Tagged: Batman

Dennis O’Neil: Stamp Out Batman!

Think Batman is tough? Well, my friend, you could give him a licking!

Okay, I’ll ask you to forgive that. What I really mean is, you could lick the postage stamps that bear Batpics. The stamps might be already available and if they’re not, you’ll be able to get them soon – “just in time for the New York Comic Con,” promises an article in last Monday’s USA Today.

This isn’t the first time that heroes from DC Comics pantheon have made their way onto postage stamps. One of the stranger gigs I’ve ever participated in had several of us comics guys sitting at a table in The Museum of Comic Art and autographing post cards and sheets of stamps illustrated with the likes of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Aquaman and other superdoers including, yes, Batman. The people in front of us then took the signed items to the next table where employees of the United States Postal System marked the stamps with a cancelation notice, thus proving to any who cared that the stamps/post cards were purchased on the day they were first available.

I guess the what we signed and the postal folk canceled were pretty nifty items for both stamp collectors and comics fans and receiving an imprimatur from a living, breathing government agency was further evidence that comics had struggled from the underbelly of American publishing into the Region of Respectability. The stuff I just mentioned was, as noted, not limited to just Batman, but the Dark Knight stands (and swings) solo on the new issues. (The USA Today piece doesn’t mention Robin.)

Why this particular distinction? The newspaper quotes DC’s co-publisher Jim Lee: “Batman is the most popular superhero of all time…” Is he? Let’s not argue. But is this paragon an appropriate subject for postage stamps? I mean, shouldn’t stamps commemorate exemplars of political achievement – the Washington/Jefferson/Roosevelt crowd – or civilization-altering inventors – your Fultons, your Edisons, your Carvers – or genuine heroes who sacrificed themselves for the national good? Note that “genuine”: it excludes movie stars as well as cartoon characters, with the exception of Jimmy Stewart, who flew 50 bomber missions.

Okay, we’ll take “no” for an answer.

We hereby admit fictional stalwarts into the company of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington Carver and the rest. But can you at least grant that the made-up people should symbolize achievement and maybe nobility? King Arthur types. Maybe even Sherlock Holmes. What does Batman symbolize? Childhood tragedy. Obsession. Urban darkness.

Well…maybe Batman does belong on postage because the grim things he represents are a part of life and maybe there should be room on our signage for the less cheery aspects of our national experience.

Naw. Let’s stick with fantasy. Wasn’t there a Mickey Mouse stamp a while back?


John Ostrander: TV Week Geek

Once upon a time, when I was a boy, TV consisted of the three networks, one independent channel, and before long, one “education” channel. (“They actually had TV when you were a boy, Uncle John?” Yes. Quiet, you.) Every fall, each of the networks took a week to trot out their new and returning shows and they each took turns. And, if memory serves, that pretty much was it for the season.

If you were into superhero comics (and I was despite my mother), there were damn slim pickings. There was The Adventures of Superman, of course, and that was played pretty straight albeit it was considered a children’s show. Later on, there was the Batman series that was fun and interesting to me at start but got old real fast. Something along the superhero lines was Zorro. I loved that show. Guy Williams was my Zorro. Dressed all in black, masked, fighting injustice – yeah, I’d group him in with the superheroes.

But that was essentially it.

Not so today. Comics rule the cinema and they are taking over the small screen. Never so much as in the coming year and I thought I’d survey the new and returning shows and see what attracts my eye.


Marc Alan Fishman: Sex & Drugs & Rock N’ Roll & Child Raising!

The other evening I was frequenting my Facebook parents group and a post caught my eye. A mother had introduced her four year old to Batman. “Good for her!” I thought. She went on to say she was “horrified” by her son now calling her “stupid,” and to “zip her lip,” and he was becoming more prone to poking and fighting. She was fearful what she’d started in her son, and at any request to remove the Dark Knight from her kid’s clutches was met with tantrums a’ plenty. She turned to the group for support and advice. I couldn’t help myself…

What this mother faces with her tot is what I think many creators of all ages material – myself included – fear the most: parental disapproval. When the gatekeeper that stands between you and your target audience deems you inappropriate, the likelihood of a sale diminishes exponentially. It’s a fine line to skate.

Much like a stand-up making the promise to not work blue, an all ages creator is tasked with entertaining without crossing the ever-creeping line of acceptable limitations. That entails language, violence, adult themes, and sexual activity. Show a drop of blood, a hint of boob, a mention of drug usage, or a slander on any deity being honored today? Get out, and don’t let the door hit you on the keester on the way!

That being said, as a creator, I am first and foremost about the quality and maturity of the finished product, blind and deaf parents be damned.

When I think to my childhood – likely between the ages of perhaps seven or eigth through to 12 or 13 – the media that stands out as the most beloved all contained shades of brilliance beyond the bright colors and fart jokes. Shows like Exo-Squad, the Transformers, and Disney’s Gargoyles all layered mature themes between the animated lines. And while my parents weren’t apt to purchase comics for me, no doubt any number of titles published at that time dealt in the same sandbox with aplomb. Ultimately as a creator, my responsibility is always to the book, as I said abov because if a scene demands brutality, it’s my choice as a creator to show it. How I choose to do so is what separates me from someone unrestricted.

In far too many cases, it’s often those creators who think beyond the predictable who end up elevating themselves to a better class of creation. Forgive me for reaching high, but like Seinfeld has said “…working blue is easy. Telling the same joke without having to swear doesn’t make you better. It just makes you that more appealing to more people. And how is that bad?” At the end of the day, as a creator, I see it as my duty to seek that balance, to make a book where a thirty year old and an eight year old can find common ground. To layer bits of mature themes in between the action, in an attempt to elevate the prose to exist with depth beyond the Photoshopped effects. To ultimately entertain the widest audience possible, not for profit in the monetary sense, but the spiritual one.

On the flip side to this argument comes my parental side. You see, I’m not just a creator of books. I’m a creator of life. My two and a half year old is just starting to shape his personality. With it, come those pieces of media he loves so much that he can’t live a day (truth: one hour) without re-consuming ad nauseam. Sometimes, he has impeccable taste – like his love of Peter Gabriel and They Might Be Giants. And yes, he also loves things I just can’t seem to understand – for example, videos where they repeat the same sing-songy chant about the alphabet until I want to jam a finger straight through my brainstem. But with all of it, I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of that aforementioned mother. When my boy eventually catches a love for Batman (or any comic related property) and he begins to emulate the sights and sounds, do I panic? Simply put… not one bit.

My personal parenting motto (thankfully shared by my wife) is that it’s not the fault of the media, it’s the fault of the parent. Now, let’s be clear: I’m not a dunce. It’s inevitable that my child will emulate something I don’t want him to. And when I will eventually explain that to him, his kneejerk reaction will be to repeat the undesired action until I’m yanking my beard out in anger. But the fact remains that as the parent it’s my responsibility to consume what my child consumes and to then interject perspective before, during, and after the consumption.

I’m a firm believer that children are smarter than the world at large deems them to be. I’ve come to this firm belief every time I’ve told my son that an apple is actually a french fry and he hurls said fruit back at me at terminal velocity. When Bennett eventually stumbles upon something that would otherwise scar him emotionally, that’s the time Dad needs to be there to explain that the zombie werewolves on the moon were only computer made monsters. And he’ll then soon learn that The Doctor will outsmart them too. Natch.

The reality is that we can’t shield our children from the world at large. And thanks in large part to how easily media can be obtained and consumed now, there’s no fighting the tide. As both a creator and a father, I think I know how to sail through choppy waters. By being honest, by communicating in terms my son will understand, and by helping him sift through the silt to find the best pearls to enjo, I’m doing the job I was meant to do.

For the poor mother whose kid is storming throughout the house declaring a personal vendetta on crime? The response I left her on Facebook stands: It’s a phase that you’ll have to deal with. Next time, stick to Superman. Your son will have a much harder time flying.

(Editor’s note: the story about the kid who wrapped a towel around his neck, shouted “I’m Superman” and jumped out the window is apocryphal.)


The Law Is A Ass


8039971943_4211f4754e_zSeriously, where were these judges when I was practicing law?

In the real world, evidence can be suppressed when it is seized illegally. But in the real world, judges hate suppressing evidence and do it infrequently. No make that very infrequently. In comic books, TV, and the movies; judges seem willing to suppress evidence if it’s a day that ends in Y.

Same is true with the mental health docket. In the real world, juries don’t like the insanity defense and virtually never find criminal defendants not guilty by reason of insanity. And even that may be an overstatement.

Before the trial of John Hinkley, the man who was obsessed with Jodie Foster and tried to assassinate President Reagan, the insanity defense was used in approximately two percent of criminal trials. And it failed 75 percent of the time. After John Hinkley was found not guilty by reason of insanity, 83 percent of those Americans polled thought justice had not been done. As a result of the Hinkley trial, the United States Congress and two-thirds of the states rewrote their insanity defense statutes to make it more difficult to assert a defense used only two percent of the time and rejected 75 percent of the time. Another eight states rewrote their laws and changed Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity to guilty but insane. Oh, and Idaho, Montana, and Utah abolished the insanity defense completely. That’s how unpopular the insanity defense is with both juries and with judges.

Even though most insanity trials are tried to a judge instead of to a jury, judges don’t like finding defendant’s NGRI any better than do juries. For one thing, that 83 percent of the people that were outraged by the Hinkley verdict; they weren’t just people, they were voters. Voters who were stand to be equally outraged anytime a defendant is found NGRI. Judges don’t like upsetting 83 percent of the people the judges want voting for them by finding defendants insane willy nilly. Or Chilly Willy. Or even Willy Nelson. That 75 percent figure I quoted earlier; that was for all trials – jury trials and bench trials.

For the record, judges don’t much appreciate the legal subsets of criminal insanity, either. Things such as competence to stand trial. Makes judges look soft on crime. Which brings us, at last, to the reason I called you all in today. It was the story “Herded Limits” which can be found in Legends of the Dark Knight 100 Page Super Spectacular # 4.

(By the way, if, like me, you’re wondering about that title – no, not Legends of the Dark Knight 100 Page Super Spectacular; that title is a little cumbersome but perfectly understandable – “Herded Limits” is an anagram for “Riddle me this.” I know, I Googled it. Not important to our discussion, but nice to know.)

The Riddler was facing prosecution for attempting to steal some gold. I said attempted because he didn’t succeed. Why? Because Riddler sent the Batman a riddle, Batman solved the riddle, and Batman captured the Riddler. Seriously, do you even have to ask why a Riddler plan failed? The why of his failures are pretty much a given.

But before Riddler faced prosecution he had to go through a hearing to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. Now I give this story credit, it stated that Riddler had been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, which it then correctly defined as, “repetitive behaviors … that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.” That’s a quote directly out of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders – or DSM-IV, as it’s called for short by the medical field. (Though for future reference, this reference is up to the fifth edition, or DSM-V, now.) The story noted that Riddler’s ODC didn’t manifest itself in the usual ways such as repeated hand washing or counting or all the other things you used to see Adrian Monk do. Riddler’s OCD manifested in his compulsion to inform the Batman of his impending crimes by giving Batman a series of puzzles which contained clues to his planned activities. Because Riddler had OCD, the court had to rule whether he was mentally competent to stand trial.

I give the story credit again, not only did it correctly define OCD, it correctly identified the standards a court must find are met in order to find a defendant incompetent to stand trial. The judge must rule that the defendant’s mental illness affects his or her mental processes so as to either render him or her incapable of understanding the nature of the charges brought against him or her, or renders him or her incapable of assisting in his or her defense. In “Herded Limits,” the judge ruled that the Riddler met those standards and was incompetent to stand trial. He remanded Riddler to Arkham Asylum until such time as treatment could render Riddler competent to stand trial. So the story got the law completely right. But the judge in the story got the law completely wrong.

The judge seemed to be operating under the misapprehension that if someone who’s been apprehended is mentally ill, he’s automatically incompetent to stand trial. But that ain’t necessarily so. In fact, it begs the question you’re begging me to answer: When is someone incompetent?

Say the Riddler suffered from delusions and killed someone he thought was the devil, he might not understand the nature of the murder charges brought against him, because it’s not against the law to kill the Devil. Of, if the Riddler’s delusions made him think his lawyer was the Devil, the Riddler might be reluctant to talk to his lawyer. In either of those admittedly simplified cases, the Riddler would be incompetent to stand trial.

But neither is true of the Riddler. The Riddler has a compulsion to inform Batman of his impending crimes. How does this affliction render him incapable of understanding the nature of the charges against him? The Riddler knew he was going to commit crimes. He even challenged Batman with the task of stopping him from committing the crimes. This compulsion to give advance warning indicates that Riddler would know the nature of the charges being brought against him quite well. He was charged with doing the thing he said he was going to do.

In the same way, the fact that Riddler is compelled to inform Batman when he’s about to commit a crime doesn’t mean he can’t assist in his own defense. To be competent, a defendant must be able to communicate with his attorney, understand and process information, and be able to make decisions regarding his case. Riddler consistently shows, through his riddles, that he can communicate. If anything, he communicates too much. His riddles shows that he can understand and process information so well that he can take information and process it into elaborate puzzles. This combined with his genius-level intelligence indicate that he could make decisions regarding his case.

Nothing, absolutely nothing in Riddler’s rather particularized OCD indicates that he is incompetent to stand trial. I simply cannot understand how 27 different psychiatrists, according to the story, could evaluate Riddler and find he was incompetent to stand trial. I can’t understand how the judges who presided over Riddler’s cases, however many that was, could find he was incompetent to stand trial, either. The judges were more likely to find the 27 psychiatrists incompetent for their erroneous opinions about the Riddler.

But judge after judge has found Riddler incompetent to stand trial and sentenced him to Arkham to be treated until he can be restored to competence. (Really? Arkham? Riddler hasn’t been declared criminally insane only incompetent to stand trial. Judges don’t send a man whose crimes are “rarely violent” and who has been ruled incompetent to the maximum security asylum for the criminally insane. Cleveland, which is a much smaller city than Gotham City, has several institutions for treating defendants in its mental health docket. We don’t normally send people ruled incompetent to the super-max asylum to rub shoulders with all the violent offenders who have been found to be criminally insane. We send them to the lesser institutions. But, I digress.)

Gotham City has seen judge after judge find the Riddler incompetent to stand trial under facts where no judge in the real world would likely find a defendant incompetent. So I repeat the question I posed at the beginning of this column: Where were these judges when I was practicing law? If I had been able to appear before them, I would never have lost a case.

The Point Radio: Donal Logue Thrives In GOTHAM

Donal Logue is Harvey Bullock in the new Fox series, GOTHAM and he has a lot of say about it,  including how this compares to his previous roles and what it’s like to be part of a story where everyone already knows the ending. Plus, it’s the 60th Anniversary for The Guinness Book Of World Records, with a ton of new wacky entries and some old ones that may never be broken. Ever wonder how it all began? We go right to the source to answer that and more.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

John Ostrander: The Bat, Man!

As the Bat-mythos goes, Bruce Wayne saw a bat fly into his window and thought, “Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot. I shall become a bat!” I’ve never been quite sure how the first half of that statement leads to the second half, but never mind. Maybe the bat flying in so freaked Bruce out that he thought he’d freak everyone else out by becoming a bat.

Either I’m cowardly and/or superstitious or I’m a criminal but we had a bat in the house incident recently and it freaked me out. For those of you who are bat enthusiasts, you should know that I don’t hate the flying rodents. I know that they eat mosquitoes and other supposedly useful things. I just don’t want them in the room with me. This isn’t as hotel. They aren’t paying rent. Their place is somewhere else, preferably outside.

We know we have bats in the attic. We’ve been intending to get rid of them but there have been other priorities so it’s been live and let live.

One night My Mary and I were in the living room, watching TV and eating dinner as is our wont. That’s when Mary screamed. There was a bat flying around the kitchen, having found a way downstairs from the attic. Mary’s Amazonian scream freaked the bat and it flew into my office. We closed the door and sealed it off from the rest of the house while we figured our next move.

That’s when we realized that our youngest cat, Hildy, was probably still in the office.

Hildy has become quite a hunter. In one 24-hour period recently, she found 11 baby mice in the basement and brought their carcasses to us. We were both repulsed and impressed and appropriately praised her. Now, however, we had a problem.

This is actually where it got serious. The bat could have rabies. Michigan, where we live, has been having an outbreak of rabies in bats. Hildy had last gotten a rabies shot two years ago but it was effective for one year only. What with moving last year, we had neglected to update her shots.

bat boyWe opened the office door a little bit and tried coaxing Hildy out. She didn’t come, which meant she was busy elsewhere – which meant it could have been the bat. Before dashing in to get her, we had to seal off the entry to the rest of the house or the basement in case the bat flew out again. We draped sheets. By the time we’d accomplished that, Hildy was scratching at the office door to be let out. We opened the door a crack and she popped out.

There were no bites on her that we could see but bats have needle like teeth and we could miss it. We called the vet in the morning and then we realized the seriousness of the problem.

We had to recover the bat and it had to be tested for rabies. Otherwise, there were two options. She could be quarantined for six months or she could be euthanized. The same went for our other cat, Windy, since we had failed to quarantine Hildy the previous night and the two cats had been in contact. We had already lost my buddy, Micah, a few weeks earlier and I was not ready to lose our last two cats.

Mary read up on the Internet on how to capture a bat that involved surreptitiously putting a box over it and then sliding another sheet of cardboard behind the box and trapping the vermin. Yeah. Right.

First we had to determine if the bat was still in the office or if it had gone back up in to the attic. If it had, we were sunk. We snuck into the office with all the caution of Elmer Fudd hunting that Wascally Wabbit. We found it hanging on the door of the office closet, up by the top. A good sign. Not likely Hildy could get at it there.

It appeared to be sleeping. Mary carefully negotiated the box around it but, as she tried to slip the cardboard between door and the bat, the li’l bugger got free and started flying around the room.

Gaaaah! Run away, run away, run away! The beastie flew over our heads and at one point it flew right at my face! Mary almost trampled me trying to get out. We needed another plan.

Or maybe a stiff drink. Well, Mary doesn’t drink, but I needed a stiff drink… but I waited.

Mary devised a new catcher – she took a large clear heavy plastic Tupperware cake lid and duct taped it to a squeegee mop handle. We fashioned bat costumes of our own – I had on my cap and Mary tied a long sleeved shirt around her head. We were ready or as ready as we were going to get. I needed a batarang.

Problem was, we weren’t sure where the bat had migrated. We opened the door cautiously, hunched over, and glanced around.

The nasty bugger was hanging from the ceiling right above the damn door, looking at us.

Squelching a yelp, we got in and closed the door and proceeded with the plan. Deftly, Mary got the cake lid over it and slid the beastie down until we could slide the cardboard behind it. This time we could see the bat and could make sure it didn’t escape. It was trapped. We duct taped the shit out that sucker to make sure it couldn’t get loose and Mary punched some tiny air holes in the cardboard.

Now we had to find a place to take it and get tested. This was now Friday afternoon before the Labor Day weekend. The last thing we wanted was to entertain our batty guest for the three-day weekend.

Some quick phoning around directed me to the state Public Health and Environmental Concerns office and so Mary and I drove up to Saginaw to deposit our little “friend.” I don’t think they get a lot of live bats brought in and there was considerable interest. A woman in the waiting room screamed and ran out when the bat stirred in its plastic cage. I guess she was part of the cowardly, superstitious lot. Maybe a criminal.

We waited some ten days before we finally got word. The report from the lab had been sent to the wrong office but eventually we found out that the bat did not have rabies. Our cats are okay, we’re okay, the bat – not so much.

I swear, though, if another bat finds its way into the office I’m going to get all Joker on it.


The Law Is A Ass


Batman_Vol_2-23.2_Cover-1_TeaserWell, there’s no putting it off any longer. I might as well get the unpleasant business out of the way right up front.


 I want to discuss the legal aspects of Detective Comics: Futures End # 1 and there is literally no way I can proceed without discussing its ending. So if you haven’t read Detective Comics: Futures End # 1 and you don’t want to know how it ends, stop reading now. Come back after you have read it. If, on the other hand, you have read the comic in question or you simply don’t care that I’m about to give away the ending, then continue reading.

This has been a test of the Emergency SPOILER WARNING! System. We now return you to your regularly scheduled column already in progress.

The story opened five years from now – remember, the DC books coming out in September this year all tie into the weekly Future’s End http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Futures_End series and take place five years in the future – with a scene of The Batman flying through Gotham City. Now it’s not unusual that a Detective Comics story should open with the Batman. Many of them do. What is unusual is that Batman was flying toward a large skyscraper with a huge question mark insignia on the top floor.

Clearly, it was the headquarters of The Riddler. But why would a master criminal have such an obvious and ostentatious headquarters?

It seems that sometime in the five years between now and five years from now when some futures are going to end, Batman helped broker a full pardon for the Riddler. How? I don’t know. Why? I still don’t know. (Seriously, did you think that between writing those two sentences, I went back to re-read the story, and saw something I missed the first time?) The story didn’t reveal either how or why the Riddler was pardoned. It’s one of those great mysteries we may find the answer to in the next five years. Like which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or who’s on first?

Batman needed Riddler’s help. Seven days earlier, Julian (the Calendar Man) Day broke free of his cell on Arkham Island, the new asylum of the criminally insane that was – Will be? – built in Gotham Harbor. Julian was holding several of the Arkham staff hostage.

Julian had one demand and if it wasn’t met, he was going to duplicate the city-wide blackout that the Riddler had cast over Gotham City back in the “Batman: Zero Year” story arc. Excuse me but what? When they built this new asylum for the criminally insane, did they build it over Gotham City’s main fuse box?

Because Calendar Man had hostages, Gotham City couldn’t bomb Arkham Island. And the police couldn’t storm the island because they couldn’t get past the security devices that Riddler built into it. (Yes, sometime in those event-filled five years, the Riddler, a former inmate in Arkham Asylum, designed the new version of Arkham Asylum and all of its security measures. I hope it was good therapy for Riddler, because it sure don’t make much sense otherwise.) So Batman came to Riddler so that Riddler could help Batman get past Arkham Island’s security.

While Batman and Riddler had fun stormin’ da castle, Batman told Riddler what Calendar Man’s one demand was. Several years ago, before he became Calendar Man and was still just Julian Day, Julian’s wife died. Julian started drinking, lost his job, and became muscle for the Gotham crime boss The Squid. He also physically abused his son when he got drunk. So in Detective Comics Annual v. 2 # 3, the Batman defeated all the bad guys Julian was working with, foiled their plans, and placed Julian’s son in a shelter for battered women and children. Now Julian demanded that the man who destroyed his family be brought to him or he would black out Gotham. Riddler expressed some regret at what Batman is doing. After all, Calendar Man and his thugs were going to kill Batman and Batman was the only worthy adversary Riddler ever encountered.

So, cutting to the chase – of whatever it is I’m cutting to, as this story didn’t actually have a chase scene – Batman and Riddler got past the security devices. Then Batman had an obligatory fight scene with Calendar Man’s henchmen, because there hadn’t been a fight scene yet and it was obligatory.

When Calendar Man appeared, Batman explained that Riddler helped Batman get past the security devices, so that they could deliver to Calendar Man the man responsible for destroying his family. Then Calendar Man ordered his men to take Riddler away.

Riddler asked why they were taking him, it was Batman who destroyed his family. Calendar Man said he was a rotten single parent and deserved to have his son taken away. His wife held his family together and it fell apart after her death. His wife’s death is what destroyed his family and she died in Riddler’s Zero Year blackout. Riddler was the man who destroyed his family.

As Calendar Man and his goons dragged the Riddler off to Crom knows what, Batman smiled a smug and oh-so–pleased-with-himself smile and said, “Riddle me this. How do you trap the untrappable? You get them to trap themselves.”

The end of the story and the beginning of the meat of this column, so I guess I should have included a Vegetarian Warning, too. I don’t know what Calendar Man and his goons plan to do with Riddler. Riddler thought they were going to kill and they probably are. But kill Riddler, cut him, or force him to watch Gigli; any way you slice it – or the Riddler – it’s going to be bad for the Riddler. And the Batman delivered Riddler to these men knowing something what was going to happen.

Which makes the Batman a murderer, or assaulter, or a torturer depending on what Calendar Man and his goons do to the Riddler. Let’s go with murder, because I don’t want to keep typing all the possibilities.

How so? Well the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, which defines the crimes for that state, has a statute – N.J.S.A. 2C:2-6 – which defines the crime of Complicity. In New Jersey a person is an accomplice to a crime, and is as guilty as the principal offender, when he or she has the intention of facilitating the offense and aids the principal offender commit the offense. You may know this crime better as name aiding and abetting, which is what it’s called in some other states. But a crime by any other name is still illegal.

If the Batman helped Calendar Man murder the Riddler and if the Batman intended to help Calendar commit that crime, then he’s as guilty of the murder as Calendar Man is. The getaway driver who takes bank robbers away from a bank robbery – or to a bank robbery – is as guilty as the actual people who actually rob the bank, because he helped them commit it. In the same way, the person who brings the victim to some murderers and who knows that they will murder the victim once they get him is as guilty of the murder as the murderers who actually commit the murder. Why? Because he helped them commit the murder by bringing the victim to them, that’s why.

Now I know that this story takes place some five years in the future, but if you think in those intervening five years someone repealed the complicity statute, you’re delusional. They may have been dumb enough to let an ex-inmate of an asylum for the criminally insane design the new asylum for the criminally insane, They may even have been dumb enough to build the new asylum for the criminal insane over the main fuse box of a major city. But repeal the complicity law at a time when the prevailing attitude on crime is you’ve got to be tougher than utility beef? No one’s that dumb.

The Point Radio: The Revamped Mythology of GOTHAM

Of all the comic book based shows headed to television this fall, the one facing the biggest hurdle might be GOTHAM. After all, how can you do a Batman TV show without Batman? Show runner Bruno Heller and star Ben McKenzie shed some light on this and more , plus August was another good month for comic sales, but only two titles crack the 100K mark.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Emily S. Whitten’s Grand SDCC Adventure – LEGO Batman 3 Edition!

The LEGO Batman 3 video game will be released in retail stores in North America on November 11, 2014, and it sounds like it’s going to be so much fun. Obviously as part of the LEGO video game franchise, it will feature the usual enjoyment to be had in playing that set of games; but on top of that, the story sounds cool, and everything the cast and crew said about it at SDCC makes it sound like it’s going to be the best LEGO Batman game yet. If you don’t believe me, you can watch three exciting and hilarious trailers for the game here. And you can check out my SDCC interviews below!

Click here to see Travis Willingham (Superman, Hawkman, Booster Gold) and Laura Bailey (Wonder Woman, Catwoman) talk about why everyone loves the LEGO video games, what it’s like doing multiple voices in the same project, their favorite versions of the characters they play, and favorite lines from the game.

Click here to watch Troy Baker (Batman) discuss what it’s like to voice Batman and his Batman fandom, his favorite character relationships in the game, why he’s looking forward to playing the game, who else he’d like to voice from the Bat-verse, and what experiences made him a stronger actor.

Click here to hear Arthur Parsons (Game Director) share how the previous LEGO games have informed LEGO Batman 3, cool things they’ve gotten to explore in this game, fun characters we’ll see, and awesome game mechanics.

Click here to see Josh Keaton (Green Lantern, Shazam) & Scott Porter (Aquaman, Superboy) chat about what it’s like coming back to play Hal Jordan again, Green Lantern’s role in this game’s story, the dynamic of the voice acting community, why Aquaman is fun to play, and what versions of the characters inspired them when making the game.

And click here to see Adam West (!!!!!) discuss what it’s like to have been known for Batman for so many years, why he loves Batman, his favorite lines from LEGO Batman 3, his favorite Batman villain and which villain he’d like to play, being the character of “Adam West” in so many things, what he’d want to be sure was in his utility belt, and much more.

(Nota bene: I know the sound quality on the Adam West video isn’t great. We do what we can in crowded press rooms. In case you’d rather listen to it with a better sound quality, click here for the audio version.)

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

Emily S. Whitten’s Grand SDCC Adventure: Gotham Edition

(Editor’s Note: As noted in this space last Tuesday, for the next li’l bit we’ll be running BRAND-NEW Emily S. Whitten columns on Tuesday mornings and on Saturday afternoons! This being Saturday afternoon – Eastern USA time – here we go!)

Batman is one of DC Comics’ greatest characters, and part of what makes Batman great is his supporting cast, his rogues gallery, and the whole mood and setting of Gotham, the city that surrounds him and, in part, defines him. I’ve always loved seeing portrayals of Gotham, both in print and on screen, so I’m definitely looking forward to the new TV show Gotham (premiering September 22). Not only is the show supposed to feature the city as a character, but it’s also going to be examining the origins and psychology behind many famous characters from the Bat-verse along the way. The show focuses on Jim Gordon (later to be The Commissioner, and always one of my favorite Bat-verse characters) and his “rise to prominence” in Gotham City before Batman arrives on the scene. It also features young versions of Bruce (of course), The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, The Riddler, and ostensibly more. Sounds good to me!

At SDCC I got to talk to some of the cast and crew of Gotham, and I’m pretty excited by what I’ve heard about the show so far. To share in my excitement, check out the interviews below!

Click here to watch actor Donal  Logue (Detective Harvey Bullock) discuss Bullock’s role in the police department and Gotham, his relationship with Jim Gordon, the difference between working in a comics world versus other shows he’s done, villains he’s excited to see show up in Gotham, and the importance of honoring the Batman legacy for fans.

Click here to see actress Jada Pinkett Smith (Fish Mooney) show off her favorite prop, talk about what it’s like to be a new character in the Batman world and a strong female character and focal point in the male-dominated world of Gotham, and discuss Fish as the progenitor for a lot of Gotham’s villains.

Click here to see actress Erin Richards  (Barbara Kean) talk about her role as Jim Gordon’s fiancée, her favorite part of the set, what she loves about the Batman series, the city as a character, and how female characters shine on the show.

Click here to watch actor Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot) discuss becoming the Penguin, his character’s relationships with Fish Mooney, Bruce, and other characters, and the background of the Cobblepot family.

Click here to listen to executive producer Bruno Heller give an overview of his view of the series and discuss the supervillains in the show, how they intend to develop the characters over time, and the psychology of Batman and his villains.

And when you’re done with all that, shine your Bat-signals up into the sky in anticipation of Gotham this fall (what, you don’t all have Bat-signals at home? Just me, then) and until next time, Servo Lectio!