alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
[personal profile] alicemacher




Of all the absurdist foes the Doom Patrol faced during Grant Morrison's run, my favourite without question is the abstract champion of nonsense Mr. Nobody, not the least because his origin is among the strangest you'll find in a mainstream comic.

'Like forever piled on forever and forever, world without end, yahoo!' )
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
All good things, and all that.

If you haven't been reading these strips, you can find them all at over here, which I figure will be easier than giving you a whole bunch of links. For those who have been reading it, thanks for all your comments. This has been a labor of love, and I'm gratified by all the thoughtful responses for this lost gem I've been obsessed over for the past month.

I don't know why the Batman strip ended on what I can only assume was due to cancellation. Poor response from readers? The impending release of Batman Returns? Some editor didn't like it for whatever petty reason? Maybe we'll finally get the answers should this strip ever see print someday.

Either way, it's strange that the strip should end with a Mad Hatter story. But even still, Messner-Loebs manages to bring the story to an end which I found surprising and moving. As with the entire strip, this final story is not without its flaws, but it's also more bold and intriguing--in its own quiet way--than many Batman stories in recent memory.





Final showdown in Arkham Asylum, behind the cut )


So at the end, what is there to say about the Batman comic strip? It wasn't perfect, partially due to the daily nature of the format, and partially due to creative inconsistencies. The series ended abruptly, with little in the way of a last word for major characters like Dick, Alfred, Jim Gordon, the Joker, or even Alice Dent. Even Bruce's own arc seems only sketched out at best, leaving us to fill in the blanks.

But as I said before, the true protagonist of this strip--at least, ever since Messner-Loebs and Infantino took over--was actually Harvey Dent. His arc frames the entire strip, which ends exactly when his own story does. Warts and all, this is one of the greatest Two-Face stories I have ever read.
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
I'm not sure at what point people started considering the Riddler to be a joke. It couldn't have been the TV show, since Gorshin's Riddler was rightly celebrated, and I'd argue that he was the only villain there to have touches of genuine menace. Did that just never translate over into comics?

Maybe it's just because I was raised on the Riddler of Gorshin, B:TAS, and his appearances written by Chuck Dixon, but I never thought Eddie was a joke character. I loved the Riddler's flair and penache, combined with his self-assured knowledge that he was the smartest guy in the room. I loved the Riddler to be genuinely brilliant, which may explain why there were so few good Riddler stories: he was just too damn smart to write.

Think about it: Lex Luthor's brilliance can be explained away with mad science or manipulative plots, but to be smart like the Riddler, you need to actually possess the kind of mind that could create and disassemble complex games of intellect. Furthermore, writers have to incorporate those games into actual stories. No wonder most writers just opted to make the Riddler a pathetic character, relying on cheesy puns and hampered by an obvious handicap that always got him caught by Batman.

That's the Riddler we see in this strip. I was disappointed at first, but by the end, I have to admit a great deal of affection for this loser version of Eddie Nigma. This is the Riddler if he were a villain on The Venture Bros, a failure criminal who finally (thinks) he strikes it big, only to get in wayyyyyy over his head.

Squint your eyes to read this preview for some idea of what I mean:





The Deadly Riddle, behind the cut! )


Finally, I'd intended to post this yesterday, so I could end by announcing that yesterday was the 62nd birthday of writer William Messner-Loebs! But then the house's internet went out just as I was wrapping up this post. So, happy belated birthday, William Messner-Loebs!

Coming up next: the grand finale.
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
After the nonstop epic of the previous comic strips, we get a fresh start with the introduction of Dick Grayson in this continuity.

I have pretty much no commentary nor insights to offer here, as it's the one story in which I have the least interest, but I'm posting it here both for the sake of completeness and for the Dick fans. It's a standalone story with no references to the previous arcs, as will be the next part. After that, the grand finale with the Mad Hatter in Arkham.





A slightly different take on the usual Robin origin, behind the cut... )
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
Previous installments: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4



Contrary to what some might say, madness is not like gravity. It doesn't take "a little push" or "one bad day" to drive a person insane. What I've loved about this Batman strip is that Harvey Dent's road to Two-Face is a long one, spaced out over the course of four storylines so gradually and logically that it's hard to say just when he's crossed the point of no return. This goes for even after the acid hits.





The grand unveiling, behind the cut... )



But the story's not over yet. Coming up next, a brand-new, Harvey-free storyline: the origin of Robin! Ain't that always how it goes with friends, Bruce? You win some, you lose some.
thehefner: (Two-Face: FOREVER!!!)
[personal profile] thehefner
Previous installments: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

I should have mentioned it in the last entry, but we're now in the middle of a trilogy of sorts, with today's entry being part two of a continuous storyline within the comic strip started in the previous storyline. But it could just as easily be argued that it's all one big story: that of Harvey Dent's rise, fall, rise again, and...?

I think it's fair to say that Harvey is the true protagonist because he's the only one who really changes, and not just in ways you'd expect from the character who becomes Two-Face. Even when he disappears and we get standalone story arcs about Robin's origin (followed by the Most Pathetic Riddler Story Ever), the final storyline still comes right back to Harvey. Obviously, that's why I love it so much.

So with that said, this storyline is the hardest for me to take. This is the point where Harvey crosses a line, and Bruce--for whatever reason--decides to not step in, but actively oppose his supposed best friend. Do the characters have justified reasons? Absolutely. Do I like it? Of course not. Does it work within the context of the story? You be the judge (pun not intended, I swear).





The people of Gotham City (ostensibly represented by Harvey Dent) versus the Joker, behind the cut... )


Coming up next... well, do I really need to say it?
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
With original writer and creative mastermind Max Allan Collins forced off the Batman strip by dickwad editors, the new creative team of William Messner-Loebs (The Flash, The Maxx), Carmine Infantino (Silver Age legend, co-creator of Barry Allen and Elongated Man), and John Nyberg (The Flash, Doom 2099) took over for the rest of its run.

Here's where things start getting interesting when it comes to Harvey Dent, seen only briefly in Collins' first storyline as a stuffy bureaucratic who resents Batman and fears that the vigilante's actions could result in lawsuits against the city. Under Messner-Loebs, Harvey becomes a full-on supporting character, not just as District Attorney and antagonist for Batman, but also as Bruce Wayne's best friend... two years *before* BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Until that show, it seemed that no one had ever written Bruce and Harvey as being friends. Batman, yes, but not Bruce Wayne. But this strip did it first, and I can't help but think that Dini, Timm, and company read this strip as it came out.

What I love about this Harvey Dent is that he isn't a saint, but he isn't corrupt either. He isn't a guy with anger issues consumed by his obsession with the mob, nor is he the White Knight of Gotham. This actually may be the most human-sized take on the character before he becomes Two-Face, decidedly different from the festering ball of pain we usually see (my favorite version).






Oh, and it also features some new criminal guy named the Penguin, but I'm sure he's not all THAT important... )

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