I apologize in advance for making this rather personal. Feel free to skip my emotional commentary and go straight to the scans.
Before last year, I was never attracted to superhero comics. I was living in quirksville with Clowes, Crumb, Gloeckner, Pekar, and others with some Gaiman and manga smooshed in between. What really pulled me into DC was, ironically, a series that most regard as some of their worst work—Identity Crisis. Specifically, the plotline that dealt with Tim Drake losing his father. Because I was grieving the loss of my own dad at the time (and still am to some degree), Meltzer and Morales’s depiction of mourning hit close to home. Though I’m now aware of how much continuity had been twisted in that title (and even at the time I was aware of the disrespectful use of rape as a plot device), I still love portions of it if only for the truth of the emotion. After I finished that title, I kept reading. I suspect DC nabbed me when I found a treasure trove of father-child relationships to enjoy—Oliver and his brood, Bruce and his family, Clark and his father (not to mention Christopher, however abortive that relationship turned out to be), Roy and Lian, Jim and Babs, Ted Grant and heroes he trained, etc, etc…
It’s been cathartic for me to experience Tim’s (and other character's) grief along with my own, even if real life loss is rarely as planet-shaking as it is in these pages. And it's been wonderful to read about father-child moments now that my opportunity to create new memories with my dad has been taken away for good. I like to rant about the stupid ideas that DC pulls out of its butt on a regular basis, but I stick around because I truly feel that some authors have contributed to my life in a positive way. I’m grateful for that.
So I’m putting up some Tim and Jack Drake pre and post death moments today in memory of my dad on the anniversary of his passing. Hope you get something out of them.
A nice moment in Robin #131:
Jack himself has been more of a plot device than a real character. He’s inconsistently written. Is he the sweet, concerned dad? The neglectful father? The downright violent, crazy guy? Hard to say. But the Jack in the scans above is probably one of the more likable versions.
Then of course, we have the events of Identity Crisis #5. The links for this scene, if they have been posted (it’s hard for me to tell the exact pages), appear to be broken. I hope you don’t mind me putting them up again.
The utter denial is probably familiar to some here who’ve experienced being with a dying person. It’s certainly familiar to me.
God, the transition from shock, to terror, to horrifying realization is so vividly painful. Rags Morales is excellent with facial expression. Some people find the dialogue over-dramatic, but I don't mind it.
Identity Crisis #6:
Makes me cry every time. My only complaint is that the last page turns Bruce into a symbolic monster of sorts, which perplexes me. The image is almost a copy of one drawn in Tim’s early days, when Bruce ‘comforts’ him during his father’s illness. Batman, at his best, is a symbol of justice and hope for those who suffer loss. I much prefer that imagining of him to this ‘his death curse will eat you alive’ interpretation.
Of course this scene, from Identity Crisis #7, just makes me cry more!
Answer the phone and accept your Dick hugs, Timothy!
After that, I need some Teen Titans cuddles. Issue #20:
Oh yes Tim, let’s model our grief after a man who had to cope with death by dressing up as a giant bat. That
The demon-saint thing is a bit heavy handed.
Ooooh. *cues the music*
Hey, it's an enraged, grief!beating. It's like you're a grownup superhero already, Tim, you little over-achiever.
Finally some decent, physical comfort! Thank you Cassie. Just try not to go too far next time and make out with each other or something.