Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stranger and Stranger Still

A while ago, I started writing pieces about Batman villains, because, why not? You can click the label tag at the bottom to read more. This post is about one of Batman's first villains.

Dr. Hugo Strange (not to be confused with Marvel's Doctor Strange, or Nedor Comic's Doc Strange) appears in Detective Comics months before Batman #1 (the first appearance of the Joker and Catwoman). Dr. Hugo Strange is also very much like another early villainous doctor, Dr. Death. Their physical appearance, and their use of science to create weapons may lead one to question whether the two early characters are that much different. They appear six months apart and are nearly identical.

Strange originally operates as the leader of a gang, and uses science to create fog machines and super strong 15 foot mutant henchmen.  He is also the first villain to deduce Batman's identity, and attempts to auction off the information.  

Strange gets reinvented in the early '90s as a psychiatrist obsessed with the Batman, and tries to become the Dark Knight. In the Prey and Terror storylines, he works with the GCPD and is an advocate for an anti-Batman task force. He also pairs up with another insane psychiatrist, the Scarecrow. Everything backfires and Strange ends up in Arkham. This Batman obsession has recently become a theme every new (and sometimes old) villains have. Bane, the Court of Owls, Prometheus, Dr. Hurt, and Hush all have a Batman obsession that is the driving force behind their plots to kill or ruin the Batman. Even the Joker recently has fallen into this trope. 

Dr Hugo Strange as psychiatrist has become the more popular version of the character, and often he is seen as a doctor at Arkham Asylum, but has also appeared at Belle Reeve, or in a private practice in Gotham. The Arkham connection is also shared by other doctor/psychiatrist characters like Harleen Quinnzel, Tommy Elliot, Jeremiah Arkham, and Jonathan Crane.  

I always thought he was far more dangerous as a respected psychiatrist than as a crazy Batman-obsessed, kidnapper/gang leader. The video game Arkham City helped to recast Strange as a worthy Batman foe. A trusted doctor that studies people's minds and prescribes medication, and practices some ethically questionable studies on the human psyche can be a truly scary premise. Dr. Hugo Strange is definitely one of Batman's most underrated villains with so much potential. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


This guy is a pet of a man I met during work.  I asked if the idea was to eat it for Thanksgiving, as it was pretty close to the holiday, and I was laughed at.  He's far too old to eat, apparently.

This particular bird is a Narrangansett turkey, which is a rare type of heritage turkey, which are domestic breeds of Meleagris Gallopavo.  This particular breed is a cross between the Meleagris Gallopavo, and the Meleagris Gallopavo Silvestris.

Judging from the picture I took, this could even be a Silver Narrangansett, which is even more rare, as the Bronze, and Narrangansett breeds are far more popular.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Dynamic Duo, or, those Low Notes that you Hear

Royal Blood
Royal Blood
Warner Brother Records, 2014
Produced by Tom Daglety

Mike Kerr - bass, vocals
Ben Thatcher - drums

  • Out of the Black/ Come on Over
  • Little Monster/ Hole
  • Come on Over/ You Want Me
  • Figure it Out/ Love it and Leave it Alone
  • Ten Tonne Skeleton/ One Trick Pony
There has been a lot in the media recently about how rock music is dead.  Gene Simmons said it, Jerry Coyne from the University of Chicago said it, Pigeons and Planes ran an article about it, and I read a great article about the rise and fall of all great artistic styles with a focus on rock, but I cant find it.  The point made, though, was that all great artistic styles have a golden age where all the best material is created, and Rock Music's golden age had passed.

Royal Blood seems to be a glimmer of hope for a genre that has been in the decline since the mid '90s.  The music is fundamentally sound (pun intended), the lyrics meaningful and catchy.  And it isn't overly produced.  It's only two British guys, without a traditional lead instrument.  Move over Black Keys.  If it's rock you want, that is new and kicks some ass, check them out.  Also, the art for the album cover, and all their singles, is pretty sweet.