Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Manor

In our collective imagination, there is a Manor house where a hidden staircase descends to a secret headquarters in a cave beneath the Manor. The occupant of the Manor leads a double life as a notorious but anonymous vigilante whose costume, equipment, gadgets, vehicles, computer, archives, laboratory, gymnasium etc are housed in the Cave.

Usually, the house is called "Wayne Manor". However, it has counterparts on other fictitious Earths. Zorro's grandfather clock concealed the hidden staircase before Bruce Wayne's did. However, this is not a coincidence because a Zorro film inspired the young Wayne.

Two members of a super powered police force arrest a dog-themed vigilante in the cave beneath his Manor in Alan Moore's Top Ten and I am currently rereading Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's The Boys, Vol 2, Get Some (London, 2008), in which Butcher and Hughie of the CIA superhero watchdog team interrogate the vigilante Tek-Knight in the cave beneath his Manor.

"Old money" is mentioned in both Top Ten and The Boys. This is familiar territory to the reader even though the names and incidental details of the characters have changed as they always do on different parallel Earths.

When Tek-Knight cannot understand something, he expresses his mystification thus:

"It's a mystery. A grade one, primo, full-on, even the world's greatest detective couldn't solve this motherfucker, mystery...", (Chapter Eight, Get Some, Part Two)

And, of course, in the DC Universe, the world's greatest detective is none other than the Batman - unless we count Holmes who, I think, is still alive in the Himalayas.

Later: As I reread, I realise that Tek-Knight resembles Iron Man in that he is super powered only when wearing his armour. But this also makes him similar to the Batman who fought Kent at the end of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Parodic super heroes are derived from diverse sources.

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