How old is Batman? Grant Morrison explains realism in Comic Books

Acclaimed Batman writer explains why realism doesn’t matter in Comic Books. He’s Scottish, so it might be a little hard to understand him the first time. Really though, this is one of the few times he has spoken quite clearly compared to other interviews on the web.

Since 2006, Grant Morrison has been writing a highly praised tome on Batman. Here is a reading list  of the Bat-works he’s done…in case anyone else wants to start:

Part 1: Batman and Son

Part 2: Batman: The Black Glove

Part 3: Batman RIP

Part 3: Batman RIP

Part 5. Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Batman Reborn

Part 6. Batman and Robin Vol. 2: Batman Vs. Robin

Part 7. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Part 8. Batman and Robin Vol. 3: Batman and Robin Must Die!

You might notice that Part 4 is missing….well…a very crucial —but small—plot point is include in another graphic novel called “Final Crisis,” which was a huge crossover event that included all of DC comics heroes and villains in an epic battle. Out of the 350 some pages in Final Crisis, only 30 pages are relevant to Grant Morrison’s bat-arch. But if you want to give yourself a splitting headache, this is what “Final Crisis” looks like:

Part 4: Final Crisis

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The Dark Knight Returns

Since Batman’s creation in the forties, writers have struggled finding the right tone for his stories. Batman’s first 12-15 issues had him use lethal force quite often, until editors mandated that he not kill. After Robin was introduced, the stories branched out in all sorts of genres like science fiction and adopted a campy tone. The 60s television show staring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin was comedy and lacked the darkness and angst of Bruce Wayne’s tragedy.  In the seventies, Readers wanted a darker Batman, but often the stories were still, well….kind of cheeky (see the post about Calendar Man).

In 1986, a young writer named Frank Miller penned a limited series called the Dark Knight Returns, a dystopian future where a 55 year old Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement to do his final mission as Batman.

At one point, Batman has to face the Police

The Four issue series permanently re-established the dark tone of Batman mythology. Batman’s final confrontations with the Joker and Two-Face show the three enemies psychology in a way that wasn’t showed before. It’s drawn quite well by Miller, with shadowy and murky gotham populated by larger than life figures. Unique in the story, is a new female Robin, Carrie Kelly.

In the late nineties, Bruce Timm,  the producer behind the Successful Batman The Animated Series, brought some of the pages of Miller’s masterpiece to life:

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HAPPY FRIDAY 13, Introducing Calendar Man

Phew! Close call….how could I forget this ridiculous Batman Villain?

Julian Gregory Day is an old villain of Batman, introduced in Detective Comics Issue 259. He is obsessed with holidays and always plans his crimes around them. Sometimes he bases his crimes on days of the week. Sometimes the seasons….

Calendar Man often wears different outfits to reflect whatever holiday he happens to appear in. His standard uniform was a red and white costume that had a cape made out of…sigh….calendar dates….

And here’s a nice collage of some of the other costumes he wore…..

Can any of you guess what holidays, seasons or dates that Calendar Man is dressed up as in the collage above?

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Arkham Asylum

One of the most astounding video games to come out this generation is Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham Asylum. Trapped in Gotham City’s most notorious criminal safehouse by the Joker, you (as Batman) must take back control and stop your arch-nemesis’ mad scheme.

Esteemed Comics writer, Grant Morrison said it best about the game:

“One of the things I wanted to do was capture the feeling of the Batman: Arkham Asylum game that came out in 2009. When I played that game, it was the first time in my life where I actually felt what it is like to be Batman. It was very involving. The way the game and Paul Dini’s story was created, crafted and shot made you actually feel like Batman.”

To see how the game plays and what a professional critic thinks about it, take a look at the ign video review below.

In the mean time, if you don’t have a playstation 3 or an xbox, you can try this ancient but somewhat addictive video game online…hehe…

http://www.1980-games.com/us/action-games/platform-games/batman.php

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A Free Batman Movie

BATMAN: City of Scars

A decent fan-made short film about Batman.  Only thirty minutes long. Was made by father and son duo, Aaron and Sean Schoenke. They shot the film in 21 days and had a budget of $27,000. The ending monologue is a bit verbose and juvenile, but the overall project is worth viewing once.

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The History of the Batmobile

From carinsurance.com and batmobilehistory.com,

Here’s a very cool image that shows the decades long evolution of the Batmobile in comics, tv and movies since Batman burst into American Pop culture.

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The Batman of Africa and other Batmen

The newest story arc(Batman Incorporated) to come out of DC comics centers on Bruce Wayne franchising the Batman identity to other countries.

In Issue 6, we get a look at the Batman of Africa:

The Batman of Africa

So far, Bruce Wayne has also established Batman Incorporated agents in:

– England (Cyrill Sheldrake)

The Batman of England, codename: The Knight, with his partner Squire.

– Japan (Jiro Osamu)

The Batman of Japan fighting an evil monkey

– France (Bilal Asselah)

Batman Inc Representative of France: Code name: The Nightrunner

and of course Gotham City’s second Dark Knight, Dick Grayson.

Dick Grayson

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