October 31st, 2007

The Zombie


October 30 -  Again, I am posting this entry deep into the day after it purports to be.  It really is because of the Fallfire art contest stuff.  Thankfully, there are now (eleven hours before the deadline) at least forty entries, with promise of more to come.  Success!  Anyhoo, let's get to what was supposed to be the 30th's "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - Batman!  Yep, that Batman, DC Comics' avenger of the night.  As you may or may not know, I was so engrossed in the character of Batman when I was a little kid that I thought that there was a fairly decent possibility that I might grow up to be Batman.  Bruce Wayne's becowled alter ego was the end all and be all of everything.  I had Batman pajamas, bed linens, curtains, socks, shirts, shoes, posters, books, backpacks, records, action figures, toys, beach towels, slippers, comics, and more.  And I drew Batman everywhere.  He was even Monkey's best friend - and Vice-President!  I created many little comics featuring the caped crusader.  In my comics, Batman was even able to rehabilitate all of his classic foes, like The Penguin and Catwoman, except The Joker.  Back in those days, The Joker was the only villain that, as far as I knew, had killed anyone, so I saw him as irredeemable.  Anyhoo, even though I knew, of course, that Batman was not my character per se, I wasn't aware that copyrights would prevent me from telling my own Batman stories.  This isn't as naive as it sounds, either.  I was under the impression that DC's Batman comics were merely the best stories being told about the "public domain" character.  Back then, reruns of the campy, crappy, classic Batman TV show were prevalent, and they clearly had nothing to do with the character as he was being used at the time.  So, I thought that I was just drawing my version of Batman's adventures.  Then I found out what "copyright" really meant.  I was nearly heartbroken.  I say "nearly" because A) I imagined that I would then soon be hired by DC to bring my particular thirteen-year-old vision of Batman to their comics, and B) no one in the larger world would ever know what I had been drawing anyway.  Years later, though, when I began to convert Monkey and his world from childhood scribbles to adulthood ideas font, I came face to face with my blatant misuse of one of DC's most cherished, and tightly guarded, copyrights.  How could I retell those vintage stories without one of the principle characters?  I eventually imagined the amalgamated character of Ferrex to fill in for the need for a troubled crimefighter in Monkey storylines.  Strangely, this also helped reaffirm Monkey as the title's main protagonist.  With Batman (and Superman, and Mr. Spock, and Spider-Man, etc.) in Monkey's life, I had really only told stories where he was "one of the gang" (even if inexplicably referred to as that gang's leader).  Without any other supertypes sharing the spotlight, Monkey became more fully formed.  In a way, Monkey absorbed some of Batman's characteristics.  So, DC's Batman may now be "forbidden," but the spirit of my childhood Batman still lives on!