One of our favorite local heroes, Baltimore Batman, was killed in a car accident earlier this month–but his good deeds live on, thanks to copycat heroes who plan on continuing his work with kids in need.
The only problem I ever had with Baltimore’s own hospital-visiting Batman, Lenny B. Robinson, was that he drove a fairly stock Lamborghini. That problem has been remedied with a vengeance, as Robinson just received the custom-made 1966-inspired Batmobile he ordered three years ago.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a new exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland? Indeed. Now, you may be wondering (we certainly were) how Batman and Superman managed to land an exhibit at a museum whose mission is largely focused on Jewish culture and history. To hear the folks at the museum tell it: “With the American economy in deep Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe, a group of young, largely Jewish, artists began to create illustrated stories of superheroes and provided the nation with an optimistic antidote to a growing sense of despair and helplessness.” (Note to kids: use this against your parents next time they get on your case about reading comics books instead of literature!)
If you know any comic nerds, fourteen year old boys, or twenty-seven year old boys — sorry, I mean men! — you probably know someone who is eagerly anticipating The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman movie that opens tomorrow. When you go see it, keep an eye out for the Gotham Rogues, the fictional football team that features prominently in the film. They look pretty good, right?
Historically, I’ve always preferred X-Men comic books, in which each character has his own fantastic, innate ability: telepathy, indestructibility, heightened senses, and so on — one guy even has a star for a brain! But over the years I’ve acquired a taste for Batman villains, many of whom have no special powers per se. Instead they’re all style, all pathological obsessions — a former district attorney who commits crimes on the theme of duality and who makes major decisions with a coin toss, a ventriloquist with multiple personality disorder who takes orders from his dummy, a pyromaniac with a flame-thrower — the list goes on.
Which is why I have a special appreciation for a recent story in The Baltimore Sun that begins, “A man brandishing a syringe robbed an Ellicott City pharmacy of prescription medication…” So peculiar — and yet so thematically cohesive! Since we don’t know his identity, we’ll call him Hypo, or the Needler, or Side Effect.
Now Ellicott City just needs a stylish, psychologically-tortured vigilante, someone who can end the reign of crime that has terrorized the populace and driven tourists away from the antique stores and boutiques downtown — someone who will apprehend Hypo and throw him into an institution for the criminally insane.
Or maybe the cops should just look into it, or whatever.