Bat-Manga:Men who don’t Age and Men who don’t Grow

This was a surprise find at the Chennai BookFair 2015. As a huge fan of Batman and Manga, I was thrilled at this find. In fact, by sheer coincidence, I was thinking of buying this very same book online.

The book does not disappoint. Batman was a very popular superhero in the 60’s in America. And Japan followed suit in its craze. The only problem being Japanese manga format was so well established that they decided to remake the series in the native style. And thus was born Bat Manga. Jiro Kuwata, the author, approaches Batman and Robin cleanly, with scientific villains. In an interview he says the American version is too dramatic.

The art panels retain the wear and tear and color bleach of faded Kodak and Fuji tones.

Men Who Don’t Age

Super heroes never age. At-least most of them. He-man still flexes his muscles after decades of fighting Skeletor, Peter Pan is still an adolescent looking character and Superman seems to be getting younger with every reboot of his franchise. True to this maxim, Batman has also not aged though he is no “super” hero. Isn’t he supposed to be a normal bloke? From the 60’s to the 2000’s he still is kicking butt and jumping off Gotham roofs like its nobody’s business. They seem stuck in a time freeze perpetually fighting crime that one cannot but feel sorry sometimes. Especially for the gritty ones like Batman. Almost like Camus’ take on Sisyphus. Wake up-fight crime- heal wounds – repeat.

Men who Don’t Grow

Then there are the comic book and fantasy readers and fanboys. There is this perception that they are ever stuck in fantasy land, dreaming of improbable muscular definition and scantily clad princesses in dreamland. Otaku and fanboy nerds. It is actually true that one can live a completely intricate life, role playing their fantasies, donning identities, saving the world, flirting with sexualized bots and measuring physical attacks in units that can then be regained. They never grow up in a sense. Their compartmentalized need for this sating of their adolescent fancies gives them a release from everyday reality. An existential catharsis from which they escape into fiction, just like how books take the average reader away from reality. As more and more sensors are added to enhance user experiences, visual, tactile, motor and sound cues mix and provide a heady wonderland for those who wish to dive in to these techno dreams. Forever and ever and ever.

Willful Alices in technical Wonderland.

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