Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Batman Library, Part 1

No news today, so I thought I'd start in on something I've been kicking around in my mind for a while: a list of recommended reads to anyone who's enjoyed the movies and wants to try out some comics. Today, the early years of the modern* Batman:
  • Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.

    The gist: Bruce Wayne comes back to Gotham after years away to begin his war on crime. At the same time, Jim Gordon leaves behind a troubled past in Chicago to make a fresh start at Gotham City P.D.

    Any relation to the movies?: Hugely influential to Batman Begins, you'll recognize more than one scene lifted directly from this story.

    Villains who appear: An unusual version of Catwoman, pre-Two Face Harvey Dent, a hint of the Joker.

  • Batman and the Monster Men and Batman and the Mad Monk by Matt Wagner.

    The gist: Two stories that are modern re-tellings of some of the earliest Batman villains, they pick right up where Year One left off. Bruce is still new to the whole Batman thing and Supervillainy is an entirely foriegn concept.

    Any relation to the movies?: Nope.

    Villains who appear: Hugo Strange and The Monk, respectively, are the main foes for each book.

  • Batman: The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke

    The gist: Along the same lines as Wagner's books, this is a modern take on Batman's first encounter with the Joker.

    Any relation to the movies?: No, this Joker is a little closer to Jack Nicholson than Heath Ledger.

    Villains who appear: The Joker.

  • Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

    The gist: Batman, Jim Gordon, and DA Harvey Dent team up to stop the mob in Gotham, while a serial killer striking only on holidays targets members of the crime families.

    Any relation to the movies?: Another big influence on Nolan and company, especially, I think, Tim Sale's art.

    Villains who appear: Harvey Dent, Catwoman, Holiday, Joker, Riddler, Solomon Grundy, Calendar Man (the only time I can remember that he was in a cool story), Mad Hatter, Penguin

That's it for today, more the next time there's no news.

* - modern basically means since 1986, both because DC's universe "rebooted" that year in something called Crisis on Infinite Earths and because stories like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen changed comics tremendously.

1 comment:

Jimi said...

I read most of these, minus the ones with the mad hatter and the monster man. I would also like to point out that great recommendations are The Killing Joke and A Serious House on Serious Earth.

But I notice that this is Part 1. I'm sure there will be more. >_>;;