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Friday, April 24, 2015

Shawn’s thoughts on Batman V.Superman Dawn of Justice Teaser

I was at the library watching the Batman V. Superman teaser trailer. And everything I hated about modern DC Superheroes was presented front and center in that little snapshot of WB’s newest feature film.

First we get the immoral character calling himself Oliver Queen in the show calling itself Arrow but not featuring Green Arrow on the CW. Now this movie featuring a pair of super-powered pyschopaths.

Shawn has to ask: Why can’t DC Superheroes Be fun?

Batman V. Superman looks like a very ANGRY film. A film filled with doom and gloom. A bitter film made by very bitter people who have no idea what comic books and superheroes are supposed to be. From what I saw onscreen I dare to say many who work at Warner brothers need to get their head examined.

In Batman V. Superman the world hates Superman. They see him as an aloof overlord who does whatever he feels like and seeks to impose his will on mankind. People call him a false god. They don’t appreciate his good deeds. He doesn’t inspire hope in people. Instead he instills fear in them.

This is a far cry from the late Christopher Reeve’s Superman who was considered a friend to the world. A brightly colored hero who inspired hope in everyone in 1978 and even today when Superman: The Movie is broadcast on TV in reruns.

Seriously, everything in Batman V. Superman is NOT what superhero comics are about. It’s not what superheroes are about. It’s the kind of movie that warps and distorts superheroes and their missions. It’s what dysfunctional people who have no understanding of the genre THINK superheroes are, not what they actually are.

Comic book superheroes are not gods. They are not better than anyone else. They are people just like you and me. And they see themselves as people just like you and me. And in spite of their human flaws and frailties, they dedicate themselves to making a difference by helping those in need and sharing their gifts and abilities with others. Again, superheroes are friends to the communities they serve.

Comic book superheroes are about HOPE. They INSPIRE others to DO BETTER. BE BETTER. To MAKE THEIR LIVES COUNT. 

More importantly superheroes instill a sense of community in the kids who read their adventures. They make them understand when people have been given gifts and talents that they must use those gifts and talents make their world better. A Superhero volunteers his or her time to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and to help those who can’t help themselves. They know their job isn’t about thanks or rewards, it’s about doing what’s right and standing for what’s good.

From an educational perspective, Comic book superheroes help kids make sense of a world they don’t understand. In their brightly colored costumes they do the things kids want to do but can’t. They have the problems kids have, and offer them solutions in their adventures as they overcome the bad guys. Again, they are the friends who brighten up a child’s day and make a rough day for a tween or a teen that much better.

From what I saw in the Batman V. Superman Trailer, the employees at Warner Brothers and DC Comics have lost touch with what superheroes are supposed to be about. What I saw in their teaser wasn’t a superhero movie. It was a movie filled with the stuff of Super-Villains. From the bleak tone and dark visuals, the movie should have been called Ultraman V. Owlman: Dawn of Injustice.

When I heard the line where Batman pondered if he can make Superman bleed it made me cringe. Batman doesn’t act like this. EVER. Batman is dark, but he’s also a Knight, a man with a code of chivalry and honor. People seem to forget that aspect of the character these days.

Seriously, are these the kinds of values DC wants to teach kids? Is this what DC wants their heroes to be about in the 21st Century?

It must be because the same dysfunctional ideologies are projected in the pages of DC Comic books since 2002 are now being transposed onto film. It’s been a decade and a half of dysfunction at DC Comics and Warner Brothers and Batman V. Superman is the cinematic manifestation of the mental illness plaguing the DC offices regarding superheroes.

Batman V. Superman doesn’t feature the actions of heroes. And it’s not a story about heroes. What I saw in that teaser were the antisocial behaviors sociopaths participate in. That may as well have been Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on in that trailer. Or recent mass murderers James Holmes and Eliot Rodger. If you read their manifestos, they have the same nihilistic views about the world.

I’m really getting tired of these dysfunctional types projecting their antisocial values and ideals onto superheroes. Comic books aren’t supposed to be real. Superheroes are not supposed to grow up with you. Their worlds are made to instill hope and inspire others to be the very best they can be.

I don’t see that in the DC’s Batman V. Superman movie. I don’t see that in DC’s comic books these days. I don’t even see it in their TV shows like Arrow.  All I see is anger, angst and despair.

This is why SANE people are turning away from DC Comics in droves. The world is miserable enough. Who wants to spend $5 to read a comic with no hope? Or spend $15 to watch heroes whose solution is worse than the actual problem?

A long time ago in a ghetto far, far away the superhero comics in my brother’s comic book collection inspired me to become a writer when I was nine years old. I couldn’t draw worth a crap so I used words to make my pictures. Even though I grew up in poverty, I saw hope in those comics. They helped me get through the rough times in a three-room apartment in the South Bronx that had no heat in the winter or made a getting through week in a hell hole of a junior high school like IS 148 or a shithole of a high school like Park West a little easier.

Having those comics to help me get through those hard times was one of the things that made me want to become a comic book writer back in the late 1980s’-early 1990’s before the industry collapsed.

And almost thirty years since I wrote my first story I’m writing my own books. Trying to promote the same messages of truth, justice, and helping the community in stories like those I tell in the Isis series. Trying to promote the same messages of family and friendship I learned in novels like The Thetas. And promoting the concept that good always triumphs over evil in novels like The Temptation of John Haynes.

Comic books were a big influence on my writing. And I always pay homage to them in almost all of my work.

I don’t know if I’d ever want to write comics if I got the chance. If Batman V. Superman and DC’s decade and a half of dysfunction are the standard for the values of superheroes these days then I don’t know if I want to work in the genre. From all the gore and excessive violence in DC’s comics and now being featured in their movies, I’d have to say many who work at DC and Warner Brothers have some sort of mental health issue. It’s bad enough you can’t give a kid a superhero comic these days, but now you can’t take them to see a DC Comics Superhero movie.

Damn. Just Damn.

That’s fucked up. Really fucked up when you consider that comic books are a medium made for children from its inception. 

I can honestly say if Batman V. Superman is the standard for DC Comics I won’t be supporting any of their movies the same way I don’t buy any of their comics or action figures anymore. These are not the values of the DC superheroes I grew up with. When Warner Brothers makes a movie about those heroes, I’ll gladly pay money for a movie ticket. Until then, my wallet remains CLOSED as it relates to any DC related merchandise.


  1. From my experience watching the television, superhero programmes were mostly kids' stuff. The kid-friendly Young Justice aired not too long before Arrow and Flash. Here in the Philippines, the latter two air on an adult men's channel. It should be noted that these two characters appeared on the kid-friendly DCAU productions a little over a decade ago.

  2. DC has to be different than Marvel!

    I think they might be going for the oppressed against the oppressors feel!

    Matrix style!

    I would want it to be like the Superman episodes from the 90's WB series!

    Barman and Superman were trying to one up each other to see who was the best!

    We'll see with the movie!

    On the other hand, The Avengers was on the dark side for a while when Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were fighting!

    Maybe, that's what Batman was talking about when he wondered if he can make Supe bleed!

    He is nearly indestructible!