Dark Knight – Outlaw Jaywalker


Not every day that one comes across Batman ducking through traffic instead of walking to the nearby intersection and waiting patiently for the crossing guard, the way we must assume any responsible Adam West type Batman would.  Which places this fellow firmly into the miscreant ‘outlaw’ Batman camp.

Weird how much abuse one character can take – isn’t it?  I first loved Batman in comics close to half a century ago (Gene Colan did a particularly neat job IMHO) and the TV show was an absolute afternoon must of my childhood (like the Addams family, which became the splendid model for our crazy marriage!)

I was trying to turn myself into a cartoonist when Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight” first hit the stands in ’86 and helped transform the industry.  For all the hype about the guy, this book still holds up with rare and particular strength – and yes, it really did relaunch the character to the tune of billions of dollars earned since.

The incredibly frustrating thing is that Miller’s creativity has been insultingly ripped-off to create the very best aspects of both Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan’s version (Don’t have any plans to watch the Batfleck at all) – I mean art-direction, dialogue and innumerable set-piece scenes – and yet nobody has had anything close to the nerve to just run with that strong tale straight-up.

It’s like airing a dozen sit-coms ripped off from Shakespeare or Moliere, without ever letting anyone see and enjoy the original stuff.  Yeeps!  Are movie audiences really that much stupider than readers of comic-books?  And if so, can I please have that in-writing, so I can snicker over it for years to come?  ;o)

Yes I know the bard is a hugely overused benchmark – but that quartet volume really is a desert Island comic, still!  (And I’m talking as a Loustal, Moebius, Ware, Sacco, Katchor, Herge guy, not much fond of capes for some years now).

Klaus Jansen and Lynn Varley need remembering too – inkers and colourists are far too rarely acknowledged – and that book took both to powerful heights.

Well sure a cape looks pretty stupid, until you get just the right sort of wind and double-curl billow – and then wow, snazzy stuff!  I think I want a cape now too!

The superior quality of his utility-belt is far more evident here, and we might even ascribe dark serious purpose to his texting focus, were we feeling charitable.

The pack of tropical flavoured nerds clutched in his teeth does admittedly detract just a tiny bit from the full gestalt of gravitas with which he customarily likes to be associated.

But the Wonka people must be right-chuffed –  “Ree – freakin’ – zult!”

I am always curious about what you are thinking

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