Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Batman Meme

If, by meme, you mean a list that shows how much of a Batman nerd I am. The list came from this thread on CBR's Batman Board. It was started by a poster by the handle of Ruthless Pryde, but feel free to respond, pass it around the net, and credit me for the questions. First person to send it to Tim O'Neil gets a free comic, just because it would amuse me (and would be really interesting if he responded, just like everything he writes).

1. What was the last good Batman story that you read? If you have to go back to 1982, feel free to.

The last one I read for the first time? Hoo-boy, that's a tough one, since I don't read the monthlies and haven't picked up a trade in a dog's age (I do have Grant Morrison and Klaus Janson's Gothic arc coming with an E-Bay lot). I guess I'd say Batman/Deathblow. I haven't read Broken City, but I thought Azzarello did a good job with the character here, and the art was gorgeous. I liked the Pope and Cooke Batman stories in their Solo issues all right, but they weren't the strongest thing in either issue (Cooke did a better job with the character in his Ego one shot, and Pope's story was more interesting for his commentary on the characters via narration than for the plot).

2.What is your idea of a "good" story.

One that engages me on some level. At the least, it has to keep my interest and entertain me. At the most, it should move me emotionally and/or make me think. That's for any kind of story, not just Batman stories. As far as specifics for the character goes, I'm not the kind of person who has a firmly entrenched ideal of what Batman must be in every story he appears in, and I'm not a continuity stickler. In fact, I prefer that every creative team do their own thing with instead of writing him like Morrison or Miller did, but as even more of a jerk, which is the vibe I get from the current comics.

3. Do you have any hope for Batman or do you have any future Batman projects that you are looking forward to?

Hope's kind of a weird word when it comes to Batman. Being an icon and all, he endures. He can endure a lot of crappy stories and still be interesting in the right hands. I was hoping that All-Star would be a fun comic, but even though I share Grant and Dark Knight's affinity for DK2, the reviews are leading me to believe that it will be the first Miller penned Batman comic I won't care for. Engleheart and Rodgers's Dark Detective mini-series is another project I was thinking of picking up at some point, but the reviews have diminished my desire to check it out quite a bit. I'll probably end up reading both of them at some point, though. There is Batman Begins, which I still haven't seen and will probably wait for the DVD on... (Stony must be very disappointed in me).

4.Why do you read Batman? ( this is not meant as a scarcastic question, but one to mainly clarify expectations in the sense, what are you looking for when you read Batman?)

The character's still got a certain romantic quality for me when his stories work. I like that there can be so many different versions of him; that the Miller, Morrison, O'Neil, Engleheart, and Animated Series versions are distinctly different characters while still keeping the same core characterisitics.

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Blogger Greg said...

1. I'm reserving judgment for now because it's not done, but Lapham's run on Detective right now is really good. Some of Rucka's early issues were really good, too.

2. A good Batman story or a good story in general? A good Batman story, for me, has some detection in it. Too often, there's none, but as long as I get some, okay. I don't think I've ever read a truly great detection story in Batman, which makes me sad.

3. I always have hope for Batman. He's a great character.

4. I read Batman because of his mythic power. He's the dark reflection of Superman, and he's fighting a losing battle, ultimately. He's a tragic figure.

7/17/2005 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

1. I’m not a regular Batman reader, so I gotta go back a few months to when I picked up the trade paperback of the famed Englehart/Rogers run from the late Seventies, Strange Apparitions. While it suffers from the heavy cheese of Seventies comics and Englehart’s overwritten style, it’s dang good. It’s a combination of classical Batman with Englehart’s ideas on modernization. Sadly, the new Dark Detective miniseries reuniting those guys today isn’t all that great. Off topic slightly, I think Englehart does the best Joker of anyone: insane, vicious, and possessed of a warped internal logic that almost holds together if you squint real hard. Plus, he’s kinda funny. Copywriting fish? Heh.

2. A combination of detection, action, and adventure. A Batman story shouldn’t be a continuous slugfest, nor should it pivot on ludicrous “clues” left behind by cartoony villains. This is why I’m a big fan of Ra’s Al Ghul. Using him in a story usually requires at least a hint of all three elements.

3. He’s not going to go away, so eventually I’m sure something good will come along. I was looking forward to All-Star B&R, but it sounds like that’s a big fat washout. Pity. He’s not my favorite character, so I’m content to wait until something cool comes along. No sense gettin’ all het up now. The only upcoming DC book that has me all het up right now is the new Jonah Hex series. Now that's something to get geeked about. Man, I hope it'll be good.

4. Bats can represent the idea of a man bringing order out of chaos through the power of his mind and will. (Sounds fascist, I know.) There’s something appealing to that. Also, unlike most heroes, who defeat evil through Beating the Poo Out of People ™, Batman, when done well, uses his head just as much. The vicarious thrill readers get from the hero outsmarting the bad guys can be even greater than that of the hero pulping the villains’ heads into paste. And hey, he looks cool. Love that cape and cowl design.

7/19/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. "The Senator's Been Shot!". A team-up with Green Arrow that first appeared in the The Brave & The Bold and was reprinted in a DC Blue Ribbon Digest I have lying around the house somewhere. Written by Bob Haney and drawn by Neal Adams.

2. One where Batman is compassionate and intelligent rather than brutal. Although I liked Miller's version I prefer Batman as someone who doesn't have to resort to over-the-top violence and has a degree of pity and empathy for those around him. Most of his villains are put in an asylum rather than a prison for example, and he did adopt a kid for reasons of sympathy.

3. Yes. Batman embodies hope because he believes he can make a difference. (At least in old comics from the seventies). I have little faith in the writers now working on him.

4. I read Batman (but do not read the current titles) because I like the character when he's being handled well.

7/21/2005 09:04:00 PM  
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