Thursday, July 24, 2014

There's No Hope In Crime Alley

Hi there and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You! I'm Dave-El and I'm still a big groggy from the festivities of Batman Day

This week I've been dedicating this blog to the subject of our favorite Caped Crusader. 

That would be Batman. 

Today I wanted to take a look at a story that I read way back in my youth, a story that continues to be a favorite of mine and of many other Bat-fans, "There Is No Hope In Crime Alley"

Written by Denny O'Neil and illustrated by Dick Giordano, it relates the tale of Batman revisiting the site of his parents' murder on the anniversary of their deaths. But more, he's on the lookout for a particular individual. 

It seems in modern Batman stories, you can't go more than a month or two without seeing Thomas and Martha Wayne being shot dead and poor young Bruce left alone with his grief and his rage.  But when I first started reading comics on a regular basis, this was not always the case. Now I can't swear to the veracity of my memory on this but I do believe "There Is No Hope..." is the first time I had witnessed a modern telling of the seminal event that led to Bruce Wayne's destiny as the Batman.  

I may not have been quite as young as Bruce Wayne is depicted here when I read this story but I was still young enough to understand the raw terror of watching your parents murdered. What O'Neil adds here is the element of someone who took this devastated young boy in her arms and did what she could to help.

As we discover, it is this woman that Batman is keeping watch for, this woman who showed him kindness and compassion. And for the first time, I truly realized the pain at the core of Bruce Wayne that drives the Batman to do what he does. 

For the complete "There's No Hope...", click here. Thanks a plenty to the Ol' Groovester!

I've not sure what led editor Julius Schwartz to get Dick Giordano to draw this story. By this point, Giordano was no longer the mainstay inker of the Bat titles he had been earlier in the 1970's, working with Irv Novick, Bob Brown and Neal Adams. But there's a certain grounded quality to Giordano's work that underscores the reader's empathy with O'Neil's words and the actions of the Batman. So kudos to Dick Giordano for a magnificent job as well as to Julie Schwartz for getting him.  

But a tip of the hat to Denny O'Neil who crafts an extraordinary story in those brief 12 pages. When Batman finally meets up with Leslie Thompkins, we find two people shaped by the same tragedy. But whereas Bruce swore vengeance on all criminals and took up the guise of a bat to bring fear to evildoers, Leslie Thompkins pursues her work with the same kindness and compassion she gave to young Bruce.  

And through her, Batman realizes that maybe there is hope in Crime Alley after all. 

Tomorrow is an ALL NEW installment of Broken News but Batman Week continues as the Dark Knight Detective makes his presence known amongst the news headlines and over all silliness. 

Until then, be good to one another. 

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