Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Batman stuff

My daughters have recently become obsessed with Batman. It started with them seeing the new Dark Knight Returns movies. They seemed to really like the fact that Robin is a girl in that story. That lead them to having me read them the graphic novel. I read that as a kid and I forgot how much of a slow read it is; very text-heavy. It took a couple of weeks worth of bed times to get through the whole thing. Lots of politics involved too which I hoped I wouldn't have to explain. But all my girls really gave a shit about was the girl Robin anyway.

Next they had me read them The Killing Joke because they wanted to know more about The Joker and, morbidly enough, to see him shoot and paralyze Batgirl (you have to understand that this was all during a period of about a month of them watching The Dark Knight Returns multiple times per day, having it read to them every night and asking me questions about Batman every day).

The next one they wanted me to read them was A Death In The Family because they wanted to know all about how the second Robin got killed.

That was another thing. This whole thing started (as far as I can tell) with them loving the idea of Robin being a girl. They pretend to be the girl Robin constantly now. Actually I think one of them is Robin and the other one is "The Night Beauty," some superheroine they made up so that neither of them had to be Batman. So when they can't convince me to play Batman they just use their imaginations and pretend he's around somewhere. The only problem I have with any of this is that I have to keep telling them to stop jumping on my bed and climbing on dangerous shit in the basement, which they call "training." But anyway, their obsession with Robin drove them to interrogate me constantly about all the different Robins and what happened with them all. I stopped reading comics shortly after Tim Drake started as Robin so all I really know is that one of them grew up, one of them died and then there was another one. I have no idea if there even still is.

So I read them A Death in The Family because they wanted to know about Jason Todd being killed and I also told them all about how it was a voting thing where the readers had to phone in whether they wanted Robin to survive or not and that would determine which version of the next part of the story would get released next. I think I was in grade 4 at the time when it was actually happening. Incidentally, I don't remember myself or any of my friends liking Robin. We all wanted him dead. He's almost always a stupid character anyway that usually serves very little purpose, looks faggy as Hell and adds nothing to the credibility of the main character. But whatever, modern kids seem to like him. I remember my son being a big fan of Robin when he was a kid too.

Then something strange occured to me. The Dark Knight Returns originally came out in 1986. In that story, Jason Todd is dead and Bruce Wayne feels really guilty about it. It's hinted that Jason's death is the main reason for his retirement. But A Death In the Family was written in 1988. So the idea of him being killed already existed at DC. Essentially, Frank Miller had already killed him. The whole voting thing two years later was just a formality.

Since I've been going through my old comic books and reading them to my daughters I've decided that Frank Miller is my favourite writer for Batman. Apparently after The Dark Knight and Year One, every other Batman story he wrote turned out to be absolute shit but I've never read any of them so I can't really say. But The Dark Knight Returns and Year One shit all over Christopher Nolan's movie trilogy. Granted, The Joker was pretty awesome in the second movie but other than that I just wasn't as impressed with that series as it seems everyone else was. Frank Miller is among my favourite artists for batman as well. At times his art was a bit difficult to make any sense of but ultimately it was a better imagining of the character than most. His artwork in Sin City later was much improved though.

I always liked Norm Breyfogle's artwork in Detective Comics too.

Hard to find many good examples of it online for some reason. It was awesome anyway.


  1. The first pic looks like Batman bitch-slapped female Robin.

  2. My daughter is due to be born within a fortnight. I'm banning any television that isn't Dragonball Z, Samurai Jack, or kung fu movies.

  3. I never read Batman, why is Stan Lee watching Batgirl get shot in the womb?