Batman Movie Night

Batman - Mic Check

Batman - Mic Check

So, soon we’ll be having Batman movie night.  Batman has always been my favorite comic book character.  He’s smarter, he’s darker, he’s a crazy detective, he’s relentless, he’s not invincible.  He’s most likely just as insane as the villains he helps take down.  I like that.

I’ve been a comic book & especially Batman fan since I can remember.  I’m sure it had to do with the 60’s TV show being rerun in my youth in addition to Super Friends and Batman popping up on Scooby Doo for whatever reason.  As a kid, I remember digging the Hulk (even though I ran out of the room during the transformation scenes), Spider-Man, and especially the Greatest American Hero.  I want to say I even used to play with my aunts’ Barbie-doll sized Batman & Robin action figures.

The Dark Knight Rises (a.k.a. Magnus Rex) has been filming in Pittsburgh.  Anyone with an ounce of geek cred or anyone that lives in or around the ‘Burgh knows this.  There are a bunch of photos, videos, & spoilers and crazy stuff all over the place if you do a quick Google search.  I won’t bother re-posting/rehashing here.  (Here’s a cool article about the day. …And another one here.)

I went to one of the open casting calls but wasn’t called… but it worked out better as the wife & I were both able to do some unpaid extra work thanks to (peep their Facebook page for possible spoiler photos)!  It was all in all a really long but incredibly fun day.  It was cool to see a bit of the daily grind on a film that’s sure to be a blockbuster.  When else will I get to say that I was an extra in a movie… let alone a BATMAN movie?  Ha ha.  That’s just awesome.  Whether we make the cut or not, it’ll be an experience we’ll never forget.

In an email from after the fact…

What gracious and appreciative people are the family that Warner Brothers are.

And they so appreciated each of your participation and how you came dressed for the scenes. And stayed through rain and heat and humidity.

AND Chris Nolan was awed by your acting ability when Bane and Mercenaries blew up the stadium and mayhem was everywhere.

In with all that, I’m just a fanboy at heart… so we arrive (again) at Batman movie night.  The wife & I hosted a series of Star Wars movie nights that were a good time, a good excuse to get together, and a good excuse to nerd-out with a group of people… fellow fanboy geeks & newcomers alike.  (On a side note… we never did get past the movies proper… we’ll perhaps have to revisit these to delve into the Ewok & Holiday Specials, Fanboys, then the cartoons & parodies.)

Darth Vader vs. Batman

How awesome is this painting?

Whereas Star Wars is one man‘s singular vision (with a couple of ridiculous re-writes), Batman is an iconic character open to many valid interpretations.  Some of the old Legends of the Dark Knight books would showcase this, as well as the recent Gotham Knight movie.

Batman & Jokers

Batman & Jokers

This brings us to… the movies I’d like to show:

Why not Batman Begins out of the Nolan series?  I’d argue it’s all about Batman vs. the Joker here.  Sure, some other villains clutter up the ’66 movie, and I ought to include something animated with Mark Hamill & Kevin Conroy… but 3 movies in one night is about all this attention span can handle.  The Joker is as mad & random as Batman is cold & calculated.  The characters play of off each other so well.  In the comics anyway, Batman won’t kill.  He won’t cross that one line to become a madman.  (And after the early 40’s, he wouldn’t use guns either.)

I love all of these interpretations of both of the characters.  The ultra-straight-laced Adam West & zany Cesar Romero are a great pair.  They play off of each other well in the campy style of the old show.  I remember being old enough to think Mr. Mom is going to be Batman?” in the late 80’s, but Michael Keaton was a stellar Bruce Wayne/Batman.  He played such an odd person, and it worked.  I also remember thinking Jack Nicholson was too fat… the Joker in the comics & in novels was very tall & lanky.  I was surprised on both counts.  Nicholson plays a maniacal psychopath like no other.  Christian Bale is gruff and guarded, and Heath Ledger has redefined the Joker for a whole new generation, effectively making Dark Knight a Joker movie, not a Batman one.

If these nights work out, perhaps we can delve into Return to the Batcave,  some of the animated films, Batman Begins, & maybe even a Joel Shumacher film.

We’re looking at Sat. Aug. 27th for Batman movie night.  Let me know if you’re interested!  We even got Batman cookie cutters!

So, how do I make money at this art thing?

I’m a lazy artist.  I always have been.  I generally make art for fun, and give it away.  I made a ton of cool stuff in art class in high school and even in my time at WCCC, now I only have a fraction of it.  I’ve never had an interest in making money from any of it, perhaps because I felt it wasn’t perfect or even “good enough” to sell.  Perhaps it was because I’d feel “dirty” making money from art.  I’m also lazy in that I have a lot of ideas that don’t make it to fruition.  (You should see the AiXeLsyD and Gasoline Dion “almost” song piles… and that Yup-punk band idea…)

I also went through a phase of drawing a bunch of comic book stuff… and it was always my understanding that Marvel didn’t want me selling my Wolverine art, and DC didn’t want me to sell my Batman art.  Somehow the Airbrush guy at the mall makes money on pretty much any popular character out there.  (Exactly who’s buying white T-shirts with airbrushed Mickey Mouse and Garfield on them at a mall kiosk in 2011 is a subject of another blog.)  Is that guy bootlegging?  Is he paying royalty fees?

With the advent of sites like Etsy (and more so Regretsy), I can see now that my art is certainly acceptable for sale.  I’d like to think it’s a few grades above what’s considered acceptable for sale.  The question remains on copyrights though… I see all kinds of people selling Superman, Batman and Spider-Man stuff with images clearly ripped from elsewhere.  Not that I want to sell comic book-art, but I never know what mood will strike me.  My flyer art is mainly bastardization of existing images… so I’m sure I can’t sell any of that kind of stuff.  Again, I think I’m veering toward the subject matter of an entirely different blog.  Back to the insanity at hand…

I’ve been drawing mazes for what seems like forever.  I started them when I was a kid & was in the hospital for a while.  I remember my pediatrician saying I ought to look into getting them published.  I obviously never have.  I have through twitter found another cat on the internet who draws mazes… he sells them online & at art shows and has used LuLu to publish some books.  Is that a good avenue to explore?

I have an idea for what I think would be an amusing photo book… but how does one go into execution of such an idea?  Do I even have time for something like this?

Would I use something like deviantART to set up shop?  How do I get prints made from original artwork?  Should I settle for a Cafe Press or Zazzle store?  Ha ha.  I’d like to put photography in the mix too, eventually.  Every once in a while I capture some stuff that would look great on someone’s wall.  How do I sell the stuff online without the seller site making most of the money, or without breaking the bank in setting up a site & paying any maintenance fees while not selling anything… therefore eventually losing money?

People have also told me that I ought to get paid to write.  I must confess, I would most likely be an editor’s nightmare.  I jump tenses like hopscotch, and my grammar & typing can be quite poor… even though I can differentiate between you’re and your and the apparently difficult they’re/there/their.  (Is it just me, or do they all sound totally different if you’re pronouncing them correctly?)  If you would like to pay me to write, I will certainly take your money.

I don’t think I do well with deadlines or commissions though.  I don’t work well with others’ ideas.  I’d like to make my own mazes, drawings, paintings, photos, etc. at my own pace.  Although, I aim to be productive with art, & maybe buy some more camera accessories, or a new amp, guitar, or some other new goofy instrument or piece of equipment.  (Because I apparently can’t make any money as a musician unless I join/form a human jukebox band – and let’s face it; I’m a poor guitarist.  Ha ha.)

As you can see, I’m all over the place.  I need focus/direction.  I guess I’m just looking for advice beyond the “you should publish a book” or “you should sell your photos” or the “you should write for someone” point.  I get that, and accept that… but how?  I’m looking for specifics here.  I’d like to hear “I use such & such & it’s fantastic, and works like…” and not “I think my cousin’s uncle’s mother’s neighbor uses blah blah blah, …I think.”  Are you an artist?  How do you sell your work?  Hit me with your wisdom!

Food Allergies and the Food Network…

So, during Food Allergy Awareness Week, I urged others with allergies that we may want to take the focus off of the government and move it on to other titans in the food industry.  While I said it ought to be next year’s plan, I started early.  I submitted a note via contact form at the Food Network site, and this is the reply I received (my original message following);

From: Scripps Networks Customer Service <>
To: ____@_____________.___
Sent: Thu, May 20, 2010 2:57:14 PM
Subject: RE: Food Network Specials (#6563-175954277-3355)

Thank you for your email.

We appreciate the time you took to contact us and will be glad to forward your comments and suggestions to the Programming Department for review.

Scripps Networks
Customer Service

Show: Food Network Specials
Cable Company:
Last Viewed:
Type: question

Hello Foodie Friends,

I write to you today to express my disappointment in that fact that I haven’t seen a prominent (or any) acknowledgment of this week as Food Allergy Awareness Week, either on your website or on the network itself.

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network:

• More than 12 million Americans have food allergies. That’s one in 25, or 4% of the population.

• The annual number of emergency room visits due to food-induced anaphylaxis in the U.S. ranges from 50,000 to 125,000, depending on the source.

• Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.

• Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.

These are just a few of many other interesting and informative statistics.  As a (or THE) leader in food related information and entertainment, I feel that you ought to consider yourselves somewhat responsible for informing chefs and cooks everywhere of the dangers of cross-contamination.

I love watching many of your programs, and would love to see one geared toward allergy-friendly meals, procedures, and adaptations.  Even a one-off special with several food chefs or someone intelligent/informative with impeccable cleanliness in the kitchen like Alton Brown would be awesome… but even an online article or PSA would be a great start.

Like Spider-Man’s uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  You, my friends, are the great food power.

Many state governments have declared this week Food Allergy Awareness Week.  With your help, we could sway the rest of the states and perhaps the Federal Government next year!

Here are some resources for your convenience:

► Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network:
► Food Allergy Initiative:

Thank you for your time & attention, I hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to your thoughts on the issue at hand!



Odd.  Who are the Scripps Networks Customer Service?  Is this automated.  It took over a week to get a reply, and this was it.  I’m highly disappointed.  I’m going to have to try an email onslaught, & perhaps some snail mail.