Monday, December 01, 2008

Quick Thought: Tensions Between The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder

After watching the latest trailer for The Spirit, I got in the mood for some 21st century Frank Miller work since that Frank Miller is kind of insane--and very interesting/entertaining. For a while, I've been meaning to reread The Dark Knight Strikes Again since I've always loved that book. I know that's not a popular opinion in some circles, but, what, Miller was supposed to create a serious sequel to The Dark Knight Returns? Why would he do that? (It is great to see how certain interests are played out, but in different ways. The use of the media, for example, is not just different in content in the two series, but in the manner it's presented with more focused presentations in DKR and a more manic, scattered, overload style in DKSA...)

But, the real comparisons/groupings to be made here is of The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year, and of The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder... Partly for the time period in which each work was done, but mostly for stylistic/thematic purposes--and the ideas that interest Miller. (Also that Miller wrote and drew DKR and DKSA, but only wrote the follow-ups to each with DKSA acting as a sequel to DKR and ASBRTBW acting as a sequel to Year One. Also that the first group is quite serious while the second group is more fun and absurd... Mostly because the first two were so serious and wonderful, I think.)

Rereading The Dark Knight Strikes Again, I was struck by the portrayals of Hal Jordan and Dick Grayson, and how that may relate to All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder. In the former, Jordan is held in high esteem, while he's mocked in the latter. Grayson's role is reversed, with him being a joke in the former and the kid sidekick apple of Batman's eye in the latter. Does DKSA provide "spoilers," in a way, about the direction of ASBRTBW?

Just a quick thought. Although, at some point, I think I'd like to do a comparison between The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Kingdom Come since their approaches are oddly similar yet very, very different.