Saturday, July 21, 2012

Batman in the wake of tragedy

Though the movie the Aurora, Colorado, shooter chose for his rampage was clearly deliberate, this unthinkable incident is not about Batman, or even movies in general.

The priorities are honoring the dead and figuring out what we can do to better protect the living. Like the rest of the conscious world, I express the deepest of sympathy to those suffering.

Still, as the author of a new book about Batman, I can’t begin to post in the wake of Aurora without acknowledging the tragedy. I don’t claim to have anything profound to add to the chorus of eloquently worded offers of condolences, shoulders, blood, and other forms of support. I simply want to say I am so, so, so sorry for your loss.

The day we woke up to the heartbreaking (and enraging) news, I had three items on my agenda, and all were Batman-related: morning phone interview about Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman with the New Haven Register, the newspaper of my hometown metropolitan area; afternoon book signing/meet and greet at a Virginia Barnes & Noble; evening screening of The Dark Knight Rises. (I didn’t have advanced tickets; arriving only 30 minutes before start time, I suspected it would be sold out. It was not.)

At first I wondered if I should go through with any of my 7/20/12 agenda, especially the second two items; if my book was not about Batman, I don’t think this would have been as strong an internal debate.

But I am not the type for symbolic grandstanding. If you are not directly affected by such an incident, I do not feel going on with life is disrespectful, nor do I feel a one- or two-day moratorium on Batman “work” will send a message of consequence to anyone, including myself. I believe in doing what I can, privately, to help the victims and meanwhile, carrying on.

To be clear, I am also not one who says “I will go ahead with my Batman commitments because if I don’t, the terrorists win.” That brand of statement is too glib, too self-important, for me. I believe in going ahead with my commitments because they are just that, commitments. I can take other specific action to do my small part to try to prevent terrorism.

Here are glimpses of my low-key afternoon:

The table as it was set up.

The table as I rearranged it. I don’t like giving out candy and I don’t like Butterfingers
in particular, but I’m sure you get why I made exceptions. Oddly, one man took a candy bar
(but not a book) and dropped some coins into the candy fishbowl as a (his word) “donation.”

Thank you to Scott Grove, Jill Etesse, Andrea Kramer, Steven Solomon, and Matt Blum—and, of course, all those I didn’t already know—for stopping by.

Just as Batman rises in the film, so shall the people senselessly scarred in the Aurora tragedy. Like Batman, their struggle will not be easy, and certainly not quick, but I am confident they have the strength. For what it is worth, a nation of Batmanians are behind them.

I have to wrap up. I have a Batman book signing at Hooray for Books in a little bit.

1 comment:

SmartyShortz said...

Thanks Marc
The 2- 10 year olds loved the book! The 5 year old wants me to read it to her now-