The Influence of Batman

Batman ClocThe Influence of Batman

Since I was a little kid I’ve always been fascinated by Batman.  I grew up watching Adam West and Burt Ward fighting Caesar Romero, Burgess Merdith, Frank Gorshin, and Julie Newmar (the only Real Catwoman, Earth Kitt, Blech!).  Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.  I even had a talking Batman alarm clock as a boy.  Really wish I could get it to work again, since I still have it.

The Dark KnightOdd that I didn’t read a lot of Batman comics as a kid, having gravitated to Marvel and The Avengers (sounds like another influences Blog Post).The Frank Miller Batman books, The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, are all definitely graphic novels which I would consider influences.  For me, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is the definitive Batman.  Haters hate, I don’t care.  I love Christian Bale.  Hell, my favorite Batman from the 80’s and 90’s was Val Kilmer.  I’m weird like that.

JokersThe thing is, as I got older I became as fascinated with The Joker as the Caped Crusader.  Mark Hamill’s Joker is great, but Heath Ledger is my all-time favorite. Batman and Joker are simply two sides of the same coin.  Harvey Dent’s coin is no coincidence, I’m sure.  Put another way, Batman and Joker are all about Balance:  Law and Chaos, Order and Entropy.  The fact is, you can’t have one without the other.  It’s the way of the universe.  Those are the types of ideas I like to explore in my writing.  My characters are never black and white.  Real people are never black and white.

So far, I have to admit I’ve been very pleased with Fox’s Gotham.  I’ve avoided reading the criticism.  It won’t change my opinion.  I like what I like, and I like Gotham.  It’s good to see yet another step forward in the Batman mythology.  I see Gotham as a step along the same path Nolan charted with his three films.  Thus far, my only disappointment has been the initial appearance of Joker, but the kids performance was great.  Gave me chills at the end, but I just have to wonder if they shouldn’t have waited for a while to bring him in.  I’m more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt though.  Penguin’s blossoming origin story has been amazing and I’m enjoying Jim Gordon coming to life, layer by layer being added with each episode.  They could speed up development on Bruce Wayne for my tastes, but again, I think they are heading the right direction.

I only hope that Mr. Affleck’s upcoming portrayal isn’t as sinfully awful as I fear it will be.  Regardless, I’m confident Batman’s legacy can survive even Ben Affleck.

 

Writing Mastery with David Farland

For Christmas 2014 I enrolled in David Farland’s Writing Mastery class.  The class is online, with ten assignments designed to be accomplished at your own pace.  One of the greatest benefits is the online meeting with David Farland.  Dave holds live video chat conferences, usually three to four times per week, depending upon his schedule.  He answers typed chat questions live at each meeting.  His insights on the publishing industry and writing are inciteful and invaluable.

I’ve completed the first four of ten assignments thus far.  With each assignment Dave has personally reviewed and edited my work, offering extensive feedback.  I’m proud to say that Dave has been very encouraging and positive in his critiques so far:

Assignment on Setting-“Excellent job on this.  …Honestly, I get the feeling that you’re layering the details in pretty well.”

Assignment on Characterization- “Okay, this is very nice.  Excellent job!”

Assignment on Dialog- “You did a good job on this.”

Dave’s instruction and feedback has helped me improve my writing already.  I really want to finish the other assignments, but I’ve been inspired over the last month since I started the class, and I’ve been spending all my writing time on revision on Volume One of the Sphere Saga.

Anybody looking to improve their fiction writing skills would greatly benefit David Farland’s tutelage.  I highly recommend it.  Information on Dave’s classes can be found at www.mystorydoctor.com.