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View Full Version : Comics- an outsiders perspective on a trio of Batman tales



jason hissong
11-07-2006, 07:41 AM
I lent my friend my copies of The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, and Dark Knight Returns. He's not a comics reader the way we are. He's very smart. One of my dearest friends. Loves fine literature, and loved Batman Begins. Bats is his favorite cape.

Anyway, his take:

Long Halloween/Dark Victory:

The thing is, superheroes can be just as relevant in talking about all this stuff, but both those Batman books failed to discuss almost anything of relevance as well as missing the opportunity to explore the inside of one of the best characters in all of comics: Batman. That being said, Harvey Dent in the Long Halloween was spot on. Very good work on him and beyond that, the entangling nature of the mystery aspect of the books was good too. They kept you off balance, they kept you unsure of who the killer was, just as a good mystery should. Those are the strengths, but are hardly an excuse for missing the man behind the mask.


DKR:


Okay, so upon finiching Miller's Batman I feel the need to comment.

I thought it was almost across the board superior to the Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Millers Batman is so much more literary and far less arbitrary. I enjoy the fact that it digs into several important issues. These include Bruce Wayne's obsession with being Batman and his inner turmoil over it, his inner struggle with the great superhero question: do you get to a point where you render judgement about a persons mortality (do you kill Joker)? Also great was the discussion about special beings, not even people with 'powers' but people who are different (very smart, very creative, etc etc) being viewed as dangerous or frightening by society at large. Miller also asks what's the definition of independance and comments on politics by pitting Batman and Superman against each other. I mean, this is a lot of stuff and I feel like I'm just scratching the surface.

At first I was dissuaded by the smallness of the art, I couldn't really get into why you would encapsulate someone so large into something so small, but the inking was good (very dirty or grimy) and I slowly began to enjoy it as it got blown up when major situations would happen. It felt like the pulse or wave of any good story, with ups and downs here and there. It also never really dragged in my opinion. I will say I was somewhat annoyed by Robin but as I was thinking about this the other day, I've always been annoyed by Robin. He's kind of strange hero, although I liked how he served more purpose in this one, saving Bruce when his memories of being stronger made him misjudge his abilties. At least in this series, there's a point to Robin. I don't know though, I imagine there was somewhat of an uproar about this Robin since it's not the Dick Greyson story, although I take it he died in one of the earlier comics or something according the brief respites Bruce allowed himself to think about Dick in this one.

Finally, I don't think I've ever enjoyed action scenes like these. You're inside Batman's head, seeing what he's thinking, his doubts, his fears, his confidence at times. It's so much better than seeing strange sequences of hero's shouting things like "coming at ya!" or "It's clobberin time!" No one would realistically be inspired to say something like that. It's great to see those scenes picked apart so well here.

Batman has superman's number. That is sweet.



Thought it would be interesting to show an outsiders perspective.

-jason

artimoff
11-07-2006, 08:06 AM
Robin is a "she" in DKR not a "he" . Your friend isn't too perceptive.

jason hissong
11-07-2006, 08:10 AM
Robin is a "she" in DKR not a "he" . Your friend isn't too perceptive.

That'll happen.

jason hissong
11-07-2006, 09:44 AM
Interesting.

Ryan Elliott
11-07-2006, 09:58 AM
Long Hallowe'en/Dark Victory:
Well, first of all, if he's not a comic book reader, how would be know if Dent was spot-on? Second, you were ALWAYS in Batman's head. He was basically the narrator.


DKR:
Dick didn't die. He had just left. I think Bruce mentioned that toward the beginning of the book when he was having a drink with Gordon. Something along the lines of "I haven't talked to Dick in 12 years, you know that Jim."

Other than that, he's mostly right.

Jef UK
11-07-2006, 10:14 AM
Long Hallowe'en/Dark Victory:
Well, first of all, if he's not a comic book reader, how would be know if Dent was spot-on? Second, you were ALWAYS in Batman's head. He was basically the narrator.

Given multiple interpretations and 70 years of stories by a multitude of writers and through a multitude of mediums, how do you know when Dent is spot on?

Close-third-person narratives are not the same as first-person-narratives, and achieve different effects. "He was basically the narrator," can't really make sense as a critical comment, and if you are to study the work in any precise way, you would never say that.

Natty P
11-07-2006, 10:14 AM
Why didn't you give him Year One?


Are you a communist?

Ryan Elliott
11-07-2006, 10:20 AM
Given multiple interpretations and 70 years of stories by a multitude of writers and through a multitude of mediums, how do you know when Dent is spot on?


I don't. But he has even less of an idea becuase, from what I understand, he doesn't read comics heavily.

jason hissong
11-07-2006, 10:22 AM
Why didn't you give him Year One?


Are you a communist?

Because 1) I don't own it and 2) I'm giving it to him for Christmas.

Artie Pink
11-07-2006, 10:26 AM
That was pretty interesting! It's good to have a non-comic buddy really put that much thought into it!

And he will really like Year One, I bet.

jason hissong
11-07-2006, 10:27 AM
That was pretty interesting! It's good to have a non-comic buddy really put that much thought into it!

And he will really like Year One, I bet.



I agree. He puts that much thought into everything, which is why we're friends.

He's read Blankets and Preacher as well.

Dusto
11-07-2006, 11:02 AM
I think I agree with your friend on most counts. Loved DKR, read the other two but really couldn't care less about them. Of course, I don't read much DC in general, so maybe they would have been better if I knew more about Batman's rogue's gallery.

Donal DeLay
11-07-2006, 11:33 AM
So, with all those, why don't you give him Dark Knight Strikes Again, and see what he thinks of that re-imagining.


Robin is a "she" in DKR not a "he" . Your friend isn't too perceptive. His friend, when referring to "he", was talking about the past Robin, Dick Grayson.

It's clear, I think.

jason hissong
11-07-2006, 11:35 AM
So, with all those, why don't you give him Dark Knight Strikes Again, and see what he thinks of that re-imagining.

His friend, when referring to "he", was talking about the past Robin, Dick Grayson.

It's clear, I think.


Because I don't have it.

Donal DeLay
11-07-2006, 11:37 AM
Because I don't have it. You should. It's a great counter-point to DKR, and advances some of the views in the book.

The coloring isn't that great, and would have been better if Lynn Varley had used her tradition flat painting over Miller's art. As it is, you can TELL she was experimenting with computer coloring, and was dazzled by all the nifty effects enough to detract from the story in some places..

Modok Gas
11-07-2006, 11:53 AM
I thought this thread was going to be about....

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r101/negativezone/batman_and_the_outsiders07.jpg

jason hissong
11-07-2006, 12:32 PM
You should. It's a great counter-point to DKR, and advances some of the views in the book.

The coloring isn't that great, and would have been better if Lynn Varley had used her tradition flat painting over Miller's art. As it is, you can TELL she was experimenting with computer coloring, and was dazzled by all the nifty effects enough to detract from the story in some places..

I'll look into getting it.