Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 1, 2013

Go, Read: Lengthy Think-Piece On Grant Morrison’s Batman Run

imageIt's by David Uzumeri: here. I thought that was a very thorough initial thinking-over of the themes, successes and failures of the Grant Morrison written cycle of Batman stories, which came to its conclusion this week with the release of Batman, Incoporated #13, and in that more of our comics coverage should be anchored by the release of work into the world wanted to throw my minor spotlight on it. Morrison is a really good maker of mainstream comic books when he chooses to be, and his Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Arkham Asylum, JLA, All-Star Superman and Final Crisis books at the very least have echoes in a lot of what's been done and what's being done in that realm of comic books. I don't know that Batman joins him, and it was always my sense that in this case some of his energy was being spent just being allowed to play with the character as he has.

The review acknowledges two interesting things about the series that aren't strictly content-related. One is that what Morrison was doing was so different and so singularly odd it kind of created a bubble around itself during DC's universe-revamp, at least long enough for the story to get to its end mostly intact. I find that kind of fascinating, and maybe the most Morrison thing about the project. Another is that the artists involved really had a lot to do with what worked and what didn't. That is an obvious idea, certainly, they're one-half of each work's authorial team. Still, the effect of the artists issue to issue is something that Morrison fans and superhero comic book fans sometimes have a hard time engaging unless that artist is a super-stylish craftsperson like Frank Quitely. Morrison can be a very dominant partner.

Having Morrison working these old-time Batman-related series seemed to me a positive for that tradition of making comics, a boon for a way of presenting work that's been shunted aside for relaunches and reboots and renumberings and stand-alone formats that are at time driven by a market bending reed-like in the direction of talent that may or may not deserve it. It's like getting 12 episodes of a writer with a prestige HBO series writing/producing pedigree working one of the network crime franchises. I'm sad that there are suddenly a limited number of these books to buy here and there in quarter bins; those that engaged this work on the racks are likely to be even more bummed out.
posted 6:05 pm PST | Permalink

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