Thee Comic Column #135: A Death in The Family

Batman_426In the same way Chris Claremont’s Days of Future Past storyline in Uncanny X-Men has inspired scores of Days of ___ ___ variations since it was published in 1981, so too did Jim Starlin’s epic Batman story A Death in the Family inspire its fair share of homages in the caped crusader’s family of titles since it was published in 1988-1989. Like the storyline Blind Justice that I wrote about in last week’s column I happened across ADITF a few weeks ago in a seldom-opened long box and found myself called upon to finally re-read it for the first time in probably close to two decades. I’m planning on covering several more of these late 80s Batman arcs in the coming weeks because this is what interests me at the moment, reliving these stories I grew up with. This admittedly “First World” luxury is, to me, the point of having a ‘collection’ to begin with. I’ve never been interested in my collection as an investment monetarily speaking – an idea that was essentially beaten out of comics in the 90s with all of its “manufactured collectibility” – but to have a historical collection; a reservoir of story that you can go back to in a month, a year or a decade to revisit and reengage with the stories that have been a part of your experience in this life.

Thee Comic Column 134: Before Bane there was Bonecrusher

BonecrusherIn 1989 Batman fever settled over pop culture. The iconic yellow and black Bat-insignia T-shirt became ubiquitous to the point of being legitimate fashion; so did a number of other bat images: Joker’s hair-grabbing hahahahaha, Batman posed on a rooftop gargoyle-style; the list went on. The imagery, like Bat’s presence in pop culture, seemed endless. This was, of course, all part of a massive tie-in that primarily celebrated the release of Tim Burton’s initial Bat-film, but also, perhaps not as widely known in the mainstream but certainly heralded in the comic shops and specialty stores was the fact that it was also Batman’s 50th birthday. At the age of 13 and a die hard comic fan I was not excluded from this Bat-steria; I’d never out and out followed a Batman comic on a monthly basis, however I’d dabbled a bit here and there and it was during this frenzy of celebration that I picked up Detective Comics #598, 599 and 600, a now largely forgotten three-part arc titled Blind Justice. I followed the story as it was published and with each issue it felt exponentially bigger and more important to the Caped Crusader’s mythos in long-standing way. Energized by this I continued to buy various Bat-books here and there for about the next year and then slowly faded back out – at 13 my title consumption was primarily decided by my meager allowance, and that was cinched up tight with Hama’s GIJOE, Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men and an ever-changing rotation of “important” arcs and issues of just about everything under the sun. Also there was the increasingly present need for snacks and sodas on the ramp-up of my burgeoning teenage social life, namely trips to the mall with my friends. Batman soon got left behind.

Thee Comic Column #53: Annotations for Grant Morrison’s Batman

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Shortly after Grant Morrison’s seven year run on Batman ended Kevin Smith had Mr. Morrison return to his Fatman on Batman podcast. I’m a fan of Smith’s, howevert although I listen to his Hollywood Babble-On podcast with Ralph Garman religiously (funniest podcast EVER) I rarely listen to any of the other scores of podcasts the man does. It’s not that they don’t interest me because frankly I find Smith to be one of the most urbane and intelligent speakers I’ve ever heard, and if he wanted to talk about fleshlights and oreos for two hours I’d be all ears. No, it’s just a time thing. Time, and I’m a music addict, so nine times out of ten I’d much rather listen to music than anyone talk. That said, anytime someone interviews Grant Morrison I am there, and the first two-part interview Smith (here and here) conducted with Morrison on Fatman on Batman was so fantastic that upon seeing the new one I dropped everything I was doing and listened.

Thee Comic Column #26: Batman, Inc. – SPOILERS

robin1-525x800Batman Incorporated issue #8 hit the stands this week and holy cow – I just didn’t see this coming!!!

Thee Comic Column #16: The Xmas Buying Guide

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In honor of the consumer frenzy and gift-buying insanity of the season, I thought I’d throw up a little guide to some of the collections and graphic novels that I feel would make great gifts for any discerning fan of graphic fiction. I figured to help you match like-minded material with potentially varied interests of those on your lists I’d break them up into three categories.



The Super Hero/action fan – defined as those who may or may not be familiar with comics but are fans of big budget movies based on them, ie – Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, Christoper Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy or flix like Kick Ass, Super or the brilliant Chronicle.

Thee Comic Column #9: Batman #13

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I have not been reading Scott Snyder’s Batman relaunch from DC’s New52 for the past year and since about six months in, after falling in love with his Swamp Thing re-boot and the mini-series Severed Snyder put out through Image I have regretted not jumping on his Batman. All the things I’ve read and heard have led me to the conclusion that I have truly been missing out on this series so when I heard issue 13 would not only begin a new storyline, but that that storyline would involve the return of  THE JOKER, I was really excited.