Man of Steel screenwriter Davis S. Goyer took advantage of the lull before a new Bat-trilogy Blu-ray (new packaging or something) to remind us all that Superman kills now. The notion that he wouldn’t is “a rule that exists outside of the narrative.”
Let’s cross the street where they’re not quite so confused, shall we? A couple weeks ago, a friend sent me this great trailer for Lego Marvel Superheroes. I’m not a Marvel, I’ve never particularly clicked with their characters, but watching this just makes me feel good:
I think it’s the same reason I enjoy the Marvel movies. It’s so unabashedly enthusiastic about being a superhero vehicle.
Dr. Doom’s Doom-Ray of Doom
This clip is fearless about standing center stage and bellowing out what it is. Superheroes in Legos, the bad guys versus the good guys. Nobody here is running away from it. Nobody is ashamed of it or afraid of being silly. Nobody is pretending this is serious fucking business.
Isn’t that refreshing? I don’t think anything with Batman that I’ve seen in a decade has made me feel as good as this 2:05 of characters I don’t give a crap about.
As I was sitting there, fingers poised over my keyboard trying to find a way to express that succinctly in order to share the video on Facebook, I found myself looking at a Twinkie.
Maybe it was the history of those old time Hostess ads in comic books, when the heroes distracted the villains with delicious cakes and fruit pies. Maybe it’s the fact that Twinkies were out of production for a while there and their return was announced right after Man of Steel, prompting more than a few comments that if they’d only come back sooner, Zod could have been handled the old-fashioned way and all that destruction porn could have been avoided.
Whatever the chain of associations, it led to an analogy that can explain the divide in superhero comics and movies. I find food analogies cut through so much faux intellectual B.S. You can convince otherwise intelligent people of a lot of absolute nonsense using phrases like “a rule that exists outside of the narrative,” until you apply the principles to something they understand on such a basic level as food. Maybe you don’t know why the Miller apologist is wrong, maybe you don’t know how to construct the counterargument, but once you get that applying those principles amounts to serving bleu cheese and chopped liver on a Triscuit for Christmas dinner, you do know that is a really bad idea. Whether you can articulate the reason or not, you’re gagging. You know there has to be something very, very wrong in any chain of the logic that ends in this being a tolerable plan. You know you’re not going to serve it to your kids, no matter what argument it makes or how big its advertising budget. It’s a part of our make-up they haven’t broken: if it makes you wretch, don’t eat it.
So, back to the Twinkie. Is there anybody reading this who doesn’t know what they are? Sweet yellow cake with a white, sweet cream filling that may or may not be vanilla-ish flavored. It’s a kid’s food, most of us ate them and remember them fondly. There were knock-offs and generics. There are also some very prestigious restaurants that have made a gourmet version. (Think champagne cake with a filling of blancmange infused with vanilla and cognac) and less prestigious ones serving up the traditional twink deep-fried, a substance so orgasmically sweet and rich it became an analogy for… well never mind. They’re good.
Now here’s the thing, if none of that sounds good to you, then you don’t like Twinkies. It’s okay, none of us are judging you. For most humans, sweet is the first set of taste buds to develop. We go for it and it’s nature’s way of telling us: eat the berry not the bark. But if for whatever reason you don’t like sweets, then you don’t like Twinkies.
Superheroes, like Twinkies, are certain things. They’re fun. There is humor and color and life in their stories. Even when there’s angst and horror, it gets broken up with a little f-ing fun. Burton knew it. Schumacher absolutely knew it. He made the worst goddamn Twinkie any of us have ever seen, but it WAS a Twinkie.
Print comics have succeeded in convincing what politicians call “the base” that Twinkies don’t have to be sweet, they don’t have to be made of cake or have cream filling, and it is just so silly and childish and stunted to imagine they do. And, as in politics, ideas that go beyond ‘completely wrong’ into the land of 2+2 = cream cheese nonsensical can be accepted inside these little bubbles of true believers, but they run into trouble when they come out here into the real world where reality is in play. That’s why they have those names.
The DC movies have been serving up pickled coffee beans and calling them Twinkies. They’re not, and those of you who cannot let an un-Nolan thought (or an un-Miller thought or an un-gogglewhore thought) pass without comment are not going to argue it into being one. You like the pickled coffee beans, we get that. Some of us do too on occasion. I like bitter and I like sour from time to time. But not in a Twinkie. Those things are not Twinkies, no matter what it says on the box or how big a name the director is, how big the advertising budget is, or how you choose to belittle those who refuse to validate your delusion.
Originally published as Not a Twinkie on Blogger