Batman is one of those characters that keeps coming back, in new movies, in TV shows, in comics. Even as one series of Batman movies ended, another series is starting up to include him – the Dark Knight returns, indeed.
As such, the very idea of Gotham is kind of refreshing. With so many instances of Batman out there, it’s nice to sit back and take a look at the famous fictional city before the Bat. A city full of greed and crime and corruption. A city run by organized crime. A city with a frightening place called Arkham Asylum that always ran a little too full.
I’ve been working through reading many of the iconic Batman comics in recent months, like Year One, The Long Halloween, and The Dark Knight Returns. In reading those, there is a strong point made that before Batman, crime in Gotham seemed pretty mundane – there was just a lot of it. Once Batman arrived on the scene, though, you started seeing super villains, and increasingly hear the psychological argument that it’s Batman who made this happen, made the crazies take over the crime business. You see this shift in the recent Dark Knight movie trilogy as well.
And it is this idea which I think Gotham is turning on its head, and I’m not sure what I think of that. So let me lay out the progression, but then you tell me what you think – is Gotham re-writing the script on Batman?
I recently finished reading Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. I was excited to read this, as Jeph Loeb is one of the main names in superhero television, working on shows like Heroes, Smallville, and Agents of SHIELD. I also heard this comic compared to The Dark Knight, so that piqued my interest.
The Long Halloween was published over the course of a little over a year from 1996-1997, and follows the monthly, holiday-based serial killings of Gotham City mobsters. It gets Batman into his detective role, with a case that is incredibly hard to crack.
I don’t think I have too much to say about this comic, but I’ll try. More than anything, like other comics LitFlix I have read (comics with a film based on them), it is and it isn’t The Dark Knight. So many of the ideas are there, but at the same time, it is a different story. More than anything, they share one major thread: the origin story of Two Face. So read on for my review of this comic series, spoilers in tow!
In honor of Interstellar coming out today, we thought we would ask you about the writer and director – Christopher Nolan! He has become one of those names really known for making a film that you can tell is his, that makes you think and talk about it and love it. So how do you pick just one?
So recently Holly and I borrowed a friend’s copy of the famous Batman comic, The Killing Joke. I have not read many Batman comics, but Batman has ended up in more media than other heroes, so I feel still like I know him pretty well. Between different movie series, TV shows – live and animated – and excellent video games, there’s really just a lot of Batman out there.
The back cover to the Killing Joke.
But as part of taking a step back from my saturation in Marvel comics, this seemed like a great comic to read. And as a quick review, I have to say: it was excellent. Good art, good story. It had some things I’ve been missing from Batman lately – say, in the Christopher Nolan movies. Batman talking more while in costume. Crazy thought, right? And the faces of the Joker in this are really well done.
Since this comic is now over 25 years old, I guess I can treat it as though spoilers are not an issue. However, I will still try to be careful. So let me lay it out for you to consider, in case you haven’t read this comic and are thinking about doing so. I am going to introduce what it is that’s apparently the big events in this comic. The story that hadn’t been told before. Then, I’m going to consider this in comparison to a movie that I feel has a lot of similarities: The Dark Knight. And then, I want to consider the ending, which will be the most spoilery of course. Also, because we read the “Deluxe Edition” graphic novel, some of that may not have been in the original, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.
Been thinking about an interesting fact of superhero movies. They are all pulling from mountains of source material, comics and comics, which are always having to come up with new plots and new enemies as the story continues. Because it’s that or start over, right?
Usually, the heroes only have to deal with one problem at a time in the comics. There’s only so much real estate to have things going on in a monthly format like that – you focus on something, then move on to something else.
In the movies, they do something very different. They do lots of villains. Do you agree? Let’s look at a few examples! Continue reading →