The Alcott Analysis: Batman Returns

Like Batman, Batman Returns presents three protagonists, almost the same protagonists as 1989‘s Batman — a deformed freak of a gangster (this time the Penguin instead of The Joker), a blonde who’s crazy about bats (Catwoman subbing for Vicki Vale), and Batman himself. In addition to its three protagonists, it offers an antagonist from outside the traditional Batman world — a ringer, if you will, in the form of businessman Max Shreck.

It would be great to report that Batman Returns takes all of these worthwhile, interesting characters and weaves them into a single, unified story, but it does not. Instead, it presents two separate stories, each compelling in its own right, and kind of sutures them together like the irregular chunks of vinyl of Catwoman’s bodysuit. As this is an unusually complicated narrative with three separate, competing plot strands which actually take place in utterly different genres, let’s separate out each character’s storyline and examine them one at a time.

Dan Piraro wins the Reuben

Via email from Hogan’s Alley, the winners of the Reuben Awards from the National Cartoonists Society: Seth MacFarlane won the Television Animation division award. Ronnie del Carmen won the Feature Animation division award. Tom Richmond was the Newspaper Illustration division award. Glenn McCoy won the Gag Cartoon division award. Debbie Tommasi won the Greeting Card […]

RIP Gary Coleman

The Different Strokes star has died from head injuries sustained in a fall. And then there was Todd. [Helper Monkey edit: Conrad Bain, also still around, at age 87.]

Clowes in and over the news

Cartoonist Daniel Clowes continues his media rounds in his local paper:

Clowes, an illustrator for the “New Yorker,” is traditional in other ways, too. At a time when print is down and young cartoonists are turning to the Web, Clowes still draws everything by hand — “I’ll never type in a url to look at comics,” he says — and he was so shaken when Cody’s Books closed in Berkeley that he relates it to how a Catholic would feel if the only church in town shut its doors.

The summer’s fogotten comics movie…MARMADUKE

And on a somewhat lighter note…Fox has released stills from this summer’s doggie comics movie, which stars Owen WIlson as the voice of Marmaduke, along with Lee Pace, Fergie, Goegre Lopez and William H. Macy, among others. The film is based on the comic strip featuring the large Great Dane by Brad Anderson, which began in…1954. The film is a combination of live action and CGI. Can Fred Bassett be far behind?

Thought for the day

A little perspective via Writer’s Digest publisher Jane Friedman: Stat from BEA: 7% of books published generate 87% of book sales. And 93% of all published books sell less than 1,000 copies each.