Want your child to help with the chores? Call Batman


Maggie Downs

posted in Life

Having trouble getting your child to perform even the simplest chores or tasks? Send out the Bat Signal.

Seriously, get Batman involved.

New research has found that kids between the ages of 4 and 6 perform better during boring tasks when dressed as Batman, according to this Quartz article.

Building upon past studies, six researchers created an experiment to test how to keep kids on task when faced with the temptation of an iPad (a very real temptation in my own household). The test involved giving 4- and 6-year olds a boring computer task and asking them to do it for 10 minutes. If the kids got bored, they were told they could play a game on the iPad in the next room.

A child, face mostly cropped out of the photo, uses a tablet to play a game


Here’s the twist: The children were split into groups, assigned to one of three conditions. The control group was asked to be mindful of their feelings as they went through the boring task and ask themselves, “Am I working hard?” The second group was asked to access themselves from a third-person perspective, like, “Is Henry working hard?”

But the third group was asked to think about a superhero or well-known character — like Batman, Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer — dress up like the character they selected, and ask themselves, “Is Batman working hard?”

For the next 10 minutes, the children could move between the boring task and the iPad, but they were all reminded of the importance of the activity and told that it would be helpful to work hard as long as they could. Time spent on the work was measured as perseverance.

In general, the children spent 37-percent of their time on the work, and 63-percent on the iPad. (Zero surprise for any mom.) Also the six-year-olds worked about twice as long as the four-year-olds.

Here’s the interesting part: The kids in the first group, who thought of themselves as just “me,” worked the least. The kids who thought of themselves in the third person — “Henry is working hard” — worked more. And the kids who pretended to be superheroes were the hardest workers of all.

A toddler boy, my child who happens to be the cutest boy alive, stands with Captain America outside on a sunny spring day


In character, the kids were displaying what psychologists call “self-distancing.”

“One reason the kids engaged in imaginary play had better focus might be that pretending to be another person allowed the greatest separation from the temptation,” writes Jenny Anderson in the Quartz article. “A second potential explanation is that the kids in costume identified with the powerful character traits of the superhero and wanted to imitate them. Whatever the cause, the superheroes showed more grit.”

My son’s hero of choice is Spider-Man. He often dons his Spider-Man cape and mask to run around the house, but this article also made me realize how often my son reaches for those duds when we have boring errands to run.

Spider-Man has accompanied me to the post office, Costco, and the grocery store, flinging webs at unsuspecting shoppers.

Five photos of a boy dressed up like Spider-Man and making silly faces


I let him do it, because why not? (Also, I’m still resentful of all the times my mom made me take off my Wonder Woman Underoos in favor of something she deemed more respectable.)

I had no idea that in addition to making the everyday more fun, I was also helping my son learn to concentrate. And that’s super.

Do you think becoming a superhero or another character will help your child with chores?

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‘Batman: Gotham by Gaslight’ Is the Dark Knight vs Jack the Ripper

Gotham by Gaslight is a fan-favorite comic and for good reason. It was the first Elseworlds comic — “what if?” stories featuring DC characters — and showcased excellent art by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. The comic has maintained a strong following for years, and elements of it have cropped up in other Batman projects like a downloadable costume in Batman: Arkham Origins and an official sequel called Master of the Future.

Now, DC has brought the comic to life with one of their animated features. We got a sneak peek at the film while we were at New York Comic Con.

Putting the “Dark” in Dark Knight

Executive producer Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) was excited to talk about how Gotham by Gaslight allowed the filmmakers to do some darker things with the Batman character. “This is more of a horror story,” Timm explained. He wasn’t even sure if the movie will be PG-13 or R. DC let the filmmakers be as graphic as they intended, and Timm seemed ambiguous as to which way the rating could go. But the fans overwhelmingly shouted their approval with a loud, “R!”

But, the subject matter isn’t the only dark element. Gotham by Gaslight takes visual inspiration from Mignola’s color palette and shrouds the movie in shadow. “We tried to get as much shadow as we could,” said director Sam Liu. And that shows. The clips we saw, which involved fights between Batman, Jack the Ripper, Selina Kyle, and three street urchins names Dickie, Jason, and Tim, were drenched in dark tones. It was a far cry from the brighter clips we’ve seen in other first-look footage.

Giving the World’s Greatest Detective a Good Mystery

The most intriguing element of the movie is Batman’s investigation into Jack the Ripper. “In the comic, there was only really one suspect,” Timm said. The filmmakers broaden the cast and present even more potential candidates for Jack the Ripper’s identity.

“He’s… a cousin to Sherlock Holmes,” Timm said. It looks like the mystery element of the movie is something the filmmakers really stress. Batman is rarely given a compelling mystery to solve, but that was an integral part of Gotham by Gaslight‘s screenplay.

Gotham by Gaslight hits digital, Blu-ray, and DVD in early 2018.

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Through the Darkness, I Know Batman Always Has My Back

After witnessing a friend’s death, I went through a very severe depression. Everything I did seemed to make my life worse, and I couldn’t find a light at the end of the tunnel. It was one of the darkest points in my life. But when someone recommended I read the Batman: Hush story, I began to find something outside of myself that helped me gain the strength I needed to move forward.

Batman Is Just a Man


Most of Batman’s appeal for me is that he is just a man. He’s not an alien and he doesn’t have super powers. Instead, he used his inner strength to become disciplined and strong and he uses that strength to overcome any adversary. Ultimately, though, Batman is just a guy.

Understanding this strength in Batman helped me when I needed it most. Feeling lost after my friend had passed, I needed something to relate to. So, when I was reintroduced to the Batman comic books that I’d loved as a kid, it helped me delve deeper into a character who had lost his parents by similar means to that of my friend. I stopped feeling so alone.

Here is a guy who used this tragedy as a source of strength to make something more of himself, I thought. I can do the same thing so my friend’s death isn’t for nothing. Of course I knew Batman was fictional, but it was the idea of using his pain to grow stronger that really helped me during those dark days.

The Comic Book Store


Since my friend’s death, leaving my house had become a struggle. But after reading Batman: Hush, my love of Batman was rekindled, and I needed to read and learn more about him and find out what new stories I should read next. And to do that, I knew it would mean I’d have to venture outside.

When I found a local comic book store in my area, I knew what I had to do. Instead of sitting in isolation, I had to reach out to others, leave my comfort zone, and meet new people. I had to go to the comic book store. This was yet another blessing that Batman gave to me.

The people at the store were bigger fans than I was, so I started to feel comfortable talking and theorizing with them about Batman’s stories. They allowed me to open up without judgment and they understood my connection to him. Over time, these people helped mold me into the person I am today.

Batman’s Got My Back

Batman hush

Years later, I realized what a gift I’d been given to have found the Dark Knight during my darkest hour. To mark this point in my life, I decided to permanently show my appreciation for the character who had helped me get out of a hole and kept me out.

So, in 2010, I marked myself with a tattoo on my back of a panel from Hush showing Batman emerging from the shadows. It was the perfect representation of how this story helped me emerge from my darkness and a reminder that Batman will always have my back. No matter what situation I am faced with, I know I’m strong enough to come out the other side.

The post Through the Darkness, I Know Batman Always Has My Back appeared first on Fandom powered by Wikia.

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Adam West, ‘Batman’ Star, Dead At 88

Longtime actor Adam West died Friday night, June 9, at the age of 88. He famously played the title role in the 1960s television series “Batman.”

A rep confirmed to Variety that the actor died after being treated briefly for leukemia.

“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” said his family in a statement.

The West family also tweeted from his account:

West remained a working actor until his death, notably with recurring voice work for animated projects such as “Family Guy” and “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.”

On “Family Guy,” the actor voiced a character with his own name. “Adam West” seemed to be immortal no matter what medical catastrophe came his way. A memorable moment from the show involved a doctor telling West he had lymphoma ― “Probably from rolling around in that toxic waste.” The doctor goes on to ask, “What in God’s name were you trying to prove?”

West’s response, “I was trying to gain super powers.”

The actor also made cameos as himself on shows like “30 Rock” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

Over the past 50 years, he never fully retired his role as Batman, voicing the character as late as 2017 in the upcoming video “Batman vs. Two-Face.” Since the original show, West also appeared in various non-lead roles in the “Batman” series.

West’s “Batman” is now remembered as being comically over-the-top, as he was in relatively low-budget action sequences and often uttered cringe-inducing dialogue. Perhaps the most famous line from the series was when West yelled, “Quick! To the Batmobile!”

The actor embraced the humor of his take on the Dark Knight throughout the rest of his life. In 2006, West appeared on the game show “I’ve Got A Secret” and revealed that he even got a “tattoo” of the Batman logo on one of his teeth.

West graduated from Whitman College as a literature major. After being drafted into the United States Army, he got a gig as the announcer for an internal television service for the military called the American Forces Network. It wasn’t until 1959 ― when West moved his then wife and two children to Hollywood, California ― that he took the stage name Adam West, adapted from his given name, William West Anderson.

After moving to Hollywood, West secured small roles in numerous shows and movies, many of which were Westerns. But when he landed the role as Batman about a decade into his career, West became extremely famous.

Once the original run of “Batman” ended in 1968, West had a bit of a lull in his career, with serious work being hard to come by. To support his family, he had to do “things that I wasn’t very comfortable doing,” the actor explained in the 2013 documentary “Starring Adam West.” He had exploit his fame for money with celebrity event appearances and risky ventures, such as a daredevil stunt where he drove a car through a truck.

West’s persistence eventually started earning him more comedic roles, though, as he embraced the love fans had for his zany Batman.

In April 2012, West was finally awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To begin his acceptance speech, West addressed the crowd as “citizens of Gotham.”

The actor is survived by his wife, Marcelle Tagand Lear, whom he married 1970. West has four children over three marriages ― Hunter Anderson and Jonelle S. Anderson with his second wife, Nga Frisbie Dawson, and Nina West and Perrin West with Lear. West also has two stepchildren from the Lear marriage, Moya and Jill.

The Robin to his original Batman, Burt Ward, is now 71.

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‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ May Be Game Of The Year — But There’s One Big Problem


Batman attempts to deactivate an exploding collar on Catwoman in “Arkham Knight.”

Months after GamerGate first set video game culture ablaze with unbelievable resistance to the idea of feminist perspectives in the gaming industry, we have a new title that features some of the most compelling female characters in pop culture. “Batman: Arkham Knight,” which came out Tuesday, spotlights Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Oracle and Harley Quinn in major roles. But while these women are often represented as strong, independent and able in other media, their featured roles here often tell a different story: They are damsels in distress.

Many, many people will play this game, if previous entries are any indication. The last main title in the series, which has a couple of spinoffs, sold over 5 million copies. And that aside, “Arkham Knight” is actually an exceptional game taken on its own merits: It is devoted to a cohesive aesthetic and narrative in a way few other games are, the set pieces are compelling and it’s brimming with things to do. One moment you’ll be studying the microscopic details of a crime scene, and five minutes later you’re dodging drone fire in the middle of a populated city street. It all feels crunchy and good.

“Arkham Knight” will likely earn accolades as one of the standout titles of the year — it already holds a 91 on Metacritic — and that is precisely why its sins should not be ignored.

(Note: The text that follows contains some spoilers for the storyline in “Arkham Knight.”)

poison ivy
Poison Ivy appears in “Arkham Knight” with a barely-there shirt and a mossy crotch.

It’s really no big secret that gaming and tech are male-dominated industries, even if consumers are split basically down the middle in terms of gender. Plenty of people will play “Arkham Knight” and probably ignore its oftentimes troubling presentation of women — perhaps that’s simply because the game is exciting, and as soon as you settle into a moment, something explodes and you’re off to something else.

But others will play the game and feel offended. Or disgusted. Or threatened. Or simply unwelcome. Even if those people were outnumbered 100 to 1 in a population of 5 million customers, it would be worthwhile to examine why and do better next time. Because here’s the trouble with “Arkham Knight”: It is a great game tarnished by its dreadful depictions of certain characters and situations.

arkham knight
Poison Ivy is held hostage in “Arkham Knight.”

The baseline problem with “Arkham Knight” is that instead of taking opportunities to depict strong women, the game makes them weak. For the most part, the female characters suck.

When you first come upon Poison Ivy early in the story, she has a gun to her head. You rescue her, and then you lock her in the back of the Batmobile and drag her to police headquarters. Later in the game, Batman determines that Ivy can communicate with — literally — a big old tree that could counteract the effects of a chemical weapon that Scarecrow intends to detonate somewhere in Gotham City. So Batman hauls his way back to lockup and drags her back to the Batmobile like she’s a petulant child. Poison Ivy is basically a power-up for the player to collect, like a mushroom in “Super Mario.”

She is barely wearing clothes throughout the entire ordeal.

arkham knight
“Arkham Knight” recreates a troubling scene from “The Killing Joke” in which Barbara Gordon is shot and paralyzed by the Joker.

Catwoman, often portrayed as Batman’s equal, fares no better. Like Ivy, her storyline begins in custody. Her outfit is unzipped enough to show a massive slice of cleavage. Why? Because Catwoman is “sexy” and it’s apparently hard to portray sexiness without showing boob?

The Riddler has strapped her to a chair, and Batman is called to rescue her. You arrive on the scene and find that there’s an entire ordeal required to free her: Riddler has fitted her with a choker that will explode unless you deactivate a number of locks. The gameplay sometimes has Batman and Catwoman working together — you can switch between them at points — but the pattern almost invariably requires Batman to complete some feat of cunning, force and reflexes while Catwoman bums around in a locked chamber. Her liberation is essentially a prize for you, the player.

Things are absolutely worst for Oracle, a hero in a wheelchair who assists Batman remotely. To detail her storyline would reveal much about the largest plot points in “Arkham Knight,” but things do not go well for her. An incredibly problematic storyline from the comic books is retread in vivid detail: She is abducted and maimed and exists almost entirely in this context to stir angst in the featured male characters. Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred fret over her like a baby missing from the crib.

harley quinn
Harley Quinn steps up.

These are not failures from a gameplay perspective. But they are artistic missteps, awful quirks that will make this game — and perhaps all video games by extension — seem incredibly stupid to any critical thinker who may have thought to give “Arkham Knight” a try.

This game does not exist in a vacuum. It arrives at a moment when women are still being shut out of the gaming and tech industries to the point where many are even looking for work elsewhere. It is bizarre that “Arkham Knight” both includes many women and diminishes them so plainly.

All of that said, there are some important caveats. First: Harley Quinn — Joker’s deranged on-again, off-again girlfriend — is actually kind of cool this time around. Her character design in “Arkham City” (NSFW) was incredibly sexualized and seemingly intended purely for the male gaze. (For an interesting discussion of this very topic, listen to episode 58 of the lovely “Isometric” podcast.)

Here, Harley Quinn’s decked out in a pretty serious tutu and barks orders at a bunch of armed dudes. She’s more covered than not. The whole thing struck me as fairly whimsical and a step in the right direction, even if it’s not a perfect representation.

And no one can argue that the comic book source material is free from cheesecake. There are, in fact, many comics featuring these characters that are several orders of magnitude more sexist than “Arkham Knight.” Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn in particular are often exploited for sexy fluff, as this page from “Harley and Ivy #2” shows. It’s by the great Paul Dini and Bruce Timm:

poison ivy

But there’s a major difference between this comic and something like “Arkham Knight” — something that maybe isn’t so obvious. This Poison Ivy could be appealing to men and women alike. The entire miniseries is devoted to Harley and Ivy wreaking havoc on their own terms — it’s “sexy” more than “sexist.” They actively and successfully strike back against the forces that oppress them. They aren’t seeking the approval of men, and they certainly don’t need a player to rescue them.

And not that we need an eye for an eye, but the two ladies also take a second to objectify some dudes in the third issue:

harley and ivy

It’s ostensibly fun for everyone. And that’s what we could use a little more of in these games.

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Josh Hartnett Lost Out On Another Role Because He Passed On ‘Batman’

Josh Hartnett regrets passing on “Batman,” but not for the reason you may think.

Speaking to HuffPost Live on Wednesday, the actor explained that he’d met with Christopher Nolan while the director was casting for the 2005 installment, but he’d actually hoped to discuss his next film, “The Prestige,” instead.

“[‘Batman’] was not what I was interested in,” Hartnett recalled. “I really wanted to convince him that when he did the ‘The Prestige,’ maybe hire me.”

“And then, of course, as time went on, he ended up hiring the guy who he hired to play ‘Batman’ to play in ‘The Prestige,'” Hartnett continued, referring to Christian Bale.

The experience served as a teachable moment for the “Penny Dreadful” star.

“I realized much later that this is a relationship business,” said Hartnett, adding that he “regret[s] not forming a relationship with a great filmmaker [Christopher Nolan].”

“That was not necessarily where my head was at the time,” he concluded.

Watch more from Josh Hartnett’s conversation with HuffPost Live.

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Jaden Smith Wore A White Batman Costume To Kimye’s Wedding

Yes, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding was an over-the-top, star-studded circus, but Jaden Smith was strangest sighting at the affair.

Seriously, the kid wore a white Batman costume — at least to the reception, anyway. If you think we are joking, look no further “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis’ Instagram photo, in which he and Kourtney Kardashian were photobombed by “white Batman.”

Francis and Kourtney weren’t the only people he photobombed, either. Family friend and hairstylist, Clyde Haygood, also posted an a photo of the 15-year-old swooping in on his snapshot with Kris Jenner, which he captioned, “And then…. This cRaZYyyy #albino #bat flew in… “

We’re thinking maybe Smith’s rumored girlfriend Kylie Jenner has a thing for superheroes, because a source told E! News the two teenagers were actually seen “making out” following the wedding ceremony at Forte di Belvedere on May 24. And let’s just say, it’s not the first time we’ve seen Smith in a superhero costume while he’s been hanging out with Jenner.

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