It has often been observed how malleable a character Batman is. Over the past several decades he has found himself equally at home busting the heads of petty street criminals and out-witting cosmic menaces with (new) god-like powers. What unities such diverse plots is a common interest in the humanity of the hero. The tone of the narrative might emphasize oppressive bleakness or optimistic redemption, yet what all the best Bat-stories have in common is an interest in who the man is beneath the cowl. This is true of the movies as well; for example, Christopher Nolan’s masterful Bat-trilogy is as, arguably more, concerned with Bruce Wayne than it is with Batman. In many ways, The LEGO Batman Movie liberally skewers the melancholy tone of Nolan’s films, while sharing with them an interest in the hero’s personality. Amidst the bonanza of gags, Chris McKay’s new film has something to say about Batman’s character.
Created by DC in 1964 during the Silver Age, Teen Titans was a group composed of the sidekicks of more popular heroes back when that was a thing. It didn’t catch on until Marv Wolfman and George Perez revamped the concept into The New Teen Titans which was far more contemporary and a mega-hit. Decades later, while DC had several top-notch animated shows running, one hit television in a way that hasn’t been replicated since: Teen Titans. Continue reading The Next Generation:Teen Titans→
“Everyone whose life has ever been touched by random, tragic chance has come away from it changed . . .” –Alan Brennert
In 1989, as part of their celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of Batman, DC printed a series of testimonials about the enduring importance of The Dark Knight. These ran in the back pages of Detective Comics #598-600 as postscripts to Sam Hamm and Denys Cowan’s Blind Justice serial. Most of the remembrances covered the familiar territory of how Batman stood apart as the non-powered hero who was most relatable to the average reader. A couple stood outside the pattern, though. Stan Lee, as if he were auditioning to write a Demon series, turns in a rhyming poem which somehow manages to be silly and grandiose at the same time. Adam West reflects on the then rare privilege of playing a superhero on screen. Writer Alan Brennert took a different track. His focus is not on the tragedy of Bruce Wayne, but the ideals of the Batman. For him, the hero’s sense of justice is what makes him so popular. It is not the anger which defines him; it is how he “channel[s] that anger into something constructive.” Batman is a creature of justice, not madness.
Alan Brennert has had a long career writing for different mediums. His most prominent work has been as a producer/writer in television, where he won an Emmy for L.A. Law. He has authored several prose novels as well. His contributions to comic books are sparser, yet, significant. His handful of issues include two of the all-time great Batman tales: “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne” and “To Kill a Legend.” “Autobiography” (The Brave and the Bold #197, 1983) remains the best treatment of the long, tangled relationship between Batman and Catwoman. “To Kill a Legend” appeared in 1981 as the lead tale of Detective Comics #500. In it, Brennert delves deep into the origins of The Dark Knight, emerging with a fresh, fascinating take on the iconic character.
Over the past couple weeks, Nothing But Comics has been providing a variety of coverage on the 2015 New York Comic Con. From the creators to the cosplayers they inspire, we have offered reflections on the different facets of fandom. The last in this series of articles is a compilation of comments from some of the panels attended during the convention.
Coverage of Valiant’s Book of Death and Beyond Panel can be found here & here.
At the Dark Horse Comics Classified Panel, there were a few announcements, but the main pleasure was hearing the creators discuss their craft. These observations included a healthy sense of humor, such as when Matt Kindt was asked what it was like playing the role of both writer and artist on a series. He replied that collaborating with himself was a pleasure, as “most of my deadlines get along.” For his part, Brian Wood offered that he always wants to be enthusiastic about the art in one of his titles. His wish is to be a “fanboy” of it just like any other reader. Continue reading NYCC: Panel Roundup→