ClawofCat (clawofcat) wrote,

A Love Letter To My First Fandom - The Batverse

I've been feeling rather nostalgic lately for my first true fandom. I'm not sure why, but that old longing of yore has crept up on me. You see, before there was Buffy/Spike there was Batman/Catwoman and Nightwing/Oracle. Here's a brief history on how I got into them  - TV and comics brought me to fanfic - the first fic stories that made an impression on me, an it's similarities to why I heart certain Buffyverse characters and my own writing.

My love of Batman/Catwoman was an early love. When I was 6, Fox started running Batman: The Animated Series on TV after school and it was a love affair from the get go. Gotham and its crime fighting residents were dark and beautiful and twisted. Cearly content a 6 year old would enjoy (Wha?). Even at that early age, I think I appreciated the complexity of Batman - he's fucked up, he's angry, and goddamnit, he's not going to take it anymore. His is a 'verse full of characters with serious psychological Issues. It turns out I still like characters with issues! (See Buffy & Faith <3) But there was one character that stood out from the assortment of damaged and emotionally stunted adults. In the space between his demented, psychotic rogues gallery and his trusted allies there was Catwoman, who fit "morally gray" to a T. She was strong, beautiful, sexual, smart, snarky and somehow always got one over on Batman. And she wasn't bad. Not really. No evil in her heart, just in it for herself, seeking personal profit, but not interested in hurting others or world domination. And he was fascinated with her. Didn't know what to think about a woman that didn't fit into his black and white world of criminals and violence and illegal doings. Sounds a bit like Buffy and Spike, doesn't it? But with a bit of gender reversal. I admired her and, on some little girl level, wanted to be her. I remember going to the comic store with my dad and sometimes my grandfather and I would buy issues of Catwoman just so I could look at the pictures and dream.

By the time I got to middle school, I was in full comics mode. In 1999 at the age of 13 I was going through a closet and stumbled onto boxes of my dad's old comics. One such box had nearly the entire run of Batman: Knightfall in it, a seminal story arc published in 1993 where Bruce Wayne's back is severely broken by an arch villain and he has to stop being Batman for over a year as he heals. At the time this originally came out, we had bought a book on tape of the comic arc. I came down with a fever and remember hallucinating that I was Batman and woke up screaming, "I don't want to be Batman anymore!" So, Batman: Knightfall and I have a lot of history.

That first introduction was all the push I needed. I gobbled up every major Batman storyarc I could find. I'm sure between 1999 - 2005 I spent thousands of dollars on comic books. I couldn't get enough.  I skipped my 8th grade camping trip so that I could go to a signing at the now defunct Warner Brothers Store on 57th and 5th for Batman: War on Crime graphic novel that was written by Paul Dini (famous creator of the animated series, the character Harley Quinn, and has gone on to write episodes of Lost and Smallville) and Alex Ross, possibly the most successful commercial comic book artist ever. Check out his website here. His work is breath taking.  

And through it all I couldn't stop loving Batman/Catwoman. 2002-2003 marked the release of the 12-issue arc of Batman:Hush where Batman/Catwoman develop a romance and Batman reveals his identity to Selina. Plus, lots of hot kissing. A 'shippers dream, truly.

Concurrently, my interest in the Batverse expanded and, after reading both the Nightwing and Birds of Prey comics, I fell in love with the beautiful relationship that was Nightwing/Oracle. Oracle aka Barbara Gordon is Commissioner Gordon's daughter (actually adopted niece) and the former Batgirl. In Batman: The Killing Joke, which was written by Alan Moore (of Watchmen and V for Vendetta fame) and originally published in 1985, one evening the Joker catches Babs unaware in her apartment and shoots her through the spine, paralyzing her from the waist down. After her recovery, she later became known as Oracle, a knowledge resource to the superheroes. She's a computer hacker, research maven, comm specialist, etc.Her character is defined by her brillance, her inner strength, and yes, she's beautiful, too. She's such a great role model because while she is physically handicapped, the writer's never let that define her.

Nightwing aka Dick Grayson was the first Robin. If you're thinking of the kid in shortpants that was Batman's ward back in the day, it's him. What I love about Dick is he actually isn't fucked up. All the Bat characters are the way they are because of terrible traumas in their lives, but somehow Dick was able to overcome his parents murder and lead an emotionally healthy existence. I was obsessed with him. I would seek out comics where he was either shown undressed, kissing or sexually involved with other super heroes. I dare say that Nightwing was my sexual awakening, if I had to pin that honor onto a fictional character. He's a compassionate, upstanding guy, courageous, a bit of a man whore, and utterly infatuated with Barbara, though she was too scared to take it anywhere because of her own insecurities.

And then there was fanfiction. Babs and Dick broke up in the comics, but I still wanted to read about them. I used to lurk on the DCU message boards and I remember once following a link that was posted. This was in 2000. It lead my to this fic - Oracle and Nightwing by Jody Revenson. It's a really gorgeous character study of the two of them, and, well, not surprisngly HOT AS HELL. Though there's just a hint of purple prose, it's still a great fic that I thoroughly enjojyed after rediscovering it about a week ago. I encourage you all to take a peek. You don't really need to know anything about them to get this story. Something that occurred to me while reading this was certain thematic similarities to my own work - one of the character's is physically injured, another is emotionally injured, the circumstance of mutual injury creates situational intimacy that builds on preexisting feelings, which leads to sex and a certain amount of emotional healing at the story's conclusion. Hm, sounds like half the stuff I write. As a side note, my first fanfiction was a story I wrote at 14 using an original character that I suppose would now be considered a Mary Sue. I wrote her as a love interest for Nightwing and I never did post it publically. It was for this bit of fanfic that I originally met Gus, who was going to illustrate portions of it for me. Hee.

Though I don't have much interest in slash in the Buffyverse, I did slash Nightwing/Arsenal when I was a wee lass. At the time, the author 'rith was a pretty big Titans writer and I remember coming across this story by her - On Target. It's not something I would read now. What can I say? My 13 year old self was just too surprised by the content of the story to carefully critique the writing. 'Rith now writes under kerithwyn on LJ. Another standout fic I read around the same time period was Truth or Dare by Aya & Tboarder. It's a rather long story in which all the team members of the Titans (Nighting was the leader) play an epic game of truth or dare and hijinks that ensue. I was digging through some old folders last weekend and came across a printed version of this fic. It made me laugh because I distinctly remember bringing it to school with me and reading excerpts of it to my friends in hushed whispers punctuated by naughty giggles.

There used to be a fic archive called the Grey Archive, which was home to tons of comic-related smutty fic. Some years ago it changed to this weird porn pay-site, which bummed me out since there were a number of fics there that I lost, including  this epic Batverse fic that was incredible and a rather memorable porny Spiderman/OC fic where they had sex on the ceiling.

Eventually, my interest in comic fanfiction waned and I started in on Buffy stuff over at in 2002 or so. And the the rest is history. I was never part of a fannish community on LJ during my DCU years. It was all very solitary. Most of my geeking happened in my local comic store where I usually spent 3-4 hours after school every Wednesday hanging out with the owner and other patrons. Those were some good times. I even met one of my first boyfriend there!

So, I've shown you mine. Why not show me yours? What was your first fandom and, if you read fanfiction for it, can you remember the first story you read or one that made a major impression on you?

I will also happily accept recs for Batman/Catwoman or Nightwing/Oracle fanfiction. *holds out hands imploringly*
Tags: batman/catwoman, dcu, nightwing/oracle, old fandom love
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