Meh. Not my favorite era of Batman to begin with, these stories don't particularly leap off the page. There's a few enjoyable episodes--the second PenMeh. Not my favorite era of Batman to begin with, these stories don't particularly leap off the page. There's a few enjoyable episodes--the second Penguin story, for example, and the Catwoman story. There are also some mediocre stories featuring the Penguin (again) and the Joker. The majority of the stories deal with the duo fighting common criminals and solving mysteries.
The collection is boosted somewhat by some excellent supplemental material....more
A wonderful book. I first learned about Gottfredson's Mickey nearly three decades ago, but most of my encounters with it have been piecemeal. It's greA wonderful book. I first learned about Gottfredson's Mickey nearly three decades ago, but most of my encounters with it have been piecemeal. It's great to finally have the beginning of a comprehensive, chronological collection in a sturdy, beautiful, affordable English edition.
The book covers Gottfredson's first work on the strip, which began very early in the strip's life (for the sake of completeness, the pre-Gottfredson strips are included in one of the archival supplements in the rear). A wealth of supplemental material is included after the strips. The strip apparently began as a humorous gag-a-day strip with limited continuity, and those early strips are pretty lackluster. The syndicate apparently suggested (strongly) that Walt try a more adventurous format, which was then in vogue, and so Walt began the title storyline, "Race to Death Valley". The book begins with this story. Gottfredson picked up the art chores a couple of weeks into the story, and not long after Walt handed off the writing to Gottfredson as well. Gottfredson remained the strips writer through the '70s (though he usually had help with the art).
Despite some dismissive comments in the introductory material that Gottfredson was just starting to learn the ropes with this first story, I actually enjoyed it the most of the stories in the book. The other stories aren't in any way bad, but most of them didn't have quite the same balance of slapstick and pure adventure that the opening story did. The other stories were for the most part quite good as well, but still experimental too--Gottfredson was trying different settings, pacing, and balances of the competing slapstick and adventure elements.
As is typical for Fantagraphics reprint collections, the production values on the book are high. Nice paper, crisp reproduction, a wonderful cloth and matte cover, solid binding. The only thing I found myself wishing for was a bound in ribbon bookmark.
Looking forward to more in this series, as well as their forthcoming collections of Carl Barks' duck stories....more