kottke.org posts about Batman

Alternate endings to The Dark Knight RisesAug 24 2012

Spoiler alert, don't watch this video if you don't want to know how The Dark Knight Rises doesn't end.

(via ★Interesting)

Meet the real-life BatmanMar 29 2012

Lenny B. Robinson is a Maryland resident who periodically dresses up as Batman, gets into his Batmobile (a black Lamborghini adorned with Batman logos), and goes to visit sick children in hospitals.

On Monday, he pulled up in his black Lambo with yellow Batman symbols on the doors, the floor mats, the headrests -- pretty much everywhere -- and he was dressed in his heavy leather and neoprene uniform that he bought from a professional costume maker.

He carried two large bags of Batman books, rubber Batman symbol bracelets and various other toys up to the front desk, where the check-in attendant asked him his name.

"Batman," he said.

Camera phones were snapping. A man in line said, "That's the guy who got pulled over." Someone asked where Robin was, and Batman replied, "Home studying for the SATs."

The check-in attendant asked for identification. Batman said it was in his Batmobile. The check-in attendant, just doing her job, asked for his real name. "Lenny," he announced. "B, as in Batman. Robinson."

It took Batman approximately 20 minutes to reach the elevators. He stopped to hand out Batman toys to every child he saw, picking them up for pictures, asking them how they were feeling. LaTon Dicks snapped a photo of Batman standing behind her son DeLeon in his wheelchair. She'd recognized the Batmobile on her way in to the hospital. Like everyone else, she'd seen a TV report on him being stopped by the police and protested, "You can't pull over Batman."

More people like this please. (via @benhammersley)

History of the Batman logoSep 18 2007

A history and analysis of the Batman logo from 1939 to the present, in five parts: 1, 2, 3. 4, 5. More logo studies by the same fellow here. (thx, david)

A tourist map of Gotham City. GothamDec 29 2006

A tourist map of Gotham City. Gotham resembles "Manhattan below 14th Street at 11 minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November".

Zlopp, Bangeth, Kapow, Klonk, Thwack, Kersploosh. BatmanMar 30 2006

Zlopp, Bangeth, Kapow, Klonk, Thwack, Kersploosh. Batman fight sounds or Web 2.0 company names? (via waxy)

Meg recaps our daytrip to the MekongNov 27 2005

Meg recaps our daytrip to the Mekong Delta. If you go, partake not of the rice and banana wines. Holy antifreeze, Batman!

The first superhero?Oct 18 2005

Out of a recent conversation popped this interesting question: who was the first superhero? After a short discussion and a few guesses (Superman, Batman, etc), it was agreed that this might be the most perfect question to ask the internet in the long history of questions.

The earliest superhero I could find reference to was Mandrake the Magician, who debuted in 1934, four years before Superman, who was probably the first popular superhero. Mandrake's super power was his ability to "make people believe anything, simply by gesturing hypnotically". Does anyone out there know of any superheroes who made an earlier media appearance?

There's a related question that has some bearing on the answer to the above question: what is a superhero? There have probably been books (or at least extensive Usenet threads) written on this topic, but a good baseline definition needs to acknowledge both the "super" and the "hero" parts. That is, the person needs to have some superhuman power or powers and has to fight the bad guys. But this basic definition is flawed. Superman is an alien, not human. Batman doesn't have any super powers...he's a self-made superhero like Syndrome in The Incredibles. Or can a superhero be anyone (human or no) that fights bad guys and is superior to normal heroes...the cream of the hero crop? And what about a costume or alter ego...are they essential for superheroism? These are all questions well-suited for asking the internet, so have at it: what's a good definition for a superhero?

And there's (at least) one more angle to this as well...where did the idea of the superhero come from? As Meg suggested to me at dinner last night, was there a cultural need for a superhero during a super-crisis like the Great Depression? Or did the idea evolve gradually from regular heros (cowboys, space cowboys, etc.) to heros who were magicians (with special powers...it's not that much of a stretch to imagine a magician possessing supernatural powers) to classic superheroes like Superman?

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