Monday, August 15, 2011

Blogathon 22: Put on Your Tights and Give Them Hell Part One

[Beginning my discussion of The Dark Knight Strikes Again.]

I wonder how many people who claim now to have loved The Dark Knight Strikes Again when it came out actually did. This book went from hated on release to slowly loved. There are still detractors but seem more rare than fans by this point. Of course, saying that, I immediately call into question my love for the book when it was being released. But, it's true. What wasn't to love? It was loud and crude and fun and funny and had a completely insane badass Batman breaking superheroes out of weird jails before they all ganged up on Superman and kicked his ass. What 18-year old wouldn't love that?

Miller's art is almost grotesque here and that only adds to the book. He's got that grotesque beauty thing down pat. It's messy and cartoony. Like a twisted animated series look at times. Like someone who does the DC TV shows got drunk one night and just went at it. Okay, maybe not. But, the dynamic nature of the characters -- Catgirl basically flies off the page! And she went from Robin to Catgirl! That's so insanely dumb! His page layouts are insane, just tossing panels wherever he wants before going to these wide open pages. It's a comic meant to be read quick and it speeds you along.

Superman goes from pawn of Reagan to pawn of Luthor and Brainiac. Or was that always the case? Being a Batman fan, I always liked the way Miller slapped Superman around a bit. The most pure so easily corrupted? Before, it was a sacrifice to save his fellow heroes; here, to save Kandor. The answer was always obvious: stand up and be a man about it, and actually save people instead of surrendering. Superman jumps to play the martyr almost.

The stuff with Robin made the choice of All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder an odd one in a way. Though, I still say that that book is to Year One what this is to The Dark Knight Returns with Spawn/Batman as the middle ground. Everything turns on that axis. My favourite Joker Robin costume gag is when he kills the Creeper dressed as Spider-Man right before the Question gets into an argument with the Martian Manhunter.

This book is so steeped in love of superhero comics and celebrating their brash stupidity. Miller loves them, but doesn't take them seriously. You can do both. The computer colouring is meant to be a little garish and ugly, a little overwhelming. Four colour adventures gone digital is the name of the game!

It's loose and fast and so full of energy. Maybe The Dark Knight returns is better technically, but this is the one that I'm more likely to grab and flip through.

In 30 minutes, I get my shit together a bit and begin talking about how this book relates to The Dark Knight Returns.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative! (Details in this post.) After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]