A guest post by Meredith Towbin
My kids are obsessed with Batman. I’m not talking cartoon Batman (way too dark and scary violent for the wee one). Around here we’re all about the 1960s live-action series starring Adam West. All the camp, none of the gore.
Now I don’t usually watch the amazingness that is the Batman with the kids, but the other day I overheard something that made me take notice. Batman’s nemesis in that particular episode was the Bookworm. What a villain! His hideout is a library with hundreds of books lining the walls! His getaway car is a bookmobile! He rigs books to emit poisonous gas when opened! Holy tome!
As for his super villain costume, he wears a brown leather suit (to look like book binding) and a matching hat complete with a book light attachment. And to make things even MORE tremendous he’s played by Roddy McDowall (of Planet of the Apes fame). Amazing.
Why, you might wonder, is Bookworm a villain? Why would someone with such a vast and unmatched knowledge of the classics turn to a life of crime? I’ll let Batman do the talking: “I know how this fiend’s mind works. He prepares every super crime like the frustrated novelist that he is.”
There it is. Bookworm is a frustrated novelist. When his lady friend asks him why he doesn’t write his own bestseller, he freaks out and tries to clock her on the head with a giant book, screaming, “Because I have no originality!”
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that all of us writers identify just a tiny bit with Bookworm. Ever had writer’s block? Been rejected by an agent or publishing house? Trashed by a beta reader or reviewer? Don’t deny it, people. These things can get to you. They can make otherwise normal, mentally healthy people go a little loony.
So to all you Batman fans out there, I urge you: Don’t judge Bookworm too harshly. Maybe his literary agent dumped him. Perhaps for the life of him he couldn’t make his main character likable enough. It just goes to show that there’s a very fine line between a New York Times bestselling author and a totally awesome super villain.
Meredith Towbin has written two (yet unpublished) novels. She blogs about writing, her quest to get published, and random things like her hatred of schmoozing and her love for Rick Steves at www.meredithtowbin.com.