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.

After listening to the podcast I decided it was time to crack Morrison’s run on the caped crusader back out and give it the re-read it deserved, no demanded. In true Morrison-obsessed Ourobouros fashion I began by re-reading the final issue of Batman, Inc. and then dove directly into Morrison’s first issue in Batman, issue #655. I’d done this shortly after the Batman run had morphed into Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne, not realizing how premature I was at the time to attempt to re-read the run before it had even really entered its middle phase. Fine, one thing I’d learned during that previous read was that like all Morrison’s writing the initial issues were packed with tons of information that the reader had to really watch for. Couple this with the fact that Morrison had done such extensive research on the entire run of the character in order to better synthesize it all into one whole, coherent take on every iteration of the character EVER and I’d swore I’d do more research before I tried to re-read it again. But who has time for that? Certainly not I. So I trucked on through the initial storylines, Batman and Son and The Black Glove with eyes wide open and no real hiccups. Then I hit Batman RIP and everything began to fall apart. You simply cannot fully comprehend everything going on in this story if you don’t have something helping you – whether that is a LOT of time and access to every issue of every Batman comic ever written or…


I give to you then my comic book-loving friends the websites I stumbled upon that do an AMAZING job of annotating not only Morrison’s Batman run, but also his Final Crisis run, which incidentally I had swore to re-read along with the Batman run in the appropriate place, seeing as how all these books compliment one another as parts of a much larger story.

Kudos to these folks for their annotation. Really, the reading experience I’m now immersed in is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s fascinating to see that, especially in Batman R.I.P., the most advantageous way to read the issues often involves having multiple books open at once and skipping from issue to issue, back and forth in real-time publication schedule in order to put all the pages, panels and frames in their proper continuity. It is quite the job to read this (but well worth it for sure!!!) so I cannot even begin to comprehend what an arduous task of unrequited love it had to be to write them.

Annotations list:

David Uzumeri’s annotations are my favorite. He does a fantastic job, first on Funnybook Babylon and then on Comics Alliance. Notice you’ll also find his annotations for Final Crisis and FC supplement Superman: Beyond on some of these pages as well.

Funnybook Baylon Batman Annotations page 1

Funnybook Baylon Batman Annotations page 2

Comics Alliance Batman Annotations

Gary Lactus does a great job in his own right with annotations. His website is a great read and an excellent comic resource and I’ve used it to augment the studiousness Uzumeri’s annotations have inspired in me for this re-reading of epic proportions.

Gary Lactus Batman RIP annotations page 1

Gary Lactus Batman RIP annotations page 2

And finally Douglas Wolk’s work annotating Final Crisis is another fantastic supplement to the series. I know so little about the history and structure of the DC Universe (always been a dabbler in DC and more of a Marvel man) that without something like this I had no hope of understanding even the smallest bit of the epic scope of FC.

David Wolk’s Final Crisis annotations

Thanks again to the tireless work of all these wonderful comic book fans whose annotations are a valued tool in experiencing some of Grant Morrison’s most masterful work to date! And seriously, those Fatman on Batman podcasts are worth a listen. Morrison, as always, is fascinating and well-spoken as he doles out a lot of the motivations and behind-the-scenes info on what has to be the greatest run on one of the greatest comic book characters ever.


Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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