The Mylestones – The Joker

There’s talc on the floor. A bag of ‘blues’ in your pocket, or so you like to think – dexys, mandys, but mainly ripoff caffeine pills. Door receipts are down – times are lean, leaner than the waists. Even the youngest acest faces are deep lined, adorned with feather cuts starting ever further up the head. The tribes have had to pull together and mingle even though the soul boy purists hate it, so for you, in those socks, it’s the basement mate – ska, rocksteady, and, of course, 2tone.


Welcome to the Sock Weekender. The background is simple: various family went for a twist this Christmas, and got me superhero socks instead. How could I not share? And it’s the weekend.

These ones are my favourites – Batsocks. They’re so good it’s a shame that I tend to wear my trousers a bit long for them to be seen by anyone, and I’ve toyed, knowing it won’t happen, with turning up an inch or two, getting some grey flannel drainpipes and showing them off, like Terry Hall in 1979, I kid myself. Fact is, these are so good it’s enough for me to just know I’ve got them on.

The look of these wonderful monochrome footgloves (alternative names for the humble sock, I’m discovering, are few and far between, in stark contrast to their bumhugging cousins) while screaming of the Coventry of thirty years ago in such a way that makes not-skanking down the street while wearing them almost impossible, don’t follow the design trends that have been noted in my informal sudy of superhero-themed netherwear. Look at them again.


God they’re cool, aren’t they? Anyway yeah – look at that – that’s woven in, not some screen-print, meaning the art hasn’t been adapted from a pre-existing source. Some genius seamster has actually made that happen. They’ve done a pretty good job – The Joker is classic, vaguely reminiscent of the O’Neill Bat-era; and the man Bats himself is a solid generic type, justa touch shonky perhaps, somewhere between Keaton and Clooney. Whatever compuer repro system was used in the factory I don’t know, but does anyone else get an early computer graphic vibe from them too? Like something ripped fromthe loading screen of an old Spectrum game, the Joker’s cackle like the squeals and growls of the game loading from the cassette? Maybe that’s a retro-ism too far. Sorry, the future.

Check the lightning flashes too – they have a kind of DKR-approved provenance batwise, but the decision to use them here is pure effect, simultaneously framing and separating the faces, but also implying the classic but cliched ‘flipside-of-the-same-coin’ dynamic between the two characters, as if something as evenescent and arbitrary as a shock of lightning is all that differentiates the two arch-enemies. It’s a cliché, but a symmetry warm and pleasant to keep your toes cosy these mornings.

Call it the Ledger effect if you want*, but these socks also prove a shift in the public’s bat-consciousness – Batman and the Joker are inseperable now- no-one realy wants Batman if they can’t have Joker too – even Batman Begins had to get that reference in at the end, that off screen cameo that more than anything else whetted the audience’s appetite for the sequel. There’s as many reasons for this as there are comic blogges these days – billions, it seems – and here’s just one: The serious one, who you love, and the funny one, who you hate – that’s a good twist for today.

Tomorrow night at the sock weekender we’ll be dancing on the ceiling in our Spidey socks.

*I’m well old school, as I’m making a little too plain at the moment, so I call it the Romero effect. There was a bit I meant to mention in my Batman #686 review at the start of the week – when Alfred mimes up as the Joker, he’s still got his moustache. The greasepaint goes on top. This, the refusal to shave before letting the Clown Prince in is, as we all know, what made Cesar Romero’s performance so ambiguously but utterly threatening. The close-ups where you could make out the moustache, almost transparent under the whiteness, among the cacophonous riot of purple, green and red were the inescapable moments of pure Joker-terror that’s still got us all a-quiver.


The Jam – Batman theme

Part 2 here

2 Responses to “The great sock weekender – basement”

  1. pillock Says:

    Looks like Infantino, to me!

  2. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » The great sock weekender - loft Says:

    [...] you’ve skanked a hole in your Batsocks. It’s time to leave the basement. Head on up the stairs – feet light and stomach fluttering [...]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.