Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

Today has been a day of “found fun,” which is perfect since it’s the end of an uber busy week for me.

The first was news of Batman (a.k.a. Superhero Badass No .1). Director Christopher Nolan has announced the villain in the latest “Batman” movie (supposedly Nolan’s last). British actor Tom Hardy will step into the shoes of … Bane.

Who the hell is Bane, you ask? I admit, I had to ask, too — and I’m a huge Batman fan. Bane is pretty obscure, even for me. He’s the guy that broke Batman’s back during the “Knightfall” story arc of the 1990s — long after I’d stopped reading the comics. No matter,  I’ll be a butt in the seats when the movie comes out. I never miss a Batman movie.

I wish I still had those comics — and I had tons of them: Batman, Superman, Spiderman. I can remember even before first grade going into Burnett’s Corner Store in Meridian, Miss., and plunking my dime down on the counter for the latest comic book. Cheaper than a movie (and, truth be told, a lot more violent at the time), it was the perfect form of boy entertainment. And Batman ruled supreme.

Sure, you got your Superman types, but Superman was just too … nice. I mean, Clark Kent was really a dweeb when you got right down to it. And probably a crappy journalist (more on that in a few minutes). Yeah, he was the Man of Steel, but he was more like a Boy Scout than a badass. And later, I read a lot of Spider-Man. He was always cool — the smartass webslinger with the hot girlfriend. Who wouldn’t want Spidey powers?

But Batman was complicated. Dark. He didn’t sit around pondering a lot, he just went out and kicked whoever’s ass needed kicking. Didn’t have any superpowers — other than the ability to kick your ass in a super fashion. Just him and his utility belt and it was go-time. He was a borderline head case himself — watched his parents die, and that fear of bats thing to conquer, had the Joker to deal with. Man had his demons.

Of course, I didn’t get most of this when I was 6. I just loved the stories and the KA-POW! and OOF! of the whole thing. Being that age when the TV show started didn’t help. I’d race home from school (where I’d spent the recess running around the playground with a towel tied around my neck because I was, you know, Batman) to watch every episode. Reading a few of the graphic novels when I was older gave me insight into a character that may have been a comic book hero, but he was no cartoon. And the movies have actually helped that, especially Nolan’s versions.

So, while I have to admit I’m not up on the exploits of this Bane character, I can’t wait for the next movie to come out.

Next is a hilarious (only because it’s true) post from the blog StuffJournalistsLike. There, I attributed the source, so I can’t be accused of stealing this checklist for being a “real” journalist:

“Here’s my checklist to see if you are truly a journalist.

  1. Written a 15-inch story in 30 minutes
  2. Corrected a loved one’s grammar in a greeting card
  3. Replaced one of the major food groups with coffee
  4. Own your own police scanner
  5. Eat in your car more often than you do at a table
  6. Gotten fired/laid off for no good reason
  7. Forgotten what it’s like to have the weekend off
  8. Can no longer read a newspaper without scanning for typos and errors
  9. Learned that being told to “fuck off “ and “go to hell” is part of the job
  10. Woke in a cold sweat thinking you forgot to change the date on A1
  11. Spend your down time coming up with the perfect lede
  12. Slept in your car and not because you were too drunk to drive home
  13. Found that fine line between harassment and persistence
  14. If you needed bail, the first person you would call would be your editor
  15. You analyze city council meetings the way sportscasters break down Monday night football
  16. You think it’s normal to work 16 hours a day for 8 hours pay
  17. Have conducted a phone interview while completely naked
  18. Can write an entire interview on a cocktail napkin
  19. Threatened to quit over an editorial decision
  20. You couldn’t imagine doing anything else”

Ok, I never owned a police scanner, but the rest is pretty close to nearly every journalist I’ve ever known (myself included). We’re a strange lot, but boring is not in our vocabulary.

Oh, and don’t forget: A Simple Murder is on sale at Amazon.

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