Join 3,562 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Why is the Joker Batman's archenemy?
August 14, 2008 5:34 PM   Subscribe

The Joker is Batman's main nemesis. Why him? Why not some other villain?
posted by painquale (118 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gee, I dunno, maybe someone should write a bland blog entry about it.

Seriously, WTF?
posted by Eekacat at 5:43 PM on August 14, 2008


I thought it was a better than average blog entry, although essentially writing an essay that's simply English 101 with Batman in the place of Dickens leaves me a bit dry. Comic litcrit kinda takes the fun out of the medium.
posted by GuyZero at 5:50 PM on August 14, 2008


I liked it and thought others might too, Eekacat. I'm sorry you didn't.
posted by painquale at 5:51 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why so superfluous?
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:51 PM on August 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


I kinda liked it. The B:TAS version of the Joker it praises never really gelled for me though.
posted by Artw at 5:53 PM on August 14, 2008


Seriously, WTF?

Seriously, WTF?
posted by ORthey at 5:57 PM on August 14, 2008


No one loves the ISB more than I do, but I think this could have been fleshed out, post-wise. It's not as though you, y'know, couldn't have found more material on the subject. On the other hand, I do love the ISB, and this is a good piece, so...I dunno, suck it, haters.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:58 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Seriously, WTF?

Why so serious?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 PM on August 14, 2008 [10 favorites]


No, it's the Penguin. The Penguin is what Bruce Wayne, billionaire industrialist, would have become had his parents not been brutally murdered, had he grown up normal and loved. The Penguin totally underscores the paradox of Batman.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:02 PM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


As a single link blog entry post (SLBEP) it doesn't stand so well on it's own. Seriously, the least you could have done was include some homoerotic fan fiction as well...
posted by Eekacat at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2008


This "Chris" guy doesn't even mention Ra's Al Ghul, so I can't take the FPP link remotely seriously.

Joker's no arch-nemesis. He's there along with Penguin, Riddler, TwoFace, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and a host of others.

Ra's Al Ghul is Moriarty to Batman's Sherlock.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


The B:TAS version of the Joker it praises never really gelled for me though.

Agreed; he wasn't chaotic enough. But the series did introduce his relationship with Harley Quinn, which is a big plus.

The Penguin totally underscores the paradox of Batman.

That's something that I found interesting about the linked essay - you make make that claim with nearly all of Batman's villains. Two-Face and Scarecrow and Ra's al-Ghul are mentioned, and you could also make the case for the Penguin and Man-Bat and Catwoman.

It's not as though you, y'know, couldn't have found more material on the subject.

I prefer single-link posts to ones padded down with extraneous links, and I thought this piece was good, so I didn't see any reason to add anything more. Besides, there are a ton of links in the post itself that I had fun clicking on. Pretend that they're in my post.
posted by painquale at 6:07 PM on August 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


Anyway, it's pretty plain that Batman's complete opposite is Man-Bat.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:08 PM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


No, it's Mr. Freeze! Freeze is what Bruce Wayne would have become if he had grown up loved, was very wall, knew his way around cyrogenics, and his girlfriend succumbed to a highly idiosyncratic and plot-convenient malady that caused him to go nuts and turn to crime to obtain material for a cure, oh and also suffered an accident that meant he had to wear a cold suit and had a freeze gun.

And was played by either Otto Preminger or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
posted by JHarris at 6:08 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, and The Dark Knight movie, while entertaining, does not depict The Joker in any meaningful way. Joker is not an 'agent of chaos.' He would never refer to himself in that way. ...unless he was being funny.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:09 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This "Chris" guy doesn't even mention Ra's Al Ghul, so I can't take the FPP link remotely seriously.

Uh, yeah. He does.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:09 PM on August 14, 2008


PainQuale: "...Two-Face and Scarecrow and Ra's al-Ghul are mentioned..."

Where is Ra's Al Ghul mentioned in the FPP link? I didn't see it.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:11 PM on August 14, 2008


Al Ghul is written off a bi too easily in the article, to be fair.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 6:12 PM on August 14, 2008


Batman was inspired as much by Count Dracula and the Shadow as he was heroes like Zorro, with a costume designed to frighten, but he’s still the good guy. The one in the bright colors with the big smile who does magic tricks… that’s the one you need to watch out for.

You're damn right he's the one you need to watch out for. That description of the Joker would be just as frightening applied to anyone else.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:12 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


ZachsMind:
Even Ra’s al-Ghul, who was introduced to give Batman a classic pulp-style villain that would allow for world travel and set pieces, is a powerful, obsessive intellectual prone to uncontrollable rages who has set himself outside the law and devoted his life to wiping out what he sees as evil at any cost, to the point where he seeks out a man with the same sort of drive to carry on his life’s work.
posted by jtron at 6:17 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even Ra’s al-Ghul, who was introduced to give Batman a classic pulp-style villain that would allow for world travel and set pieces, is a powerful, obsessive intellectual prone to uncontrollable rages who has set himself outside the law and devoted his life to wiping out what he sees as evil at any cost, to the point where he seeks out a man with the same sort of drive to carry on his life’s work.

Yeah he was kinda of written off a bit too easily because the essay is about the Joker. The post wasn't about who is your favorite Batman villain; it was about why the Joker is the iconic batman villain. I don't think anyone can argue with that. The blogger made some good points. I thought it was a good post, certainly not warranting a WTF.
posted by Telf at 6:17 PM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Where is Ra's Al Ghul mentioned in the FPP link? I didn't see it.

Fourth paragraph after the first picture. The author doesn't provide an argument against Ra's being Batman's archenemy, but this piece isn't really arguing for the conclusion that the Joker is Batman's main enemy. He just takes it as a given that the Joker is the one, and sets out to give an analysis of how this came about. I think it's a fair premise. You can make arguments for this villain or that villain being the one true nemesis, but the Joker is almost universally considered to be the prototypical Batman ur-villain, and you might wonder how that public conception came to be.
posted by painquale at 6:18 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, it's Egghead. Egghead is what Bruce Wayne, billionaire industrialist, would have become had his parents not been brutally murdered, had he grown up normal and loved and played by Vincent Price.
posted by Gary at 6:19 PM on August 14, 2008


Ahahaha Egghead.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:22 PM on August 14, 2008


SOCK! POW!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:24 PM on August 14, 2008


Seriously, the least you could have done was include some homoerotic fan fiction as well...

Eekacat shyly looked into Bruce Wayne's deep, probing eyes. "Are you sure, sir?" he asked nervously, his lips smacking together like soft, pliant leather.

"Call me Master Bruce," the large man replied, gently caressing Eekacat's thick, hard shoulders. "and of course, I'm sure. You see, crimefighting is hard, manly work and sometimes a fella just needs to relax with other hard working, manly men." He turned to the intercom and shoved his thick finger at the large and dark button marked 'talk'.

"Alfred," he deeply spoke into the cracks of the hard surface, "Why don't you turn on the jacuzzi and take the night off?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:26 PM on August 14, 2008 [8 favorites]


Actually, yeah, this Mr Freeze and Egghead stuff is undermining my precious theory about how all Batman's villains are figments of his own inner psychodrama.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:26 PM on August 14, 2008


Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist specializing in the study of bats, develops an extract intended to give humans the bat's sonar sense and tests the formula on himself because he is becoming deaf. While it works, it has a horrible side effect: it transforms him gradually into a hideous humanoid bat-like monster.


Oh scientists, when will you learn!?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:28 PM on August 14, 2008


Don't worry kid ichorous, they're only part of his inner psychodrama when a flower pot or other precariously placed object falls on his head. Obviously, his real archenemy is King Tut.
posted by Gary at 6:29 PM on August 14, 2008


Wow. I read the stupid thing and even did a Cntl+F for the name. Musta been the hyphen. I couldn't find it. Thanks.

So okay. Chris mentioned Ra's al Ghul but then in the next breath dismisses him as an excuse to get Batman out of Gotham and on a road trip. For a guy who claims to spend a lot of time thinking about Batman, he doesn't seem to grok the guy at all.

Chris also spends too much time talking about Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin. Please. The 60s tv series isn't remotely relevant. At least the more recent movies have been trying to keep the 'goth' in Gotham City.

The only real way to appreciate Joker is through the source material.. and no, the animated series doesn't count either. ...Yes, Mark Hamill's done the best Joker voice. I'll grant that.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:32 PM on August 14, 2008


All this is moot however, because after being tipped off by Artw, i have decided that the Punisher is a better Batman archetype than Batman.

Up to this point, I always figured that Miller's interpretation of Batman was my favorite, with the Dark Knight Returns being the best distillation of what I liked about the character. Garth Ennis' Marvel Max line has thus far blown even my favorite Batman stuff out of the water.

I guess you could argue that Rorschach is the purest example of the extremely driven vigilante archetype, but something about writing the Punisher as a 60 year old hard as nails badass really sits well with me.

Honestly, anytime Batman is shown using a gadget, it weakens the character for me. This is best seen in the 1960s show, but is also rampant even in the most recent movie. Batman at his best is not Iron Man, even though people try to conflate the two.
posted by Telf at 6:33 PM on August 14, 2008


Batman's BEST villains are reflections of his own paradoxes. He has a lot of shit villains in his rogue's gallery.
posted by empath at 6:34 PM on August 14, 2008


Zach'sMind -- what do you consider the source material? The original Golden Age books by the original author? If you're not limiting it to that, I don't see what the difference is between someone using the character toll tell a story in comics vs someone using it on a tv show, movie or videogame.
posted by empath at 6:37 PM on August 14, 2008


PainQuale: "...this piece isn't really arguing for the conclusion that the Joker is Batman's main enemy. He just takes it as a given that the Joker is the one, and sets out to give an analysis of how this came about. I think it's a fair premise."

I don't. Perhaps that's why this thread's link is annoying me so. The premise is faulty and so I can't get past it to see if the guy actually gets around to saying anything meaningful.

It's like if someone were to start an essay with something like, "Everyone knows President George W. Bush is the best president America has ever had..." and then the essay went on to cure cancer, I couldn't get past those first several words. I might read them, but I'd be doing so with this incredulous look on my face like I just ate a lemon.

Know your audience. Chris obviously thinks his audience consists only of people who agree with him, and that's okay. I'm guilty of doing that a lot myself. Anyone who doesn't see Joker as the end all be all of Batman's existence need not apply. So I guess I don't get to belong to the country club. Shucky darns.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:41 PM on August 14, 2008


there is a very simple explanation.
posted by dorian at 6:46 PM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Looks like someone needs to go back and read Moore's 'A Killing Joke' ...
posted by mctsonic at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2008


Honestly, anytime Batman is shown using a gadget, it weakens the character for me. This is best seen in the 1960s show, but is also rampant even in the most recent movie.

Although it contrasts nicely with the Joker, who uses only the cheap tools of Baconian scientific examination... to get to the truth of things: fire, acid, knives. And pencils.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:52 PM on August 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


Batman is Batman's archenemy.
posted by ericbop at 7:06 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can't this analysis take the form of, oh, say, all the dialogue between the two characters in a summer blockbuster? That would be a license to print money, I tell ya.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:09 PM on August 14, 2008


Seriously, the least you could have done was include some homoerotic fan fiction as well...

Or homoerotic Batman watercolors...
posted by KokuRyu at 7:19 PM on August 14, 2008


Somewhat related: 10 Reasons No One Cares About Wonder Woman
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:20 PM on August 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


Empath: "Zach'sMind -- what do you consider the source material? The original Golden Age books by the original author? If you're not limiting it to that, I don't see what the difference is between someone using the character toll tell a story in comics vs someone using it on a tv show, movie or videogame."

Well Empath, Chris does eventually get around to talking about the comics after he's quickly exhausted the tv shows and movies and even the animated series. He eventually mentions Five Way Revenge, Laughing Fish, and even Killing Joke.

But his premise is faulty. The 'theme sentence' to his little essay rings false.

Chris: "Looking at the character today, it’s obvious that he’s not only Batman’s arch-nemesis, but that more than any other villain, he’s evolved alongside his opposite number to become something more."

Joker's a psychotic. Yes he's very interesting. Blah blah blah. At best, he's over-rated. He's no better or worse than any other villain in Batman's rogue gallery.

Whereas, Ra's al Ghul doesn't even belong in Batman's rogue gallery. He stands apart. He stands alone.

To Joker, human beings are toys. They are tools with which to convey thoughts, emotions, or ideas. There have been times when he could kill, and chose not to, because it did not amuse him, or didn't say what he wanted to say. He could have killed Barbara Gordon. He chooses instead to leave her crippled. He thinks that's better. It amused him at the time.

To Ra's al Ghul, humans are a virus, and must be decimated from the parasitic entity humanity is now, to a more symbiotic cog in the workings of the planet Earth. Ra's al Ghul thinks he's acting in the best interests of the planet. He thinks he knows what is best for everything in the universe. He thinks he's a god.

Joker considers what he does to individuals to be a form of expression - almost as if death were paint and people are canvases. At best, Joker is a performance artist.

Ra' al Ghul wants to mold and shape all of humanity (or what's left of it after he's done 'sculpting') into one image that he finds beautiful, and in line with his impression of Earth's desire. He doesn't just want to kill the occasional person. He wants to strip mankind of everything that makes it bold and unique and powerful. He wants to crush everyone under his heel and force everyone to bow to a greater ideal that he and he alone finds of value.

Joker's deaths are parlor tricks. Ra's al Ghul is Big Game.

Finally, Joker has Harley Quinn, who's 'cute.' Ra's al Ghul has Talia, who's 'hot.'

There's no contest here. Ra's al Ghul wins easily.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:21 PM on August 14, 2008


The gadgets are a necessary part of the batman character. They act as a reminder that he's not just a vigilante, he's also a detective and a rich kid who likes pricey toys. They also underscore his limitations as a hero who is only human, and his attempts to overcome these limitations through insane amounts of overcompensation and planning. Watchmen makes an interesting point about these different natures since if you split up the different aspects of Batman you end up with Rorschach and Nite Owl separately more or less.

Anyway, for my money the Joker, Riddler, and Mad Hatter are all cut from the same cloth. Loud brightly costumed villains who seriously undermine his rational character. The Joker is a wild card. Batman is so completely rooted in his formation story; it is impossible for him to get past his parent's death, while the Joker on the other hand has no creation story. He's simply a force of chaos who has been there since the very first issue. The Riddler is all that is unknowable or seemingly unanswerable. And the Mad Hatter represents a sort of loss of reality and spreading insanity since his modus operandi is mind control.

There are plenty of villains who are distortions of aspects of Batman, such as Two Face, the Penguin, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Bane, and Ra's al Ghul, but those three stand out in my mind as being direct contradictions of his character instead. Others such as Clay Face, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Scarface don't really fit so well into this sort of analysis though.

Oh, and I totally nominate Maximillian Zeus as Batman's true arch nemisis. Now there's a villian!
posted by CheshireCat at 7:22 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do any of you guys recall the Wagner/Grant/Breyfogle team working on Detective Comics during the late '80s/early '90s? They came up with some of the *best* villains, I thought. Cornelius Stirk, that shapeshifting man who could turn into Jesus and Abe Lincoln and ate people's fear -- scared the Dickens out of me back then. I was really into the Aboriginal killer, the Corrosive Man and the Ventriloquist, too ... anyone remember these?
posted by chinese_fashion at 7:37 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


ericbob has it right. Batman is Batman's archenemy.
posted by captainsohler at 7:47 PM on August 14, 2008


I liked the Wonder Woman analysis much better. But then I like Tom Strong better than Batman and my favorite villain was Modular Man!
posted by wobh at 8:04 PM on August 14, 2008


Will The Dark Knight Return?
posted by homunculus at 8:14 PM on August 14, 2008


I don't feel like debating ZachsMind, even though he's completely wrong, in that while Ras al Ghul was an inventive late addition to the Batman canon, he could never replace the Joker as the ultimate Batman nemesis.

However, in response to Ian A.T.'s link about Wonder Woman - Jesus. I knew she (okay, her original creator) was kinky, but I didn't know we could trace furries, vore AND gynophagia back to her.
posted by yhbc at 8:26 PM on August 14, 2008


Damn, this quote is much too long.

But I've just spent a good 10 minutes doggedly chasing it down for this thread, from a movie blog (Only The Cinema) I forgot to bookmark and had real trouble finding.

So I'm posting it!

Some commenter there - called McKee- just casually threw this analysis into a fairly punchy Dark Knight debate a couple of weeks back. It's not quite as brilliant as I thought when I first read it - but still worth it! (I think).

Bruce Wayne has a backstory, and character. He chooses to become Batman, which is nothing more or less than a symbol of fear and justice. Batman per se has no backstory or character. It has been commented on that when suited up, Bruce Wayne is rendered opaque and inscrutable.

The concept of "escalation" and the close kinship between Batman and the Joker imply that a similar process is at work in Batman's nemesis. The Joker, I contend, is not written so much as an "ex nihilo" symbol, but instead as a character of indefinite background who has followed in Bruce Wayne's footsteps. The Joker was once a man, who for reasons unknown, has chosen to adopt a symbolic persona, and has done so in a way that establishes a clear rivalry between himself and Batman.

Firstly, Batman has a secret identity, and struggles to maintain a balance in the double-life that he leads. The Joker's secret identity is truly only a secret origin, since that name and personality have been forever abandoned and forsaken. In this way the Joker is an escalation, and "one-ups" Batman with his total transformation and dedication. The absence of a background highlights the fact that whereas Bruce Wayne is struggling with his commitment to Batman, the Joker has pushed all his chips forward, and has dared to undergo a total transformation.

It is debatable whether or not this commitment lends the Joker an advantage or not, but clearly it gives the Joker a position from which to attack Batman's character and fractured identity.

All of these elements are supported in TDK. I know that, in the end, it is a small point, but I believe it lends common ground and foundation to our debate.

In a nutshell: The Joker is not a character who is intrinsically "hollow", or devoid of background,or a symbol created "ex nihilo" to satisfy plot requirements.
Instead the Joker is a character (much like Zaphod Beeblebrox) who has chosen to hollow himself out, annihilate his previous identity, and become a symbol to parody and overpower Batman's.

In his comic book representations, the Joker delights in his obscure and unknown past. This lack of background is one of his defining characteristics, and certainly cannot be laid at Nolan's feet. It is story appropriate, and character driven.

2: What does the Joker symbolize?
So many reviewers quote the Joker when he proclaims himself to be an agent of chaos, or a dog chasing a car. These reviewers, so help them, actually use this as evidence to assert that, in the movie, the Joker represents the forces of chaos and anarchy. For shame. Don't they know that the Joker is a consummate liar? Why, oh why, would you ever rely on the Joker's words to give you insight into his character?

I would like to remove forever the notion, generally agreed upon by popular misconception, that the Joker is an agent of chaos.

But I'll cease ranting. What sort of force does he represent then, if not Chaos?

Surprise and Realization. This is the essence of any good joke. The punchline causes you to re-evaluate the beginning of the story, surprises you, makes you laugh because it is unexpected, sharp, and shocking. The Joker elevates these moments as goals in and of themselves, and for him they are more real and more lofty than notions of justice or peace or security.

Destruction and Amaterialism. The Joker likes to destroy things that others find precious. Their money, their heroes, their bodies, their identities. Why? Because its funny. There is a venerable theory about humor, long before comic books, that a joke must always be at someone's expense. If there is a joke, there must also be a butt.

Subversion: Humor has long been the weapon of the discontent. Comedians are given freedom to say appalling things for the sake of entertainment. They make their careers by "going places" with their words that no one else thinks to go, or dares to go. When humor is concerned, nothing and no one is safe. Most especially not the establishment.

I don't see chaos in any of this. .. Over and over again, the Joker proves he is a man of meticulous forethought and planning, a student of human nature who can predict in which direction people will jump.

In fact, he is very much an agent of order! He delights in crafting elaborate set-piece experiments, challenges, trials, decision trees. He uses these devices to test any and all that he can.

posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:30 PM on August 14, 2008 [18 favorites]


The only man who could destroy Batman is Alfred. And he could do it with a word.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:30 PM on August 14, 2008


ZachsMind, I don't think you're arguing against the premise of the blog post. Telf had it right when he wrote, "The post wasn't about who is your favorite Batman villain; it was about why the Joker is the iconic batman villain. I don't think anyone can argue with that." 'Iconic' is the key word here. Ra's might be a better candidate for Batman's most dangerous enemy, or the most revealing, or the one who provides for the best storytelling, or the coolest, but he's not the one who will be first out of the random comic-reader's lips when you ask them to list Batman's rogues gallery. You might be right to argue that Ra's deserves to be the guy at the forefront of everyone's mind, but he's not. If the Joker is overrated, then this post is about why he's overrated. The post is examining what caused the Joker's iconic status and rise in popularity against all the other possible candidates.
posted by painquale at 8:32 PM on August 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


"The post is examining what caused the Joker's iconic status and rise in popularity against all the other possible candidates."

Oh was that all Chris was trying to accomplish? Well that changes everything.

The Joker is more iconic than all the other villains because clowns scare children.

There. Now you know how I felt when I read Chris' absurd essay.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:44 PM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


"In a review of Dark Knight, Ken pointed out that comics–especially DC–are built around archetypes. Superman, for instance, isn’t just a good man with super-powers, he’s a symbol of everything that’s good and selfless with a face and a logo on his chest, and as much as Batman’s come to symbolize the relentless, single-minded pursuit of justice, the Joker’s done the same, becoming chaos itself. As Ken says, he doesn’t believe in chaos, he is chaos. He’s less a criminal and more a force of nature.

The question I’ve been mulling over, then, is why it’s the Joker and not someone else."


He's the Trickster archetype.
posted by homunculus at 8:53 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Joker's a psychotic. Yes he's very interesting. Blah blah blah. At best, he's over-rated. He's no better or worse than any other villain in Batman's rogue gallery.

Whereas, Ra's al Ghul doesn't even belong in Batman's rogue gallery. He stands apart. He stands alone.


The mistake you're making, ZachsMind, is considering Batman as a comics character rather than as a cultural phenomenon. Everybody knows Batman. Hell, THE DARK KNIGHT is the second highest grossing movie of all time. A whole lotta kids grew up on the animated series. And the majority of those people would never even have head of Ra's al Ghul if he hadn't been in BATMAN BEGINS, and that character wasn't exactly the same as the one you're talking about.

Ask Joe Q. moviegoer who Batman's archenemy is and I guarantee you he won't say "Ra's al Ghul". He'll say the Joker, and he'll be right.

Batman doesn't belong to comics geeks anymore. Now he belongs to the ages.
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This was a great read. Thanks for posting it!
posted by ducksauce at 9:13 PM on August 14, 2008


... anyone remember these?

You forgot Anarky.

Breyfogle has always been my favourite Batman artist.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:18 PM on August 14, 2008


Ask Joe Q. moviegoer who Batman's archenemy is and I guarantee you he won't say "Ra's al Ghul". He'll say the Joker, and he'll be right wrong.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:22 PM on August 14, 2008


The only man who could destroy Batman is Alfred. And he could do it with a word.

SHAZAM! No, wait.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:25 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only man who could destroy Batman is Alfred. And he could do it with a word.

Schumacher!
posted by kid ichorous at 9:39 PM on August 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


The only man who could destroy Batman is Alfred. And he could do it with a word.

WOLVERINES!

what, didn't someone mention patrick swayze?
posted by CitizenD at 9:58 PM on August 14, 2008


The Joker is Batman's archenemy because he's the one who gets away when the Batmobile loses a wheel.

As per the song.
posted by padraigin at 9:59 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Heh. I like how no one gives a shit about Bane now.
posted by Artw at 10:00 PM on August 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


Will The Dark Knight Return?

To tell you the truth, who cares? I walked out of the current project twice: The first time when Batman spoke in the bank vault to Commissioner Gordon, but since I was with people I returned to see the much-ballyhooed Ledger make a pencil disappear and break a pool cue.

That's when I left never to return. The suspension of disbelief necessary to eek out any entertainment from the desperate size of film (big) to fun ratio (small) was beyond belief.

After seeing that Ledger role I am sorry he died because it would have been pleasing to see him live this role down by doing something good again. Good, that is, as opposed to this giant showcase of overness and stage-setting.

What tripe! What fierce untelling of stories! Comics are good because they are use what is real as archetypes for the presentation of the absurd—which is just what this Batman movie [sic] did the opposite of!

In fact, it was so bad, that in the two hours I spent on a bench in the movie lobby awaiting my friends expulsion (I was the one who got off easy) I wondered, "Was Heath Ledger killed to make this bloated zepplin a financial success?" It was a car crash, wasn't it?
posted by humannaire at 10:02 PM on August 14, 2008


The Joker is more iconic than all the other villains because clowns scare children.

That's not a terrible interpretation, really.

It's time to go on the offensive. Ra's al-Ghul is a good villain, but he is not a great villain, and he will never be a great villain because he is pure schlock. Chris was right when he wrote that Ra's al-Ghul was a throwback to 40's pulp. He's right out of an Allan Quartermain or James Bond novel. Ra's stories give you hot ninja daughters and crazed acolytes and exotic locales and dueling billionaires and tyrants with dumb and unrealistic fevered dreams of despotism. You were right when you said that he was Moriarty to Batman's Holmes. Sherlock Holmes stories are fun, but they're hardly deep or interesting once you get past the contrived games of wits that make for a fun story. Same with Ra's al-Ghul stories. He's a Fu Manchu, a Dr. No, a Moriarty, a Dr. Klaw.

Ra's al-Ghul complements Batman's detective abilities, his wealth and technology, and to some extent, his motivations to make the world a better place by acting like a little fascist. He complements the big picture of Batman. These are important elements of who Batman is and important features of Batman stories, but they're not what makes Batman such an interesting character. The Joker is a foil to deeper features of Batman's psychology. Yes, he's a scary clown, but that's a better villain for Batman than an action-figure megalomaniac. Someone upthread said that Nite Owl and Rorschach each could be seen as representing different features of Batman's character. Ra's is a villain for Nite Owl; the Joker is a villain for Rorschach.

I'm not going to be able to convince you that the Joker is a great villain if you don't see it already. But I will say that I've spoken with many people who were genuinely morally disturbed by the Joker in The Dark Knight and have found him truly disquieting in his other incarnations. I doubt that Ra's has ever affected anyone like that.
posted by painquale at 10:05 PM on August 14, 2008 [7 favorites]


What? Ledger was great.

That move was about 3 times as complicated as it needed to be though. And Batman talking did make me snigger.
posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on August 14, 2008


You keep tilting at those windmills, humannaire!
posted by Justinian at 10:07 PM on August 14, 2008


How is Ra's al-Ghul suddenly in the major league? i mean, he's kind of neat, but he'd never been that big of a Batman villain. Is this just because he was in a movie?
posted by Artw at 10:07 PM on August 14, 2008


To tell you the truth, who cares? I walked out of the current project twice: The first time when Batman spoke in the bank vault to Commissioner Gordon, but since I was with people I returned to see the much-ballyhooed Ledger make a pencil disappear and break a pool cue.

Yeah. A lot of people quit Portrait of the Artist on the first page too; would you consider their appraisal of the work in bona fide?
posted by kid ichorous at 10:09 PM on August 14, 2008


How is Ra's al-Ghul suddenly in the major league?

He mentored Batman and Darth Vader. He made a difference!
posted by homunculus at 10:11 PM on August 14, 2008


The suspension of disbelief necessary to eek out any entertainment from the desperate size of film (big) to fun ratio (small) was beyond belief.

Yeah! We need a realistic movie about a billionare street vigilante who dons tights and eye makeup and fights crime with exotic cars and gadgets.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:28 PM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Joker is a trickster archetype, in the mold of Loki, Coyote, Prometheus... you know, the greats. It's as simple as that, really. None of the other villains get close to that archetypal tastiness.

I love how capitalist the new movie was though. I mean, the Joker burns (gasp) a big pile of money! IS NOTHING SACRED?!?!
posted by speicus at 11:27 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah! We need a realistic movie about a billionare street vigilante who dons tights and eye makeup and fights crime with exotic cars and gadgets.

No. And yes.
posted by humannaire at 12:08 AM on August 15, 2008


Yeah! We need a realistic movie about a billionare street vigilante who dons tights and eye makeup and fights crime with exotic cars and gadgets.

Besides, the real reason the new Batman movie sucks is because it can't hold a candle to humans going to Mars.

And here in 2008, that really is the bar.
posted by humannaire at 12:15 AM on August 15, 2008


It's so lame giving the Joker stringy hippie-hair in DK. The Joker always had a perfectly coiffed wedge of hair, along with perfect make-up (not smeared like in DK), and to ignore these is yet another thing that makes DK such a dismally bad movie.
posted by telstar at 12:28 AM on August 15, 2008


y'all make me feel ancient. Ra's al-Ghul? that's sooo after my time. the joker IS the archetypal batman villain. their whole relationship througout the Detective and Arkham series was pure genius because the writers definitely made it seems Bruce depended on him to be a heroe.

... and there's the little fact that the patriarchy-at-my-home (aka my husband) is a certain NAPIER. the last name kind of game the thrill of sleeping with the enemy.
posted by liza at 12:43 AM on August 15, 2008


The Joker always had a perfectly coiffed wedge of hair, along with perfect make-up (not smeared like in DK), and to ignore these is yet another thing that makes DK such a dismally bad movie.

Things that look good in comics don't always translate to the screen. This is one of those things. It's also the thing that got my mother, a former social worker, to go see the movie. She said Ledger's makeup was exactly like that of a woman she once cared for who was a paranoid schizophrenic.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:58 AM on August 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


The villain who came closest to killing the Batman was Dr. Fredric Wertham.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:37 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


To respond to the Joker vs. Ra's Al Ghul argument, and keep in mind that I"m not actually what I'd call a fan of Batman:

The problem with Ra's Al Ghul is that it breaks the theming of Batman. No other major superhero is as associated with his stomping (flapping?) grounds as Batman. Metropolis is more or less where Superman hangs out when he's not having Big Adventures, but Batman wants to save Gotham City. This limits the scope of the book, which is a good thing: it makes it it means the city has places of interest in it, a history, and even parts of it that have special meaning to the hero.

Batman is the most grounded of the major superheroes, normally. He has no powers. He had gadgets that, in the best stories, have a plausible basis in reality. He still fights his fair share of thugs and crooks. His best villains are also human beings, who make up for their lesser training and motivation by their lack of behavioral restraint.

The result is, Batman is the only (again, major) superhero who still deserves to be featured in a book called Detective Comics. Unless Ra's Al Ghul is in it, and the story turns into some daffy save-the-world storyline like what all the other superheroes involve themselves with with frequency so great that it makes one wonder how the world got to this point, being so damn fragile.
posted by JHarris at 2:24 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Comics are good because they are use what is real as archetypes for the presentation of the absurd

Please don't force comics to reside in the superhero ghetto.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Never really read any DC Comics, Marvel seemed so much more interesting to me, so I can't comment on Batman directly.

The thing about an arch-nemesis, though... it's not about who is the bigger threat to the world or to the hero, but to what the hero holds dear. Green Goblin does it for Spider-Man, literally killing his girlfriend (and with her, his acceptance into a "normal" life and the in-crowd). Red Skull does it for Captain America (the 1940s ideals of tyranny vs. freedom). Doctor Doom does it for Mr. Fantastic (the triumph of reason and science).

What does Batman hold dear? (and remember, I don't actually have a clue). Justice? Order? Gotham itself? What can you take away from Batman, that would diminish him? What would he sacrifice himself to save? What does he have worth losing?

Whoever most directly threatens that, is his arch-enemy.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:54 AM on August 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


What can you take away from Batman, that would diminish him?

That IS the question, I agree GhostintheMachine.

I almost wished you hadn't asked it so succinctly. Because it makes me frantically wave my hand like a nerd at the back of the class, and blather on about Iago as Othello's archenemy!

What Iago/Joker have in their wicked sights - is the acceptance of a troublesome hero by those who matter. Othello is viewed uneasily as a hero. And he knows it. Batman is similar. Both heroes define themselves by the perceptions of others. Major flaw. And this is the critical weapon for those cunning enough to figure it out.

Like all reductionist theories, this soon starts breaking down...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:35 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


All I know is that if the WATCHMEN movie is bad, I'm going to kill myself.
posted by Justinian at 7:44 AM on August 15, 2008


What tripe! What fierce untelling of stories!

Yes, we'll get those bat-kids off your bat-lawn straightabatway.
posted by sixswitch at 8:08 AM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


All I know is that if the WATCHMEN movie is bad, I'm going to kill myself.

Oh dear.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on August 15, 2008


metaphorically speaking.
posted by Justinian at 9:12 AM on August 15, 2008


If it doesn’t have a half-hour documentary about owls in the middle I’M LEAVING THE THEATRE.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on August 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


All this is moot however, because after being tipped off by Artw, i have decided that the Punisher is a better Batman archetype than Batman.

I’m not sure I can ever live down inspiring such wrongness – Batman might be a psychopath, but Frank Castles mind is an utter lunatic, and a serial killer to boot (albeit a highly methodical and specialized one). The Punisher is no Batman, and the Batman is no Punisher.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on August 15, 2008


The Joker is the only villain that consistently unnerves and unsettles Batman, who prides himself on being able to see clearly into the criminal mind. The Joker's capricious, yet meticulous irrationality is maddeningly unpredictable -mocking Batman's vaunted powers of logic and sense of control. More than anything else, Batman holds his sense of discipline, order, and control dear.
posted by vurnt22 at 10:37 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I’m not sure I can ever live down inspiring such wrongness – Batman might be a psychopath, but Frank Castles mind is an utter lunatic, and a serial killer to boot (albeit a highly methodical and specialized one). The Punisher is no Batman, and the Batman is no Punisher.

Short summary of this overly long post:
I think the Punisher is batmanier than the Batman. He's a purer example of what I like about the no power vigilante comic book archetype.

Long version:

I guess I should emphasize that I only enjoy a few very specific interpretations of Batman. I think that Batman is really only interesting when he is written as borderline psychotic. In order for the character to be "believable" he has to be so driven and so obsessive that he ignores most other aspects of his life. Maintaining that kind of commitment, physically and mentally would take serious tolls on anyone's well being. There are more than a few story lines that point out how little there is separating Batman from the people he puts into Arkham.

Batman is known for not having any superpowers, and maybe that's not entirely true. He has a superhuman drive that allows him to do things that other people can't do. Frank Miller may be a one trick pony, but he usually writes Batman well. If Batman had become a police officer, he'd be Hartigan from Miller's Sin City series. The dude gets hurt all the time, broken ribs, gunshot wounds, etc. He has to shrug that off through will alone. This is a huge contrast with Superman who seems to freak out whenever he sees himself bleed.

So like it or not, Batman sets the precedent for non-superhuman angry vigilantes who get by because of their rigid belief systems. Many people have posited that Nite Owl and Rosharch represent the split sides of Batman. Rodgerd and Zachsmind have both suggested this previously.

I found this Alan Moore quote through FearfulSymmetry's interesting Watchmen essay:

...And I thought ah, they really really like the totally psychopathic vigilante character. You know, those driven revenge obsessed Batman figures -- these creatures of the night. And I thought it would be kind of interesting to show what it would be like psychopathically to be that sort of person. You would be the next best thing to a serial killer. Nothing would interest you apart from your mission. You would be living in complete squalor. You would not have any friends. You would probably have a personal hygiene problem. You would have a horrible personality that would alienate everybody. You would just be obsessed with revenge and violence and punishing criminals.

I think Moore hit the nail on the head. The problem with Batman is that he has these other superfluous variables. He's rich, he has gadgets, he doesn't use guns etc. Batman set the stage for the Batman archetype, but I think other characters are purer realizations of the character.

In many ways, making Bruce Wayne rich creates a much less interesting chraracter. It give him access to all these deus ex machina devices that dilute his appeal. If Nite Owl does represent the gadgeteer side of Batman, it's pretty obvious that everyone thinks that side is a bit of a tool. I think Iron man is a more interesting take on the whole rich playboy with gadgets side.

Batman isn't about being a rich playboy who uses his money to fight crime. Batman is about a kid who experienced something so horrible that it thoroughly warped his view of the world. Batman harnesses this experience, one that might cause other people to give up or commit suicide, and focuses his rage into a tool that allows him to pull off incredible feats. Moral ambiguity is part of the character.

When it comes down to it, I don't think any one character pulls this off better than Ennis' interpretation of the Punisher. Frank Castle doesn't have the benefit of cool gadgets or jets or billions of dollars. He has to get by solely on being a bad mofo.
posted by Telf at 10:51 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's crap in a punch-up, an he hasn't got a cool car.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2008


Oh, and right now Batmans running around in a purple suit calling himself "Batman of Zur-en-arrh" and hitting things with a big stick, this following a crack binge. It's a highpoint in what's been an uncharacteristically shitty run from Grant Morrison.
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2008


Joker is scary because he wears no masks.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Many very good points in this thread supporting the Joker. I acknowledge that Joker's been around since the 40s, and Ra's al Ghul first appeared in the 70s. Joker allows Batman to stay in his native element which is more appealing to a wider audience, while oftentimes Batman has to leave Gotham in order to engage Ra's al Ghul (who's smart enough usually not to commit crimes on Batmans' home turf). Joker is more flamboyant and animated, whereas Ra's al Ghul does not telegraph his moves and doesn't use the same kind of pinnache and flair.

Joker is more appealing to Batman's mainstream appeal. Ra's al Ghul is more appealing to the Batman mythology itself.

Ra's al Ghul challenges Batman in ways that The Joker never could or would ever want. The Joker wants to humiliate and torture Batman with evil. Ra's al Ghul want to convert Batman to evil.

The few rare times when Joker has Batman where he wants him? He doesn't know what to do with him, and he's even let Batman off in the past because where's the fun in killing him? He can never win against Batman cuz at best it would be a hollow victory, and Joker really isn't much of anything without a Batman to wrestle.

Ra's al Ghul is practically an immortal. He respects Batman and wants to fight on the same side with him, so long as Ra's al Ghul is the one calling the shots. He does always have a plan when it comes to Batman and has repeatedly proven he's willing to follow through. What stops him is Batman's saying no. That's what makes their conflict so much more interesting.

Joker's more visually appealing though. The conflict between Ra's al Ghul and Batman is more cerebral. Joker sets a few city blocks on fire or puts smiley poison in the water supply. It's more physical. Joker's antics are more visually stunning, gut-wrenching and ...dare I say crowd pleasing?

I pride myself in not always going with the crowd.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:22 PM on August 15, 2008


I pride myself in not always going with the crowd.

Well, sure, that's part of your character. Like the Joker.
posted by homunculus at 7:42 PM on August 15, 2008


I've changed my mind. I'm going with Clayface as the ultimate Batman villain.

But - which one?!?!?!
posted by yhbc at 7:50 PM on August 15, 2008


In many ways, making Bruce Wayne rich creates a much less interesting chraracter. It give him access to all these deus ex machina devices that dilute his appeal.

Except that even the most well-trained, foresighted, intelligent person in the world is still vulnerable to bad luck some times. The reason there are no real-world Batmen is because all it takes is one thug with a gun to end his career. Bruce Wayne is rich to make it plausible that he would have ways to nullify the effect of guns on his crime-fighting when he even refuses to carry one himself.
posted by JHarris at 7:53 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that the reason there are no real life Batmen is pretty much lack of good transportation. No kidding. One person couldn't possibly stumble upon that much crime or get to it in time if they knew it was going on.
posted by Telf at 8:47 AM on August 16, 2008


If Nite Owl does represent the gadgeteer side of Batman, it's pretty obvious that everyone thinks that side is a bit of a tool.

I believe Nite Owl was supposed to be the blue beetle (the non-magical version).

Interestingly enough, the original BB was a cop. What I really dont like about many superhero comies is how they can have all the inside information, find crime, etc while being complete outsiders. As telf mentions, this is silly. I guess there's a kind of appeal of being this lone figure in your own little castle who fights by choice, without any of the baggage of being an insider figure.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2008


Teens dealt charges over Joker cards
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on August 16, 2008


I pride myself in not always going with the crowd.

Your whole argument seems to come down to "I guess you could find the Joker interesting...if you're a plebe."
posted by cortex at 7:10 AM on August 18, 2008


Lightwieght new team-up orientated animated Batman
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2008


I'm not exactly the world's greatest Batman fan but I'd hardly even heard of Ra's Al Ghul before the last film...

Oh and Joker doesn't have a mask, he is a mask
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:12 AM on August 18, 2008


Oh yeah, and Ra's Al Ghul Don't Surf!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:15 AM on August 18, 2008


Holy fluorescent bat-pants!
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2008


Oh, and right now Batmans running around in a purple suit calling himself "Batman of Zur-en-arrh" and hitting things with a big stick, this following a crack binge. It's a highpoint in what's been an uncharacteristically shitty run from Grant Morrison.

Looks like Morrison's fooling around with alternate worlds again. This sounds hilariously lame and is definitely something I'm going to read RIGHT NOW.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:29 AM on August 18, 2008


My original argument Cortex is that Joker is A villain. He is not THE arch-nemesis. He is not the best villain in Batman's rogues gallery. At best he might be the most commercially successful, but even that would be a stretch of the imagination.

My original argument still holds.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:49 PM on August 18, 2008


So is no-one arching Bats? Are you going to argue that Ra's Al bloody Ghul is his arch?
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on August 18, 2008


But you're saying that in the face of his Joker's bona fide status as the Batman nemesis according to, approximately, everybody else on the planet. If you can present something other than personal conviction that makes a compelling case for that not being so, I'm genuinely interested, but I haven't seen it, and in the mean time you've been kind of crapping on the essay and anyone who doesn't agree with you in dismissing it outright, which is annoying.

And, again, with the "most commecially successful" framing: comics are a commercial medium. If the Joker/Batman dynamic is wildly commercially successful, to the point where the two names are really strongly associated as a matched pair in the pop culture zeitgeist, that's a fairly meaningful statement.

You're welcome to make the argument that Ra's should be the iconic Batman nemesis, and I find the arguments back and forth on that pretty interesting, but to declare that he is or that, worse, arguments that don't unquestionably privilege him as such are worthless is just off the wall. And blaming any opposition on the subject on the menace of populist foolishness or whatever the hell doesn't help.
posted by cortex at 5:04 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is hRa's even alive right now? His last apperance was some incomprehensible gibberish about him being a radioactive zombie or something.
posted by Artw at 5:12 PM on August 18, 2008


Oh God, it's worse than I remembered
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on August 18, 2008


"You're welcome to make the argument that Ra's should be the iconic Batman nemesis"

I already did, upthread. Others have rebutted my statements, and I've rebutted their rebuttals. I see no need to repeat myself yet again.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:26 PM on August 18, 2008


I wasn't actually trying to give you permission, or demand that you do so. I was saying that I have no beef with and actually take an interest in that aspect of the argument, but that that's completely aside from the fairly objectionable "Joker as iconic nemesis = ur stupid" payload you've wrapped your otherwise worthy argument in.
posted by cortex at 6:33 PM on August 18, 2008


I just scanned this entire thread, and show no record I ever called anyone "stupid."

I would appreciate your not putting words in my mouth Cortex, and I shall offer you the same courtesy.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:35 PM on August 18, 2008


Paraphrase. I apologize if you read that as an attempted quote; it wasn't my intent. Now, what you have said in this thread includes:

This "Chris" guy doesn't even mention Ra's Al Ghul, so I can't take the FPP link remotely seriously.

Instantly outright dismissive.

So okay. Chris mentioned Ra's al Ghul but then in the next breath dismisses him as an excuse to get Batman out of Gotham and on a road trip. For a guy who claims to spend a lot of time thinking about Batman, he doesn't seem to grok the guy at all.

This guy disagrees with you, therefore he is wrong and doesn't understand Batman at all.

Chris also spends too much time talking about Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin. Please. The 60s tv series isn't remotely relevant. At least the more recent movies have been trying to keep the 'goth' in Gotham City.

The only real way to appreciate Joker is through the source material.. and no, the animated series doesn't count either.


Source material you don't approve of doesn't count.

The premise is faulty and so I can't get past it to see if the guy actually gets around to saying anything meaningful.

You disagree with the possibility of a valid differing opinion on the subject, and therefore the essay is meaningless.

Chris obviously thinks his audience consists only of people who agree with him, and that's okay. I'm guilty of doing that a lot myself. Anyone who doesn't see Joker as the end all be all of Batman's existence need not apply.

I have just been killed by a large truck that reads ACME IRONY DELIVERY on the side.

But his premise is faulty. The 'theme sentence' to his little essay rings false.

He's wrong, and why not throw in a diminutive while you're at it to really drive that point home.

Now you know how I felt when I read Chris' absurd essay.

Again, not disagreement but outright belittlement.

Joker's more visually appealing though. The conflict between Ra's al Ghul and Batman is more cerebral. Joker sets a few city blocks on fire or puts smiley poison in the water supply. It's more physical. Joker's antics are more visually stunning, gut-wrenching and ...dare I say crowd pleasing?

If this is intended to read as anything other than a suggestion that people in general who see Joker as the more iconic archnemesis do so because they're dimmer than you, you have failed to convey your meaning well.

So no. You did not use the word "stupid". You called things not meaningful, absurd, "little"; you asserted that the author didn't grok and that Joker fans are sheep. You were outright dismissive of the essay and with people who were willing to entertain it, while allegedly motivated by a concern that the essay itself was too dismissive of things you felt were worthy.

Now, this comment by you, cited annoying crap above aside, is good and I like it and I kind of wish you'd just started and finished with that instead of taking a totally unnecessarily dismissive crap three or four times before hand. This one, ditto.

You're capable of presenting interesting, insightful arguments for why you think this or that about comics—you've done it before, and I enjoy it—but it's damned frustrating to have to try to filter the stuff through one's teeth to get only the good argumentation and leave the handwaving dismissals aside.
posted by cortex at 7:27 PM on August 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


There's definitely an episode of The Venture Brothers somewhere in these comments.
posted by tehloki at 12:54 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ra's Al Ghul would probably fit in quite well in Venture-world.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on August 20, 2008


If it doesn’t have a half-hour documentary about owls in the middle I’M LEAVING THE THEATRE.

No Black Freighter in the cinema release version of Watchmen.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on August 20, 2008


On Luthor.
posted by homunculus at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2008


« Older White Americans No Longer A Majority By 2042....  |  "In Wells, God writes the huma... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments