I wanted to write a rant yesterday about comic book to movie adaptations, and why no one can seem to get it right. They never can just stick with the plot, always got to diverge either a little or a lot. However, I wasn’t feeling ranty enough to do it, and then in light of Heath Ledger’s death yesterday afternoon, I definitely wasn’t feeling up to the challenge. (For those who don’t understand the connection, Heath Ledger will be The Joker in “The Dark Knight” (new Batman movie) which comes out this summer. They had already completed filming, so it will be his final role.)
So now the focus of my rant has shifted a little bit. There were some very early reports that this was a suicide, brought on by having played such a disturbing character (namely, The Joker). So the comic book genre suddenly is blamed for someone’s death. Later reports seem to suggest that a) it may not have been a suicide, and b) that it wasn’t just the role of The Joker that may have been preying on his mind. Heath Ledger also recently finished making a movie about Bob Dylan, and he was quoted as saying that the Dylan role had also been rough on him, to the point where he wasn’t sleeping well.
I REALLY wish people would not try to blame things like this on comic books, however. That goes for any mass media, really. Movies, video games, music, whatever the case may be, generally speaking aren’t going to make a normal average person do something crazy. Generally speaking, if someone does something crazy, they were probably not entirely stable to begin with. The influence of the mass media is not likely to have been the tipping point. Seriously.
I know this isn’t the case for everything, but too often mass media becomes the scapegoat. While there are definitely portions of mass media that bother me, even those parts don’t necessarily deserve the bad rap that they so often receive.
All this being said, I think that Heath Ledger’s death, whatever the cause/impetus, is a tragic event, just as the death of any person would be a tragic event. We just see the tragedy up close and personal when it’s a celebrity, whereas when a random person dies, we don’t see it as much.
(*steps off soapbox*)