A comic interlude

Holy rubbish newspapers, Batman!

Since I'm not going to be around for a while, I'm going to recommend something for you to read in the time you might usually spend reading my nonsense. I'm not linking to other blog posts this time - you should be reading the ones I link to anyway, you slackers.

I read comic books, but I understand not many people do. If you haven't read any comics at all for a while (or ever) though, do yourself a favour. Find your local comic shop and pick up the new 'Batman and Robin' comics - the third issue's about to be released (if it hasn't been already) and you should still be able to pick up number 1 and 2 at the same time. There are other comics that go around the story (look for the Batman: Reborn logo on the top right if you're really interested), but they're not essential, and to be frank, none of them are as good. 'Batman and Robin' is the most fun I've had reading anything in ages. And I mean anything. And I mean ages.

It can be a bit of a pain in the arse to pick up a superhero comic if you're not familiar with them. Decades worth of backstory that you don't know about can make them confusing and just want to forget the whole idea as you're just left thinking 'who's that man? Why has he got a great big hand? Why are there lines coming from that lady's eyes? Why does that one with the blue face keep looking at the big chested woman funny?'. The advantage of the new 'Batman and Robin' is that it's new!

You know the characters of Batman and Robin, right? Here's all you need to know about backstory of the new story - with minor spoilers that only ruin what comes before the first comic.

*sort-of spoilers start*

Bruce Wayne (the original Batman) is dead. Okay, he's probably not and he'll probably come back and blah blah blah, but that's not important. Bruce Wayne is dead, and the original Robin has reluctantly taken over as Batman. (He's been calling himself Nightwing for about 25 years and had his own comic for ages, but that doesn't matter either).

Bruce Wayne's son has taken over as Robin. Yes, Bruce Wayne has a son - it was news to me as well. He's turned up recently at around ten years old after being raised by master assassins, so he can handle himself. And I did say assassins - I said this was fun to read, didn't I? It's a comic-book adventure, not a kitchen sink drama.

*sort-of spoilers finish*

What more do you want out of life?

And fun it is. The art is gorgeous, the dialogue is great - especially the odd campy super-heroism - and the characters drive the story in a different way than you might be used to if the last Batman thing you saw was either or both of the two recent movies.

The thing about the great big classic comics that get released in anthologies years later and talked about in reverential tones is that they normally pass me by and I don't pick them up until years later. This is the first time in a long time where I've actually bought the individual issues of anything and realised that I'm holding an instant classic in my hands.

Like I said - do yourself a favour. Have a bit of fun. And you will have fun, unless you're the sort of freak who doesn't like watching men in tights kung-fu kick circus freaks, jump off buildings and cause explosions. If you don't like that stuff - Jesus, what's wrong with you?

Look at this:


Doesn't it appeal to you? What, not at all?



Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Cool, I love comics but not read any good ones in a while, I do like series re-boots if done well so I'll be checking this out.


Five Chinese Crackers said...

Definitely worth a look. Don't get it mixed up with the godawful Frank Miller 'All Star Batman & Robin (which he now claims is satire to explain why it's so bad).

Bit disappointted to find that Frank Quitely's only doing the first three issues.

FlipC said...

Looking at the last link I thought "Doesn't Batman look like Midnighter from The Authority?" A quick search and yup same artist.

So if you're appreciating the art that might be another selection for you if you haven't gone there already.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Cheers FlipC. I've been kind of obsessively searching for stuff by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely and gone back to the old Authorities.

All Star Superman (I don't normally like Superman at all) and We3 are both excellent - with We3 marking what looks like a definite change in quality of art and storytelling from Quitely.

I've gone all geeky now, but it's really, really good stuff. I've had a blast over the last couple of weeks reading these things.

Andrew Hickey said...

They *are* fantastic comics aren't they?

I'd say the current Detective run is as good though. Writing's only pretty good, but JH Williams' art is superb...