Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why Jim Gordon Will Be Like Jimmy McNulty

What to make of the news that Fox plans to produce a prequel show about Batman ally Commissioner Gordon, entitled "Gotham?"

I thought about it. And thought about it some more. And the more I thought about it, the more I was intrigued. And the more I thought about Jimmy McNulty. Let me explain.

Jim Gordon is tied with Bruce Wayne himself as the oldest Batman character--which is to say, both he and Wayne are in the very first panel of "Detective Comics #27," the first-ever Batman story.

He isn't, typically, the central character, however--although he does find himself close to the action in some of the most beloved Batman stories. Alan Moore's seminal "The Killing Joke," for instance, focuses on the Joker's attempts to drive Gordon mad through horrific attacks on his daughter. And Frank Miller's iconoclastic, transformative "Batman: Year One" is often told from Gordon's perspective, as he navigates a crime-ridden, pre-Batman Gotham.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No, Debt Ceiling Standoffs Aren't Unprecedented

"You have never in the history of the United States seen the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to extort a president or a governing party." -- President Barack Obama, Sept. 18, at the Business Roundtable
Obama's statement is sorta like saying fish are always found in the water -- it's mostly true and helpful without being literally true. (Some fish live most of their lives on the land.)

In this case, the problem with Obama's statement is a past Congress has demanded concessions from a past president--and the president gave in. A little bit.

It gets lost a bit in the shadow of the much more serious budget showdown of '95, but there was also a debt ceiling showdown in '96. You had the same ingredients--blustery ultimatums and calls for drastic government cuts.

But ultimately, the Republicans were bought pretty cheap. In March of 1996 a debt ceiling hike was passed, which included two items from the Contract for America, including the Congressional Review Act, which made it a tad easier for Congress to strike down executive branch regulations. (You can read more about this here.)

You could argue that the latter part was just some window dressing to make the Republicans' capitulation, after their threats, taste better going down.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

All the Unhappy Bat-Families

It wasn't because she was gay that Batwoman was denied matrimonial bliss, DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio said on Saturday. It's because DC is against weddings. Or, specifically, Bat-weddings.

For those unfamiliar with the recent controversy, two writers for the Eisner-nominated Batwoman monthly series, J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman, recently quit in protest of what they claimed was constant last-minute meddling by DC Comics editors. Among the list of complaints--they were not allowed to show Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, actually marry her lesbian partner, (to whom she already was engaged to, in the issue "Batwoman #17"). This news spiraled into a controversy for DC--already reeling from the recent Orson Scott Card fiasco--and led to heated denunciations and, according to Williams, threats of violence towards specific DC publishers.

Speaking at a panel at the Baltimore Comic-Con to a few hundred DC fans Saturday morning, DiDio strongly denied that their decisions had anything to do with Kane's sexuality. Rather, it had to do with their philosophy about the nature of characters with the prefix "Bat." Since 2011's New 52 reboot, DC has maintained that characters in the Batfamily--(Batman, Batgirl, Batwoman, Batwing, Nightwing, etc.)--do not have "happy personal lives," DiDio said.

"They put on a cape and a cowl for a reason," he said. "They're committed to defending others, at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 Fantasy Football Team #2

QB: Cam Newton
WR: Calvin Johnson
WR: Victor Cruz
RB: Jamaal Charles
RB: Darren McFadden
W/R: James Jones
TE: Tony Gonzalez
K: Justin Tucker
D/ST: Denver
BN: Michael Vick
BN: Rashard Mendenhall
BN: Lance Moore
BN: Kenny Britt
BN: Bryce Brown
BN: Vick Ballard