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Ask Chris #323: Like The Batmobile, But Funnier

Ask Chris #324, background art by Dick Sprang

Q: Where does the Jokermobile fit in Batman’s canon? Is it a necessary piece of their rivalry? — @thybmb

A: Okay, the way I see it, there are really two questions here. The first is a pretty easy one, too: No. Strictly speaking, the Jokermobile is by no means necessary, and there's nothing that it adds to or illuminates about the enmity between Batman and the Joker that you can't get elsewhere, especially when it comes to characters who are built far more explicitly around the idea of mimicking Batman's approach to crime fighting.

The second question is one that's more implicit in the fact that you asked: Can I write an entire column about how the Joker used to ride around Gotham City in a car with his own face on it? And, c'mon. It's me we're talking about here.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Ask Chris, DC

Ask Chris #322: A Tail Of Two Splinters

Ask Chris #322, background art by Dan Duncan

Q: Which is the better version of Master Splinter: Hamato Yoshi's pet, or a mutated/reincarnated Hamato Yoshi himself? — @RandallJSanders

A: Okay, first things first: The history and minutiae of the Ninja Turtles are weird. By its very nature as a franchise that started out as a goofball parody drawn on a kitchen table over pizzas, and then became the breakout hit of the '80s black-and-white boom that then became Literally The Most Popular Thing In The World, and then became a tenured franchise that's spawned multiple iterations over the past 30 years, things get really complex, really quick when you start trying to figure out how it all works.

And for Splinter, that's even more true than it is for the Turtles themselves. As their mentor figure, the one who's responsible for handing down all the ninja knowledge that makes up a full quarter of their identities, his complications spring from an entirely different set of problems --- and that's before you start figuring out how a bunch of turtles wound up with a rat as their dad.

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Ask Chris #321: Legacy And Distinction In The Green Lantern Corps

Ask Chris #321, background art by Robson Rocha, Jay Leisten, and Rod Reis

Q: What should differentiate the Green Lanterns as Green Lanterns? — @jtlevy

A: How legacy works, and how different iterations of the same idea have to be made distinct and interesting on their own, is a fascinating topic in the context of the DC Universe. But when it comes to building in distinct traits that differentiate legacy heroes, the Green Lantern franchise has been doing that job from the start.

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Ask Chris #320: The Justice League’s Holiday Mixtape

Ask Chris #320, background image from "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Q: What would be each member of the Justice League's favorite Holiday song? ---- @XavierFiles

A: I've been asked a ton of questions that follow the pattern of asking about what the Justice League does at the holidays, and answered many of them, but asking about their favorite holiday songs raises a lot of really interesting questions that can't just be answered by posting Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" seven times.

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Ask Chris #319: Come To The North Pole, Have A Few Laughs

Ask Chris #319, background art by Ed McGuinness

Q: Santa's workshop is taken over by terrorists who are not what they seem. Which comics character fits the John McClane role? Remember: he’s an unlikely hero, so no obvious answers like Batman. — @charlotteofoz

A: Okay, look: I know that everyone is tired of the whole "Die Hard is the best Christmas movie" thing. I mean, I'm tired of it, and Matt D. Wilson and I once recorded a commentary track for that movie as the Christmas special for our podcast. But all that said, this question has too many interesting parts to not answer.

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Ask Chris #318: The Definitive Christmas Comic

Ask Chris #318, background art by Colleen Doran

Q: What is the definitive Christmas comic? — @Koltreg

A: "Definitive" is a pretty tricky requirement to meet. You have to find a comic that's not just definitively Christmas, with all that goes along with it, it has to be definitively comics, too --- and if you think it's difficult for people to agree on what Christmas is all about, just wait'll you try getting them to pin down one single issue that defines comic books as a medium. At least religion has centuries of scholarship; comics just has loudmouths writing columns about them on the Internet.

That said, I do think I've found one that's as close as we're going to get: 1989's Christmas With The Super-Heroes #2.

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Ask Chris #317: A Speed Force To Be Reckoned With

Ask Chris #317, background art by Mike Wieringo

Q: Can you help me make sense of how the Speed Force is supposed to work? -- @TheKize

A: For those of you who may not know, the Speed Force is a plot point from the pages of The Flash that was introduced back in the '90s, and ended up not just shaping how the Flash himself would work for the next two decades, but also united an entire corner of the DC Universe into a cohesive whole.

The thing is, while I've definitely read those comics and love 'em to pieces, I'm not sure I'm the best person to ask about how it works. You should probably just ask Mark Waid. Which is what I did.

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Ask Chris #316: To Kill A Legend

Ask Chris #316: Background art by Dick Giordano

Q: Would you like to write a miniseries about the Batman from the end of "To Kill A Legend?" -- @TByrne75

A: Hm. Hmmmmmm. You know, as much time as I've spent thinking about Batman, this is one thing I've never actually considered.

When you get right down to it, the real question here is whether I think that particular take on Batman is strong enough on his own to carry a story, and on the surface, that seems like a pretty easy one to answer. There are enough alternate versions of Batman floating around that it's pretty clear that you can do almost anything with that character, from recasting him as a grumpy old man to just straight up making him a vampire. But the thing about "To Kill a Legend" that stands out, the thing that really defines that take on the character, is that he doesn't have any of the things that define the Batman we already know... except Batman himself.

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Ask Chris #315: Bat-Mite

Ask Chris #315, background art from Batman: The Brave And The Bold

Q: Bat-Mite: Silly or amazing? — @firehawk32

A: Yes.

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Filed Under: , Category: Ask Chris, DC, Opinion

Ask Chris #314: Does Batman Carry The Mark of Zorro?

Ask Chris #314, background art by Norm Breyfogle

Q: How essential is The Mark of Zorro to Batman's origin story? -- @TheKize

A: Strictly speaking, I don't think it's necessary. For one thing, while I'm actually not sure where it was introduced, the idea that young Bruce Wayne was watching The Mark of Zorro on the night his parents were murdered was at least canonized in stone in the opening pages of The Dark Knight Returns, which means that there were almost 50 years where Batman got along just fine without that element. On top of that, there have been plenty of Batman stories that go in a different direction, and it doesn't really hurt the mythology behind the character to make it something else.

But that said, The Mark of Zorro being the last thing Bruce Wayne sees before his world ends and he makes the choice to become Batman certainly makes it a whole lot better.

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