This is the first Tale to be posted that features art by someone other than me. I decided early on in the development of this project that I’d have to collaborate with other artists on it. Not only was the scope of it too big for me to draw it all myself (before the story was over, if you catch my drift), but I really wasn’t going to be the best artist for many of the episodes.

I was already familiar with Rick Worley’s comix, but we “met” on the message board for BleedingCool.com (you will not find a more wretched hive of fanboys and zombies). It was in a discussion about the perennial question of just how gay Batman and Robin are, and Rick expressed the opinion that “Dick is like the third sexiest Robin.” I countered that he had never seen me in my Dick Grayson costume. Rick responded, “Yellow cape, green underwear, and domino mask? I have to admit, I saw a really cute guy wearing that at a convention once, and I kind of wanted to do filthy things to him.” I knew immediately that Rick was the perfect artist to illustrate this particular story. It turned out to be an easy pitch. So to speak.

Even if you ignore the fact that Jason here is a dozen years younger than in “Cruising the Love Boat”, he doesn’t look quite the same. Which isn’t the point. One of the reasons Rick agreed to draw this story is because he thought it would be fun to draw Batman fucking Robin, and if that means drawing Jason more twinky … cool! The essence is there.

Truth be told, I play with my appearance to fit my mood and the story too. I fictionalize people, I fudge the details of events, I hazily reconstruct things from memory, and I even make shit up in the interest of a better story. Because it’s not a documentary, it’s telling tales.

By inviting another person to do it with you, you’re giving them a degree of control. And it’s not always clear how that’s going to play out. Many people talk about “tops” and “bottoms” in sex, which was originally just a description of physical position, but morphed into an implication of who was in control, and that required the invention of terms like “power bottom” to clarify …. and it’s really even more complicated than that.

As the writer, I would seem to be “in charge”, especially since the art would come back to me to color and add the dialog. Hell, I was even paying Rick, which would make me the john and him the hustler. Ah, but the word “hustler” tells us that that’s not a simple employer/employee relationship. A hustler is a freelancer; he works for himself on his own terms. And believe me: a hustler does not simply follow orders. By giving Rick a script to draw – especially this script – I was giving a whole lot of control to him.

So that’s what this story is about here, presenting that who’s-in-control-here dynamic literally on the page. But any time you read any comic with both a writer and an artist, some of that same sexual subtext went into making it. :)

I was seriously torn about ending this Tale here, at this point. If this was a generic porn video, this would just be the setup for Scene 2, and everyone except Batman would come back tomorrow for another shoot. I know what happens next, and truth be told, Scene 2 woulda been pretty hot. And I could rewrite the plot for a Scene 3 in which the Dark Knight Returns, and I’m sure you can imagine how that would go. :)

But no. This story ends here, because this story is about the scene between cocky 22-year-old Jason playing at being Robin, and an anonymous Batman cosplayer who takes himself and his roleplaying a bit too seriously.