Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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They did put volume numbers on TPBs of Fables, Y-the Last Man, Sandman, Swamp Thing and other Batman crossover series. It does seem strange that in this case, they're not.

I can attest to the complexity of Morrison's Batman but I feel it is both a great achievement and a bold experiment. And I, too, am curious, CK, about what you object about them? Not being confrontational but it is always important to get another interpretation.
Doc Beechler said:
The middle books are sold that way, too. And you have no excuse...you have multiple sources which could tell you that RIP was part of a huge Batman storyline starting with Batman and Son, going into Batman and Robin, and even the end of Final Crisis. The RIP story isn't even completely finished...

And, out of curiousity, when was the last time you liked a Batman comic?

Did I? I was a patron at the library who picked Batman R.I.P. off the shelf, just like any other patron at the library ... I suppose the library should attach a flow chart and study guide along with it. Or maybe I shouldn't expect that a book that has a story between two covers would actually have a complete tale.

And when was the last time I liked a Batman comic? Oh, I don't know ... maybe just a few postings above, when I read Joker (see here).
I feel some of these discussions really suffer by not being face to face. I find some of things you and Jeff (of Earth-J) write fascinating and frustrating...I think our minds just work so differently.
And, actually, I think Morrison's DC work SHOULD have charts and study guides...
Alan M. said:
I don't entirely agree that Batman R.I.P. needs to be read within the greater scope of Morrison's Batman epic; I think it can be read on its own and understood enough on its own terms. It definitely makes more sense when read in that context, but outside of that context, it's still as approachable as anything Morrison does.

It is, I think, a continuing failure of DC/Warner Bros.' publishing arm to not do anything with these volumes to suggest that they ARE part of a larger story — even something as simple as volume numbering would help a great deal. I just cannot fathom why they try SO HARD to not give any indication that these books are anything other than standalones (which they almost always are not).


Thank you, Alan; that's quite helpful.

That being said, CK, what about it specifically reminded you why you don't buy Batman comics anymore?

Philip Portelli said:
And I, too, am curious, CK, about what you object about them? Not being confrontational but it is always important to get another interpretation.

As you both asked in such a gentlemanly fashion ...

The short answer is, they aren't writing these books for me anymore. DC's vision of who and what Batman is has gone far, far afield from my understanding of the character, and the execution of the books reflects that.

My understanding of Batman is stated here, on the old board:

"In my opinion, Batman Begins captured it perfectly, in a way that the comics abandoned long ago. Bruce Wayne is committed to protecting his city, by day as a business mogul, and by night as Batman. He does this because he has a family legacy to uphold; the Waynes were achievers who used their wealth in the service of their fellow man, and he is his father's son. The foppish playboy act is misdirection; often, Wayne finds himself undermining his reputation to further other goals (like the scene in which he splashed around in a fountain with two hotties so he could avoid telling his childhood friend what he was really up to).

But, no, I don't agree that Bruce Wayne ceased to exist when Joe Chill murdered his parents, any more than Clark Kent ceased to exist when Jonathan and Martha Kent died. I prefer Brad Meltzer's interpretation from Identity Crisis: 'People think I'm obsessed. I'm not. I chose this life. I could choose to end it. But today is not that day. Tomorrow probably won't be that day, either.' "


Today's Batman titles, plural, have no room for Bruce Wayne. I don't hold to the view that "Bruce Wayne is a daytime mask for The Batman," but today's Batman titles are entirely written from that standpoint. So Batman R.I.P., although I picked it up with an honest intention of trying to enjoy it on its own merit, such as it is, is not for me, as it's all about Batman being driven insane by his enemies -- and preparing for that eventuality by driving himself insane first.

I know nothing of Grant Morrison's Batman epic and how he makes individual tales fit within its scope. I know that some, like you, Alan, are quite interested and excited about what he does with the character. I just know that I did like reading Batman stories -- heck, I've read a smattering of stories from the '40s and '50s, a fair chunk of stories from the '60s, and practically everything from the "New Look" Batman into the '90s -- but the Batman they've been writing since the Crisis

leaves me cold.
ClarkKent_DC said:
Today's Batman titles, plural, have no room for Bruce Wayne. I don't hold to the view that "Bruce Wayne is a daytime mask for The Batman," but today's Batman titles are entirely written from that standpoint.

It's funny, because I feel like Morrison's been better overall with maintaining a healthy Bruce Wayne-ness to his books than some past writers have been. (I also feel that Paul Dini gets that characterization, too, for what that's worth.) Most exemplified back in his JLA days, I think of Batman-as-businessman working to take down the Injustice Gang as the embodiment of how Morrison informs the Bruce/Batman balance. Sure, his books are 99% about Bruce's time as Batman, but not because he plays it as a "Batman is the true identity, Bruce Wayne is a mask" narrative.

That being said, I just re-read Batman R.I.P., and I can see how you would come away from it thinking that; heck, the text pretty much goes out and says it. But the thing with that conceit in that book is that it was the bad guys, the Black Glove, trying to make him question his own identity — it was, in essence, evil-doers trying to deceive him into believing that to be true.

If you were inclined to give Morrison's Batman another chance — and I'd understand if you don't want to — Batman and Son or the first Batman & Robin volume might be more to your liking...
Whereas I don't think its fair to blame the writer for how his comics are eventually collected and marketed, it is an interesting question as to why these books haven't been nembered and sold as one story.

I think DC conceives the market for collections as split between the continuity-minded fanboys and the general readers who might be tempted to pick up a good collection of stories if it has perhaps a strong writer, a top-notch recommendation on the cover, or a single strong narrative hook.

Batman and Son and Batman RIP both have that strong hook right there in the title that would tickle the curiosity of just about anyone whose eyes fell on those covers, not just comics fans.

The Black Glove collection has that delicious JH Williams III artwork for a hook.

Anyone who is interested in following Morrison's longform story in its entirety is either amongst the pretty consistent 80,000 readers that have stuck with the monthlies from the get-go, or like I was at first, waiting on tenterhooks for each collection to be published. (They took their time!) So DC isn't interested in aiming the collections at them.

DC must have decided that for the casual reader, picking up one of these books in a bookshop, the idea that it was the middle bit of a long story might have been off-putting. That market is accustomed to picking up great self-contained superhero stories like Watchmen, DKR or Joker. That market is also possibly suspicious of continuity-heavy collections of run-of-the-mill monthlies. (Sustained non-superhero stories like Y, Preacher, Fables etc are another kettle of fish...)

In the case of Morrison's Bat-books, I don't think that's an honest or straight-shooting sales tactic from DC, but what else is new?

...it's all about Batman being driven insane by his enemies -- and preparing for that eventuality by driving himself insane first.

You hit the nail on the head with what Morrison was doing with Batman RIP, Clark, but without the context of the surrounding books, it is just the half-demented lonely vigilante part of the Batman recipe, and nothing else, and I can see why you didn't like it. Believe it or not, Morrison falls much more on your side of the argument as to how Batman should be portrayed. Batman RIP, like Azrael's tenure as Batman all those years ago, is showing modern readers that what they might think they want from a Batman comic isn't really what's best for the character or the stories.

Morrison talks good blarney about his 'modular' stories that can be read individually or as part of a larger whole, but at the end of the day, these Bat-books will take their place in the canon as one sustained narrative. There was a point along the way up to which they might have been considerred 'modular' like that, but Morrison pulled a few strokes in recent months that tie them together much closer than even the most attentive readers up to then thought they were.
Thank you, Alan and Figserello, for understanding. It is much appreciated.

Alan M. said:
It's funny, because I feel like Morrison's been better overall with maintaining a healthy Bruce Wayne-ness to his books than some past writers have been. (I also feel that Paul Dini gets that characterization, too, for what that's worth.) Most exemplified back in his JLA days, I think of Batman-as-businessman working to take down the Injustice Gang as the embodiment of how Morrison informs the Bruce/Batman balance. Sure, his books are 99% about Bruce's time as Batman, but not because he plays it as a "Batman is the true identity, Bruce Wayne is a mask" narrative.

If any writer's books are 99% about Bruce's time as Batman, how is that not "Batman is the true identity, Bruce Wayne is a mask"? That's the heart of what I'm getting at; there's no balance.

Figserello said:
...it's all about Batman being driven insane by his enemies -- and preparing for that eventuality by driving himself insane first.

You hit the nail on the head with what Morrison was doing with Batman RIP, Clark, but without the context of the surrounding books, it is just the half-demented lonely vigilante part of the Batman recipe, and nothing else, and I can see why you didn't like it. Believe it or not, Morrison falls much more on your side of the argument as to how Batman should be portrayed. Batman RIP, like Azrael's tenure as Batman all those years ago, is showing modern readers that what they might think they want from a Batman comic isn't really what's best for the character or the stories.

Okay ... but do the surrounding books truly offer what I'm after? I don't have much reason to believe that, and it sounds like I have to treat reading Batman comics like taking a graduate course in mythology, which isn't what I want either.
Okay ... but do the surrounding books truly offer what I'm after?

I guess you wouldn't know without reading them! The run certainly begins with a One Year Later attempt to bring back a more fully rounded Bruce Wayne than the demented misanthrope that we got leading up to Infinite Crisis.

However, this gets derailed by RIP, which deliberately turned Batman into a parody of what you hate, Final Crisis, which is an important chapter of the overall story (though hardly easy reading), and then Batman's subsequent removal from the stage altogether. Bruce the man comes very strongly into focus in Return of Bruce Wayne and in the wrap-up to the whole thing.

But given that you didn't like Batman #700, or what you read of RoBW (or RIP), perhaps it's Morrison's whole approach that isn't doing it for you...

As for the mythology, yes we often use that kind of language to discuss what Morrison is doing, and to dig out even more than the surface narrative, but I'd say the comics can still be enjoyed without all that. The same way kids loved Star Wars without knowing anything about Joseph Campbell, or the Oedipus myth. Once you start using that stuff to examine Star Wars though, it becomes a much more interesting and resonant 'cultural artefact' than just a piece of special effects entertainment.

(I hope I'm not putting people off Morrison by digging into the mythology stuff when I post on his comics. I take it as given that the fun, entertaining aspects of his comics need no explanation, so generally jump into the heavy stuff.)
ClarkKent_DC said:
If any writer's books are 99% about Bruce's time as Batman, how is that not "Batman is the true identity, Bruce Wayne is a mask"? That's the heart of what I'm getting at; there's no balance.

Law & Order was (more than) 99% about Lenny Briscoe as a homicide detective; that doesn't mean the homicide detective is the true identity, and his family life (or whatever) is the mask, it's just that that's the part of his life those stories focused on. It's a question of narrative vs. characterization. If Bruce Wayne isn't included because that aspect of the character is irrelevant to the writer's perception of the character, that's different than if Bruce Wayne isn't included because that aspect of the character is irrelevant to the specific story being told.

Does that make sense? I'm a little tired, so I'm not sure I'm expressing that well. :-/
I can sympathise with the "It's not my Batman" moan,Bats has always been my favourite but I preffered the worlds greatest detective to the worlds greatest psycho,I still pick up a trade now and then but I rarely think I've heard great things about that one I must get it.
That said I'm so far out of synch with the DCU now that for all I know he might have given up playing Bats and opened The Bruce Wayne Detective Agency with Kathy Kane as his secretary
Alan M. said:
ClarkKent_DC said:
If any writer's books are 99% about Bruce's time as Batman, how is that not "Batman is the true identity, Bruce Wayne is a mask"? That's the heart of what I'm getting at; there's no balance.

Law & Order was (more than) 99% about Lenny Briscoe as a homicide detective; that doesn't mean the homicide detective is the true identity, and his family life (or whatever) is the mask, it's just that that's the part of his life those stories focused on. It's a question of narrative vs. characterization. If Bruce Wayne isn't included because that aspect of the character is irrelevant to the writer's perception of the character, that's different than if Bruce Wayne isn't included because that aspect of the character is irrelevant to the specific story being told.

Does that make sense? I'm a little tired, so I'm not sure I'm expressing that well. :-/

I don't think I fully get what you're saying, but thanks for trying. Photobucket

I'm not sure I've totally made myself clear, either. A while back, I picked up from the quarter bin Detective Comics #852, a "Faces of Evil" story that featured Hush impersonating Bruce Wayne. That one story gave me more of what I wanted to see in Batman comics than I've seen in years -- Bruce Wayne interacting with the people in his social circle, Bruce Wayne dealing with the executives who run his businesses, Bruce Wayne in touch with the common man -- and it wasn't even him! It was a villain pretending to be him and manipulating people for his own ends!

To take your point about Law & Order focusing on a thin sliver of Lenny Briscoe's life, leaving out all he does when he's not on The Job, part of what I find out of whack about the Batman titles is that they're only about Batman on The Job. Worse, the Batman we have been shown for a long, long time is quite unlikeable.

And I don't really get why (a) there can't be room for Bruce Wayne out of the plethora of monthly Batman titles (which is practically a whole line of comics, in and of itself) and (b) why the Bruce Wayne Reclamation Project has to take so long! I'm told here it started with "One Year Later" and has gone through "Final Crisis," "Batman: R.I.P.," "Batman and Son," Batman #700, "Return of Bruce Wayne," and still isn't there yet! I know it's the journey, not the destination, but this ride is taking far too long and I don't want to be on it.

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