Batman has always appealed to me despite the fact he is not a superhero like a couple of my comics heroes, Hulk and Thor. Big boys doing big boy things, obviously. Batman has no superpowers. He’s driven by tragedy. Fueled by revenge over the tragic and senseless murder of his parents. His greatest asset is his tenacity (although having a boatload of money doesn’t hurt the crime-fighting cause).
I like just about everything Batman. From the campy Adam West TV show to the cartoons, to the comics, the movies, and especially to the graphic novels, my fandom of the Batman universe runs deep. The Dark Knight fighting the criminal villains of Gotham City.
BATMAN: YEAR ONE is one of my favorites of the graphic novels. Written by Frank Miller illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, colored by Richmond Lewis, and lettered by Todd Klein, this origin story paints a dark and sordid picture of Gotham City while weaving the beginnings of Bruce Wayne’s evolution into Batman and Jim Gordon’s fight to uphold the law amidst the corruption and the mob.
Here is an excerpt from “A Shadow Fell Across Me”, Frank Miller’s essay about reading a Batman annual as an 8-year-old, which is included as a bonus in BATMAN: YEAR ONE.
“Gotham City was cold shafts of concrete lit by cold moonlight, windswept and bottomless, fading to a cloud bank of city lights, a wet, white mist, miles below me. The street sounds were a soft, sad, roar, unbroken and unchanging.
A shadow fell across me, from above. Wings flapped close by and almost silent.
Glistening wet, black against the blackened sky, a monster, a giant, winged gargoyle, hunched forward, pausing at a building’s ledge, and cocked its head, following the laugh’s (Joker) last seconds. Moonlight glanced across its back, across its massive shoulders, down its craned, cabled neck, across its skull, striking a triangle at one pointed bat’s ear.
It rose into space, its wings spread wide, then fell, its wings now a fluttering cape wrapped tight around the body of a man.
It fell past me, its shadow sliding across walls, growing to swallow whole buildings, lit by the clouds below.
The shadow faded into the clouds.
It was gone.”
This may be the most awesome description of Batman ever. This image and the Year One Gotham City serves as inspiration for this new thing I’m working on. I’m researching (Ha! More like enjoying every minute!) as much background (maps, politcal & social structure, architecture, schools, neighborhoods, etc.) of Gotham City as I can for this project. I could use some help so, readers, if you have any titles to suggest to help in my research, please add a comment or give me a shout on Twitter (@coachhays64).
Enjoy your Batman fandom!