I love Batman: Year One.


While I didn’t really Read Comics growing up, I did read a few specific comic books and graphic novels.  Among them: Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One.  This was (with the possible exception of the original Tim Burton film) my first direct exposure to Batman, and I loved it. 

Year One tells the story of the launching of Batman’s career, as it were—the transformation of a young, angry, obsessed Bruce Wayne from directionless seeker to directed, personified force.  It is, in parallel, a development of the character of future commissioner Jim Gordon, in the book a pushing-middle-age transplant to Gotham.  (The recent film Batman Begins is not based on, but does pay considerable homage to, this book.  Gary Oldman is, visually at least, a spitting image of Miller’s Gordon, and a few shots/moments, such as Gordon ascending the steps of a building while SWAT looks on, are clear references.) 

The writing is very good—this is the sort of book you can hand without embarassment to someone who doesn’t read comics—but the art is, as I see it, essential to the success of the book.

It doesn’t look like a superhero comic.

There’s a certain stylistic implausibility to superhero stories: these are people with catchy, cartoonish names who run around in tights.  They have superpowers and they have dating problems.  There’s a constant mix of world-shaking threats and interpersonal drama that doesn’t really make sense in the cold light of day.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that—they’re stories, and they’re operating in a tradition, an storytelling culture where these things are at least internally consistent.

But what Miller does in Year One is strip down as much of that as he can while still having an obsessed billionaire run around in a costume calling himself Batman.  The art is dirty and grim and unfantastic—Gotham isn’t a dystopia, it’s just a bad place to live, and the villains are corrupt politicians and crooked cops, not chortling fruitcakes with superweapons.  Batman himself is a fledgling vigilante, a lifeless, friendless, anti-social man who puts on a costume because, ultimately, he doesn’t know what else to do, because he can’t stand simply being himself.

And it’s all in dark lines, flat, broken faces, flickers of emotion in a heavy, pain-in-the-ass world.  No flashy stuff, no attention-getting flourishes, just stark, simple linework and wonderful muted colors that make you believe, if anything could, that there’s a good cop and a mad/sane costumed billionaire trying to make little things right in a city chock full of wrongness and badness.

Frank Miller’s other big Batman book, The Dark Knight Returns, covers the other bookend of the Batman saga—Bruce Wayne pushing sixty, retired and restless.  The art is still very Frank Miller, but the execution is more DC Comics, superheroes in classic form, than Year One.  It’s also very good, but where Year One has realist lines and an almost anti-comic feel, Dark Knight has larger-than-life characters in huge, dynamic superhero poses, and a whole cavalcade of men in tights.  Great art, but not the same sort: I don’t love it.  I don’t want to emulate it.

[Update!  Attentive reader layne points out that Year One was illustrated by David Mazzuchelli, with Miller writing, something I had half-forgotten and wholly failed to emphasize in the writeup.  It's Frank's Batman, but not his pen.]

There are no comments on this post

Leave a Reply

generic viagra information viagra dosing viagra melbourne buy viagra tablets best viagra online toronto generic viagra jelly generic viagra overnight viagra deals viagra joint pain generic viagra canada buy viagra mastercard viagra japan viagra canada cost coverage viagra generic name viagra gel online buy viagra usa pfizer viagra price viagra online australia generic toronto viagra viagra costs walmart viagra super active viagra online sell herbal viagra alternative australia viagra generic viagra price canada generic viagra discount viagra natural alternative buy oral viagra online viagra jokes generic viagra paypal generic viagra us viagra gel tabs viagra from canada legitimate viagra online in canada generic viagra canada viagra usage tips viagra professional online viagra 100mg viagra interactions generic viagra work viagra austrialia viagra price pfizer viagra buy viagra and pregancy pfizer viagra online viagra australia online buyimg viagra in australia viagra in australia viagra douglas pharmaceuticals australia sex shop viagra viagra coupon viagra nz purchase viagra from canada viagra testimonials viagra 100mg effects viagra quebec viagra from canada mixing cocaine and viagra pfizer viagra eservice viagra uk canadian pharmacy viagra buy viagra cvs viagra online pfizer viagra price pfizer viagra uk viagra canada samples generic viagra pharmacy cost of viagra viagra and alcohol nonprescription viagra australia viagra on line viagra warnings cheap viagra online chip viagra generic viagra cvs genuine viagra australia viagra free samples viagra like drugs buy viagra canada pfizer viagra india viagra junk email viagra questions viagra canada pharmacy viagra and canada viagra online sale canada buy viagra fast buy viagra online viagra use viagra usa order viagra online australia buy viagra online canada brand viagra canada viagra trial pack canada viagra prices viagra trial sample viagra express generic viagra price generic viagra dangers viagra pro ingredients viagra ring free viagra canada cheap viagra canada generic viagra buy viagra online viagra aust viagra quotes paypal viagra order viagra from canada viagra effectiveness australian viagra online pfizer viagra instructions canada pharmacy chewable viagra generic viagra scam viagra price nz viagra canada online canada viagra overnight generic viagra uk buy generic viagra buy viagra brand viagra nitroglycerin canada and generic viagra generic viagra price dsicount viagra viagra contraindications viagra experiences viagra australia viagra online netherlands viagra instructions buy viagra from canada pharmacy online viagra viagra india generic viagra brands generic viagra fraud real viagra paypal caustion funny viagra viagra women effects generic viagra ingredients canada online pharmacy viagra guarenteed generic viagra buy viagra montreal viagra online nz next day shipping viagra viagra message board buy viagra sydney viagra australia information stories viagra cheap viagra triangle viagra dosage instructions viagra patent expiration date street value for viagra 100mg viagra viagra blood pressure viagra cheap viagra alternatives india generic viagra pictures viagra super force online buy viagra japan viagra dose size viagra vision loss order viagra australia viagra history viagra effects viagra canada review buy viagra locally viagra and dapoxetine viagra directions viagra without prescription australia viagra online in usa generic viagra 100mg sildenafil buy viagra europe viagra pills for sale pfizer viagra liquid viagra at walmart generic viagra buy viagra for sale viagra available in toronto viagra tips buy viagra in canada erectile dysfunction viagra genuine viagra in australia pfizer viagra canada order viagra sample 200mg viagra viagra jet lag viagra with dapoxetine overnight buy viagra perth viagra quit working original viagra for sale viagra gel sachets viagra purchase canada canada generic in viagra viagra alternatives australia buy viagra australia viagra for sell generic viagra generic viagra gel viagra 100mg reviews generic viagra safety generic viagra online viagra recreational viagra prescription canada viagra nasal congestion viagra cost in canada viagra 100 tablets buy viagra online sydney low cost viagra viagra professional viagra price walgreens viagra results generic viagra buy viagra price walmart buy viagra amsterdam generic viagra 100mg viagra empty stomach ordering viagra online online viagra in australia toronto viagra buy viagra from germany viagra coupons generic viagra buy viagra safely brand name viagra canada viagra pro scam viagra 100mg cost viagra prices discount viagra pfizer viagra sample viagra pfizer viagra gel uk pfizer viagra pills generic viagra viagra usa overnight shipping aftermarket viagra buy viagra in canada buy strong viagra cheap viagra generic viagra alternatives generic viagra austrailia viagra young men cheapest viagra viagra knock offs viagra price costco viagra gel buy viagra paypal viagra vancouver buy viagra gel viagra in women buy viagra london order viagra discreetly pfizer viagra 100mg online pharmacy canada viagra buy viagra professional redtube viagra generic viagra sample viagra blue vision generic viagra risks generic viagra available viagra (sildenafil) canada viagra viagra canada generic viagra photos viagra half life viagra for sale viagra 50mg price shipping viagra to canada reasons to use viagra generic viagra when viagra benefits canada viagra mail buy wholesale viagra viagra sildenafil buy viagra rrp australia buy viagra jelly viagra canada viagra dosage recommended brand viagra cheap viagra facts generic viagra patent viagra ingredients generic viagra discussion viagra price uk viagra uk viagra information viagra soft tablets shipping viagra to australia generic viagra walgreens viagra youtube pfizer viagra review viagra recommended dosage viagra commercial viagra toronto viagra quick delivery viagra jelly viagra jacket generic viagra usa australia viagra how much viagra online pharmacy order viagra online generic viagra image viagra 30 tablets viagra sales canada discount viagra viagra young man viagra teenney viagra tablets viagra last longer super viagra uk viagra 100mg instructions viagra from canada cnn purchasing viagra in canada viagra gel sale buy viagra super force 100mg viagra cheap viagra online pharmacy viagra cheap viagra online canada sildenafil viagra discount viagra canada generic viagra sildenafil viagra soft tabs viagra twitter viagra manufacturer buy viagra manchester viagra reviews viagra loest prise canadian generic viagra viagra generic viagra pro reviews viagra greate britain viagra nitric oxide order viagra canada generic viagra 50mg viagra uk viagra oklahoma city viagra 100mg dosage viagra 100mg price viagra gel caps viagra overdose generic viagra effectiveness viagra in hong kong buy viagra pakistan pfizer viagra tablets viagra professional generic viagra dose viagra user reviews generic viagra problems buy viagra sildenafil viagra price viagra price cvs viagra windsor canada viagra upset stomach viagra onlnine viagra walgreens viagra price increase viagra jelly sachet viagra single tabs viagra hearing loss viagra au canada viagra super active australia walmart pharmacy viagra viagra canada prescription prescription free viagra australia viagra from tijuana genaric viagra buy viagra in toronto viagra online pfizer viagra coupons viagra by mail buy viagra now viagra 100mg generic viagra online canada revatio vs viagra canada viagra prescription viagra online ggeneric viagra for sale buy viagra philippines order viagra viagra under tongue pills viagra canada buy viagra delhi pfizer viagra cost viagra mailing list viagra rrp australia cost generic viagra from canada buy viagra online ireland canada medication viagra viagra price in india viagra for sale australia viagra online toronto canada pfizer viagra generic viagra for sale online get viagra in canada viagra blindness buy viagra online buy viagra legally order viagra viagra tabs indo viagral generic viagra paypal walmartprices for viagra canada pharmacy viagra viagra generic equivalent buy viagra shanghai viagra canada online pharmacy generic viagra for sale viagra price pfizer buying viagra canada does generic viagra work viagra profesionals viagra american express canada generic viagra cheap ganeric viagra buy viagra pills viagra quantity limits viagra distributors order viagra canada viagra on line viagra softtabs viagra price australia buy viagra pharmacy viagra substitute generic viagra mastercard canada viagra cheap viagra teenney stones liquid viagra to buy buy viagra viagra canada free viagra best price generic viagra fake buy viagra bangkok viagra in united states viagra usa buy viagra melbourne buy viagra nz viagra youth viagra prices viagra suppliers canada generic viagra soft tabs sildenafil generic viagra viagra altitude sickness viagra low cost pfizer viagra sales generic viagra from india viagra buy generic viagra vs viagra india viagra no prescrition viagra canada pharmacies generic viagra joke non prescription viagra australia generic viagra names viagra ireland herbal viagra in australia buy viagra malaysia viagra sale viagra order canada pfizer viagra patent canada super viagra viagra mail order viagra generic review bying viagra uk viagra sales viagra canada deliver viagra cheap canada viagra and women viagra in usa australian viagra viagra canada cheap cialis viagra canada generic viagra cost viagra price comparison order viagra uk viagra grapefruit generic viagra viagra alcohol effects generic viagra australia viagra coupons viagra insurance coverage canada free sample viagra viagra soft pills generic viagra illegal viagra online 365 viagra samples free generic viagra viagra paypal payment canada viagra pro pfizer viagra packaging generic viagra testimonials viagra 50mg canada generic viagra offers viagra junk mail viagra in sacramento ca buy viagra generic cheap viagra viagra espanol buy viagra usa viagra chemist prices australia buy viagra dubai viagra canada sales buy viagra using paypal viagra drug interactions viagra shelf life generic viagra real viagra gel thailand buy viagra singapore discrete viagra australia viagra 100mg pills viagra sale canada viagra canada satisfaction guarantee online overnight viagra viagra stories buy viagra australia ireland manufacturer viagra viagra mail order generic viagra canadian generic viagra online cheap viagra 100mg viagra meaning buy viagra thailand viagra for boys viagra price malaysia viagra yahoo viagra 50mg cost best viagra source real viagra viagra trial viagra professional review buy viagra pfizer viagra online viagra market share canada viagra nitrates viagra patent buy viagra india generic viagra cipla viagra versus generic viagra alternatives to viagra viagra coupons printable buy super viagra viagra expiration date viagra young people cheap viagra generic viagra complaints generic viagra kamagra australia viagra generic viagra walmart viagra paypal checkout viagra free trial offer viagra gum online viagra viagra soft tabs viagra alternatives viagra coupons and discounts viagra dosage canada viagra cheap prices viagra in canada canada viagra buy viagra 100mg tablets canada from generic viagra viagra jamaica generic viagra capsules best price viagra australia generic viagra in canada purchase generic viagra viagra professional generic viagra professional viagra yahoo answers generic viagra safe viagra headache cure cheep viagra brand viagra offers viagra generic canada viagra samples supreme suppliers viagra viagra women viagra price thailand buy viagra uk viagra women use cheap viagra viagra results photos viagra online from canada buy viagra montreal viagra dependency online viagra canada viagra young adults viagra with alcohol generic viagra manufacturers viagra quick tabs cheap generic viagra 100mg buy viagra australia viagra price comparison generic viagra india canadian pharmacies selling viagra buy viagra pfizer viagra super active generic viagra reviews viagra pills generic viagra soft sildenafil vs viagra buy canada viagra viagra side effects viagra online viagra for sale viagra overnight delivery usa viagra products australia generic viagra viagra buy online herbal viagra samples viagra professional scam viagra australia information buy viagra canada viagra by mail canada canada viagra paypal viagra super force generic viagra australia buy viagra cheap viagra price compare viagra for women buy viagra canada review viagra maximum dose viagra sale viagra generic canada generic viagra dosage order viagra paypal viagra premature ejaculation generic viagra 50 mg viagra prices walmart brand viagra online viagra ketoconazole viagra in usa viagra canada free sample viagra pro online amazon viagra viagra refractory period generic viagra toronto buy viagra toronto buy viagra online overnight generic viagra viagra pro online order viagra online australia in sale viagra viagra prices australia viagra professional canada pfizer viagra cheap viagra for sale uk canada generic viagra generic viagra 50mg viagra soft flavoured australian online viagra viagra 100mg pfizer order viagra now generic viagra vs viagra generic viagra legal viagra in uk viagra gold viagra over night viagra walmart viagra headache viagra cost walmart free viagra sample pack viagra and diabetes viagra us pharmacy buy viagra spray where to buy viagra cheap generic viagra pills viagra voucher viagra 50mg pills cost of viagra canada viagra cost viagra store in canada cheap viagra 50 mg canada free viagra buy viagra ebay viagra by mail viagra quiz viagra 4 pack order viagra overnight viagra 50mg tablets viagra tolerance viagra medicare viagra pills for sale drug similiar to viagra order viagra cheap viagra recreational use buy viagra sample viagra grapefruit interaction viagra from canada cheapest viagra prices canada pfizer viagra 100mg viagra risks viagra otc