starwolf_oakley: (Default)
[personal profile] starwolf_oakley posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Wednesday's Shortpacked had another Frank Miller joke. As usual, it is on-point. I, however, go off-point with idle thoughts about "Dark Knight Rises."



2013-02-13-toobig

Seeing Ellen Yindel was the inspiration for Ellen Yin in "The Batman." A good cop who just doesn't like the idea of a masked vigilante.

I've wondered if Ellen Yin would have worked as a rookie cop in "Dark Knight Rises" instead of John Blake. We could get a better explanation than "Bruce Wayne seemed sad, and I realized Batman would be sad too." Also, we find out her legal first name is Cassandra.

Date: 2013-02-16 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
I think it would have worked about as well. We could have had better reasoning with John Blake, we just... didn't. No reason to think basing it on another, albeit less obscure character blended with another, albeit less well known character, would have changed that.

Date: 2013-02-17 11:47 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
There was a set of Nostalgia Chick episodes a while back where, because the Hobbit had recently come out - and it seems to have been criticised partially because it isn't Lord of the Rings yet New Line are trying to make it LOTR - she investigated the notion of Tolkien's female characters, and because Nolan's trilogy was relatively recent, she compared Tolkien's female characters to those in Nolan's films, and.. Well, she hit largely upon the same thing you did. Nolan's just not the best at female characters.

Cotillard's character in Inception, after all, was little more than a plot device. The female characters in The Prestige were little more than a sacrificial lamb to kickstart the rivalry, someone who got passed back and forth between the two male leads, and a wife who was used largely to hint at the real massive plot twist of the film. Dark Knight's Rachel is just.. There. For something for Harvey to yell about at the film's end. By comparison, Rises was a little bit of a step up, but.. Yeah. I don't particularly know about switching Blake out for someone else, because I think that fit what Nolan was going for without specifically invoking characters that fans could complain about being mutilated to fit his films.

But then I kind-of disagree with your assertion that Blake's reasoning for knowing who Batman was is kind of weak; Nolan's Batman isn't the greatest at hiding his ID anyway, and to me, it's basically the equivalent of Tim Drake figuring it out on his own. That said, there's no reason he couldn't have been a female character. Even if you didn't particularly want to invoke Cass - because I think using her name and implying it's based on the character from the books when she's entirely different would be pointless, but.. Still.

It just feels like Nolan grabbed Levitt because he liked working with him on Inception, to me, whereas I felt Cotillard still fit with the more revised European Ra's Nolan had in his first film.

Date: 2013-02-17 12:15 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Uber-geek-moment, Tim Drake's moment of clarity was not working out who Batman was, but working out who ROBIN was, by recognising an acrobatic trick that was pretty much unique to Dick Grayson (Why MORE people didn't make that connection is perhaps more on point :) ).

In the reboot DCU it's Dick who recognises Batman as Bruce by his apparently new skill of being a super body-language/microexpression reader. (And the fact they went for that instead of the far more powerful, indeed "iconic", moment when Batman chooses to trust Dick with his identity is frankly inexplicable to me)

Date: 2013-02-17 12:19 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Ah, my bad.

And, well, we know the DCU is full of bad decisions. I haven't really read that many stories with a younger incarnation of Dick in there, but I did like the development of how the two work together in Dark Victory. Loeb, for all his faults, nailed that, to me.

Still, I think - even with my lack of knowledge aside - Nolan's choice to have Blake figure Bruce out wasn't a particularly bad one; In-universe, Bruce isn't particularly brilliant at hiding his ID, and even if Blake hadn't known immediately that Bruce was Batman, the fact that Batman disappeared as Wayne became more hermit-like must have rung a few alarms, especially given Blake is portrayed as one of the few cops with some common sense in the movie.

Date: 2013-02-17 07:44 pm (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Dick stole Cass's abilities?

Date: 2013-02-17 08:04 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Robin oh THIS is going to end well)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Apparently so, annoying, isn't it?

Apparently it's part of why he is such a "people" person, he can, without realising it it would seem, accurately gauge their emotional state and react in kind. Of course, the fact the reboot has wiped out about 90% of the reason he was such a people person, by excising almost his entire career as Robin and wiping out his Teen Titans history because they never existed just adds to the "fun".

Date: 2013-02-17 08:11 pm (UTC)
salinea: Balder is unhappy (*D:*)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Very.

I mean, I like Dick (does anyone not like him?) but Cass is one of my fav and that they diss her so much and remove her from continuity and then they basically give her specific shtick to Dick? GRRR ARGH.

Also yeah, as you highlight Dick doesn't need it because he had a perfectly good reason for being a people person and a perfectly rounded set of skill as a leader and an acrobat and everything.

Nice to see DC still find news ways to descend lower in my regard.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:05 pm (UTC)
cypherfdp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cypherfdp
To be fair, it's not like the Sons of Batman and Mutants were much better with their ways.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:10 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Sorry, I might be a bit slow, but I'm not really seeing what point the shortpacked is trying to communicate.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
As best I can tell- the suggestion is that Frank Miller is a scared old white man who uses Batman to express his desire to bring various groups (in this case, youth and women) back into line with his outdated ideals.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:21 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
It kind of loses impact, though, when they're using a Batman story where Batman had a point - because who else was fighting the mutants as effectively as he did in the end? - and conflating that with Miller's now very obvious personal politics. The new generation of kids in TDKR needed that guiding hand, because the alternative was a - the mutant leader, or b - the corrupt government.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:47 pm (UTC)
aravis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aravis
You realise the reason Batman had a point is because MIller wrote it that way. That's kinda the point, really.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:55 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Yes, but it's contrasted in the actual story with stuff like the Joker only coming back and becoming murderous again because Batman reappears. It's been a while since I've read TDKR, but I still remember there being more balance to it than just Batman winning in a strawman fashion. And really, the argument could be applied to any superhero story where the lead makes a compelling argument that sets him up as a leader or puts him into opposition against authority. Miller's just an easy target because he rants online about the people who are his bread and butter.

Date: 2013-02-16 11:34 pm (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
Its also because TDKR was from before Frank Millers "Raving jackass" period.

Date: 2013-02-17 02:20 am (UTC)
cainofdreaming: cain's mark (pic#364829)
From: [personal profile] cainofdreaming
That kinda throws out anything written then, and not just by Miller, yes?

Date: 2013-02-17 02:48 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Yes. All fiction, and even some non-fiction, cannot be defended by saying "they have a point, because that's how things are in the story." The point is that the entire narrative is constructed by the author to begin with, so trying to defend the author's ideas by referencing the author's ideas is just going around in circles.

Date: 2013-02-17 06:14 am (UTC)
aravis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aravis
That doesn't mean fiction can't have a point. You just can't say they have a point because "Well, the story says...". It has to be on a more.... uhm... Philosophical level. Oh dang, that sounds so pretentious, but it's true...

Date: 2013-02-16 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
The point of that is kind-of misplaced when you remember that this was written when Miller was in his late 20s--hardly an old man.

Date: 2013-02-16 10:55 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Again, they'd be more on the mark if they'd ran with the idea that at one point, Miller seemed to have what was very much an 'against the system' line of thinking, which he now appears to have traded in now he's become that grumpy old man. But conflating his contemporary politics with his work like this just doesn't really click, to me.

Date: 2013-02-16 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I think the book that was probably most like his politics pre-9/11 was Bad Boy, which he did with Simon Bisley on art. It's definitely "against the system," but it leans more against the liberal, politically incorrect, type, and the adults who take on the child in the end, while flawed and are without many things, are loving and supportive of the child to be who he wants to be.

At least, that's how I remember it--I got it out of a library a LONG time ago and only read it the once.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:19 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Presumably that Yindel is less effective as Commissioner because she doesn't operate in the same way Gordon did - ie putting faith in Batman, and because she's a woman, because the only female character who fares well in TDKR is Carrie.

Date: 2013-02-16 09:49 pm (UTC)
espanolbot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] espanolbot
Is Carrie Not!Holly Robinson? 'Cause she did seem kind of callous to those rich families being turfed out onto the street in ways that made even Selina kind of put off.

Date: 2013-02-16 09:53 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Carrie is Frank's Girl!Robin in TDKR (and I suddenly realise TDKR can mean either The Dark Knight Returns or The Dark Knight Rises, but in this case, definitely the former). And I think maybe that's one of the reasons Nolan maybe didn't invoke Holly in Rises, because Juno Temple's character seemed distinctly different.

Date: 2013-02-16 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I don't see how they were that different--at least with how Miller wrote her.

Date: 2013-02-16 10:36 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
In terms of how Miller wrote Holly? In Year One? That's massively different compared to what Temple's character was like.

Date: 2013-02-16 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
Yes, Molly in Year One compared to the girl Selina was with in Rises. From what I remember, they both served the same purpose--as a young woman who lived with Selina to show that she isn't just a selfish thief.

Date: 2013-02-16 10:42 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
I still don't see it, not fully. I mean, yes, Selina saves her buddy in Rises, but that she even needed to be saved seemed like more of a ruse to let Selina thieve something on the sly. I just don't see it - especially not with the child prostitution angle Miller works into Year One.

Date: 2013-02-16 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
Those differences seem kind-of cosmetic at best--Juno's character in Rises didn't really add that much to the overall story anyway.

Date: 2013-02-17 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
How would that worked with how she was doing things in general, though? In the movie, all she really does after Bane takes control is kinda live it up in one of the penthouses. Not to mention that it seemed like Selina had Juno with her the whole time, and she wasn't exclusively working in Gotham.

Date: 2013-02-16 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
What's interesting is that she isn't all that different from Gordon at the beginning of Year One. The difference I can find is that in the beginning the corrupt officers around Gordon were being nice to Gordon because they thought they had someone who would follow along with their way of thinking; and when Yindel started playing a role, a lot of the corrupt officials were nice to her because having a woman as police commissioner gave them good political points. They both started out as tools to use in the minds of the corrupt people in charge, but they found that Batman were their most trusted ally, despite everything.

Date: 2013-02-16 08:33 pm (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
I don't really get this, I mean Frank Miller was 29 when TDKR came out, so this wasn't exactly wishful thinking by an old white dude when it was written.
Moreover, this strip has pretty much nothing to do with the actual context of the scene in the story. The Sons of Batman, were 1) actually operating in Batman's name, following what they thought were his wishes, and 2) not exactly a marginalized populist uprising, they were a bunch of murderous teenagers with a warped sense of justice trying to take advantage of a city wide crisis. 3) Batman actually does ask nicely, he doesn't start throwing punches until they listen. When he came in and actually took charge and started leading them he did so by making a speech, not crushing skulls.
I mean, there are a lot of things that could be said about TDKR, but I think that the way in which they're being said here isn't very good.
The art's pretty spot on as a more cartoon-y Miller though, so points for that at least.
Edited Date: 2013-02-16 08:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-02-16 08:59 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
I think sometimes it's a little to easy to conflate Miller's contemporary personal politics with an old story he wrote that involves politics; I think that if they were really going for a sense of irony, they'd comment on the idea that at one point, Miller was basically setting himself up as being on the same side as the OWS group he railed against. His Batman fought the corrupt system and inspired the younger generation to do the same; As an older man, Miller seems to relate more with the system. Which is.. Well, I think they're leaning toward commenting on it, but they didn't quite hit the mark.

Date: 2013-02-17 12:22 am (UTC)
lucean: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lucean
You know, that would have actually been a great point to make in a satirical manner, much better than the one they try to do here. I think they're trying to be topical with the coming movie, but as you said, they fail to separate the writer at the time from who he is now.

Date: 2013-02-17 12:54 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Batwoman, red/black/white art (Batwoman)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
Well said. TDKR does have all the seeds of later Miller - lone white guy is the only one who can save the day - but it's in quite a different context. I have the feeling that current Miller would be siding with TDKR Superman, but without the tiny wink to Batman at the end.

Date: 2013-02-17 11:16 pm (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
If this is Willis' sixth strip criticizing Miller, then I think it's more of a fixation of Willis' rather than a necessary or even particularly entertaining critique.

Date: 2013-02-17 02:31 am (UTC)
angelophile: (Chamber Uhhh?)
From: [personal profile] angelophile
Are we pretending that Frank Miller's still relevant for some reason?

Date: 2013-02-17 02:41 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
You guys are reading it too literally, the comic isn't trying to say that these were actually Miller's views when he wrote TDKR. The joke is that even in his older work it's possible to see the seeds of what he eventually became, and that his regressive viewpoints are transparent and hilarious in retrospect. The psychologists and reformers are farcially inept, crime is depicted as a new generation of Mutants who need to have their violence channeled in the right direction by a powerful leader.

I mean, people have been saying that MIller wasn't actually that old when he wrote TDKR, but part of the impetus for writing it in the first place was that Miller felt old. He came up with TDKR when he realized that he was older than Batman, and was uncomfortable with the notion.

Date: 2013-02-17 12:04 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
I don't think anyone's actually said that these are Miller's views when he was writing TDKR, but it still doesn't ring true to me to transplant Miller's current politics in which he's clearly happy to bite the hand that feeds him most, into scenes based on a work he did nearly thirty years back. Yes, there are seeds of it there, but I don't think they've quite hit the mark in what they're trying to say. Again, I find more irony in the idea that Millar has become the kind of people he seemed to be railing against as a younger creator, given his really rather bizarre outburst at the OWS crowd.

Date: 2013-02-17 12:35 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I don't see the irony. What views are demonstrated in TDKR that would align with those of OWS? Thinking that the government is corrupt is not, in itself, a developed political philosophy, unless you're, say, an anarchist who's opposed to the idea of government itself. For example, the Tea Party also protested against the government's economic policies, while being on the opposite end of the political spectrum as OWS. People of any political persuasion can be opposed to a government whose policies they don't agree with.

In TDKR, Batman drives up in a tank and opens fire on an unruly mob, smiling to himself and thinking "rubber bullets." He skewers liberals with both the psychiatrist and Carrie Kelly's parents, who are inept at dealing with the threats that surround them. The government is corrupt because it is ineffective in controlling the violent social upheaval of the Mutants, and instead targets Batman when he uses violence to take control of the city for himself. How are any of these opposed to modern-day Miller's comments, where he rails against OWS for being a bunch of unruly deviants wasting everyone's time, while the Islamic menace threatens to consume us? I mean, I don't know for sure Miller's views on Obama, but I'm willing to guess he's still not a fan of those in government.

Of course, Miller was more liberal back then, but it's still pretty easy to see how he grew into the guy he is now.

Date: 2013-02-17 06:20 pm (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
I think the Occupy thing was ironic given Year One, not TDKR.
http://www.blogcdn.com/www.comicsalliance.com/media/2011/11/burningitch11162011paceburningmonster.jpg
This comic does a somewhat good job explaining the irony. Basically it's that Year One is all about Batman taking on the people who have ruined Gotham, and then irl Miller got angry at Occupy for trying to do pretty much the same thing.
You make some good points about TDKR, though I think the government is also being skewered for the whole Cold War escalation thing as they engage in the Corto Maltese conflict, nearly leading to nuclear war, not just their handling of the Mutants. Really, Miller swings at a lot of targets in TDKR, so there are a lot of ways it can be interpreted politically. However I do think it bears remembering that some of the right wing stuff is just inherent to the superhero genre, which is at its core pretty much always about one dude doing what the authorities can't or won't do, often through of violence because that's just entertaining to people.
Personally I don't see TDKR as a story that's trying to be political, more as a regular Batman story dialed up to the point of ridiculousness.
Edited Date: 2013-02-17 06:33 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-02-17 07:49 pm (UTC)
ext_502445: (Default)
From: [identity profile] arrogantcur.livejournal.com
I wonder if the resemblance to Freddy Krueger in that comic was intentional. Not that I'd complain if it were, mind you.

As far as what Miller's politics were like back in the day, Robocop 2 could be an indication. Haven't seen the movie in like twenty years, but I remember that part of Miller's story involved Robocop being reprogrammed with lots of new directives, the idea being to turn him into a kinder, gentler crimefighter. The result was him pretty much being able to do nothing but say "No! Stop! You're being bad!" whenever he saw a crime being committed.

And okay, that's kind of funny, but Miller could've easily written that as satire saying "Hey, this is what happens when you tell police they have to follow rules and that they have to go easy on criminals and that they need warrants to search homes and all that other crap! It means they can't do their jobs and criminals who belong in prison end up going free!"

I could be wrong. Maybe he was a really different person back then, and he was just trying to inject humour into an action franchise for a change without trying to make a serious statement at the same time. But somehow I doubt it, and my guess is that he's always been right-wing.

Date: 2013-02-18 02:15 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Sure, and I agree that of course Miller was more liberal back then, but the supposed liberal ideals expressed in Year One are equally generic. There are conservatives today who accuse the Obama administration of elitism and corruption, that Obama's on vacation and his wife is buying fancy dresses, that his socialistic policies are going to make everyone poor, that he's buying votes through social welfare programs or whatever.

Every political party is against corruption and those in power bleeding the country dry and so on (what party would be for those things?), but they have very different definitions of what that entails. Again, I'll bring up the Tea Party as a counterpart to Occupy. They were superficially both populist movements holding protests against government economic policies, but they were still on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

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