Boy Heads to Gotham to Be Batman's Boss

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Holy long shot, Batman!

Eleven-year-old Anthony Baldwin of Orange, selected in June as the grand-prize winner in a nationwide "Be Batman's Boss" contest, is off to New York to take over DC Comics for a day.

Chosen randomly from more than 100,000 entrants, the budding cartoonist; his 19-year-old sister, Kristanna, 19; and their parents, Peggy and Dale, were scheduled to leave this morning for a four-day trip to Gotham City and a behind-the-scenes look at the giant comic book company, publisher of the Batman comic series.

"I was surprised at first that I won. But not so much anymore," said Anthony, who sent in more than 160 postcards to the contest, co-sponsored by Fox's Children's Network, which broadcasts a Batman cartoon series on weekday afternoons.

A look at Anthony's room shows that the prize could hardly have gone to a more ardent comic-book fan. Anthony has 275 comic books, and his closet is a virtual shrine to his many cartoon heroes and villains.

Anthony's closet walls are plastered with posters, cards and miniature figures of everyone from Batman and the Joker to the Incredible Hulk.

As head of DC Comics on Friday, Anthony is thinking of presenting his ideas on how things should be done--particularly how to improve the Batman character.

"I'd like to see him fight harder," Anthony said. "He doesn't get close to killing anyone. He just beats them up and they come back and get him later. He should just take care of it."

As it is, Anthony now prefers Batman's nemesis--the Joker--to the Caped Crusader.

"I like the way he acts, the way he fights," said Anthony, who is also considering a career creating special effects for science-fiction and horror films.

Part of Anthony's prize includes having his likeness drawn into an upcoming Batman comic book. But Anthony said he doesn't want his own character to have any special powers.

"It doesn't look very cool when kids do adult things," he said.

In addition to doodling in school, which he concedes occasionally gets him into trouble, Anthony creates his own drawings about three times a week. Preferring to work at night, Anthony closes the door to his room, turns up the tunes of the heavy-metal band Metallica, and just puts "whatever comes into my head" on paper.

"He just draws and draws and draws," said his mother. "He's extremely talented."

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