There's no comic reviews today because there were no comics waiting for me at the shop. It was a pretty light week all the way around, but nothing I follow came out, so my pull bag was empty. This of course left me with the option of reading something new, but instead I opted to save my money for other things.
I did visit a different comic shop besides Comic Kings because I found myself in the area. I had missed last month's issue of TEEN TITANS and was hoping to find a copy. I did indeed find it, in a bag with a sticker pricing it $9.95. I asked the guy working there what was up with that.
"Well, those are my last few copies."
"Yeah, but this comic came out last month."
"But, that's the alternate cover."
"This isn't 1991. Anyone paying that for a single issue that's a month old is a moron." And then I left remembering why I don't shop there. So, no comics for me this week.
Also, Batman Incorporated has announced its new Employee of the Month. I didn't make the cut this time around, but was pleased to see that the title went to Richard this time around for his stellar work here.
Its no secret that I love the direction Grant Morrison has taken Batman and the new title BATMAN INCORPORATED. I do think its awesome that he comes off of a story that deals with really well done character exploration and development that generated an amazing amount of discussion among fans, and is following it up with another story that is generating buzz and fan response. The response this time is interesting in that there has been a bit of debate as to what is Bruce Wayne mirroring with his new initiative: big government or big corporate. So let's look at the thoughts of how Batman Incorporated works.
This is not Bruce Wayne governing anything. This is all business. In this case, it is the business of fighting crime. Businesses offer services to consumers, and that is their service, crime fighting. Consumers don't pay with money, instead their show of support is enough. Bruce is using the tools of business to further this project.
Branding is chief among these. He is putting forth the idea of Batman as an intellectual property. He doesn't have billboards. Instead he has Bat-signals shining in the clouds. This puts the thought of Batman into the minds of the people. It works in growing support from people and hopefully making them feel safer. It also functions to put criminals on notice. Batman may not always being doing business, but he's always open.
He is also using franchising. Bruce is personally headhunting talented assets who already have a firm foothold in their local markets and offering them a satellite franchise of the larger Batman Inc. The local assets of course have the right to refuse, but Wayne is offering them funding, training, and equipment that can improve the business of crime fighting. You can't buy or bully your way into Batman Inc. You have to be selected. You have to follow the company's specific rules.
This brings us to the current controversy concerning the French asset for Batman Inc.: Nightrunner. I completely skipped the issues in which the character was introduced because they were written by David Hine, and the last thing by Hine that I read was that awful story with the impostor Jokers and Batmen. He's not a very bad writer, but given the choice between reading something of his or something else, I'll likely go elsewhere. Now with the controversy I'm looking to grab those issues.
The controversy in question stems from the character of Nightrunner being a French-Algerian Muslim. This is a minority in France that is responsible for a lot of the crime going on there now. I'm not saying all the French-Algerian Muslims are criminals, but there's some nasty shit going on over there now. The protests have been dismissed as conservative hate speech, which is stupid, because all conservative don't believe what the protesters believe. Having a character from this background being chosen to be the local representative of Batman Inc. is important. One of the criticisms Muslims face is they're reluctance to denounce the deplorable actions of other Muslims. The Muslims who aren't completely nuts do in fact denounce the crazy ones, but you never see this covered in the mainstream media. There's often cases of intimidation involved. If you're part of a community and members of that community are doing something that is wrong its hard to be that voice saying "Hey, I know these people are our family and friends, but they shouldn't be doing what they're doing". So here we have a character that is from this community and is standing up against what is going on. If done properly this character could be the source of inspiration to draw that line in the sand. I don't defend assholes like Fred Phelps just because I'm a Christian and he claims to be one. Decent Muslim folk do need to all denounce those who are doing horrible things in the name of their religion. Will this character inspire such a thing? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
Tactically speaking, its a good idea to have someone from that community who has been properly vetted working for Batman Inc. He'll know the people, the lay of the land, and have an idea as to how things tend to operate when stuff goes nasty. Protesters claim that Nightrunner is an "outsider", but really he's an insider working to stop the violence.
Bringing Nightrunner under the Batman brand is a definite risk. However, risks can bring rewards. So we will have to wait and see if this is good business.
Morrison is taking time off from writing comics to kill bands. Paramour is next.
That's the ball game for today. See y'all Sunday.