Truth be told, I didn’t read any comics when I was a kid. My sister’s boyfriend gave my brother and me a whole stack of comic books (I still have them), but back then I just never got into it. Sure, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman, and Captain America were prevalent characters in my childhood, but none of that exposure came from the source. No, it wasn’t until I was already an adult that I finally picked up my first comic book. That story is worthy of its own post, though, at some other time. Welcome to MyIdeaPark’s Comic Book Corner: This month ‘Batman: Year One’.
I’ve been looking for a new hero to read up on, starting at their origin. I’m a fan of getting the whole story, and I want to experience classic heroes in as fluid a light as possible. Hopefully, without necessarily having to read everything from the Golden Age of Comic Books. I’d prefer it if the storylines I was reading were a little newer (when possible) and also in chronological order so the story is still intact. Obviously, if I intend to uncover the entire story, I’m going to have to read some of the older material. That’s fine, comics from all ages are absolutely amazing, I’m just fascinated with the modern artwork.
I’m not exactly a comic book nerd, though, and I definitely don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Hear me out. Not being a nerd about comics means I have little to no idea where to start. I’m at a disadvantage here. I would love to know more, and I intend to because I think the stories are both exciting and empowering. Nowadays they’re even extremely relatable. I decided to read up on Batman because his story has always intrigued me. I feel like humanity can relate to him more than most of the other superheroes out there. Still, Batman was conceived by Bob Kane and Bill Finger a long time ago. His first appearance was in Detective Comics #27, 1939. Seventy-eight years later, where do I begin?
Enter DC Database. I found their site after doing a quick Google search for ‘Batman recommended reading’. They actually have some fairly extensive lists available for a whole variety of DC heroes, check it out for yourself here. So far I’m digging the site, and have started reading the Batman comics based on their suggestions. So without further ado, I would like to present you with my assessment of ‘Batman: Year One’.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely thrilled about reading this one, but boy was I wrong. The story was nothing short of epic and the artwork, though slightly dated, still rang true to the tone of our mysterious knight. What I’m saying is, I’ve never been so impressed with a comic before. Frank Miller wrote an absolutely amazing piece and Dave Mazzucchelli complimented that story with his art flawlessly. If you’ve never read any Batman comics, I would highly recommend starting here.
Dave does an amazing job of illustrating action and movement. Just look at Batman trying to escape in the image above as he’s being shot at wildly. Beautiful. Every one of the other pages is just as elegant, displaying situations and tones that we’d expect in the world of Gotham.
The whole story is entertaining as well, even the slower parts. From the drama to the action, ‘Batman: Year One’ delivers. It offers a concrete origin to one of our all-time favorite superheroes and galvanizes his resolve to rid Gotham of crime. Furthermore, it explains why Batman is fighting in the first place and gives him a bit of humanity so we can relate to his struggle. Every good person wants to see the world without crime, hate, and evil, but Batman actually does something about it.
Spoiler alert: Another character makes an appearance as well. Catwoman’s story is weaved into Batman’s perfectly. I was so impressed with Frank Miller’s interpretation of Batman’s first year in Gotham that I was actually sad when I read the last page. It’s that good.
If you do decide to read it, and you feel like I did when you’re done, then you may want to check out the 2011 animated film of the same name. It’s just as amazing. I actually watched it first without knowing that it was based on an old comic. The film does the book justice, though, I’ll say that much.
‘Batman: Year One’ first appeared in the 1987 Batman comics, issues #404-407. If you’re looking for a new hero to read up on, or you’re interested in opening your first comic book, I highly recommend getting started down the Batman rabbit hole with ‘Batman: Year One’. I promise you won’t be disappointed.