and subsequently charged with handling stolen goods. [Reuters] Read the rest