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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Vacation, Oklahoma Cartoonists, Terrorism, and All-Star Batman

Just got back from vacation, yesterday, which was the reason for the sparse posts last week. My family and I went back "home" for a week, to the Tulsa and Bartlesville areas. I tell ya, you can brag about your favorite hotels, but there's no place like "The In-Laws Inn," or "The Parents' Hilton." Great accomodations, fantastic food, and unlimited child-care. Actually, that last item is also the fee. Something amazing happens when you have kids; upon arrival at Grandma and Grandpa's house, the grandparents take the kids and show you their backs, while you are left to bring in the luggage! The kiddies are the only thing they're interested in carrying. Ah, well. You STILL can't beat the rates!

While gone, I got a few tips from a relative on blogging, and discovered other family members' blogs. I'm reminded of my very first entry, in which I commented about how I used to wonder why anyone would blog, and why others would read it. All I can say now, is that I'm glad people DO read them, as I notice the readership on my own blog steadily increasing, and that I enjoy reading my relatives' blogs. What a difference a few months can make, huh?

Interesting tidbit, this. I just found out from Michael Vance that Pocho Morrow, the widow of comics giant Gray Morrow, is enthusiastic about the Oklahoma Cartoonists Museum and will donate six of Gray's Tarzan Sunday pages to the collection. As Gray did some work with Archie Goodwin, a native Oklahoman, he is automatically an associate. As Michael said, "Wow. Just wow."

What happened to the young Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, who was killed by police this past week was tragic and heartbreaking. His family is left to ask "Why?" for years to come. However, the question should not be in the vein of "Why did the police officers shoot him?" Instead, the question should be "Why didn't he simply comply with officers?" I understand his visa was expired, and that's why he ran. Whatever the case, fleeing was the wrong decision. Their country having been hit twice by terrorists in the preceding 10 days, police officers reacted in an understandable way to a man who looked and acted like a terrorist.

Let's add everything up: A heavy coat worn in the summer, by a man who looks Middle-Eastern, by virtue of darker complexion and hair, who is exiting from a building being watched by police, due to use by terrorist suspects, and heading into the subway. All the cops needed to complete their suspicion was for him to run when ordered to stop, which he did. The police followed their anti-terrorist training by shooting him, so that he could not detonate a bomb that they had more reason than not to believe he possessed. The head-shot was also so that the bomb would not be detonated by a bullet. As I said before, tragic. But, also, seemingly impossible to avoid, considering Menezes' behavior.

Then, there's the whole "racial profiling" charge being thrown around. It makes me think back to when I was living in Honolulu, Hawaii, better than ten years ago. The local police requested that I and all other "haole boys" (a Hawaiian term for caucasian males) living in my complex, stand in a lineup for an elderly Japanese man whose home had been burglarized by a caucasian male. Get it? I was being racially profiled. Guess what? I got over it. In about thirty seconds.

When a burglary, bombing, shooting or what have you, is committed by caucasian men, the police look for caucasian men. If by black men, they look for black men. And, if by Middle-Eastern men, they look for Middle-Eastern men. Look at me; I'm a rocket scientist!

No, I'm not trying to offend anyone. I just find it ridiculous that some would try to limit police with such silly, politically-correct notions as "thou shalt not racially profile."

But, hey, that's just me.

Read it last week. Except for the very last page, with the big splash illustration of a Jim Lee Batman, heavily influenced by Frank Miller's Dark Knight, I was largely unimpressed. I guess I was mostly turned off by the Vicky Vale cheesecake scenes, and the sexual innuendo as she mused over Metropolis' "Man of Steel." As I understand it, this is supposed to be a "reboot" of Batman and Robin, ala Marvel's "Ultimate" titles. So, is D.C. aiming this at potential new readers, i.e. kids/younger readers? If so, that material seems self-defeating.

I have to say, though, it IS Frank Miller's Batman. Hard, seemingly without pity, even where Dick Grayson/Robin is concerned. Having witnessed the murder of his parents, and narrowly escaping his own demise at the hands of crooked cops, the only words the traumatized boy hears from the Caped Crusader are, "On your feet, soldier. You've just been drafted. Into a war." Brrrr.

Anyway, I'll probably stay on board through issue three. If it's good, I'll know by then, and wait for the trade paperback.

Whew! Longest post in a while. As always, thanks for readin'. 'Til next time.