I knew I was different when I was a child. That sounds narcissistic as fuck, but it’s true.
Some years ago (when me and my mother were on speaking terms) I remember describing to her in perfect detail what my baby room looked like. Lot’s of violet and stuffed animals with gauze-y white curtains and white furniture. I remember my favorite stuffed animal was a white seal that I liked to bite on the nose. (It felt good on my gums. :3)
My mother blinked a few times and then, being the religious/superstitious woman she was, suggested that angels must have guided me out of my tiny human body into the spiritual realm, throwing me into an out-of-body experience.
But, sadly─ my mom was wrong. Because unlike typical accounts of ‘out-of-body’, I didn’t see myself, or outside of my field of vision from the crib. (not to mention, I think it’s all a bunch of horse dung.)
To my mother’s credit, there is something unnerving about a child that not only corrects everything you say, but also tends to be extremely blunt and appears to lack feelings. This was the 90’s folks, and there was nothing more than just talks about ADD. (attention deficit disorder, now more commonly referred to as ADHD) But, alas, her daughter couldn’t have that, because mostly males were diagnosed with it at the time─ let alone any other possible issues.
And so, I was branded─ the Demon Child.
Not because I was the spawn of satan, or some- such nonsense, but because I was that man’s daughter.
As you may have guessed, my parents split. Just after I was born, in fact. My mom’s thoughts?
I was tirelessly and incessantly curious about everything─ especially death. When someone explained something to me, the first phrase that inevitably came out was ‘but why do we do it this way?’
I loved watching scary movies, so much that I would sneak out into the living room like a ninja behind our couch to watch ‘adults only’ films.
Eventually, my mom and step-dad caught on and gave in. And so the three of us (my brother was very young then and slept in a crib) would sit on Friday nights and watch films. I’m sure my parents wanted to watch it in peace─
but I had questions.
For the longest time, I would ask my parents obsessively about god, heaven, and bad guys. I would listen to the stories in church, but watch movies about the most horrible sides of humanity. My mom displayed both sides equally. So I would get a constant flood of conflicting evidence on human behavior.
And inconclusive data made me upset. Really upset. I liked control and understanding everything.
And so, my tiny villainous brain devised a scheme. Remove the control, and we have a predictable outcome where all other outcomes would cease to screw up my tireless conflicting world views.
Do any of you remember these?
They were little 2×3 space heaters. Now hilariously illegal.
What happened to cross my mind at the moment, or what force compelled it, I’ll never know. I simply remember at the time, logic dictated that I do it.
And so, I stared at the wall heater. And it at me.
I wasn’t allowed to touch the heater again.
And my scary movie days? Had to return back to me becoming one with the dark ninja force. At least, until after the coast had cleared.
This is going to be episode 1 of a mini-series I’m wanting to cover. Of course, the main comic creator I had to add first was Frank Miller. Why? I admire the hell out of the man. His style captures both main stream and comic audiences. And he has that sort of, ‘no fuss’ attitude I so love.
In a recent interview Miller says just that. They ask him if Marvel should pay him for creating Elektra, to which he responds:
“I’m not running for president. I don’t want to be one of those cranky old guys grinding an ax, wishing I got paid better. I’ve done my best to pave the way for artists in the future to be treated better than I have. And that’s all I can do. Beyond that, I’d be pissing and moaning about things I have no control over. I’ve signed every contract that I’ve signed and agreed to the working conditions that I’ve worked in. And I’m not going to whine about this. I make a good living.”
Why else? Miller is soft spoken, but extremely intense. Which are two combinations, I can completely relate to. Being a fairly intense person myself, I can understand the need to really work hard on something that you love. My stories are no different. You have to know the balance between your own bias, and what the public will want to read. Sometimes, it gets rough. But Miller has proven that you can walk that balance by putting your own style and touch to something others can relate to.
To date, I’ve yet to find a Batman that really speaks to me like Frank Miller’s version. He’s real, he’s raw and gritty─ and he cares. Though it has it’s interesting moments, the earlier versions of a more jovial Batman from the 1940s-1970’s just never spoke to me. He [Bruce Wayne] had been through a lot, and watched it all. This would profoundly affect a person and how they behave. Having been through many tragedies of my own in life, I can testify that you can go one way or the other with all the bad things that happen that you can’t control.
In the recent interview in March, just before the release of Batman vs. Superman on the 25th, Miller spoke about how he drew from the Dark Knight returns and what inspired him with the original gritty character. He explained that he knew what it was like, losing control and being mugged─ having a gun waved in his face. He had been involved in a few muggings in Manhattan. It made him angry, and that anger transferred to the Dark Knight.
One of my favorite quotes, was one in Holy Terror, Batman! that sounds suspiciously like Miller’s inner monologue:
“All my life there’s been something wrong. Something missing. A sense that everything I’m seeing all around me isn’t entirely true. That this seemingly ordered world of laws and logic and reason is nothing but a shroud, a chimera. A mask. But every once in a long while, the mask falls away. Every once in a long while, the whole world makes perfect sense. The world reveals itself. I am at peace. And at war.”
Like this? Stay tuned for my next show covering Manga creator and horror grand-master, Junji Ito. His haunting imagery and wickedly crafted tales will keep you awake for hours.