I’ve written at length about my reasons for producing this book, but I realise there is one more: Batman. A few years ago, I purchased and read the graphic novels Batman: Hush and later Batman: Heart of Hush. I won’t spoil their stories here, but in both books, Batman and Catwoman come as close as they ever will to becoming an official couple in the DC Universe. Oh sure, somewhere out there there is this…
But I don’t know where it comes from, and I just know in my gut by the words in the panel it’s some kind of Scarecrow induced hallucination. This is not how a proper Batman/Catwoman wedding would go down. This is how most people have a wedding and Batman and Catwoman are not, nor will they ever be, most people.
But I digress. What really ticked me off was this page from Batman: Hush.
In the final scene Batman and Catwoman meet. He continues to mistrust her and cannot be sure that she is not more aware of the plot than she admits. While trying to console him, Catwoman inadvertently tells him to “hush” seconds before trying to kiss him, provoking a fierce reaction from Batman that compels her to end the relationship. Before leaving, she says that she does not care if their relationship started out as a “spell”. It works because of who they are, and someday he will learn to trust that. Batman thinks that it may “someday” be possible.
No it’s not, and it never will be.
After I read this final exchange in Batman:Hush, a wave of tiredness washed over me. I looked back on all the Batman books I’ve read over two decades and realised that no matter how much I hoped, Batman and Catwoman would never be together. I wasn’t really able to articulate why until Tony Blackmore wrote:
In all genres of fandom, there is a constant tension between desires of the fans and the interests of the producers. The fans yearn for what they see as the natural ending of the story. The producers, on the other hand, never want it to end as that would kill off the goose that lays the golden egg. The tension must always be maintained—and when you run out of stream, just reboot, but never complete.
And the people at Extra Credits said:
But secretly, often in a way not countenanced by our society, we’d rather not let these fictional characters go, we’d rather not put away the joys of our youth. Secretly, or hopefully not so secretly, we still hold a fondness for these characters we loved when life was simpler, smaller. And so we wish they could come with us, grow with us, be something relevant to us even as we change.
And I finally discovered the truth about shipping:
As our generation that continues to love its fictional characters from its childhood ages and matures, the shippers among us want to update these characters, make them more relevant to who we are now, and examine love, sex, and marriage through them. Shippers want to keep imagining in their favourite characters’ universes, but not as they did when they were younger. Shippers want to imagine in these universes as the young or full adults the shippers have become. We start to deal with love, sex, and marriage and we want our favourite characters to deal with these things too.
But wait, Peter Parker was married to Mary Jane from 1987-2007, and Spidey had some great stories during that time… Nuts. They undid that too.
Sorry, digressing again.
What it comes down to is Batman: Hush made me realise that I was getting older while the lives of my favourite comic book characters, for all their years of stories, were standing still. And that they are always going to stand still, that’s part of why we love them and what keeps them marketable (in some companies’ minds at least). But I was so invested in the Batman:Hush story and Batman and Catwoman’s interaction in that story, that my hope for the two characters getting together officially finally broke under the strain.
So, this begs the question why I didn’t do a Batman/Catwoman graphic novel project. Well, because there are stories out there where they do get together, and they are done well enough. I don’t think I could do any better. Besides, there are a ton of Batman fan projects out there.
But for Ryu and Chun-Li, I decided to produce the story myself, because the “get together” story has never been done right for them for the English speaking world, and I want to witness the world’s reaction to it! And… because my life isn’t standing still. The clock is ticking for me…for all of us. So, if there is something I want, I’d better go get it, or make it myself.
And speaking of clocks…as I write this, there are only 103 days until Valentine’s Day 2015 and the launch of our book. If you want to have your name and/or art inside it and be part of it, you had better get to it. Every name gives us a better chance of CAPCOM taking us seriously. Here’s how:
More next time!