Monday, August 15, 2011

Blogathon 27: Put on Your Tights and Give Them Hell Part Six

[Continuing my thoughts on The Dark Knight Strikes Again.]

The way the media is depicted in The Dark Knight Strikes Again is a radical shift from how it's shown in The Dark Knight Returns. Part of that is the change in the art from the grid to the loose pages. But, even with that, Miller's loose ADD-esque pages reflect modern media better. It's a channel-flipping style of depicting the media. With 24-hour news channels, it's become standard to flip back and forth, see who has the best coverage, the latest scoops, the most interesting news. Don't stay anywhere too long. Back in the '80s, you stuck with it, you watched these debates play out between pundits. The content itself hasn't changed much, just the time spent with it and how quickly it goes from zero to a hundred. In DKR, there was build-up to someone losing their cool; here, that's how they begin. I don't know how exaggerated the media representation is in DKR (if at all), but even if it was exaggerated, the contrast is striking. At least, there, there was some semblance of an attempt to inform people and have an intelligent discussion. It eventually broke down, but the intent was there. Or, at worst, the lipe service to the intent was there. Here, it's just noise. There's no questioning, no thought, just apes shouting and grunting in an effort to get the most attention.

The discourse in DKR, while satirising the media, had some merit to it. The idea put forth had some germ of an idea in them that you could think about. What effect would a person like Batman have on a city? Would he attract the mentally unstable and his presence influence them to engage him? The debate eventually became nonsense, but those ideas... they're part of what give DKR depth. There are no such ideas in DKSA. No one talks long enough on TV to present a fraction of that sort of depth. No one listens, no one thinks, everyone sinks to the easiest argument to bring in the viewers.

Each book is a comment on their time, but, fuck, DKSA is meaner and... more accurate. Its disjointed narrative and approach to the media is entirely appropriate for 2001. Hell, it's still appropriate for 2011. But, I remember those days post-Bush's 'election' and the sense of outrage in young people. And I live in fucking Canada. The media becoming a fucking joke in the wake of the 2000 election (it was already a joke, but people stopped laughing then, I think). I don't know. More than any other comic, this reminds me of my final two years of high school. Of my early days on the internet. Of being an angry young man. Of being a stupid young man. Try telling that guy that this comic is anything but awesome. You won't be able to, because it's pure fucking awesome.

And, in 30 minutes, I'll tell you why to finish off the discussion of this comic.

Also, we're up to $225! Keep those donations coming!

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative! (Details in this post.) After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]