Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Schooling My Kid About Batgirl
So we were recently forced to move in a rush after our landlord sold our place from under us. If ever the phrase "the summer of my discontent" was personified, yours truly and his family lived it out in living color this past July and August.
My son is about to turn nine and I couldn't have asked for a better child to have come into my life. Adopting him remains the single greatest thing I've done with my life, no matter my professional accomplishments. He will be always my greatest achievement and he did me so proud during this move, sacrificing much of his summer vacation with the understanding of what all hands on deck means--even if I handled the majority of the physical labor of our transition.
As a reward for his maturity, I passed down two bins of my old toys that I was going to give him at a later point in his life. Seriously, the kid earned it. These included Star Wars, Batman, He-Man, Hot Wheels, my original line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other superhero crapola I'd collected over the years. No matter how wonderful your kids may be, as a parent, any adult hangover romance with toys dissipates after a few kid-based birthdays and holidays, mark my words. Likewise, I have four words of incarnate evil they have yet to come up with a counter curse for: McDonald's Happy Meal Toys.
Being a huge Batgeek on top of Star Wars nut, my son understood the weight of the gesture I'd bestowed upon him. Batman, Batgirl, Nightwing and Catwoman account for an easy thirty percent of my comics collection and well, let's just say parting with my toys was much easier when sparse living space and the necessity of a storage locker prevailed over my decision making process. It's made me smile greatly watching Nolan play with all that stuff, but even he couldn't quite understand why I started chuckling aloud when I fished out the Batgirl action figure as you see above.
This rather kickass figure was designed for the dreaded Batman and Robin flick from 1997. Now, I don't want dump all over Alicia Silverstone, who's long paid the price for her flash-in-the-pan fame. I really do think she was terrific in Clueless and she's enough to unnerve you the right way if you vicariously allow yourself to be seduced as her leading men in The Crush and The Babysitter. Dudes in the office, Gen X and Millennials, still go apeshit over her and Liv Tyler from Aerosmith's "Crazy" video all these years later. Alicia still gets work now and then, but seriously, worst...Batgirl...ever...
Of course, the abysmal script spelled de facto doom for Alicia's Batgirl. As the bloated Bane in that crawling septic death of a film accurately quipped, "Boooooooooomb! Boooooooooooomb!" Bane as a dunderhead peon instead of the tactical genius he was in the "Knightfall" storyline and through Tom Hardy's brainy-savage portrayal...like, gag me with a vial of Venom. But I digress.
Looking at the Batgirl action figure sold in correlation to the film, it's evident the toy manufacturer got a first whiff of Batman and Robin and had the good sense to distance their model light years away from the movie. Since I consider myself a responsible parent, I have not yet shown Nolan Batman and Robin in the interest of good taste. That, and I don't want him to see his old man turn hypocrite by wiping drool away during Uma Thurman's Ivy transformation. Wrong villainess, I know, but purrrrrrr... Again, I digress.
I gave boyo a quick Batgirl history lesson via my comics, running him through the succession of Barbara Gordon to Cassandra Cain to Stephanie Brown and back to Babs again. Being the sharp lad I've raised to this point, he knew to ask me, "Wasn't Barbara also Oracle?" After rumpling his hair like the proud papa I am, I confirmed and congratulated him, cleaning up the events of the un-kid-friendly The Killing Joke which put Batgirl into a wheelchair, since Nolan was likewise astute to ask me about that. I really can't tell him Batgirl doinked Batman in the new animated adaptation. Oops, ummmm....spoiler alert? My bad. Hey, speaking of Spoiler...Stephanie Brown...hmmm, huh, hmmm, huh? What a small world in DC land, yes? Alright, getting on with it.
I then explained to Nolan that poor Alicia Silverstone got the brunt end of us comic nerds' wrath for Batman and Robin. I understood totally when he said "Dad, she's hot," after showing him a picture of Silverstone in her vinyl Bat duds. When I told him the action figure was supposed to be her, but they'd covered up the hair and made her "tougher-looking," then he got it. I took that figure and drop-kicked the Bane figure I'd also given him (The Animated Series Bane, for you uber-curious dweebs) into a plastic tub. "That's who Batgirl is, my man," I said to my son.
"Oh, right," Nolan responded, "Like the t.v. show Batgirl! She's rules, just like you said. Best kicks ever."
I'm so damned proud.
God help me, though, whenever he asks what Batgirl bukkake means.