Going Through My Graphic Novels: Cull or Keep? (SPOILERS)

I've got rather alot of graphic novels, most of which sit on my bookshelves or in boxes in my closets from one year to the next, never being looked at. So, I've decided to go through them all, re-reading each one and deciding whether to keep it or to cull it. Culls will be donated to the local public library.


As I re-read each one, I'm going to try to present my impression of each one, and then announce the verdict: Cull or Keep?


There will be spoilers here, so beware. I most likely won't read one every day, but I 'm going to try to keep up a steady pace.


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The Elseworlds tended to vary in quality a bit.
That's true. "The Dark Knight Returns" was really an Elseworlds (although DC hadn't thought that far ahead at the time). "Hawkworld" SHOULD have been an Elsworlds; it messed up continuity big time. "The Killing Joke" should have retained it's originally intended ending and been presented as an Elseworlds.
What was the originally-intended ending?

Supposedly, when the Joker and Batman share a laugh at the end and Batman reaches out to use the Joker as support, he casually snaps his neck. (I read about it on this board and assumed you had, too.) It was presented as something of an urban legend (that Brian Bolland’s artwork was altered in such a way as to obscure the intended ending), but the ending as printed never did make much sense to me and this ending makes so much sense that I want it to be true.

I've been trying since last night to delete a post with an error I noticed as soon as I posted it.

Strangely it works here but still can't delete the other post. Maybe anything posted while the bug is active can't be changed?

I found a page that discusses The Killing Joke conclusion issue here. It has an image of the final page. I've read that Moore's scripts were very detailed, so the details I'm about to discuss might all stem from him. I think in the fourth-last panel the Joker offers Batman his hand, and Batman doesn't take it. The laughter stops in the third-last panel because that means they're still enemies. The dirt in the third- and fourth-last panels is a mound that is being gradually covered by the rising water. In the final panel it has been completely covered because time has elapsed. The light is gone because everyone has departed. The rising water symbolises the rising danger, and the disappearance of the light reflects the Joker's joke. The idea is Batman offered the Joker a way of escape, but when he refused to take his hand cut it off before the Joker got across, so they're still heading towards the end Batman talked about at the start.

I can't adequately read the ground in front of the Joker's feet in the third-last panel. My best explanation is it's a bit of footpath. I mention this because it may mean I'm missing something.

Read another Elseworlds, this time it was Speeding Bullets, by J. M. DeMatteis and Eduardo Barreto. In this one, baby Kal-El is found by the childless Thomas and Martha Wayne, and becomes Bruce Wayne, and later, Batman. Meanwhile, Luthor becomes the Joker after an industrial accident.

This one's fairly amusing, an interesting mixture of the Batman and Superman legends.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Next was At the Mountains of Madness, an adaptation of the H.P.Lovecraft story, done by I.N.J Culbard. This one is OK, but not amazing, especially compared to Nemo: Heart of Ice. The art, while not bad in and of itself, doesn't suit the materila that well, to my mind.


Cull or Keep?:  Cull.



After that I read Top 10: The Forty-Niners, by Alan Moore and Gene Ha.  This is an excellent book, one of my favorite. You don't have to have read Top 10 to enjoy this, although we do meet one or two of the characters from that story here. There's lots of fun stuff and interesting ideas in here. The way the dealt with the vampires was especially clever.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.



Next I read Superman: War of the Worlds, by Roy Thomas and Michael Lark, another Elseworlds, in which the 1938 Martian Invasion occurs just outside Metropolis, just as another alien visitor makes his first appearance. This one is quite good, it really manages to evoke the feel of the earliest Superman stories.  The art really suits it well, also.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.


Finally, I read Enemy Ace: War in Heaven, by Garth Ennis. It comes in two volumes - the first one is illustrated by Chris Weston, and the second by Russ Heath. The art is quite good in both volumes.  It tells the story the story of Hans Von Hammer, called out of retirement to fight in World War Two. (Wasn't he supposed to have bene killed at the end of the First World War? Perhaps this is another Elseworlds.), and finding it harder and harder to fight for the Nazi regime, which he finds morally repugnant


This is a good story - about the onyl thing about it that strikes me as odd is that the Germans all use British slang and colloquialisms, which is suppose is no worse than having them all talk like the Katzenjammer Kids, but it takes a little getting used to.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Last night I read Batman: A Death in the Family, Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo and Mike De Carlo.  This reprints  Batman #426-429.  This is the famous story in which Jason Todd got killed off, which was  a big deal once. It's not a bad story in and of itself, and the art is real nice, but it's all overshadowed by the memory of the big sales gimmick DC did whereby fans were encouraged to call in to determine Jason's fate. Did anyone here call in at the time? I know I didn't. It all seems so long ago now.

Cull or Keep?: Keep, for its historical significance as anything else.

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