Batman fans condemn theater shootings, defend “Dark Knight”

On Tumblr, memorial images featuring a mournful Batman abound.  But despite the outpouring of horror and concern from fans of The Dark Knight Rises, mass media wasted little time implying that the film’s violence fuelled a premeditated shooting last night at its premiere. But other fans took to their blogs, Tumblr, and Twitter to speak out in defense of the franchise.

 

Author and Batman fan Barry Lyga took to his blog to lambaste the New York Post for an article questioning the role of the films in promoting the real-life violence that took place at an Aurora, Colo. movie theatre last night. “Imagine that you have decided to put on body armor, grab some smoke grenades and a shotgun and go kill people,” he wrote. “You would never in a million years even dream of loading up with all that armor and weaponry because of a movie.”

Meanwhile, over at ThinkProgress, Alyssa Rosenberg agreed: “If you think The Dark Knight Rises is the greatest expression of cinema of all time, your next step is unlikely to be to kill people who, by their decision to show up for the first possible screening of the movie, give some semblance of agreeing with you.”

Fans on Tumblr and Twitter were wary of the possibility that this incident could impact the way that fans of darker cultural texts such as Batman and video games are regarded. User confidenceisbliss commented, “[E]vil people…do not seek “dark culture” to commit dark acts. These sort of people seek the largest group of people to ensure the largest amount of terror.”

Posting a famous image from the comics series in which Batman breaks a gun into pieces and declares, “This is the weapon of the enemy,” Tumblr user partaaay added, “If only everyone understood this.”

Fan Cristina Moreno told The Daily Dot, “I think there are always going to be people who don’t understand fan culture and therefore, will be wary about it. So this thing we’re in is already strange to them. It makes them more likely to jump to conclusions and criticize more easily.”

Others acknowledged that the shootings could inevitably impact the way that fans participate in real-life fan spaces. The Washington Post reported some fans declaring they would never go to the movies again. Rosenberg responded, “[A]s someone who writes about movies, and who cares about the big, flawed thing we call fandom, I’m saddened by someone turning that shared enthusiasm into a weapon.”

But Batman fan Chris Ramos, who was a witness at the theatre, spoke to CNN about the need to draw the right messages from the shooting: “We just have to be strong and overcome the evil of this,” said a shaken but vehement Ramos. “Like the movie of Batman, the true message of it–standing up against corruption, against evil, against death, standing up–a normal citizen, just standing up to [do] what’s right. It’s ironic that that happened, but that’s basically the message that the Batman movies give out.”

Photo via Flickr / Brian Donovan

Aja Romano

Aja Romano

Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.