The love/hate relationship between readers and writers

Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert, J.H. Williams III and Tony S Daniel

Reading is hard. Not just in a practical sense, like looking at random, arbitrary symbols on a piece of paper and turning them into understanding, narrative and meaning is hard. I seem recall learning to do that was very hard. But it’s also hard to read if you, like me, really commit to the stories and the characters that you’re reading. You invest in them. Yes, of course you know that they aren’t real and that if it gets too intense you can close the book and walk away but you really don’t want to. It’s like a brutal torture device, wanting to stop at beautiful moments in a story so it can’t get worse and then just knowing that you can’t no matter what. Like stopping Moulin Rogue five minutes from the end – every time I desperately want to so it’s a happy ending but then I miss the heart breaking beautiful sorrow that I know comes afterwards. Of course fictional characters are never really dead because you can always flip back to page one and see them again but it’s not the same. The first time you read a beloved character’s death they are gone, even if it’s only temporary and it’s completely devastating, just for a little while but for that half hour or an hour or however long it takes you to move on (I think I mourned Tara from Buffy for like a month. Dumbledore and Sirius were about the same) you feel like you’ve really lost something.

Reading like that is hard. But also wonderful because the funny moments make you laugh until your abs hurt (and you keep repeating the jokes in your head for the days) and the heart warming moments make giggle and call people you love who’ve also read the book so you can talk to them about it and you flip back to those pages a hundred times the week after you finish the book because even though you’ve started another one you still miss the one you just finished.

Maybe not everyone reads like this. Maybe I’m alone. But I hope not because reading like this is AWESOME. Even if it is draining.

Which is why you love and hate the authors and the writers of everything you read. Of course I love J.K. Rowling. She created this fantastical world that I spent like seven years engaged with. But she also made me cry for an hour because she killed off Lupin and I knew it was coming from like half way through the book and there was nothing I could do to save him. Joss Whedon is amazing, obviously. I’ve probably spent like a year’s worth of giggles on Buffy alone. But I still can’t bring myself to watch The Body again because I know it will hurt my soul to much. I’ve watched Moulin Rogue like a dozen times and every one of them I hope, against all logic I know, that it’ll end differently. And in the case of this Batman I can’t understand how Grant Morrison could be such a terrible human being. He introduces this bratty like Batchild, spends six years slowly developing him into a beautiful, fantastic, lovable character who has a wonderful relationship with the Batfamily and a great character arch and so much awesomeness just to kill him off. Just to break my heart. Clearly.

The Black Glove includes Batman and Son, which I’ve already blogged about and is one of my favourite Batman stories (but was so much more moving this time knowing that he died last Wednesday) so we’ll skip that. The next story is the Island of Mister Mathew, which consists of a horrifyingly racist murder mystery involving a terrible idea from the 1950s. Apparently in the 1950s someone thought it would be cool to have a club of “Batmen of all nations” so they came up with a bunch of “ethnic” Batmen including Man of Bats a Native American, the Knight who is British (and actually sticks around and isn’t quite as offensive to the politically crowd), a Zoro look alike, Centurion from Rome, a musketeer like guy with a big hat and Wingman who returns later as well. Anyway, some one is killing off all the stereotypes… I mean superheroes…. and as usual it’s up to Batman and Robin to work out who. This story introduces the villain of Dr Hurt who spends most of the next story trying to mess around with Bruce. It was good, it had its moments for sure and I’m wildly excited for R.I.P. Batman which is the story that follows this one, but most of it was hallucinations and flashbacks that Bruce had while his heart was stopped. They were excellent hallucinations and flashbacks for sure – his greatest fears are always a good topic for exploration and his mysterious training years are always popular for good reason but he’s less interesting when his heart’s not going.

Anyway, other then the uncomfortable racism (which is at least a little excusable since some white guy in the 50s wrote these characters and Grant Morrison kind of thoughtfully writes them all off) this story was great! Which is why I’m afraid I’m going to half forgive him for killing off Damian. Because I can’t help it.

Last movie I watched: Cowboys and Aliens. Yeah it was only about 80% as dumb as I thought it would be….

Last TV episode I watched: Batman Beyond. Yup, I’m back to that.

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