Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Essential Saltey Goodness

Okay, I'm continuing to badly procrastinate on NanoWrimo, and probably won't make it by November 30 this year, but at least have the seed of an idea for a novel-length work that I think won't entirely suck. So, I'm pretty sure I'll actually get it written, just not within the official national month for doing so. What can I say, life's been busy...

Anyway, after the umpteenth time googling to see if anybody else has ever had the same bizarre thought as me, I decided to post it myself to the Internets for posterity, or just whoever eventually stumbles across it.

Anybody out there remember the plot of the 1960s Batman feature film? This one here -http://www.batman-on-film.com/historyofthebatman_batman66.html?

That's okay, I'll summarize. The main plot of the assembled Bat-villains turns out to be to zap the United World Security Council (an obvious stand-in for the United Nations) with a dehydrator gun they have for some reason, and hold the resulting vials of powder for ransom. Because you can get the people back alive and kicking simply by adding water, so long as you don't scatter or mix up the piles of powder, as Batman demonstrates at the end. That's just how Bat-science rolls, I guess.

Anyway, what was my bizarre thought? Other than watching the 1966 movie again, ever, I mean? Well, to understand that, you need to have read a little Lovecraft, specifically a novella called "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward". In this story, it turns out that, "The essential Saltes of Animals may be so prepared and preserved, that an ingenious Man may have the whole Ark of Noah in his own Studie, and raise the fine Shape of an Animal out of its Ashes at his Pleasure; and by the lyke Method from the essential Saltes of humane Dust, a Philosopher may, without any criminal Necromancy, call up the Shape of any dead Ancestour from the Dust whereinto his Bodie has been incinerated."

So, okay, in Lovecraft's story the process involves a good deal of alchemy and necromantic invocation, not a quick zap with a raygun or the mere addition of a titrated supply of distilled water. But still, the little piles of dust and the admonition about not losing any seems quite similar between the two stories. One wonders if Batman and Robin were just lucky not to revive what Lovecraft called "ye liveliest Awfullness" when attempting to rescue the Council, or what kind of occult influence the resurrected dignitaries would now be subject to...

This almost calls for a story to be written. What parts of the Mythos would the four dastardly villains correspond to? The Penguin is most likely a partially transformed Deep One hybrid, and Catwoman of course an avatar or acolyte of Bast, but the Riddler and the Joker... hmmm. Perhaps that wasn't actually a mustache the Joker was hiding behind white pancake makeup?

And then of course, there's the question of the real motivation and origins of Batman and Robin. Batman does seem to be a champion of the status quo, working hard to avert or possibly just delay the End Times. What entities would have a vested interest in his cause? Two thoughts occur - one, Nodens, if not exactly friendly, at least seems generally opposed to the plans of the other entities of the Mythos. Perhaps Batman's outfit is actually patterned off a Nightgaunt rather than a mundane bat? Either that, or perhaps the Great Race of Yith sent two of its brightest minds back to this era to preserve the timeline, albeit with an imperfect understanding of human culture and norms.... We could call the true story, "Bat Out of Time".

And that's all, folks.