Thursday, 5 November 2009
This One'll Kill You, Batman!
Y'know, there hasn't been nearly enough Batman around here lately, so let's remedy that with one of my faves. Even though I like the moody, twisted, damn near psychotic anti-hero we have now, and even though I liked both Batman Begins & The Dark Knight, Bats doesn't actually seem to be much fun anymore.
Each generation gets the Batman it needs, ( though quite why The Silver Age needed The Reverse Batman or The Zebra Batman is beyond me...) and in the 21st century, I guess we need a barking mad, hate fuelled Caped Crusader with no social skills whatsoever. But the Batman of today, as much as I appreciate him, just isn't MY Batman, y'know?
MY Batman is Bob Haney's Batman, and Denny O'Neil's Batman, and even Frank Robbins' Batman. I liked it when he strolled down the street on a hot summers day, in full costume, checking out the babes ( as he did in one memorable Brave & Bold ). I liked that everybody in Gotham knew him, wasn't freaked out by him, and treated him like just another citizen. I liked it when he was The World's Greatest Detective, and was on first name terms with every mortuary attendant or forensics scientist in the police department. It's what was great about The Bronze Age, you were right between the silliness of The Silver Age & the grimness & depth of The Modern Age, and you could skip between both. Like here, in Bat's one zillionth face off against The Joker.
It's a tight, fun script from Denny, and the art, from Irv Novick & Dick Giordano is brilliantly cartoonish and almost enters the realm of characiture. In many panels here, Ol' Pointy Ears looks decidedly unheroic and ludicrous, all adding to the gag. And the scenes where he laughs are deeply, deeply disturbing. As much as I like the fun Batman, you don't actually want him laughing.