thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
The best Elseworlds stories utilize the alternate reality format to gain fresh perspective on the characters and themes they represent. I've always loved the mantra which used to accompany the earliest books in this imprint:

"In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places--some that have existed, and others that can't, couldn't, or shouldn't exist. The result is stories that make characters who are as familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow."

I've always loved that last line. "As familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow." So why are there so many mediocre Elseworlds stories? Why do so many follow the formula of "plug in X character in Y time setting, tell basically the same origin"? Asking "What If?" doesn't really matter if that question isn't followed by, "So What?"

That is not the case with Alan Brennert's last (and only) major DC story, Batman: Holy Terror, the first alternate universe DC story to carry the Elseworlds brand. It's that rare Elseworlds (hell, that rare story) which actually has something to say about its lead character and the alternate reality he inhabits.

In this instance, it's Batman in a Puritanical theocracy.

Gotham Towne, twenty years ago... )

Damn it, I want a sequel.
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
While many have written the DC characters of Steve Ditko, few have actually played with the kind of themes that Ditko enjoyed exploring. Not exactly hard to figure out why.

Among the few to try was Alan Brennert, a TV author and novelist whose career at DC Comics rivals Alan Moore's in the "brief but brilliant" department. Brennert opens the story with the line, "Respectfully dedicated to the talents of Steve Ditko," but I'm not sure if it's faithful to the spirit of Ditko's philosophy, or a subversion of Objectivist thought. Maybe those of you more well-versed in Ditko can help me out here.

In "Paperchase"--from 1981's The Brave and the Bold #178--Brennert uses a Creeper/Batman team-up to explore themes about incendiary psuedo-journalism, and the murky ethics of rabble-rousing TV personalities. Sadly, these themes are still relevant, as we've been reminded lately.

But it's not all serious and ponderous stuff. Especially not when the Creeper's involved:

'Creeper?' 'Yeah?' 'Go back to 'Bats?'' )
bluefall: Barbara Minerva in a Santa hat (festive Minerva)
[personal profile] bluefall
Well, it's that time of year again, so here's a post that's become sort of an annual S_D holiday tradition. From 1989's Christmas With the Super-Heroes, I bring a short holiday Deadman tale called "Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot."

There's Giordano art, too, if that entices you. )
[personal profile] cricharddavies
The year was 1983. Frank Miller had just ended his first run on the title that shot him to prominence. After its mysticism-shot climax ("Resurrection") and nail-biting finale ("Roulette"), the tale now focused on more quiet matters. It's often been said that Miller's take on Daredevil was inspired by The Spirit, and while I find that ... implausible, at best, it's impossible not to see the influence ofthe master on the tale that immediately followed his.

Seven pages of twenty-two, herein )
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
With "Interlude on Earth-Two," Alan Brennert was the first DC Comics writer to ask the questions, "If you go to a world where an alternate version of yourself got older, married, had a full life, and died... wouldn't that be kinda upsetting? Not just for you, but the people who knew and loved your alternate self?"

They're questions that no DC writer had considered by 1982, and Brennert answered them by throwing in an additional question: "What if that alternate Earth's Hugo Strange didn't escape unscathed from his final Golden Age adventure?"

This is one of the finest comics by Alan Brennert, who wrote only about nine DC stories over twenty years, including the wonderful Batman classic, To Kill A Legend, the great Deadman christmas story, and the post-Crisis origin of the Black Canary.

It is a testament to his abilities that I've had an insanely hard time editing these scans, so forgive this insufficient cut of a fine story. At least, until such time as DC reprints it someday (probably in a theoretical fourth or fifth volume of DC Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold).

When even the cover has to ask that question, you know it's either gonna be a confusing mess, or something awesome... )

As I said before, Alan Brennert only wrote nine stories for DC Comics over about twenty years. His career there rivals only Alan Moore's for most prolific body of work over a very limited tenure, and if there were any justice, fans would be clamoring for DC to publish a Complete DC Comics Stories of Alan Brennert collection. Doing this past makes me want to write about them all in a Brennert Master Post. Perhaps I will, once I've tracked down the last three I have yet to read.
arbre_rieur: (DC Nation)
[personal profile] arbre_rieur
Three pages from Secret Origins #50, in which they finally got around to Black Canary...

Read more... )

title: secret origins, creator: alan brennert, creator: joe staton, publisher: dc comics
pyrotwilight: (Default)
[personal profile] pyrotwilight
Now this is one of my most favorite Batman stories of all time, probably my fave if you ever asked me even. Alternate universes and Batman can often feel forced but as it was setup here it was just plain beautiful.

I beg you to wonder. Could even Batman stop the murder of the Waynes?

Exactly 6 and 1/3 pages from a 19 page story )


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