Batman–Crimson Mist   Leave a comment

Libraries are cool. Enter a new library, and you never know what you’ll find. The City of Phoenix (more properly Library Administration) switched me from the tiny community Century branch to the large, extremely busy Palo Verde branch last week.  I picked up lots of new duties as a librarian, and I’ve found all kinds of stuff on the shelves over there that I’ve never seen before, including lots of graphic novels. Today’s blog concerns an Elseworlds graphic novel about Batman from 1999.

One of the earliest comics I remember was about Batboy and Rubin from Mad Magazine. The diminutive duo were trying to track down a serial killer who punched holes in the victim’s toes and then drained all the blood from their body. It turned out that Batboy himself was the killer, and his sidekick Rubin was his last victim, because . . .dun, dun, DUNNH!–HE WAS A VAMPIRE BATBOY!



This imaginary story starts with Batman the vampire lying in his coffin staked through the heart. Good old Alfred did that for him after Batman last control and killed the Joker. Now if there was ever anyone who deserved killing, it was Mr. J. and the only bad thing about a vampire killing the Joker is the idea that he might come back as a joker vampire. Still, Bruce Wayne was racked with guilt by it, and he committed vampire suicide.

Vampire suicide is really boring and after a month or two of having his body rot away, he really wishes his undead afterlife was more fatal. Then Gothan City goes to Hell in a big way–all the remaining bat-freak villains–Penguin, Riddler, Black Mask gang get out of control and Commissioner Gordon and Alfred decide to bring him back. This turns out to be a really bad idea.

A really bad idea for all the freak criminals in Gotham City. Vampire Batman eats them. Then he goes and eats all the criminals incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. He leaves a note for Doctor Arkham. “You can go home now. Your work is done.”  Doug Moench got to do what every Batman scripter must be dying to do–kill the Batman villains. He does so with glee. Ghastly hideous deaths are doled out to them all. Bloody. 

And it was fun to read, and I raced right through it, but I have to wonder . . . why do artists love to do hdeous, hideous artwork, and then get it published?  Kelley Jones, John Beatty, and Gregory Wright have combined here to create the worst, imho, Batman art of all time. Every single picture is hideous, twisted, murky, gory, symbolic, twisted and demonic. None of the characters look anything like our standard images of Gordon, Pennyworth, Dent, Cobblepot, et al. Hideous, hideous, hideous, and done with such skill.

You can probably guess how this tale ends. So I won’t mention it.

But I leave you with this question, why does everyone want to kill the Batman? I wonder how many Death of the Batman stories have been done since the character was created. Dozens? Hundreds? Do you think Batman dies–vicariously at least once a year?


Posted April 10, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

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