One of the more unfortunate side effects of living in modern society is that we’re expected to wear pants whenever we’re in public. Seriously, they want you to do that every time you leave the house, even though that is clearly an unrealistic proposition for a society that has already perfected pajama technology. It’s an undeniable hassle, but this month, Mattel released something that helps make it a little more awesome: a recreation of the classic Batman ‘66 utility belt, complete with a folding Batarang.
It’s the latest entry in the tidal wave of merchandise that’s been hitting shelves in the truly wonderfulBatman TV series revival that we’ve been seeing over the past few months, and unless you’re willing to get creative with your “Surf’s Up” Batman action figure, it’s the first one you can actually wear. Check out a video of the belt in action below!
So as you may already be aware, I like Batman a lot, which means I think about Batman all the time, and ever since I started writing comics, I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I could do a Batman story. That’s pretty common, right? I mean, surely everyone has a Batman pitch in their back pocket just in case it ever comes up. One of mine, the one that I think could actually work really well, was The Batman of the 30th Century.
The basic idea comes from two things: One, that the Legion of Superheroes is founded as a Superman spinoff, which means there’s a lot of Superman legacy stuff that shows up over the years, and there’s a lot of Flash stuff that shows up from XS, Impulse and the Tornado Twins, but there’s nothing in the Legion’s future that indicates a legacy for Batman. (There’s also nothing involving the Wonder Woman legacy, but, you know, that’s a discussion for another time.) And yet, if you skip ahead to the 853rd Century of DC One Million, the Batman legacy is definitely alive and well.
Second, and the reason it’s so weird that there’s no Batman tie-in for the Legion, is that there actually was a “Batman of the 30th Century.” His name’s Brane Taylor, and he appears in a one-shot story in 1954. It’s not all that obscure among people who read a lot of comics, and with creators’ love of tying things together, it seems mystifying to me that there was never a reintroduction of that character as part of the Legion’s future. Maybe it was the name? “Brane” is, to be honest, kind of awful. But it’s all there, and looking at it as a fan, it seemed natural that you could tie it together. The only thing that you’d really need would be to tweak Brane so that he’d fit in with the teenagers of the Legion, and when I saw (and bought the original art for) Cliff Chiang’s Gatchaman-inspired “Science Ninja Hero Batman,” it all seemed to fall into place. I really wanted it to have a strange feeling of the retrofuturism of the original Legion and its Silver Age roots along with Batman’s darker, more modern aesthetic (there’s a lot of the Morrison run in this, for instance).
So I thought about this for years, and I ended up mentioning it to J. Gonzo, the artist of La Mano Del Destino, and he really loved it and wanted to draw it, and came up with a few ideas his own along the way – Robin and Bat-Mite were his ideas, and I love ‘em. We ended up making a full pitch document with character designs and summaries that I think is really cool, but at the same time, I know that there’s a roughly zero percent chance that it will ever actually happen. So we showed it around to a few people, and now I’m sharing it with you. Enjoy!
I sat down to watch 2011’s Karate-Robo Zaborgar, a Japanese film from the director of Machine Girl and Final Pussy… Between that and the Netflix description, Zaborgar had a pretty high standard to live up to, but seriously, you guys? It is the best movie I’ve seen all year, and maybe the most balls-out-crazy movie I’ve seen in my entire life.