Author Topic: Batman (comics) questions/discussion  (Read 7609 times)

Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« on: July 22, 2015, 10:04:25 AM »
I've never really liked the Batman comics.  I like the films (to a point) and I like the Arkham video games, and I especially like the 90s cartoon and its followups (DC animation shits all over Marvel, sadly[nb]Exception: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes was a brilliant serialised cartoon[/nb])

I find the comics to be a little self-important with regards to the character's origins and past, more concerned with endless revisits and retreads than telling a clean, complete story.

I've read a few Batman comics - Court/City of Owls, which I enjoyed.  Killing Joke, which is quite good as a one-off. That's about it though.  Harley and Ivy back in the day, because it's closer to the cartoon.  I just tend to tune them out, the tone doesn't work for me.

SO what I'm looking for is some Batman comics that are reasonably accessible to newbies - I know a fair amount about the character, almost nothing about Robin/Nightwing/Batgirl etc, but enough that I don't need to revisit the very beginning or anything.

I'm considering getting The Batman Adventures vol 1, it gets a pretty good write-up, but I know that isn't "real" Batman.

I tried to jump on with the UK reprint books (Batman: Arkham etc) but they're just never at a point where I feel able to do so.  Always in the middle of three different stories, never at the very beginning.

If interested in helping a brother out (me) please don't just list titles, consider giving an overview and why it's good for a complete nub.  Cheers.  In return I know things about Spider-Man.

Queneau

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2015, 12:26:08 PM »
The only two pages of Batman you'll ever need to read;

http://theunfortunates.net/batman1.png
http://theunfortunates.net/batman2.png

billtheburger

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 12:52:07 PM »
How about Batman Inc. by Grant Morrison. About the franchise of global Batmen.

& you could always buy them from these guys if they are the cheapest[nb]support independent book stores[/nb]

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2015, 01:10:16 PM »
My first ever Batman comic book purchase was the 3-issue story in Detective Comics 622-624. Still one of my favourite comic stories. Bit of a random choice but I recommend it. Batman is hunting a racist serial killer while at the same time a hilariously grotesque Batman comic is doing the rounds, and it switches between the real story and the one in the comic. I think the mid 80s to the mid 90s (in both Batman and Detective Comics) are considered some of the best.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2015, 01:13:43 PM »
I remember enjoying The Long Halloween by Loeb & Sale. Nice art and more detective Batman than gritty avenging angel. They also did Dark Victory but I don't remember that as well.


Glebe

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2015, 04:15:36 PM »
I remember enjoying The Long Halloween by Loeb & Sale.

Yeah great stuff, that and Frank Miller's Batman: Year One were a big influence on the Nolanverse. Another obvious choice to seek out is Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, arty and strange with a great portrayal of the Joker.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2015, 05:14:48 PM »
Yeah great stuff, that and Frank Miller's Batman: Year One were a big influence on the Nolanverse.

I try and recommend that to anyone who liked the Nolan films and wants to give the comics a go. It's the one that I feel Nolan was going for, in terms of depicting a more realistic/more grounded Batman. There's a valid criticism of it that maybe Jim Gordon features too much, but he's such an important part of the mythos, that I feel it gets things right in that regard, the way that Gordon, having just moved to Gotham, realises the entire police force is bent and this vigilante is one of the only people he can trust to make a difference, and Batman sees Gordon as the one good guy on the force.

Year One is my favourite Frank Miller Batman story, actually. I think it is because he's not the "Bat-God" yet - Bruce Wayne is green and hasn't worked things out yet. The Dark Knight Returns, as much as I like it, and Dark Knight Strikes Again (nowhere near as good), tend to write Batman often at the expense of everyone else.

Pit-Pat

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2015, 05:17:30 PM »
Definitely The Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Haunted Knight, by the same two, is good as well, though more a collection of short stories.

I really enjoyed Grant Morrison's run, from Batman & Son to Batman RIP. It's not necessarily the most accessible, but it's good fun and definitely develops your appetite to understand the history more.

Mister Six

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 05:26:41 PM »
Does anyone know what trades (even better, what issues) I need to read to get Morrison's full Batman story? Yes, including Final Crisis... I sort of tailed off reading it (shame, because it was fantastic) and never caught back up.

Kelvin

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 07:42:50 PM »
Does anyone know what trades (even better, what issues) I need to read to get Morrison's full Batman story? Yes, including Final Crisis... I sort of tailed off reading it (shame, because it was fantastic) and never caught back up.

Batman and Son
The Black Glove
Batman Rip
Batman: Time and the Batman
Final Crisis
Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn
Batman & Robin: Batman vs. Robin
The Return of Bruce Wayne
Batman and Robin: Batman and Robin Must Die
Batman Incorporated TP (pre-52)
Batman Incorporated Volume 1: Demon Star TP (The New 52)
Batman Incorporated Volume 2: Gotham's Most Wanted TP (The New 52)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 07:56:10 PM by Kelvin »

Dr Rock

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 07:58:46 PM »
Don't be a pussy, read the stupid 60s ones where he goes into space or rides ostritches


Milverton

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2015, 03:33:35 PM »
You should probably try the Neal Adams stuff from 1968 to 1971-ish.

http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/batman-illustrated-by-neal-adams-vol-1

He rescued the Batman from cancellation after the Adam West era neatly finished him off. The Jim Aparo era is well worth a look too.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 12:38:04 AM »
It's often over-shadowed, but Alan Grant & Norm Breyfogle's run on Detective Comics(and various other Bat-titles) was terrific, and I can't believe it's taken so long to get collected. In fact, there's a hardback collection out this week, which I think might be the first time any of this material has been reprinted at all, incredibly.

Among other things, this was the run that introduced one of the best latter-day villain duos, Scarface & the Ventriloquist:



Sadly, Breyfogle had a stroke at the end of last year and hasn't been able to pay his medical bills. I'm not sure if that was what finally prompted the release of this collection or not(which has been delayed for about five years), but I hope he sees some royalties off it.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2015, 10:00:39 AM »
There's a run in the early 90s called Contagion, in which Batman faces something he can't beat via punching. That's very good but ends on a bit of a damp squib.

And of course I'll mention Hush, which is both the first and last time I bought a run of comics as they were coming out.


Is it common for comic stories to not exactly end but just lead into the next one? That's the main problem with both of those runs.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2015, 10:14:37 AM »
Yeah, they gotta keep you buying.  Gotta have that hook, really...

kidsick5000

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2015, 09:02:02 AM »
Don't be a pussy, read the stupid 60s ones where he goes into space or rides ostritches



If they are as much fun as the Silver Age Superman comics, then they are a must read (and probably more enjoyable than the dour stuff that's going on now

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2015, 09:06:35 AM »
If you like the game Arkham Asylum, Grant Morrison's 'Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth' may be up your street.  It's proper nightmarish, looks like nothing else I've seen, and has some pretty fucking nasty stuff in it.  It's a lot like that Scarecrow sequence in the AA game.

Aside from that, I've only read The Killing Joke and The Man Who Laughed.  Those are also good.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2015, 09:15:50 AM »
Funny you should mention Grant Morrison.  I read a little of Batman Incorporated and, despite being a tiny bit lost at times, I really liked it.  So I went on Amazon and bought the following:

Batman and Son Deluxe

Batman R.I.P


Apparently these are a continuous sort of narrative, though I understand that R.I.P draws from a lot of 70s Batman - some of which is collected in a trade called The Black Casebook, which I might pick up some time.

If anyone can recommend anything worth reading before/after these, that'd be cool.  Particularly where I need to go after R.I.P.  I know I could just Google it, but I'd prefer the nuance of chatting with another person.

Mainly, can someone please tell me just what the shag Final Crisis is?  That's when DC started the New 52, right?  What can I safely ignore to follow the Morrison run?

---

I love the look of those Ventriloquist pages above, as well.  Might look into that.

Queneau

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2015, 09:29:10 AM »
Nice thread all round. I stupidly started reading Batman from the beginning a few months back to see how far I could get but it quickly became apparent that I was even making trips to the toilet boring. Some seriously dull stuff in there. Some gold too. So this thread has helped. When I go back to having bags of time I will explore some of those mentioned here.

The Roofdog

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2015, 10:04:57 AM »
Mainly, can someone please tell me just what the shag Final Crisis is?  That's when DC started the New 52, right?  What can I safely ignore to follow the Morrison run?

Nope, I think you're confusing it with Flashpoint, Final Crisis is a few years before the New 52 relaunch. It's important in Morrison's Batrun in theory because it's where [spoiler]Bruce Wayne dies, or "dies"[/spoiler] and kicks off the run of [spoiler]Dick Grayson as Batman, with Damian as Robin[/spoiler], which is ace. However in practice it's skippable. There are so many characters packed into it that Batman barely features, the "plot development" you need to take away from it is covered in about 3 pages (which is about 2 more pages than the other important development of [spoiler]Barry Allen being brought back from the dead[/spoiler] gets). It was a polarizing comic when it came out and even its defenders have to admit it's incomprehensible stuff. It depends how much you can take of Morrison's mind-warping, 27-dimensional multiverse flights of fancy, really, the answer for a lot of people was "not 400 pages worth".

One thing I find weird about Morrison's run is he didn't write 'Battle For The Cowl', which follows Final Crisis. Plot-wise it's a key piece of the story but he took a break and picked the story back up once [spoiler]Dick Grayson is firmly established as Batman[/spoiler].

The Roofdog

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2015, 10:08:03 AM »
I realize none of that actually answers your question "can someone please tell me just what the shag Final Crisis is?". The answer to that question is no, no one has yet been born that can.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2015, 12:17:40 PM »


Mainly, can someone please tell me just what the shag Final Crisis is?  That's when DC started the New 52, right?

No, the "New 52" (although that name has since been dropped, being 4 years old and all), was started by an event called "Flashpoint", where The Flash time travels, fucks up and creates an alternate timeline, in which (at least the part relevant to this thread) Bruce Wayne was shot by Joe Chill, the trauma from which causes his father Thomas Wayne to become a mega-violent Batman that has no problems with killing, and Martha Wayne becomes this world's version of The Joker. By the end of "Flashpoint" though, things aren't completely back to normal, and what has been created is yet another timeline, and this is what was dubbed "New 52"

Final Crisis is another clusterfuck entirely: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Crisis

Dr Rock

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2015, 12:32:46 PM »
Everything with Crisis in the title is a pointless attempt to fuse all their different universes and timelines into one, to please OCD fanboys, and it never stays put because someone else messes it all up the next month by bringing Krypto The Superdog back. DC should just ignore that their history doesn't make sense, but they are obsessed with fitting it into a four-dimensional narrative that works for 12 seconds. It's like the next batman movie was all about how there could have been a Batman in the 60s, two Robins, 12 Catwomans and did they or did they not appear on Scooby-Doo. Its shit-boring stuff.

Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2015, 12:36:56 PM »
So is Battle for the Cowl skippable?  Can I just go "yeah, Grayson won that" and skip to B&R?

kidsick5000

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2015, 02:28:20 PM »
No, the "New 52" (although that name has since been dropped, being 4 years old and all), was started by an event called "Flashpoint", where The Flash time travels, fucks up and creates an alternate timeline, in which (at least the part relevant to this thread) Bruce Wayne was shot by Joe Chill, the trauma from which causes his father Thomas Wayne to become a mega-violent Batman that has no problems with killing, and Martha Wayne becomes this world's version of The Joker. By the end of "Flashpoint" though, things aren't completely back to normal, and what has been created is yet another timeline, and this is what was dubbed "New 52"

Final Crisis is another clusterfuck entirely: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Crisis

And they wonder why the market is dwindling.


Mister Six

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2015, 03:15:01 PM »
Funny you should mention Grant Morrison.  I read a little of Batman Incorporated and, despite being a tiny bit lost at times, I really liked it.  So I went on Amazon and bought the following:

Batman and Son Deluxe

Batman R.I.P


Apparently these are a continuous sort of narrative, though I understand that R.I.P draws from a lot of 70s Batman - some of which is collected in a trade called The Black Casebook, which I might pick up some time.

If anyone can recommend anything worth reading before/after these, that'd be cool.  Particularly where I need to go after R.I.P.  I know I could just Google it, but I'd prefer the nuance of chatting with another person.

From Kelvin upthread:

Batman and Son
The Black Glove
Batman Rip
Batman: Time and the Batman
Final Crisis
Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn
Batman & Robin: Batman vs. Robin
The Return of Bruce Wayne
Batman and Robin: Batman and Robin Must Die
Batman Incorporated TP (pre-52)
Batman Incorporated Volume 1: Demon Star TP (The New 52)
Batman Incorporated Volume 2: Gotham's Most Wanted TP (The New 52)

You don't really need to read Final Crisis, but have a crack anyway - thankfully it's pretty self-contained (and if you find it baffling, don't worry - it's deliberately written in a slightly fractured, off-kilter style).
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 03:26:15 PM by Mister Six »

Kelvin

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2015, 06:05:49 PM »
Funny you should mention Grant Morrison.  I read a little of Batman Incorporated and, despite being a tiny bit lost at times, I really liked it.  So I went on Amazon and bought the following:

Batman and Son Deluxe

Batman R.I.P


Apparently these are a continuous sort of narrative, though I understand that R.I.P draws from a lot of 70s Batman - some of which is collected in a trade called The Black Casebook, which I might pick up some time.

If anyone can recommend anything worth reading before/after these, that'd be cool.  Particularly where I need to go after R.I.P.  I know I could just Google it, but I'd prefer the nuance of chatting with another person.

Batman RIP was going to be the story I recommended to you, Madhair. It's a lot of fun, not especially "dark" and like all of Morrison's work, often very funny. The full Morrison/Batman storyline is considered one of the definitive modern runs, alongside Snyder's current, ongoing one.

Quote
Mainly, can someone please tell me just what the shag Final Crisis is?  That's when DC started the New 52, right?  What can I safely ignore to follow the Morrison run?

Final Crisis was a wider DC event that Morrison wrote, involving the entire DC universe, nearly every single character and months of nonsensical setup in other books. If you're going to read it, just buy the trade of Final Crisis and accept that it won't make any more sense if you read everything that came before or alongside it. Final Crisis is utterly mad, but makes little sense and frankly, for someone whose only just dipping into this stuff, I'd say it's the obvious point you'd jump off again. Unless you're a completionist, my suggestion would be to skip Final Crisis, read a summary of it on wikipedia, and just bear in mind that Batman [Spoiler]get's shot by the God Darkseid and appears to die[/Spoiler]. 

Skip that, but do try and read the enormously fun "Return of Bruce Wayne", in which Batman fights pirates, gunslingers, the occult and space bats. It's utterly loopy, but enormous fun.

Kelvin

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2015, 06:13:49 PM »
So is Battle for the Cowl skippable?  Can I just go "yeah, Grayson won that" and skip to B&R?

Yeah, I never read Battle for the Cowl when I was reading the entire Morrison run. It all makes sense without it. The only thing you need to know is that amongst the people fighting for the job of Batman were Dick Grayson, Damien Wayne and the second Robin, mass murderer Jason Todd. Grayson wins, takes Damien on as Robin, and at one point in the Morrison run, Jason Todd turns up with a chip on his shoulder.

Kelvin

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2015, 06:17:07 PM »
One other thing. If you do get as far as Batman and Robin with Dick Grayson as Batman, I implore you to read "Black Mirror" by Scott Snyder. It's utterly brilliant, gets under the skin of Grayson as Batman far more than Morrison's run and is arguably my favourite Batman storyline. It's collected in one trade.

Revelator

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Re: Batman (comics) questions/discussion
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2015, 06:43:31 PM »
I've never really liked the Batman comics.  I like the films (to a point) and I like the Arkham video games, and I especially like the 90s cartoon and its followups

The 90s cartoon is probably the best version of the character in any medium. You won't find anything better.

Quote
I've read a few Batman comics - Court/City of Owls, which I enjoyed.  Killing Joke, which is quite good as a one-off. That's about it though.  Harley and Ivy back in the day, because it's closer to the cartoon.


The Killing Joke is the best Joker story in the comics, so once again you've encountered the best (I also recommend Going Sane, a more modest story about the Joker going into his senses).
Scott Snyder's work I find overrated, but not as bad as Jeph Loeb, whose dialogue (exterior or interior) is full of itself, and whose mystery plots invariably end by leaving the reader feeling cheated. Grant Morrison is brilliant at high-concept stories, but less so with characterization.

Quote
SO what I'm looking for is some Batman comics that are reasonably accessible to newbies - I know a fair amount about the character, almost nothing about Robin/Nightwing/Batgirl etc, but enough that I don't need to revisit the very beginning or anything.

As others have mentioned, Frank Miller's Year One and Dark Knight Returns are seminal--the most influential Batman comics of modern times. Avoid Miller's other Bat-work like the plague.

If you liked the animated series, get Mad Love and Other Stories. You're probably familiar with the title story, but the other stuff is just as good. Paul Dini, who wrote Mad Love, also wrote stories for the non-animated comics, and those collections are worth reading (his version of Hush is better than Jeph Loeb's).

Batgirl/Robin Year One combines two solid stories that require little foreknowledge of the characters.

The 1970s Batman comics by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers are among the essential portrayals of the character and a big influence on the animated series. The best collection of those stories is Strange Apparitions, but it's out of print and best found in libraries.

For a stylish short collection, check out Batman: Ego and Other Tails by Darwyn Cooke, who worked on the animated series and created the terrific New Frontier comics starring the Justice League.

Modern Batman comics are controlled by baboon editors addicted to stunt gimmicks; I've gotten more pleasure from reading the old, classic-era Batman stories. You can start with the very first ones, collected in Batman Chronicles Vol. 1 and continue with later volumes if you wish. The artwork is crude, but the seeing the original, grim, gun-toting Batman is always a treat. The Batman in the 40s/50s/60s/70s/80s collections are worth a look too.

If you want something that's truly unusual, there's Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga--crazy mid-60s Japanese comics made after the Batman show became big in Japan.

Quote
I'm considering getting The Batman Adventures vol 1, it gets a pretty good write-up, but I know that isn't "real" Batman.

Of course it's real! It's a Batman comic, isn't it? And it's better written and drawn than the majority of Batman comics too! Believe me, existing outside the standard comics continuity is a good thing.
Also, keep in mind that the last series of comics based on the animated series were also titled The Batman Adventures, and collected in two  recommended paperbacks: Rogues Gallery and Shadows and Masks.