I woke up one morning and had a dream... Could I own every single issue of Detective Comics, Batman and all of the other subtitles in the Gotham universe?
Insane? Stupid? Inspired?
This can only end in obsession and financial chaos.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Favourites: 'Hush'

Okay, 'Hush'. I suppose there are a few things that can be said about the story between Batman 608-619.

The thing is with reading comics is that there are usually a number of chefs in a comic kitchen that really make a comic work. Usually the bigger chefs are the writer and the artist. Now, I'm guilty (as are a lot of bloggers) of waxing lyrical about how wonderful a writers is, and that their work is the main reason that I picked up a book. At times this is really tough on the artist who has usually spent more time on a story than the writer, and that they should get more than the little kudos than I can muster.

For me, 'Hush' is not about the writing. Hell no, it is an example of what happens when you let one the finest artists of his generation have a proper run on one of the greatest characters in comic history. And in doing so, ushers in the new age of comics: The Widescreen Age to enter Gotham properly.
The Widescreen Era probably started with Authority #1 by Warren Ellis and Brian Hitch in 1999. It's style is synonymous with low numbers of pictures on a page, usually in letterbox format. If there are any captions of dialogue (and there are never 'I'm thinking here captions') they are loaded with wit, wisdom and characterization. Your typical Widescreen Age comic will have absolutely have tons of action and be loaded with set pieces that would not be out of place from a big budget Hollywood film. If there is any major criticism of this new age in comics, is that reading a comic book can take a lot less longer than it ever did before. And this in itself means that a writer has to be on top form if his work on plot and characterization isn't blown away by the big budget art. And 'Hush' is a fine example of this. Jim Lee is the reason you buy this comic, and not the writing of Jeph Loeb.
Batman: Hush
I'm not going to discuss the plot of the book, because I'm sure that anyone who reads this will either be infuriated or amazed by this story. 'Hush', for me, is all about twelve issues of Jim Lee kicking ass and taking names. Most major Batman characters (heroes or villains) are encapsulated perfectly. Check it out, the cracking cover of the collected edition, is just entrĂ©e to the perfect full main course that awaits you inside. If you already have these books, you know what I mean. If you plan on buying it: read it once, then flick through the art again and you realise that the book you have is worth every single penny of your hard earned cash!

I once had a conversation with Ian of Portsmouth Ian's Comic and Books, about why the hell these books were so expensive and so sought after. And he summed it up perfectly: it's because they contain the best examples of comic book art, by one of the best artists in the business, in one of his last full-time gigs. 

Hmmm, I wonder how much an original art page of this stuff costs?