The other Bat-folk we want to play as in “Arkham City”

The other Bat-folk we want to play as in “Arkham City” (photo)

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Warner Bros Games is making more and more of Batman’s milieu come to life in “Batman: Arkham City.” Along with recent reveals of the Penguin and Mr. Freeze as antagonists for the Dark Knight, we’ve also heard about Catwoman falling under players’ control in the game’s story mode and Robin being a playable character in the game’s challenge maps. Then, yesterday, alternate skins were announced for the Boy Wonder, with looks from the Red Robin identity of Tim Drake, the modern-day hooded variation worn by Bat-son Damian Wayne and the 1990s animated series on display.


Well, if the developers at Rocksteady Studios can do all of this, surely they can throw a few more playable characters in “Batman: Arkham City” for fans. Here’s who we’d like to see.

Dick Grayson’s best known as the first Robin, but he created the Nightwing identity when he outgrew being a kid sidekick. He’s as good a fighter as Batman but with more of an acrobatic flair. It’d be great to see his more athletic style-and his signature escrima sticks and wisecracks-brought to life in the new Bat-game.

If Robin can be playable, then Batman’s distaff junior partner should be, too, no? Just like there’ve been multiple Robins, a few different young ladies have been Batgirl as well. Batgirl Classic is Barbara Gordon, who was actually in Arkham Asylum as Oracle, the information broker identity she assumes after the Joker shoots her through the spine and paralyzes her. Then came Cassandra Cain, a mute assassin’s daughter who came under Batman’s aegis after he fought her dad. Most recent was Stephanie Brown, progeny of yet another Bat-villain named Cluemaster. She worked as the vigilante named Spoiler, fell in love with the Time Drake Robin and then briefly supplanted him

Speaking of Robins and girl Bat-partners, Carrie Kelley was the first female Robin as far as real-world chronology goes. She appeared in the seminal “Dark Knight Returns” series by Frank Miller. She helped a gray-haired Batman wrangle steroid-freak street gangs and even survived an encounter with the Joker. In Miller’s sequel “The Dark Knight Strikes Back,” Carrie became Catgirl, an homage to Selina Kyle’s feline identity. There’s going to be a gritty, older “DKR” skin for Batman, and Carrie’s identity as Catgirl would be a nice compliment to that. Plus, she could arguably share much of Catwoman’s move set, too.

The name sounds like a joke, right? And for a while, he was. Thomas Blake was a goofy 1960s doppelganger created by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney who stopped being a big-game hunter to mess with Bruce Wayne’s alter ego. But, writer Gail Simone recast Blake as a grim loner trying to put his laughable past behind him, until a web of machinations forces him to work with other supervillains in a mercenary crew called the Secret Six. Blake’s now a true force to be reckoned with, a feral fighter who’s nearly Batman’s equal and has no compunctions about lethal force.

082311_Lady_Shiva.jpgLady Shiva
Like Catwoman, Sandra Wu-San’s a character who exists in a grey area. Generally regarded as the deadliest martial artist in the DC Universe, she’s been a contract killer for years. But, she’ll occasionally work on the side of the angels when circumstances demand it. And, because, there aren’t any coincidences in comics, she also happens to be Cassandra Cain’s mom. Nevertheless, it’d be great to play as Shiva and decimate hordes of Arkham City thugs with her cool, effortless grace.

David Zavimbi’s a new character created by comics legend Grant Morrison as part of the Batman, Inc organization. Bruce Wayne’s deputizing heroes all over the world to help combat a sinister, underground conspiracy and picked Zavimbi to represent the Dark Knights interest on the continent of Africa. Zavimbi getsaround via jetpack and seems to be more technologically oriented than most other Bat-characters. Incorporating him into the “Arkham City” game could give players the chance to try out a radically different character.

Of course, at the time of this writing, “Arkham City” is almost certainly in the home stretchof it development. It’d be surprising to see any of these characters in the game. But, if “Batman: Arkham City” does well enough to warrant another follow-up, then Bat-fans might have the chance to see of these and other characters in The Dark Knight’s next video game outing.

Have some Gotham-based favorites of your own that you want to see in a future Batman game? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.