Growing up I was always intrigued by comics. I loved the idea of combining art with words and felt a euphoric high as my eyes digested every page I turned. I could not mow enough lawns as a young man to keep up with my obsession for the dazzling covers and intriguing storylines being printed for my enjoyment. It was even upon the pages of a comic that I found my first crush, T
he Enchantress. Thor #491 was my introduction to this wonderfully disastrous goddess who intrigued my attention with her cunning cleverness and mystique. Unfortunately for me, The Enchantress was obsessed over the thunder god himself, something I, as a mere mortal man could not possibly compete with.
In all honesty, as a young man, I exclusively read only Marvel comics. This was the case not because I was trying to shun DC, but because where I grew up in Northern Maine, the internet was a foreign concept at the time and outlets to purchase comics were non-existence. Truth was, I had to walk a half mile to my neighbor’s house where he would give me a stack of comics every couple weeks. He had a subscription to a handful of Marvel comics and after he read them, he passed them along to me.
As much as I loved reading about Thor, The Hulk, Captain America and other of my neighbors’ favorites, I found myself itching for something new. While visiting the local library with my uncle, as he was looking for a couple new movies to check out, the librarian started striking up a conversation with me. I told her how I didn’t read much, mostly comics. I inquired if the library had any, she promptly shook her head no. But as she was shaking her head no, it was clear a couple thoughts began rolling around in her head. She scurried into a backroom and after a few seconds came out with three comics in her hand. “These were donated along with a box full of books the other day, here you take them,” she said handing them to me.
Those three comics were my introduction to Batman, not the cartoon character that I had seen during Saturday mornings, not the Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer movie renditions but the Mike W. Barr/Jerry Bingham version. Yes, the three comics the librarian bestowed upon my possession happen to be Son of the Demon, Birth of the Demon and Bride of the Demon, which is a trilogy revolving around the relationship between Batman and The League of Shadows. Over the next couple weeks, I must have read those three comics a dozen times, engrossed by the engagingly complex storyline. The comic was darker, more meaningful and gave me an in-depth look at a superhero unlike I had yet to read.
For those who have not read The Demon trilogy (which the comics are known as), it is a must. I won’t give away the details as I think everyone should experience the story unfold in front of their eyes for the first time in comic form, but let’s say we get to briefly see a less reserved, more humanistic side of Batman. The series also does a great job at delving into what a life of love would possibly look like for our complicated masked crusader. All through the trilogy is faced with decisions that don’t revolve around the murder of his parents, the destruction of his city but instead, he is faced with decisions about his future. There is also numerous conflicts within the storyline as Batman’s love interest is none other than the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul himself (who is my personal favorite DC villain, I know, I know, The Joker is the undeniable fan favorite).
But I think this story line and unseen version of Ra’s is just what is needed for DC to refresh the impact Batman can have on the cinematic world and help DC put a stop to just following in the footsteps of its universal counterpart, Marvel. The retreading of the Batman movies is becoming overplayed. I cannot take another origin story.
The opportunity to explore more in depth The League of Shadows, it’s inside makeup, while focusing on Batman will help tell a story that has yet to be told and it could unfold in a rather promising way on the cinematic screen. Beyond getting a look into the personal life of Batman, the series could potentially help tap into the world of magic and mystique that is starting to finally translate to the big screen. This storyline is a chance to shake things up in the world of Batman, the chance to do something different, something for the real comic book fans.
Marvel is dominating the cinematic comic book scene right now with their fun, colorful portrayal of superheroes that has caught the attention of adults, families, and fanatics of all ages. I think it is safe to say that Marvel won’t be letting their grip on that scene go anytime soon. This leaves little room for era on DC’s part when it comes to putting out a product that matches what Marvel is doing; honestly to this date after Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman, their idea of simply making their movies seem edgier than Marvel’s without actually doing so, is falling flat.
How about DC does something Marvel doesn’t do, and simply step outside the box with the stories they are trying to sell (Example, Deadpool). How about making the next series of Batman movies revolve around The Demon trilogy (Hello Ben Affleck). This could be a pivotal decision in the franchise’s history, allowing it to reboot the series and create something special that will appeal to hardcore fans. I think a movie revolved around such a complex story, one that is refreshing will garner a better reception from critics and put up respectable box office numbers (which we know is the generating force behind everything).
Now, I understand The Demon Trilogy is a storyline that is foreign to most part-time comic fan but with the right writer behind the script, preparation in advertising, there will be plenty of time for fans to catch up. This includes possibly purchasing a copy of The Demon Trilogy, getting to know who Ra’s (who I know played a big role in the last trilogy but still has so much story left to tell) and other main characters are, well before the film’s release.
So to keep it short, come on Batman, step outside the box, be different, show the world a side of superheroes that is rarely ever seen in a Marvel movie; a vulnerable hero. Make a young man’s vision come true, let’s bring The Demon Trilogy to the big screen.
“Beloved, you give too much thought to what is real and what is not, to what is true and what is false. I realize that is your way, but just this once, accept things as they are. Forego your control, your discipline. Just once, let yourself go… and take me with you.”
Martin Campbell is a Maine-based author who grew up with a fascination for reading about the things that go bump in the night. He has been a fan of horror, fantasy and science fiction his whole life.
Growing up in the small farm town of Whitefield, he had plenty of time to sit around and let his imagination run wild. He spent a lot of time watching his favorite horror films (such as The Thing, Evil Dead and Bride of Frankenstein) and reading his favorite books (The Stand, The Amityville Horror and Bram Stoker’s Dracula).
By putting his unique imagination and love for horror to work, Martin has found a passion for writing and creating his own world of things that go bump in the night. By studying some of his favorite authors, he has worked hard over the last few years to try and bring to his pages some of his readers greatest fears.
After writing several short stories for various anthropologies, magazine’s and websites, Martin has completed his first book called MAINE AFTER DARK, a collection of short stories based in Maine.