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.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hitting a Narrative Wall

As part of my ongoing attempt to get as much value out of buying Batman online as possible, I was able to pick up a run of B(1940) and 'Tec. These were issues that when combined with issues that I already had, created a run. This run started straight after 'No Man's Land', it meant that I was able to read over a years worth of stuff, and have something fresh to blog about. Then I hit a roadblock. Suddenly, I picked up Batman #587 and noticed it was Part 1 of 'Officer Down', a proper, main-event Gotham storyline arc.

These kind of event story arcs occur roughly every eighteen months. The editorial pitch to the Batman readership for the usual event story arc is that this storyline is so massive, and so important to the Gotham City world, that it cannot be contained in merely just one title, nor two. Nope, this story has to feature in ALL the Batman family of titles. So to get the full picture, DC editors ask, you have to buy them all... And like a sucker, I do, even after ten years since they were published. I'll then have to prioritise this Batman Quest in order to get these freaking books, so I can read this wondrous event.

I know. This is not the act of a sane man.

While on the whole, I don't mind this kind of event storytelling (especially as I am buying all the back issues anyway, at a greatly reduced price; just for sheer hell of it, I might add.) and am appreciative of how sometimes the flow of the story often feels wholly dis-jointed (for example, as the second part of the story is seen through another characters eyes, it always reflects a different creative teams voice therefore changing the central narrative voice) in different titles. I do, however, admire the ambition and editing skills of the guys at DC in order to make this kind of story coherent and, usually an, enjoyable read. Of course, these fellows have had a lot of practice doing this sort of story, as the editors have been churning them out for fairly regularly for nearly two decades.

My main feelings about the Gotham Event Storyline as a Batman reading experience is that it often presents me with a collecting problem. This is the completest in me, bubbling to the surface. Finishing the event storyline soon becomes a mini-quest in it's own right, and by God, I will collect them all!

I'm sure I'm not the only reader of Batman that holds these feelings. So I'm starting a kind of Reader's Guide feature. So when I, or anyone else reading this blog, comes up against these multi-parted, multi-titled Gotham Event story arcs, then at least they'll/I'll have a reference point as to what Part of the story belongs in what Title. So you, and I, don't just blunder half way through and think what the hell is going on.

I'm pretty certain that my Reading Guide to 'No Man's Land' will be something to behold...