Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Filth and some old Batman newspaper strips

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death.

I reviewed this three years ago for my old Weekly Comics Hype, but this time around, I was not as engaged by Morrison's weird world than I had been. The narrative is occasionally very frustrating; I got lost wondering where some of the bizarre encounters with the Hand and its agents actually happen, and became aggravated by the multiple layers of the story. On just one level, it's one of Grant Morrison's very best stories, but it's too obscured by too many odd things to really resonate. On the other hand, some of the actual incidents are still pretty damn amazing, including one of the best death scenes ever, when Slade's fight with an assassin results in a neighbor getting... well, I shouldn't say. Chris Weston's art is amazing. Recommended if you like The Prisoner.

Oh, this is fun stuff. Originally published in 1990 by Kitchen Sink, Sterling Books last year reissued this in a low-priced hardback edition. It's the complete four-year run of Sunday Batman and Robin comics from 1943-46, back when the character was a detective adventurer for children, free from angst and the continuity of modern comics. Most of the stories are told over the course of two to eight dense pages, with lots of fun old art, mostly by Jack Burnley. Other contributors include Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Bob Kane. The stories play like shorter Dick Tracy cases, and Batman's periodically lighthearted encounters with his foes are quite refreshing. They're not all whimsical, however. A great case where a "fortune teller" is murdered on a live radio show, only to curse his four killers with his dying breaths to cruel deaths of their own, is about as good as kids' entertainment can get. On the other hand, the old-fashioned art was an instant turnoff to the Hipster Son, who didn't stick around long enough to see Batman and Catwoman fight on the steps of the Parthenon in Nashville's Centennial Park. Seriously! Recommended for nostalgic readers.

(Originally posted April 22, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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