Friday, November 30, 2012

SIX (1) SIX (2) SIX (3)

In 2006, on a hot summer day as the clock ticked off 4:00 PM I was I was rolling pizza dough and cooking sausage, and watching as the peak hour pub business began to pull onto the steaming asphalt of the parking lot, when my wingman (quite literally, the man operating the locker-room and hell fantasy that was the fry-room), a bedraggled 50 something conspiracy theorist, burnt out on too much sun, too many hours in blazing kitchens, and far and away too much Acid turned (he'd been folding pizza boxes for me) and said unto me: "666 man ... you know it?" "Yeah," I replied. "I know it." "You know it (pause, eyerolle), but do you KNOW it, man? The significance of it?" I parsed it for a second. Words from Shaun Toomath are strafing runs from a Vietnam-era helicopter brains. He comes in guns blazing, lays some high-color truth on you, expects you to think he's insane and then grabs a case of beer from the Pub cooler and jets for the night to go back to piece-meal mainframes and UFO searches. I didn't want to wait too long for my reply, so I free-associated and had my answer in about three seconds. "It's pretty clearly a computer password." "Now you're talkin', now you're talkin'. But what computers? The banks, man. The banks." and on he rambled, having taken barely the extra moment to acknowledge that maybe our personal wavelengths sync up at least once a day before making off with twelve bottles of honey brown ale. Six years later I froze as I chanced upon this memory and realized I could apply Futurist tenets to it thanks to my grand art school education.
The Brunnian Ring is 666. Oroboros is 666. The trefoil, the Celtic knotwork, the circle around the world, the snake eating its own tail is the mark of the beast. The Pentagram can be a Brunnian Ring.
The Beast of Revelation, the first beast, the beast from the sea, could be Leviathan. Ultimately like with every 2000+ interpretation, to try to analyze its symbolism in this story further is to invite inconsistency. In any case, most modern cult-conspiracy theorists would equate the Number of the Beast with microchips, computers, the economy and the implementation of some kind of NEW WORLD ORDER. And that much holds true, as does the Hellish implementation seen in Damian's 666 future Gotham. This extends everywhere, all the way to the end of time, but no place as obviously as Batman Incorporated (Vol.1) # 8. "Seven years ago, a young genius launched Hypergames with "JUDGMENT IN HELL CITY 666". Mr. Tanaka." In that story we have a virus creating chaotic zombies, wreaking havoc on a system ... a Daemon possessing an avatar and running the show. It's Barbatos in miniature; the mutation engine is a virtual-hyper adapter demon-curse, Tanaka is a mock-Thomas Wayne, the Worm Captain is a digital Jokerzombie virus, and exactly like the flashforwards to the 666 future, it's up to Batman and Barbara Gordon to deal with it. (So it's telling that it's Barbara's computer skills that save Batman from 666 Oroboros Revelation in the Leviathan Strikes! issue.) For somebody who doesn't factor that heavily in Morrison's Batman run, Barbara Gordon is there for the crucial moment with world-ending stakes, every time. Where does this lead? 666 is a branding, Gotham has been marked since the beginning - branded. Not by the Demon Star, which is merely the sigil of Baphomet, used by al Ghuls and Satanic Batmen, but by a beast in the form of a man who equals six-six-six. The very issue number. We call him Batman 666 because he debuted in Batman Issue # six-hundred sixty-six in a Hellish world. But he's Batman 666 because he is the man with the mark of the Beast. The demon-boy child. Damian is the Anti-Christ that all those other demons claimed to be. It said it all in the very beginning: "Damian was engineered to kill and replace his famous father." But the future has changed already (and not just from Flashpoint, although that is gleefully incorporated just fine in the preexisting patchwork of Bruce versus Time: Victory through preparation, legacy, having kids and accepting rather than seeking unnatural immortality). it's no surprise to see Morrison slap-dash insert a character called "Sphynx" into the 666 narrative. The Egyptian Sphinx, the Riddler of Old, is referred to directly in Keats' poem "The Second Coming", quoted in Batman In Bethlehem. In Keats' poem, the Sphinx is the Beast of Revelation, the riddle of time (must like the Hyper-Sphinx of Superman). What can we beat, but never defeat? FURTHER ANALYSIS: Batman # 666: "We found Candyman ... and your other victims ... I knew you'd finally snap. And I made a vow on my father's grave ..." Future Barbara Gordon indicates three things; one, Damian is involved, not directly, in Jim Gordon's death. Two, we met Pyg, we met Phosphorus Rex. Will we ever meet Loveless and Candyman? (Or Dai Laffyn, for that matter?) "Remember when the law meant something? ... Before the whole world got sick." QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS REMAIN, BUT BRITISH AIR AUTHORITIES BELIEVE FLIGHTS TO AND FROM HEATHROW WILL RESUME WITHIN THE NEXT MONTH … EPIDEMIC WHICH CLAIMED MORE THAN EIGHTEEN MILLION LIVES WILL SOON BE UNDER CONTROL, SAY CHINESE HEALTH AUTHORITIES … Sick. Doctor Hurt uses biological warfare. First Joker neurotoxin. Second Pyg viral addiction. Third, seemingly the off-hand Joker Parvovirus dreamed up in Joker's wildest imagination back in Batman, R.I.P. Leviathan also uses a variation of the Pyg formula for mind-control. Now we know Doctor Hurt in the 666 future made his way all the way to the White House, it stands that he is responsible for unleashing the plagues all over the world. TEMPERATURES ROSE TO A RECORD-BREAKING 123* FOR THE EIGHTH DAY … HOTTER THAN HELL IN MIDTOWN GOTHAM AS DIPLOMATS GATHER FOR TONIGHT'S CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT RECEPTION … Climate change. In addition to Ra's al Ghul's stark feelings about it, one might figure that Talia, should she be a power or demon of the 666 future, would've done something about it. "Eye of the Gorgon" opens with Ra's al Ghul wooing Melisande over the subject of hippie activism like Global Warming. GO AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE OR I'LL HUNT YOU DOWN ONE BY ONE. And of course, they do. To combat the Global Warming they build the Climate Control Satellites. And sure enough ... "YOU REPROGRAMMED CLIMATE CONTROL TO MAKE JOKERZOMBIES, BUT YOU PAID FOR IMMUNIZATION WITH YOUR EYE, RIGHT? JANUARY, MAX." The solution to one of the problems in 666 is corrupted in 700, and leads to the continuous Jokerzombie outbreak seen in Asylum. There's your 666-continuity thread. But as usual, just like with EVERY system we see ... the Joker, who is chaos and wildness and ever-changing, fickle and adaptable ... can infiltrate and break down any organized system (computer, society, psychological). But The Devil, and forces of evil and wickedness, can only steal Joker's techniques and ride his purple coattails. The color purple is seen on those in love, or meant to appear in love, with Batman in these stories - Joker, Jezebel, and Talia wore it. There's good reason to think of Talia again more like Joker; truly loves (and hates) Batman. And far more successful than pure evil. "The Demon Star at Zenith." Damian refers to this as "signing his autograph", and frankly, Talia later refers to her Leviathan alias as "give or take a few letters, my autograph". Not expecting any great links between Talia's Leviathan and Michael Lane? Think again; "Grayson-era Batman readers" know that Michael Lane resurfaced during the Batman and Robin days, not exactly in the thrall of Talia, but she was running the show. The very same Suit of Sorrows chain-mail relic she lent to Bruce for Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul became the hallmark along with a pair of swords for the new Azrael, Michael Lane's role after having been abandoned by Dr. Hurt (at least until 666 happens). He's passed from one Demon to another, and is last seen attempting to pass Biblical "Judgment on Gotham". Just because it's not Morrison's doesn't mean it's not relevant. Getting back to the point; THE DRAGON, that particular serpentine form of Satan the Enemy, the reptilian, slinky snake form, in Revelations is also referred to as the demon Tannin, and Tannin is synonymous (again, without going further) with Leviathan (also Tiamat, but we know already Talia is embracing all these dark mother demons, as well as Mormo and Medusa the Gorgon, and christ, to complete the trifecta, Morrison assigns her Lilith and Kali, and outright names Jezebel "Jezebel" and even Lumina Lux is named after Lucifer.). They're also synonymous with Egypt, the very place where Talia attended college and where Ra's al Ghul had at least one major stronghold. (Hebrew legends naturally weren't particularly fond of Egypt.) "THE DRAGON OF REVELATIONS SHOWS HIS STUPID FACE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. RIGHT HERE. EXACTLY WHERE I WANT HIM." Right in the Kill Box. Damian's attempt to "Box" Dr. Hurt's Devil echoes the way Joker did it, the way Batman built boxes around holes. I KNEW I'D NEVER BE AS GOOD AS MY DAD OR DICK GRAYSON. Dick's tenure as Batman spelled out right in the beginning, plain as day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Art Across Time and the Batman (A Beginning)

In what's sort of the first stage of analysis of how Grant Morrison's Batman run holds incredible value if you've got a background in Art History, I've compiled a quick list from memory of references within MORRISON BATMAN OMNIBUS to try to validate my theory. There's certainly enough listed to further the thought in some kind of essay (once I've done some major re-reading and note taking), and I even think it's enough to say that it can't be coincidental (for instance, it can't just be the happenstance that in soon-to-be 75 issues a writer who is interested in art & culture just happened to inject a major reference to almost every major historical art movement into relevant Batman history.)

There's reference to Morrison's having wanted to go to Art School but being unable to afford it in the various Grant Morrison: Talking to Gods documentaries floating around out there as well, to cement the point.

Western Art History
Prehistoric Art
Final Crisis 1 – D.O.A.: The God of War!
Cave drawings. Anthro.
Final Crisis 7 – New Heaven, New Earth
Cave drawings. Anthro.
Batman 702 – Batman’s Last Case
Cave drawings. Anthro.
Batman: TROBW 1 – Shadow on Stone
Cave drawings. Anthro.

Mesopotamian Art
52 – Dark Knight Down
99 Fiends (Demonology) names come from here.
Biblical Demons.

Egyptian Art
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Crystal Cat of Karnak.
City of Karnak (Khufu, prior life of Hawkman)

Far Eastern Art
52 – Revelations
Lost City of Nanda Parbat.
Batman 670-671 – The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul
Tibetan Monastic Caverns.
Lost City of Nanda Parbat.
Batman 681 – Hearts in Darkness
Chinese Temple.

Roman Art
Batman 667-669 – The Club of Heroes
The Legionary & Charlie Caligula, in their way. Also the suit of Legionary Armor
in the Bat-Cave, which is probably from Bruce’s first time travel expedition with
Professor Carter Nichols.

Byzantine Art
Examples of Demonology, possibly.

Celtic Art
Batman, Inc. 5 – Masterspy
Oroboro antechamber, Celtic knotwork.
See also; Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight.

Romanesque Art
Batman and Robin 7 – Pearly and the Pit
The Tower of London.

Gothic Art
Batman and Robin 7 – Pearly and the Pit
London Architecture.
See also: Batman: Gothic: A Romance.

Northern Renaissance Art
Batman 667-669 – The Club of Heroes
The Triumph of Death by Bruegel the Elder
Batman: TROBW 2 – Until the End of Time
Martin Van Derm, Flemish Painter
Rembrandt van Rijn
“Malleus” as in Malleus Maleficarum.
Batman and Robin 13-16 – Batman and Robin Must Die!
The Triumph of Death by Bruegel the Elder
Knight, Death and the Devil by Albrecht Durer

Native American Art
Batman: TROBW – The Return of Bruce Wayne
Barbatos Statue.
Miagani Tribal bone sculptures.
Batman, Inc. 7
Chief Man-of-Bats and Raven Red, local historians.

Batman: TROBW 3 – The Bones of Bristol Bay
Golden Age of Piracy, ship construction.
Blackbeard’s fashion. Probably the Musketeer’s as well.
Black Pirate’s dramatic opera style cape.
Jerome K. Van Derm.
Shakespeare. This one doesn’t need much help. Hamlet references abound – Batman
vs. Joker as Hamlet with Dick Grayson watching in flashback. Joker bringing back
Hamlet references in his guise as “Gravedigger”. Doctor Hurt, as “uncle”, whether
or not he may have murdered Bruce’s father driving Bruce insane.

Batman and Robin 10 – The Haunting of Wayne Manor
Portraits of Darius Wayne.
Anything to do with “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
Technically, Doctor Hurt is from this era.
Gothic Revival
Batman and Robin 10 – The Haunting of Wayne Manor
Wayne Manor.
Gotham City as constructed by Cyrus Pinkney.
Portraits of Solomon & Joshua Wayne.
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Alan Wayne, Portrait, Memoirs and Man.
Catherine Van Derm.
Genre – Gothic Horror
Entire run ...
Damian is something of a patchwork boy, like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.
See also: Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein.
Batman: TROBW 2 – Until the End of Time
Puritan Intrigue.
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Savage, Hurt & Midnight Horse.
Edgar Allan Poe references.
Genre – Dime Novel
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Jonah Hex.
The fact that it’s a comic book.
Batman and Robin 13 – The Garden of Death
The Garden of Death by Hugo Simberg. Symbolism.

20th Century Art
Avant-Garde, Art Nouveau & Art Deco
Traditionally Gotham architecture incorporates all of these.

Genre – High Fantasy
Batman – (Wonder Woman represents this.)

Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Batman One Million, but all of the “time travel” locations.

THE JOKER, in practically every incarnation.
Batman 663 – The Clown at Midnight
Batman 679 – Miracle on Crime Alley
Batman of Zur En Arrh
“Slow Vision” (Joker Vision)
Club of Villains
Batman 680 – The Thin White Duke of Death
Batman of Zur En Arrh
Joker’s rants, routine
Batman and Robin 1 – Domino Effect
The Domino Killer
The Circus of Strange
Professor Pyg
Even the nature of Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin, as the entire B&R run is
meant to be “haunted” by shades of Joker, whether it be Dick’s new enemies, the
color schemes, locations (Killing Joke circus) … everything therefore reflects
Joker’s DaDaist mantra. There’s also a bit of VAUDEVILLE.
Batman and Robin 2 – The Circus of Strange
Batman and Robin 3 – Mommy Made of Nails

Batman 673 – Joe Chill in Hell
Psychedelic mental trip during heart attack.
Batman 682 – The Butler Did It
Psychedelic mental trip during Evil Factory.
Batman 683 – What the Butler Saw
Psychedelic mental trip during Evil Factory.
Batman 701 – The Hole In Things
Psychedelic mental trip post Zur En Arrh.
Batman 702 – Batman’s Last Case
Psychedelic mental trip during Evil Factory.
Batman: TROBW 6 – The All-Over
Psychedelic mental confrontation in Darkseid’s hole in things.
Batman, Inc. 5 – The Kane Affair
Psychedelic flashbacks to Kathy Kane hallucinogen-fueled heartbreak.
Batman, Inc. 10 – Leviathan Strikes!
Psychedelic mental trip during Doctor Dedalus attack.

Abstract Expressionism
Batman: TROBW 6 – The All-Over
Much of Lee Garbett’s page & panel designs. The symbolism of the pearls, the gun.

Genre – Pulp Fiction & Noir
Every Batman Comic In History.
Batman 663 – The Clown at Midnight
Prose format, gritty hard-boiled detective drama.
Batman: TROBW 1 – Shadow on Stone
Robert E. Howard barbarian homage.
Batman: TROBW 2 – Until the End of Time
Robert E. Howard witch hunter homage with Lovecraft references.
Batman: TROBW 3 – The Bones of Bristol Bay
Robert Louis Stevenson homage.
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Dime-novel/Western homage.
Batman: TROBW 5 – Masquerade
James Ellroy/Raymond Chandler with a lot of pre-Batman Detective Comics.
Batman: TROBW 6 – The All-Over
Jack Kirby, Morrison’s JLA run and Heinland/Asimov/Vonnegut/Bradbury concepts.

Pop Art
Batman 655 – Building a Better Batmobile
Art for Africa (Jezebel), Hirst and Lichtenstein homages, Warhol.
Batman 656 – Man-Bats of London
Art for Africa (Jezebel), Hirst and Lichtenstein homages.

Genre – Japanese Manga
Batman, Inc. 1-2 Batman Japan
Making Bat-Manga canon.
Mister Unknown’s comic shop fa├žade.
Revamp of Lord Death Man into video-game based villain.

Genre – Secret Agent
Batman, Inc.
Spyral, T.H.E.Y., Leviathan, Doctor Dedalus (Post-Nazi), Kathy Kane, Gaucho,
Scorpiana, The Hood, School of Night

Comic Books as the ultimate Postmodernist Vessel.

Genre – Spaghetti Western
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Based somewhat on “High Plains Drifter”

Genre – Hammer Horror/Cluedo/Vincent Price/Scooby-Doo. (British involvement)
Batman 667–669 – The Club of Heroes
Murder mansion mystery, one of you is the culprit!
Batman 676-681 – Batman, R.I.P.
Parlor masquerade with nefarious rich & powerful figures watching you die!
Batman and Robin 7-9 – Blackest Knight
Trapped in a mine with Crime Cultists. Slightly Scooby-Doo.
Batman and Robin 13-16 – Batman and Robin Must Die!
Occult ritual, devil summoning, drugs and pagans.
Batman: TRBOW 5 – Masquerade
Occult ritual, more 70s style. Devil summoning.
Batman, Inc. 9 – The School of Night
Secret cult of killers in a girl’s school.

Genre – Kung-Fu
52 – Revelations
Nanda Parbat monks.
Batman 670-671 – The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul
League of Assassins. Tibet.
Sensei and his Men of Death.
I-Ching. Psychic possession.
Nanda Parbat. Fountain of Life.
Batman # 671 – Hearts in Darkness
Chinese assassin flashback.

Entire Morrison Run recombines & fuses things. Break down Batman into parts,
glorify those parts.
Batman, Inc. 3-5
The Victory Vs
The entire concept of a kind of flawed super-team, these guys are a perfect
encapsulation of what Alan Moore and other writers were doing in the 1980s,
taking the gilded ideal of super-heroes and turning them into far-too-human
messes of people (albeit cleverly based on various British sci-fi figures).
Doctor Dedalus murdering them all is equivalent to the character assassinations
frequently employed in the 1980s. And what a shock, even “in story” this
massacre took place in the 80s.

Outsider Art
Batman 656 – Man-Bats of London
Each weapon, memento, keepsake crafted by a villain who is basically an
antisocial artist lashing out at society. Bruce would argue that the Bat-Cave is
an Outside Art Gallery. The Bat-Cave itself is depicted as this splendid showcase
of Bruce’s adventures through art history.

Genre - Digital Art
Batman, Inc 8 - Nightmares in Numberland

Genre – Future (Neo-Noir)
Batman 666 – Batman in Bethlehem
The 666 future, as well as the Batman Beyond future.
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman

Genre – Future (Dystopian)
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Batman 3050, Brane Taylor and Ricky fighting the Iron Heel of Fura – basically
this is the future where machines rise up against man, like Terminator or Matrix.
It’s 50 years after the Legion as well.

Genre – Future (Utopian)
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Batman One Million, a future that is a perfect harmony of nature and technology.

Genre – Sci-Fi
Batman – (Superman represents all forms of hard sci-fi.)
Whenever Superman enters Batman’s world it’s the sci-fi of the DCU stabbing into
the semi-realism (neo-noir) of Batman’s world. If that’s not enough, factor in
guys like Rip Hunter (Pulp Time Travel), Booster Gold, or Green Lantern (Space
Opera). Superman is the vanguard for Batman getting into INSANE adventures.

Ultra-Modern Art
Batman 655-Onward – The stimulus cocktail that made Joker into Joker.
Contemporary Flaneur
Street Games, Con-Artistry
Neon Billboards
Chemical Spill Rainbows
Glo-Fi Smog Skies

More on this later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why did Batman steal Sivana's photonic crystal?

How is Tim Drake Batman's greatest student, but has the smallest role?

What is Lazlo Valentin's relationship to Kathy Kane, Spyral, the circus, and Hurt?

Who is David Zavimbe? Who are his Super Fly Crew?

What is The Hood's relationship to Kathy Kane? (Is he Netz's "second best" mention?)

Who was the second double-agent? Matron? Why did his speech bubbles look like Lord Death Man's?

Does Lord Death Man run on Lazarus?