The Boy Wonders
From a young age I was addicted to the Batman saga. I’d read a couple of comics, but when I was growing up, Batman: The Animated Series was a staple of my daily TV viewing. I also had a pretty impressive collection of the action figures and accessories – if only I’d kept them unopened and fully intact…
Anyways, throughout primary school I was like an outsider getting by as an insider. I guess you could say I hung out with the ‘cool’ kids, but I had my fair share of bullying etc. Plus, I was interested in so many different things as opposed to my friends who tended to just be all about football. My school reports always made mention of me being beyond my years in terms of maturity, sensibility, understanding of life and so on. Maturity, to this day is debatable…Another comment from a wide range of teachers was how dark I was. I always had to draw using black. My thoughts always ventured to the more inhumane acts between people.
I was a no bullshit kinda kid, I knew how the world was and didn’t much care for it. But I knew that you gotta get just get on with it and sometimes feign happiness or whatever is necessary to fit in.
As a kid, I was in many ways, more grown up. I was de-sensitised to violence and horror. The joys of having a significantly older brother – I was introduced to Nightmare On Elm Street around the age of 5. Even back then, horror movies never scared me; I’ve spent many hours watching horrors, striving for even a slight scare. I’m still looking.
As far as Batman goes, I watched the movie (Tim Burton, 1989) not longer after it was released, so again, I was around about 5 years old. I loved the movie and that’s what stemmed my interest.
I remember being mocked for my addiction to anything Batman. I remember we were asked to do a project on something we felt passionate about and I had picked up a few jotters and worked through page after page with my own little Batman compendium, complete with my shoddy artwork (depictions of the Batcave, Batmobile and various other locales, costumes, gadgets etc).
I even wrote various stories of my own to add to the world of the Dark Knight…not sure if it’s buried away amongst other childhood relics of mine…
Anyway, after being mocked and knowing no one else that enjoyed comic book/superhero lore, I set aside that aspect of me and acted ‘normal’. Ish.
But, as a teenager I started to meet other like-minded friends and slowly I got back into the old ways and now, I look back and wonder why I gave up on something I got a lot of enjoyment out of for the sake of pride or whatever it was back then.
Over the years I often wondered why I always revered Batman over any other superhero and I could never and, in a way, still can’t. I guess part of it is that he isn’t truly a superhero; a mere man who took on a great burden without any special powers or mutations. A man who became an icon for something he believed in and took it upon himself to make things happen and try to put them right. A man, so conflicted within himself that I identified with because, as a child and teenager we go through so many inner conflicts ourselves and what we do during those years tend to dictate how our lives play out – unless we devote much time and effort to carve a new path as we grow older.
And here I am, sitting here writing this blog and having a well deserved break from updating my digital comic library and clearing out duplicates. Reflecting on various memories that spring to mind and sat wondering about various things I did/didn’t do and also pondering the concept of duality – is it just a Gemini thing or (as I hold no stock in star signs and horoscopes) is it more common-ground?