Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

Sadly I applied to Marvel Comics for an internship multiple times, and I never was quite let in.  I constantly debated including my Psychology degree on my resume.  Little did I know the person who created Wonder Woman, was, in fact, a psychologist, and psychology plays a huge role in comic books and how we relate to them.  I was never quite let in to Marvel’s writing areas of the internship (or like, five other areas)… which sucked greatly, since I live in New York City and busted my fucking bum to get it in early.  But, now I can safely say I will include it if I ever apply again (sidenote: I don’t know.)

Holy Sigmund Freud, Batman.

A little story for you first, as I always did:  Psychologically analyzing people is fun.  It’s slightly addictive for the psychology nerds of the world, in my humble opinion.  Psychologically analyzing fictional people is probably even more fun. 

But in all seriousness, there is now a legitimate psychologically therapy called comic book therapy.  I am not lying.  Go to Wikipedia, type it in, and read it.  There are mounds of books published on this.  Literally everyone takes these things seriously.

Now, I’m sorry, S type fans (Superman type), I’m focusing on B-type heroes (which, if you don’t know what that is, it’s heroes without a super-power).  S-types are very much defined by their ability, not what they’ve been through.  Yes, what they’ve been through can be shaped by their circumstances, but I mean purely being affected by something that might have happened to them without a power inducing that situation.

Firstly, and this is pretty cool: They make us comfortable with uncomfortable topics.  They talk about all the taboo shit society avoids.  Death, mass killings, murders, sexual assault, disability (as a technically disabled person I can say society hates talking about it).  And it’s cool, because comic books/comic movies shove it in your face and you’re cool with it.  They shove so much uncomfortable shit at you.  Everything from discrimination to death to disability is in a comic book.  But it makes you wonder why we’re cool with, like, seeing Barbara Gordon be disabled by the Joker and not an actual physically disabled person.  I wouldn’t call it empowering, but I’d say once it seeps into a comic book it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s a way of talking about things we don’t want to talk about, and it’s a way of simply opening up dialogue about things we don’t want to talk about.  Hell, this is so true, that it can be used in therapy sessions to portray something that happened to someone.  If someone doesn’t want to talk about a particular traumatic event, according to Wikipedia, “Comic book therapy is a form of art therapy in which those undergoing rehabilitation express their experiences through personal narratives in a graphic novel/sequential art format that enables them to process their memories and emotions.”  It’s still a form of communication, and it’s still a form of talking about things.  According to another article (cited below), a psychologist used superheroes as a means of therapy for kids who had gone through traumatic events.  It got them to talk about things they didn’t want to talk about.  They are literally used to analyze their deepest fears and traumas – and I can’t help but get the feeling every time you watch a movie or pick up a book you are doing the same to yourself for free because that is what these things feature.  We face fears without talking about it.

Only furthering this, I see a lot of people who were relentlessly bullied who take to the haven of comic books. They usually feature a classic underdog story.  It’s like everyone and their mother has been in some situation that they can relate to because of these things.  Like, some guy’s parents did actually die and that’s why Batman is their go-to.  I always find people explaining why a superhero is their favorite is a major league, deeply personal question.  I’m not asking for your social security number, I’m asking why Superman is your man.  It’s almost as if they become woven into the cores of us much like they become woven into the core of pop culture (and as such, that’s why comic con is so fucking crowded).  And maybe our parents didn’t die in an alley because of a guy named Joe Chill, but, maybe they were absent for things.  Maybe they missed your graduation, shit, I don’t know.  We can relate to the psychology of superheroes.  We can relate to their psyche… and maybe that’s why we all have our personal favorites.  We’re emotionally similar to them.  I find The Flash annoying because he’s hyperactive – which I am not.

Now the really morbid part comes.

You know, almost all of them have some kind of thing they want to fix or escape.  And if you tell me you have no regrets in your life, tell me your secrets.

Oh, please.

We all regret something.  And most of the time, a superhero is working off of a regret, an event, or something they wish they could’ve changed.  Isn’t that like, half of the population’s motivation?  Make something better?  Improve something?  Like, people pick certain careers because they want to be better than their experience sometimes.  Sometimes they like what they see and want to make it better.  And we can feel an undying pain of guilt for things we might regret.  They’re super, sure, but they have regrets just like the rest of us.  And we want to run from them, but we’re not a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.  Maybe we want to fix something that happened to us.  And you know what?  You’re completely fucking powerless to fix it most the time.  The guy who sexually harassed you is somewhere in the world, the dying 6 year old is still dying, you still suck at math (I needed to lighten this mood).  Sometimes you can fix it, but sometimes you can’t.  Things stay with us – and things stay with them.  It’s okay to be a little fucked up (coming from someone who is, decidedly, fucked up a little bit).  It’s taboo to admit these things, but in this world?  It’s all good.

And wouldn’t we all like to live in a world where fixing the wrongs of the world was as simple as putting on a suit and knocking out a few teeth.

Citation:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/17/the-rise-of-superhero-therapy-comic-books-as-psychological-treatment.html

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Villain Spotlight: Poison Ivy.

Posted: December 10, 2014 in Spotlight
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This post was actually inspired by a recent Twitter campaign to get Poison Ivy her own series/comic/etc.  It’s also inspired by Ivy in Batman: Hush.

She kinda blew me away.

Have to be honest, I never really paid attention to Poison Ivy. Not until Batman: Hush, where she really showed herself off. I never knew anything about her beginnings and quite frankly kind of didn’t like her. Now I just know she is very, very intense. Wow. She is, definitely, a force to be reckoned with. The idea that someone could use plants as weapons sounds really just utterly ridiculous. Photosynthesis! Photosynthesis!

Really, though, it’s a pretty modern idea. The media was losing their minds about Ebola because of the possibility of a terrorist utilizing it… Not that thousands of people were (and still are) dying currently. But you get the point. On her Wikipedia she is described as an eco terrorist. It’s a very modern thing. Batman himself is not exactly “modern” in his genesis (spandex?). He didn’t have all the expensive equipment back then partly because it didn’t exist. Ivy is a little more recent. It’s a shame she’s not used more often. Kinda wish she would be. I read up on her backstory and found it interesting since she was originally a quiet unsuspecting young girl getting seduced by another scientist.

Yet again such a modern idea.

If you paid any attention to recent news you know the world as a whole landed on a comet. You also know there was a freak out over the shirt of the man who did it despite his accomplishment. Regardless of my opinion on it or your opinion on it (really there is little reason to involve my opinion), it reminded me about a rather serious issue: that does happen in science. Poison Ivy is real, as evidenced by the reactions to that guy’s shirt. Like I said – I am leaving my opinion out here. I consider it too much of a hot button and frankly useless issue to bring up since its over and done with. Why piss people off if you don’t need to?

The fact isn’t the shirt. The fact is her genesis actually happens… Minus the whole terrorizing cities thing.

Also, I sort of agree with the Twitter campaign. She feels ignored.. at least to me. She’s not in suicide squad (movie). She isn’t very much in the spotlight.

Why don’t we change that? Do you like Ivy?

PS: A movie review is coming soon. I’m drowning in college papers.

In lieu of a movie review for tonight, I have decided to post this.  For some reason, this week has been particularly rough with getting things out, probably because I didn’t have a set plan as I normally do.  I normally meticulously plan what I’m writing about, and I think my courseload is getting to me a bit.  Without further adieu, you can expect a movie review tomorrow.  This blog is very new, and I’m trying to get an exact footing as to when I will publish and what I will publish and when.  Movie review posts take 2 hours to write without the movie:  If I watch the movie, you can figure 2-3 additional hours for a grand total of 4-5 hours.  There are other movies I want to review other than superhero movies, but my courseload from college has been a bit rough.  Also, watching Big Hero 6 is in the plans as well.

After reading Batman: Hush, I really got into the actual comic Joker.  Joker is definitely one of the more known Batman villains.

Such a nice guy.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Joker, for me, is his lack of a backstory – in both respects.  Joker was originally penned and created in the 1940s.  But, not only does he have multiple versions of his fictional backstory, but his actual creation.  According to Wikipedia, who exactly created Joker remains a dispute – one man says he wrote contributions and another man says he designed him.  If there’s more I’m missing, please feel free to let me know.

I got my first taste of Joker in The Dark Knight, which was obviously not true to the real Joker, at least physically.  But, really, I love Joker for different reasons than other villains.  I don’t love Joker because he is brutal.  I don’t love Joker because he’s vague or the epitome of the fears of childhood.  (Oh, god, a clown)

I love Joker because of how much he utilizes psychology.

Batman as a whole is very psychological.  But the Joker takes it to the next level.  He is constantly trying to break Batman.  He is constantly putting his psychology to the test.

And I wanted to make a larger point with this post.  Many of our heroes are relevant to society, but he is through psychology: there isn’t anyone running around in a clown suit killing people.  He pretty much exhibits sociopathic type behavior.  Killing Robin, paralyzing Barbara Gordon – there isn’t anything he won’t do.  Even in the books, there is never anything we truly know about the Joker – he’s portrayed as sexual and asexual in between his like toward Harley.  The Joker is very abusive to Harley – another thing that rings true in society.  Joker is the criminal you can’t get rid of – he cares not for money or power – just making you just as crazy as he is.  He feels no love, no fear, no remorse.  Psychology is still a misunderstood topic – just like the psychological, misunderstood Joker. Society still places a stigma on mental illness, believing them to all be like Joker.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth, but he still highlights how important psychology is in comic books.  He is so different from us – normal humans.

And yet, we love Joker.

He’s so distant to us, he’s so different from us.  Love him or hate him, he managed to develop without a backstory.  He managed to confuse us.  He managed to keep us guessing throughout the time we’ve known him.

So my question to you:  Despite his apparent lack of  humanity, why do you love Joker?  Why do you hate him, if you do hate him?  Who do you think should get more spotlight?