Ask Chris #95: Batman vs. ‘Twilight’
Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That’s why every week, Senior Writer Chris Sims puts his comics culture knowledge to the test as he responds to your reader questions!
Q: Batman arrives in Forks, Washington. What happens? — @NielJacoby
A: I bet you think you’re real smart, don’t you? Look at Niel, everybody! He thinks he’s so friggin’ clever. Well, you know what? I don’t know how you found out, and frankly, I don’t really care. If that’s how you want it, fine. The rumors are true. I admit it.
That Twilight / Batman crossover novel from a few years ago that was never released? I’m the guy who wrote it.But before any of you get the idea that this was some kind of fan-fiction thing, allow me to assure you that was definitely not the case. This was back in 2007, before I was hired to write for ComicsAlliance. At the time, they were gearing up for the release of the first Twilight movie, and based on the insane amount of success that the novels had gotten in just two years, everybody already knew that it was going to be a massive hit.
I never really talked to the higher-ups on the project, but the way I understand it, The Dark Knight was in production at the same time, so somebody out in Hollywood had the bright idea of doing a crossover. The plan was to mash ‘em up into one gigantic cross-platform mega-franchise. The only thing they really needed to get out there was source material they could use to test the market. They wanted a novel, and the only real requirement they had was that it had to be done fast. As the original Twilight books had shown, quality wasn’t really a concern.
And that’s where I came in.
I was doing some freelance work for Cracked, and my name got around as someone who knew a lot about Batman, worked cheap, and — as the fact that I once knocked out a review of 8 Adam Sandler movies in less time than it took to actually watch them — was pretty good at subjecting myself to truly awful media in order to beat deadlines. I got the offer, and since I needed the money, I said yes. They sent me a copy of Twilight, and the only direction I ever got was to rewrite it, “but with Batman.” My one condition was that I was allowed to use a pseudonym.
I’m still pretty shocked that anyone made the connection, but in retrospect, I probably could’ve chosen a better name than “Carlos von Dracula.”
Anyway, the book never happened. The Hollywood genius who thought it up tried to move straight to publication with the approval of neither Stephenie Meyer nor Warner Bros., and ended up getting sued so hard that he spontaneously combusted in the middle of the courtroom in a scene that was described by one witness as being “eerily reminiscent of the opening to Ghostbusters II.” Needless to say, I never got paid.
But I do still have the manuscript, and if the secret’s out, I don’t suppose there’s any reason to keep it a secret any longer. Spontaneous combustion tends to dissolve most contracts anyway. So since you asked, here are a few excerpts from my version, Twiknight:
I barely heard what Jessica was saying as we walked down the hallway, offering an occasional mutter of agreement as she talked about her date with Mike. My mind was swimming with images of Edward even though he hadn’t been in biology today, thoughts of his perfect, diamond-light face, almost glowing like a statue carved of luminescent marble even under the harsh lights of the school. The very thought of him sent my stomach twisting, like a pair of snakes slithering into armor and climbing onto horses to joust for the affection of a duchess snake that they both loved from afar.
The teachers ushered us into the gym, and I noticed through the haze of thoughts about Edward that students were filing up the bleachers. I gulped as a sudden thrill of panic seized me. So far, my endearing clumsiness hadn’t caused me any permanent injury, but climbing up a set of wooden bleachers occupied by students would be a challenge even if I wasn’t in in an Edward-addled state. My heart sank, even as it sped up like a Volvo, the sexiest and most alluring of all possible cars.
I managed to only stumble twice as I went up the stairs, each time succumbing to the allure of thinking of Edward’s crystalline eyes as my feet snagged on the edge of the steps. My breath was coming fast, and I thought about running away, losing myself to tears in the woods surrounding the school. No, I thought. They’re only stairs. You can’t let these stairs beat you, Bella. You’re a strong woman. I blinked to focus, and concentrated on how nice it would be to sit down, losing myself in thoughts of Edward’s pillowy lips.
But the school had other plans. No sooner had I sat down than my thoughts of Edward’s sculpted earlobes were shattered by the piercing voice of the principal.
“Settle down, students,” he intoned. “We have a very important assembly today. A new scholarship program has been offered to the school, thanks to the generosity of today’s guest. Please give a warm Forks High welcome to Bruce Wayne!”
There was a small smattering of applause as the principal gestured grandly at a chair behind him, but it died out as everyone finally took notice of the man sitting in it. He was tall, with dark hair, wearing a tailored suit and a pair of sunglasses, the first pair I’d seen since my arrival in Forks. He was also fast asleep.
“Ah… Bruce… Wayne…” said the principal again, and this time there were snickers from the students as Wayne let out a soft snore. The Principal was sweating now, the look of nervousness on his face not unlike my own whenever I thought about the impossibly attractive geometry of Edward’s nostrils.
A long minute passed before a thin, bald man with a moustache and a dark suit walked onto the stage and leaned to say something in Wayne’s ear. Finally, he woke with a sudden intake of breath and a start, looking around in confusion before standing up and smiling, stepping to the podium and leaning on it. He looked out at the crowd, breaking into a smile from behind his sunglasses as he was met with laughter and clapping from the students.
“Sorry, kids,” he offered. “Still on East Coast time. So… Math and science. They’re pretty important, right? I know I’m no good at ‘em. But if you are, the Wayne Foundation can help you get into college somewhere that… well, that isn’t here. I hear there are some places that even have this new thing called ‘the sun.’”
“Er, thank you, Mr. Wayne,” flustered the principal as Wayne gave a jovial wave to the students and stepped off the stage. The principal dismissed the students, but as I stood and prepared for the life-threatening journey down the stairs, I noticed the thin, bald man whispering in his ear again. For a moment, it looked as though Wayne was staring at me.
I shuddered, almost losing my balance on the bleachers, and wished for the eighty-ninth time that day that Edward was there to tell me what to think.
Let’s skip ahead a bit here…
I dreamt of Edward.
Well, not just Edward. There was a house, and it was my house but it was like a house actor, playing my house, and I had to put new batteries in the flashlight or else I’d fail the SATs. But mostly, it was Edward. We were in the meadow, his skin as dazzling as a multi-faceted diamond expertly cut into the shape of an English actor. He was holding me close, enveloping me like quicksand, when suddenly there was a crash.
I sat upright in bed, my eyes flying open just in time to see a weird figure of the night shattering the window, slamming another person down to the floor of my room, a chair being splintered into pieces from the force of it. The figure was cloaked in darkness, with horns like a demon. The only things I could see were its eyes.
“WHERE IS HE?!” growled the figure, viciously slamming the person’s face down against the floor.
“B… Bella…” said the other figure, and I knew it was Edward. I gasped, my breath catching in my throat like a dolphin in an unethical fisherman’s net.
“What’s going on,” I demanded meekly. “That’s — that’s my boyfriend!”
The figure turned to me, still hunched over Edward, whose pale blood was running out of his nose as the perfect marble orbs spun in his head. “He’s a hundred-year-old vampire who broke into your house to watch you sleep. Telepathy. Mind control. Planting suggestions in your dreams until you’re fully dependent on him.“
“I don’t think that’s — “
I was cut off when Edward shoved, his super-human strength propelling the bat-like figure into the wall. Even as he scrambled to his feet, Edward seemed languid, moving gracefully towards the shattered window and leaping out of it.
The figure stood, sweeping back its cloak. A loud bang echoed in my room with the sound of a cable whipping through the air following close behind. There was a distant thud from the yard, and I heard Edward’s voice yell out a high-pitched “oh come on!” The figure hauled on the cable until Edward was dangling in front of the window like a perfectly glistening alabaster piñata.
“WHERE IS CARLISLE?!” growled the figure, its teeth bared.
“I’ll never tell you anything!” responded Edward emphatically, his arms pinwheeling in perfect circles as he hung upside-down. “Ra’s al-Ghul has plans for Forks! You’ve stopped one immortal, Batman — but can you stop an army?!“
The Batman slammed his fist into Edward’s perfect face.
Obviously, I was going in a bit of a different direction there at the end. I still had the mirrored room at the end, but it was more Mr. Han’s lair at the end of Enter The Dragon than a ballet studio, but I thought it worked. I guess we’ll never know.
I just hope that Frank Castle in the Hunger Games book I’m working on doesn’t go the same way.
That’s all we have for this week, but if you’ve got a question you’d like to see Chris tackle in a future column, just send it to @theisb on Twitter with the hashtag #AskChris, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with [Ask Chris] in the subject line!