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Batman: Where to start?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Batman: Where to start? Reply with quote

Hello there!

I have only read one Batman story: The Dark Knight Returns. I am interested in reading digging into some of the "best of" from Batman's comics, but I'm not sure where to start.

I'm looking specifically for stories that are current available in a self-contained graphic novel format. These are some I've heard of but don't know a lot about:

The Killing Joke
The Long Halloween
Arkham Asylum
Batman: Year One
Knightfall
Hush

But there are a lot more I don't know. What are the best ones? Which should I look at first?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really liked Killing Joke. Year One was good, too. I haven't read the others, but I'm sure someone here has.


You don't have this on your list, so maybe you already know, but in case you don't, Dark Knight Strikes Again is awful.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I've seen comments to that effect, yeah.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Batman: Where to start? Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:


?


Arkham Asylum is excellent. Grant Morrison does a fascinating take on the Batman villains.

I also enjoyed the Long Halloween very much. Calender Man and Solomon Grundy are done well. the story focuses on Harvey Dent (Two-Face)

Batman : Snow is also excellent. featuring Mr. Freeze and Batman gathering a team of civilians, much like Doc Savage.

also Morrison's Batman : the Black Glove. which updates the Club of Heroes.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knightfall was incredible. Highly recommended.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How accessible would you say these things are? A lot of comic book stories seem like they heavily rely on knowledge of the wider continuity to understand what's going on...
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Year One
Get that first. Live and breath it. Fantastic. It's written by Frank Miller, who wrote Dark Knight Returns. David Mazzucchelli's art is amazing. It looks a little odd and cartoony sometimes, but it's a homage to the old style. But that's only some panels here and there. For the most part, it's incredible. Miller/Mazzucchelli is the same team that did the fantastic Daredevil Born Again story.


Ten Nights of the KGBeast was a cool 4-part story that was reprinted as a trade paperback.

Legonds of the Dark Knight was a good comic. Different writer/artist teams did stories of 2-5ish issues. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman:_Legends_of_the_Dark_Knight#Story_Arcs

This is among my very favorite single-issue stories of all comic books:

Not sure how easy it would be to get, though.


All of these are very accessible.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:
How accessible would you say these things are? A lot of comic book stories seem like they heavily rely on knowledge of the wider continuity to understand what's going on...


i picked books that stand on their own as great reads. knowing more about the mythos will only deepen your appreciation.

Kingdom Come is also excellent. Julie enjoyed it and she knows little of the comics world.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
the fantastic Daredevil Born Again story.


One of the top ten best story arcs to date.

I cannot remember what they were called but there was a special stand-alone series of Batman comics that rephrased and refreshed some characters and stories. The story of which I am specifically thinking is called "Venom" and featured the military researcher who invented the performance-enhancing drug Venom and Batman becoming addicted to it for a short time after failing to rescue the researcher's daughter. The researcher had arranged her deathtrap on purpose specifically to make Batman fail--it was impossible to save her without having the enchanced strength Venom would give.
Other stores from that line included a recharacterization of The Cavalier, who was a movie stuntman by day and a fledlging crimefighter by night. He got forced into committing crimes by a slimy businessman after saving the businessman's mistress from jumping off a bridge and falling in love with her.

Two other good stories I recall:
Gotham by Gaslight--essentially steampunk Batman with Bruce Wayne in 1890s Gotham when apparently Jack the Ripper resurfaces in the United States.
Holy Terror--the United States failed to win independence from England, who retained her world power status and had conquered half the planet, placing everything under a very strict and ultraconservative Church of England that doubled as the government. Bruce Wayne, newly-ordained priest, decides that he must fight against the system that ordered the death of his parents for running an underground medical clinic. Cameos by Saul Erdel (governmental mad scientist researching people with special abilities), Zatanna as a Salem-style witch working for Erdel, and the ultra-top-secret "Green Man" project of Erdel's--Erdel found him as a child but as he got older he grew more willful until Erdel discovered a way to neutralize him. The Green Man is not who you think it is, though.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually read the synopsis of Holy Terror on Wikipedia just the other day. Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi, Venom was one of the stories in the series I told Murrin about above: Legends of the Dark Knight.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you--I couldn't remember what it was called.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all, I'm going to check out Year One first then look at some of the others mentioned.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:
Thanks all, I'm going to check out Year One first then look at some of the others mentioned.


please post your reviews. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up Year One and Arkham Asylum today. It may be months before I read them both, though.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. Very cool.


This is one of my favorite panels from all of comics.

It's obviously not the greatest artistic achievement in comics. It's the moment.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i always love Matt Wagner's art on Batman...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday I read Batman: Year One. It was interesting, not quite what I expected.

I didn't really think the Batman parts worked all that well - something about his voice didn't quite fit. But the story is less Batman: Year One and more James Gordon: Year One, really (with Batman's origins for the most part occuring off-scene), and Gordon's story was excellent.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finished reading BATMAN:THRILLKILLER the other day (at one sitting).

This was an unusual Batman story. Howard Chaykin seems to have changed all the rules as how Batman, Batgirl, and Robin, relate to each other. And the supervillian Bianca Steeplechase aka. the Joker was a new one on me - (reminded me of Ma-Ma, Lena Headey from the Judge Dredd movie).

Dan Brereton's use of acrylics isn't something I think I've seen before either. As a matter of fact, I didn't think the painting of captions worked at first. They felt too static, the action scenes looked like they were stuck in freeze frame. But when I read the dialogue at a slower pace, like taking 2 or 3 seconds per word, they soon appeared to take on life and the acrylic art became much more fluid.

THRILLKILLER is well worth checking out. I found this one in the local library so you shouldn't have much difficulty in tracking it down.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night I read Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It was an unusual one, mostly for Dave McKean's art style, and the sparseness of the story. It all seems to move very fast, and not be particularly fleshed out, but there's all sorts of symbolism in there (as Morrison makes clear in the annotated script included in this edition) that I didn't entirely pick up on. I had no idea who half the characters were, even the ones I had already heard of. (Clayface is referenced, but you're never told that the character who appears is Clayface. There's a Professor Milo I'd never heard of before whose name isn't actually used in the comic at all, so that went straight past me.)

I kinda feel like Morrison was trying to be more clever with his depictions of the characters here than he was capable of pulling off. Perhaps the very large changes that came about when his script was turned into McKean's art removed something necessary to that side of it. It's certainly a good-looking book, with a style to it I hadn't seen before.

(The plot, of course, is a very strong influence on the premise of the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. There's even a lot of bonus content in the game regarding the Spirit of Arkham, which tells the story of Amadeus Arkham created here in the graphic novel. So I knew something of the story before I began.)


I'm thinking of picking up The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween next.
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