BY TERRYL ASLA
BREMERTON—This is a story about a Marine veteran with a big heart and a really big smile.
Zane Iiam is a 5- year-old boy who loves to play Batman. Zane also has Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Next week, he starts chemo. After that, he’ll need surgery for a tumor in his abdomen and another inside the base of his skull.
When members of ArtSLAM Studio, a nonprofit Silverdale artists’ cooperative, learned about Zane’s case, they decided to provide him with a real-life Batman adventure.
But a super hero needs a super villain.
Enter Tylr Taylor, aka “the Joker.”
Taylor, who served eight years in the Corps as an assaultman, was already building props for the event when they asked him to also play Batman’s arch-nemisis, the Joker.
“I couldn’t say no,” Taylor said. “I have a five year-old of my own. I couldn’t have looked him in the eye for the rest of my life if I didn’t do it.”
So, on Aug. 27, at 10 a.m., the Joker and his moll, Harley Quinn, “robbed” CJ’s Evergreen General Store & Catering, 1417 Park Ave., Bremerton, just as Zane and his family were walking by.
Cue the Batman.
While a volunteer band banged out the Dah-dah-dah theme from the 1960s Batman TV show, up rolled the Batmobile, a sinister black Polaris Slingshot from Cliff’s Cycle Center. With Zane and his mother riding shotgun, Batman set out in hot pursuit of the bad guys, whose car had conveniently stalled across from Evergreen Park.
“Curses. It’s Bats!” declaimed the Joker.
What followed was a Hollywood-style stage fight that gave Taylor an opportunity to demonstrate the value of Marine training as he alternately flew into the air and (literally) cartwheeled across the lawn.
Afterwards, a handcuffed Joker, surrounded by two Bremerton police officers, watched as Mayor Patty Lent presented an over-whelmed Zane with the key to Bremerton and Batman gave him the key to Gotham.
Then children and adults alike lined up to have their pictures taken with the comic book character trio and wish Zane and his family well.
“Zane has chemo next week,” said Zane’s mother Teramy Hurt, who is the general manager of the Poulsbo Jack in the Box. “Then he has surgery next month. We take it one day at a time, it’s all we can do.”
To help with medical costs, ArtSLAM Studio had artwork for sale and had a raffle, with all of the money going to Zane, according to ArtSLAM artist Angela Kartischico. She was the one who first brought the idea to the studio’s nonprofit board and managed the event.
Likewise, the Kitsap County Pacific Islander Festival, which was also on Aug. 27 in Evergreen Park, donated the proceeds from their raffle to Zane. The Bremerton Police Beard Fund (officers make donations if they have beards) for August is also going to Zane — about another $350.
Individuals who wish to help can make donations to Zane and his family by donating online at www.gofundme.com/HelpZaneFight.
BY TERRYL ASLA