I have waited for this week for around twenty five years.
Right from the time I would beg and beg my dad for three rupees on Saturday mornings to buy second-hand comic books from the comic book-wallah who set up shop in front of our school.
Tattered comic books that smelled of another reader, from some other time.
Our room (I never had my own room till I was in high school) had a corner stool that was stacked with Iron Man, Spiderman (the only two Marvel titles I had read back then) Blue Beetle (yes he is another DC hero), Booster Gold, Aquaman, Wonderwoman (mom took some offence with her skimpy dress, initially) Justice League and of course, Batman & Superman.
It always amused me how the one title I would go for would always, always be priced one rupee above my budget. If I had three rupees, the book that I wanted would cost four. If I had four, the book that I wanted would cost five. And five rupees I never had. So all I could do was bargain hard with the book-uncle and pray that none of the typical rich kids took fancy to that title.
I remember how tears streamed down my eyes as I silently sobbed after hearing on national news that Superman had died battling Doomsday (Yes! This news was broadcast on Doordarshan, in around 1992; it was that big). To my eight year old mind, superman was one of the fundamentals in life. Incorruptible, unbeatable and indestructible.And it hurt when something that I had believed in (with absolutely zero pinches of salt) turned out to be wrong (this is the grown up explanation. Explanation circa 1992- Superman died??!!) It was a new story arc where superman was killed in battle with some super-monster. There was no way one could get access to an entire story arc. Not then. Not in Kolkata. Not with the means I had.
I remember following up with my parents to search for the Doomsday vs Superman series in College Street. College Street, where you could get any book that has ever been published. I’m sure mom did try a couple of times at least. But then College Street is a treasure trove of second hand books and naturally, a new Superman story line that was published right then needed to be imported to India, read, kept and sold to reach College Street.
So, during these times, the first two Batman movies were out and I had watched them on rented VHS. After having watched Christopher Reeve ace it out as Superman. Of course I was blown away. Completely. That was when I began sketching Batman and Superman.
Soon I was gifting these sketches to my friends. Soon I began manipulating the figures that I sketched into fighting one another on paper. It was simple. Just replace the goon with another superhero. And in no time I had Batman fighting Superman between the pages of my school diary, at the back of my maths exercise book, on question papers during exams.
And I dreamt of them. I dreamt of the entire Justice League. I dreamt of watching them on screen, all of them, battling some unknown super threat from across the universe.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a movie for me. It is my entire childhood. It is that dream. Good or bad, it is going to come true. In cinemas. On March 25th.