Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DC Comics and Me#7

Hi there! I'm Dave-El and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog that has a brand new post every damn day! That's right, every day! That is my commitment to you to be here...

Wait, I didn't post yesterday? 

OK, it's my commitment to be here ALMOST every day with a blog post of the utmost highest quality and...

Uh, today's another one of those DC Comics and Me posts, isn't it? Where I ramble aimlessly about my days reading DC Comics? 

Let's try this again. 

It's my commitment to be here ALMOST every day with a blog post using words that will usually approximate some form of written communication. THAT, my friends, is my commitment to YOU. 


Click HERE for last week's installment of DC Comics and Me along with links to previous entries.  


Hello there and welcome to a new installment of DC Comics and Me as I continue my recollections and post-mortem of being a DC Comics reader. Today we continue with Batman

During the early to mid 1980's, I found myself having to budget my comic purchases. Funny that today in a world of $2.99 and $3.99 comic books, looking back I had to control how much I spent on comics which cost 60 cents. But I was in college and I had expenses. I also had a girlfriend and I had even more expenses. 

About this time I had stopped buying Superman because I felt I was outgrowing the character, at least in terms of how he was being presented in his solo titles at that time. 

Batman fell by the wayside for different reasons. One was that Batman and Detective Comics were becoming linked which meant a commitment to reading Batman meant committing to two Batman titles; no picking one over the other. Another thing was that both of those titles were being written by Gerry Conway.  Now I could write a whole post on my love-hate relationship with the work of Gerry Conway (and I just might but not today). But suffice it to say, in a time of counting nickels and dimes, Gerry Conway was not an enticement to buy Batman and certainly not buying Batman twice a month. Later when Doug Moench left Marvel to write for DC and took over writing Batman and Detective, I was long out of the habit of buying Batman. Then Tom Mandrake brought me back to that habit. 

Art by Tom Mandrake 
The series with Moench & Mandrake was loaded with shadows and drama. It was a full press call back to the short lived heyday of Englehart & Rogers. So Batman was on my pull list. Yes, it was connected to Detective Comics but by this point, I had a few more nickels and dimes in my pockets. 

Art by David Mazzochelli 
Sadly, this particular train ride came to end too soon for me. Batman#400 was Doug's big swan song. I still had hopes for the future. My first and favorite Batman writer, Denny O'Neil, was coming on board as editor. It was under his tenure that we got the instant classic Batman: Year One. But everything else was, to me, a disappointment. Once more monthly Batman went off my pull list and would stay off until 2007. 

The thing was I was still buying Batman but only for special projects like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Gotham By Gaslight by Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola & P. Craig Russell. At the same time I was buying Superman's 4 interconnected weekly titles without fail, the ongoing adventures of Batman did not appeal to me. Instead I preferred the stories that cast Batman outside the normal super heroics of monthly comics.

Art by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson

Art by Mike Mignola & P Craig Russell

The thing was I missed out on some really good runs during this time. Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. Doug Moench and Kelly Jones. Ed Brubaker & Scott McDaniel. But for any number of reasons, well thought out or capricious, buying Batman on a regular basis just wasn't something I was into.  

As I said, that changed with 2007 when Grant Morrison came on board to write Batman. I loved Morrison's work on some many projects for DC: Animal Man, Doom Patrol, All Star Superman & JLA. Man, JLA was under Grant Morrison was totally off the hook and nowhere did Grant impress me more than how he wrote Batman.  

Art by Howard Porter & John Dell

So I was really anxious to see how a Grant Morrison Batman series would play out. 

Art by Tony S. Daniel & Jonathan Glapion
Morrison's Batman defied all expectations by taking everything about Batman... including the weird sci-fi stuff from the 1950s and made it fit. It was a sprawling tapestry that I followed from Batman to Batman & Robin to Batman Incorporated. It was an epic that was undaunted even by a company wide re-boot. But I wasn't following Batman; I was following Grant Morrison writing Batman. 

Art by Greg Capullo

In this era of the New 52, I have Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo on my pull list. Like Morrison, Snyder is weaving a complex mythology. I wasn't sure about this Zero Year event...another extended look at Bruce Wayne's early days as a crimefighter? But I've enjoyed watching Snyder do some unexpected and clever things within the framework of Batman's long established legend. And Capullo's art continues to be exciting and daring.  

But I'm hanging on to Batman as long as Snyder & Capullo are on board. As the list of DC titles on my pull list dwindles to a smaller and smaller number, I can see using Snyder & Capullo's eventual departure as my stepping off point. 

Right now, the only other Batman title on my pull list? Batman '66. And as I much as I'm eating up what Snyder & Capullo are cooking up, what does it say about me that I find Batman '66 to be my favorite Bat book? 

It's sort of a full circle thing, I guess. A little boy watching Batman and Robin in reruns of the classic TV show then drawn to a different sort of Batman in the comics. Now, all these years later, I'm back at the beginning.  

Next week in DC Comics And Me

Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. 

Lois Lane Vs. Lana Lang

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. Today kicks off a series of posts called Lois Lane Versus. We take a look at...