From a reader:

Cheers to Batman #44

September 21, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Batman cover #44

The cover of Batman #44. Photograph: DC Comics.

I was struck by this headline in the Guardian newspaper about Batman #44, the latest in the DC Comics series: “Batman confronts police racism in latest comic book.”

As the Guardian points out, comic books, and superhero stories in general, usually confront social contradictions in metaphorical terms (if they do it at all). But Batman #44 centers around a young Black man, unarmed, wearing a hoodie, shot by a cop. The cop, a 10-year veteran, has a history that Batman knows has probably been “papered over” to hide other events like this. When the cop tries to justify what he did, Batman doesn’t even listen to the excuses—he’s thinking about all the newspaper reports he’s read, about how many cops shoot Black people, how many of those victims are not armed, and how seldom the cops are even charged.

He can’t treat this as he treats so many things, as a story with a “bad guy” who he can then go beat up. The present-day scenes, as Batman investigates the crime, are mostly drawn in black and white, but the flashbacks to the story of the young man, Peter Duggio, as Batman learns what happened to him, are in vibrant color. Batman is trying to fit a very complex story into a very simple good-versus-evil worldview, and it’s not working. Beating up the cop, giving vent to what the Guardian refers to as his “famous rage,” would be to pretend that everything Batman knows, which he sees in all the newspaper clippings that float in and out of the comic book panels, doesn’t exist. (So the title of this story, “A Simple Case,” is sharply ironic.)

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

by Bob Avakian


Order from Insight Press


This provocative collection of reflections and observations by Bob Avakian on art, culture, science and philosophy offers a rare treat. Excerpted from formal talks as well as more informal discussions and conversations, many of the texts in this collection allow the reader to experience firsthand the freewheeling Bob Avakian—in the process of developing his thinking and reenvisioning the communist project on a wide range of controversies, from the dictatorship of the proletariat to discussions of truth, beauty, science and imagination. This collection will provide the reader with important, fresh, and provocative insights and provoke further creative and critical thinking on art, culture, science, philosophy... and revolution.

The two-page spread in #44 that the Guardian talks about, where Batman stands on a rooftop and looks out over the city, has quite a few fragments of newspaper stories arranged around him in the panel. All the stories begin and end in the middle of sentences, and some are upside down, but we don’t need to see the whole story, because we see it every day in the newspapers of our real world. Cops, unarmed Black people, death, no consequences for the killer cops, another tragedy for the families and the community.

The final page is powerful, too. Batman jumps down from his rooftop, landing near some neighborhood kids. They immediately start running, of course, but he calls them back and says, “Wait. Talk to me.” The kids are understandably surprised (“You serious?” “Really?”), but they do stop, and you know that Batman, the billionaire who spends his nights finding criminals to beat up, eternally trying to avenge his parents who were killed for no reason, is about to learn some things that even the newspaper articles aren’t telling him.

So, cheers to writers Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello, artist Jock, colorist Lee Loughridge, and the rest who produced this very powerful book.

If you want to check it out, it’s availably digitally from Amazon and Comixology.


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