On Reading Graphic Novels discussion

Batman, Arkham Asylum

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message 1: by Fredstrong (last edited Jan 27, 2008 02:03PM) (new)

Fredstrong | 25 comments I just picked this up yesterday, and finished it last night. It was awesome! below is my goodreads review:

So what happens to the bad guys after Batman sweeps them off the streets of Gotham? I mean, they’re not your ordinary criminals, these guys have serious issues, and rather than prison they go to Arkham Asylum. But what of the Batman himself? His sanity has also always been in question, and here Batman’s own madness is somewhat unmasked.

Arkham Asylum begins with Commissioner Gordon informing Batman about a riot at Arkham. The inmates are running the asylum, the Joker is at the helm, they have hostages, and there is only one of the Joker’s demands unmet: Batman has to enter the asylum, for in Joker’s estimation, he belongs there as much as any of its inmates. Surprisingly, Batman not only goes, but actually suspects there’s truth in the Joker’s analysis. Batman undergoing Rorschach and word association is a treat. The sprinkling of qabalistic, and Thelemic imagery is an unexpected twist. Two Face has even been weaned off his coin and its dualistic limitations replaced by the 78 card Thoth Tarot deck to now assist in his decision making.

Grant Morrison’s story arc is profound and dynamic. Dave McKean’s artwork is both stunning and disturbing. McKean’s illustrations are dark and claustrophobic, and his depiction of the Joker is scary and twisted. The philosophical assertions about pathology, its connection to the self, and possible “cures,” provide an interesting undercurrent for the story. This is not a traditional treatment of Batman, and I could not recommend it more. This has been one of my favorites in my limited exposure to graphic novels.

message 2: by Synchro (last edited Jan 28, 2008 07:19AM) (new)

Synchro (synchro23) | 4 comments This is one of my all time favorites.
Grant Morrison's superb writing combined with Dave McKean’s groundbreaking artwork is a real mind blower.
Taken at face value it is a disturbing Batman story, but the threads of esoteric reference hint at the deeper metaphysical side of the DC universe.
Although nowhere on the level of "Arkham Asylum", I would still recommend reading "The Books Of Magic".

message 3: by Fredstrong (new)

Fredstrong | 25 comments I will put it on my list. May I recommend Promethea, by Alan Moore. A brilliant exposition of the principles of ceremonial magic, which fully utilizes the medium to articulate concepts it would be very difficult to with conventional prose.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I have a rule of thumb..always read the three M's: Moore, Morrison and Miller. This ranks up there with The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and all the other Batman graphic novels, if not all graphic novels period.

message 5: by Synchro (new)

Synchro (synchro23) | 4 comments Thanks. This a a tie in to the Tom Strong title I was reading a while back. Good stuff in a quasi-retro golden age meets meta-verse style.
I have been meaning to read Promethea for a while now, I will bump it up the list.

message 6: by Fredstrong (new)

Fredstrong | 25 comments Tom Strong is in Promethea also.

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