Sunday, 5 October 2008

Graphic Novels

I really don't know how I missed the graphic novel section in my local library when I first went a few weeks ago. Last time I was there I got two books from that section; this week when I went I got five graphic novels, two sci fi novels and a popular science book. I've read three of the graphic novels already, and as two were quite long I'm putting them in as two of my 101 books.

Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale is a fantastic mystery story; the recent Batman film borrows some of the story's beats and themes (though not in their entirety), with Batman, Harvey Dent and James Gordon joining forces to take down organised crime in Gotham City. All of their plans are in disarray though, thanks to a killer striking on holidays throughout the year. 'Holiday' kills criminals from the mafia - but who is he? A mob rival? A villain like the Joker? Harvey Dent? And why is Catwoman circling the major players?

The Long Halloween
has beautiful artwork and a totally engrossing story. The mystery running throughout makes it stand out as something really, really special. As the good guys try to discover the identity of Holiday they are also forced to question whether or not he is doing some good by eliminating criminals previously untouchable by the law. I'm hoping that the library also has Batman: Dark Victory as well, if memory serves that's a kind of sequel by the same creators.

On the other hand, Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean is an intriguing graphic novel, but I'm torn as to whether or not I really enjoyed it. It's a dark and stormy night, and the inmates of Arkham are loose and have taken hostages; their list of demands calls for Batman to come to the asylum, but all is not what it seems... He is forced to play their demented games, trying to survive until midnight - and trying to unravel the real mystery for the inmates' escape.

Dave McKean's artwork is really incredible, but it gives a very strange, dreamlike quality to the whole book. This supports Grant Morrison's story, but at the same time it all feels a bit strange - Batman is a hero by virtue of his personal dedication, more than a man because of his training and will, and yet I've never seen a story where he has seemed more lost, more human... On reflection, I guess I did enjoy the story, but can't say that I would recommend it as readily as The Long Halloween.


Latharia said...

Sounds like you've found some treasures! :) I love finding things like that! I hope you enjoy more of the books on your list!

mattiecore said...

The Long Halloween definitely sounds more like my bag

kimz said...

i like your new profile pic. ;)