Saturday, September 12, 2009

Faye Stories Part 5: Spinning Spider Stories

There is nothing like telling old fairy tales with a new twist. My father used to tell me a story where the Big Bad Wolf was a man named Abdul from Cleveland. Marvel has done the same thing, but instead of naming a wolf after a Basketball player, they have put Peter Parker into famous fairy tales from around the world.

"Spider-Man Fairy Tales", written by C.B. Cebulski, is a collection of four stories: "Off the Beaten Path", "The Spirit of Friendship", "Eclipse", and "What You Wish For". These are retellings of "Little Red Riding Hood", "Anansi the Spider God", "Tsuchigumo the Japanese Spider Spirit," and "Cinderella". The stories chosen to be retold says a lot about the character of Spider-Man. Spider-Man, who was destined to be the Totem of the Spider, flawlessly translates into the role of Anansi and Tsuchigumo,they are both totems in their own culture. The spider and the spider-man is not unique to marvel or western culture. The animal exists around the world and has continually captivated imaginations, and therefore, it was right and proper to include tales from around the world.

With the more western tales of "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Cinderella", the comic has its own flare. With Mary Jane as a strong Riding Hood and Peter as a timid woodsmen they work together to save the day. Their teamwork reflects some of their better relationship moments in the comics. Peter then takes on the role of Cinderella to the Osborne family, with Mary Jane as his helper in making it to the ball. Following the Spider-man mythos, the Princess dies while Mary Jane pines for Peter. While keeping the main elements of the Cinderella tale, the comic is loyal to the Spider-man Mythos.

"Spider-Man Fairy Tales" is a creative collection of known stories with a marvel twist. While the graphic novel is a fairly quick read it is worth picking up. Overall, I give it a 4 out of 5.

Watching for Spiders,
J.R. West the Raccoon

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Myth of the Dark Knight

Tonight while channel flipping I found “Batman Unmasked: Psychology” on Hist-1 at 8pm EST. The nerd in me had to watch. The episode had psychology experts, DC editors and writers, literary experts and other professionals. They gave their opinions of the mythology behind the Batman.

I found that some of the experts offered interesting insights into Batman. There of course was the main question, who is the real man: Batman or Bruce Wayne. The creators of the batman comics, as well as, the psychologists could not agree. As a general trend the creators claim he is Batman, which I agree with, however the psychologists felt that Bruce Wayne’s past and humanity was of more importance.

Additionally, they give insight on Batman’s villains (the rogue’s gallery). His enemies are sociopaths, narcissist, and the worst of humanity. The experts showed how his enemies are his opposites, with their personality flaws causing villainous habits. Each villain is compared to real-live villains and their form of psychosis. The villain that gets the most focus is of course the Joker. A villain with a completely evil nature whose main goal is the corruption of others. He is a Batman without any morals, causing mayhem for his own twisted amusement. His every desire plays out without care. He lives to entertain himself with suffering. The villains are the darkest, most vile traits of humanity.

Batman is a hero to us because his lives in a world built out of the most horrible parts of our reality. His world may be a dark reflection of our own, but it only makes him shine so might brighter. The mythology of Batman differs from other superheroes because he is a hero dwelling in a world where only monsters can thrive. We cheer for a man that in reality would horrify us if we ever actually encountered him. His world puts him in a hero’s cowl not a murder’s ski mask.

Reading my Batman comics again,
J.R. West the Raccoon