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.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

July's (Belated) Haul

Life is a strange journey.

I got my house, now I have that horrific feeling that my comic buying budget means that I have to spend money that doesn't include things that have a masked vigilante drawn into thirty (or so) pages...

Oh come on, this is the Batman Quest I have to weigh up the pros and cons of most things. Should I buy a vacuum cleaner, or a microwave oven or blow it all on comic books?

Can I do both?

Can I do this while buying paint, Ikea bookcases all the while trying to seduce the simply stunning Bethan who frequents my workplace? This is a woman that needs a war chest, she needs to be spoilt: With Krug, With Pizza... She's really purrr-fect. I mean this is a chick who's nearly a decade younger than me, but there's something about her that makes me think that she would look rather good in a Catwoman catsuit.

Er... Did I just go there, like online?

Fuck it, I'll never be found here.. in the backwaters of the Blogosphere...

So let's get July out of the way..

Let's think here... I bought a handful of Nightwing, specifically #146 and about 18 issues of Batgirl..Yes, this buying house stuff is really rubbish when you are trying to kit a house with electricity, furniture and vegetarian food. Hell, I'm having to abandon a TV license (in the UK, in case you are wondering. to watch the TV, you have to buy a TV License for £150ish- all to subsidise the BBC's dominance in the UK's media market) all to sort my finances out. But I need Huntress and Azrael back issues!

Which means a guaranteed time to actually read things. To be truthful, this was always the plan, I knew that all this stockpiling of comics was going to be a great thing once I abandoned the soul destroying world of British TV. And would make me buy more freaking comics.

While we are here then can I give you my Dark Knight Rises review?

For what it's worth, it was awesome.

Up there with my favourite movies; above Predators, but below Hiding Out and Tremors 2.

The big flaw, and it's best feature in the three hours is the half-way Bane/Commisioner Gordon Half-Time speeches. This was a glorious cliché, but I think this was Christopher Nolan's clever way of letting me piss out two pints of coke, as they prattled on into the finale.

Bale's Batman was excellent, as usual. While Bale's Bruce Wayne was, and I mean this as a compliment, an annoying rich-boy quitter. Bruce Wayne, in this movie, was a total wanker who had the testicular fortitude of a eunuch, until the threat that his fortune and standard of life might be threatened.

Bane was awesome. As was the twist in the, er, back. If you know what I mean...

As for Selina Kyle: This was as good as a performance by a female comic villain as any. Yes, while that statement means that you'll rack your brain trying to find a comparable, I'll go one further, it is now THE benchmark female villain in ANY movie. Selina Kyle's portrayal by whatever-her-name is simply awesome and her performance transcends the screen. This is a woman who knows exactly what she wants. And is softy ruthless in getting there. She is the one that haunts when you breath the cold air of the the Monday night.

But, she ain't Catwoman. She's acting out the Selina Kyle in Frank Miller's 'Year One' who decides that by dressing up as a cat, might be a better way of becoming a cat-butglar. She's fucking awesome doing it. But, Catwoman, isn't mentioned in the movie. There is no whip...

While I own 'Catwoman' (featuring Halle Berry- and that ticks a few of my boxes, I might add), I have asked my closest friends. It's official...

Michelle Pfeiffer. Is still THE Catwoman.

You can have your Hepburn's Breakfast At Tiffany from Ikea, I'll take a full blow up of Pfeiffer put it onto wall, and I don't give a flying monkey of how pervy it might appear to my 90 year old Grandmother.

Regardless of watching Pfeiffers performance in a mental breakdown in becoming Catwoman, her perfect delivery of great lines in Tim Burton's 'Batman Returns'. Yes, this is the first Tim Burton's first auteur film and Devito's Penguin is deviant beyond, but it is Michelle Pfeiffers film. Pfeiffer, who must've been beaten into the vinyl (and what the hell is vinyl?) with a spatula owns the film. She actually stole a place in my heart. And my puberty, if I'm truthful... Women that are this dangerous, this individualistic, this whip-carrying-ist are the women that I have always been drawn too...

Now here is the confession, and I'm only being honest, but you've already noted that this wasn't you standard what-i-got-blog, I was a thirteen year old boy when I saw this Catwoman on glorious cinematic wide-screen, and her physical appearance had/has/will continue to have a last impression on my psyche. Yes, shiny black 'vinyl' is a simply wonderful thing... And the various women (that I liked enough) I have been involved with might attest to this issue.

If I met Michelle Pfeiffer and had to say something to her; I wouldn't even batter an eyelid (and hope that the burly bodyguards won't carry me away with immediate effect).

“Thankyou Ms. Pffeiffer, I'm not mental or anything, but You've greatly influenced my sexuality. And I mean that in a good way”. Then I'd be beaten up by the bodyguards...

And I know that amongst my friends, some of them married, I am not alone. It's just that they won't admit to it online.

Because they are not idiots.

And should Bethan ever stumble upon this blog:

Croissants are a morning pastry.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Style and Comic Collections

No I haven;t dropped off the earth. No, I haven't given up. I've moved. And that has been a serious ball-ache. As you can see from the scars on my walls.

And now for the first time in nearly ten years my comic book collection is now in one place. True, they are scattered throughout my new house (like three rooms and I do mean scattered). I piled up all the longboxes together and something occurred to me...

Something that I'm sure all comic collectors have when the amass a stupid number of comics, must also realise:

That the white cardboard comic box is a contender for the most ugliest thing in the world.

True they are functional, and are wonderful for storing my precious books in a way that is archival safe (or so they tell me). And that they stack okay. So I can get a large number into an economically efficient area.

But... after a few years. They deform due to weight and movement. They also appear to change colour, becoming more yellow. Also, different suppliers have slightly different measurements, so its really difficult to get them all to be exactly the same, thus spoiling the overall presentation.

Rant conclusion, look at them. They are simply not a sexy way to show off a collection that I have spent a small fortune on and a lot of time pulling together. Something better must be done. And quickly.

A utopia must be created!!!

Watch this space.

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Batman Quest: Year One Haul

Here is the big year end, Year One of the Batman Quest...

And to be sure, I am quite proud of myself. I knew that this little quest would be more than do-able, and once I went beyond four longboxes I knew that this project was coming along nicely. Other than boring you guys with all the ins and outs of the individual nonsense of the issues here is where this collection currently stands... Basically, I'm halfway there:

Batman 371 of 713 = 52%
Annuals 11 of 30
Detective Comics 365 of 881 = 41.4%
Annuals 8 of 14
Shadow of the Bat 94 of 94= 100%
Annuals 7 of 7

Legends of the Dark Knight 214 of 214= 100%
Annuals 7 of 8

Batman & Robin 23 of 23= 100%
Batman Incorporated 10 of 10
Chronicles 23 of 23= 100%
Confidential 44 of 54= 100%
Gotham Knights 73 of 74
Streets of Gotham 21 of 21= 100%
Batman Dark Knight 5 issues of 5= 100%

Azrael volume 1- 100 issues of 100= 100%
Azrael annuals- 4 issues of 4= 100%
Azrael volume 2- 11 issues of 18
Batgirl volume 1- 47 issues of 73
Batgirl Annuals- 1 of 1
Batgirl volume 2- 6 issues of 6
BoP volume 1- 3 of 127
Catwoman volume 1- 94 issues of 94= 100%
Annuals 6 issues
Catwoman volume 2- 20 issues
Gotham City Sirens-3
Gotham Knights 40 issues of 40= 100%

Harley Quinn- 6 of 36
Huntress volume 1- 4 of 18
Nightwing 119 issues of 153
Nightwing Annual- 1 of 6
Red Robin- 3 of 18
Robin Mini Series 15 of 15
Robin 76 of 183
Robin Annuals 5 of 9

I'm sure I've forgotton more than a few titles but I don't care as I'm over the self-imposed target of 1700. Add to that is the fact I've definately picked up over a thousand Batman comics in one calender year. It's also rather cool to be able to state that I collect Batman books, and when a person asks, 'how many'? I can say, 'Oh about twenty-two years worth'. Except, and lets face it, that conversation isn't going to happen.

Especially with attractive women.

So, it seems that The Batman Quest can be done. I reckon I have another twelve months of 'easy pickings' until the whole thing becomes both expensive and difficult.

Friday, 4 May 2012

April's (pathetic) Haul

Yes, these two 'Key Books' and five copies of Nightwing, were the limits of April's Batman Quest. Bit sad, I know. But I did get to do a lot of reading. Including reading the quickly forgotton Year Two.

Which was nice.

Don't worry, though, I plan on ending Batman Quest Year One with an enormous bang. And then I can see how much of a dent I have made into this project!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Easter Eggs... Imported from Dundee

There are in-jokes that everyone goes 'aaaaaa'.

Then there are in-jokes that need a bit of explaining.

Alan Grant was into his last year of his great Batman run... The entire Gotham universe needs shaking up before the millenium. Let's have a bit of fun. Time for an Easter Egg, people!

So here was the forth page of Shadow of the Bat #73, panel one. Bats is talking to Oracle about the dangers of a wanted man. To illustrate the danger of this bloke, we get a graphic of Billy Wildman. However it's his 'Known Associates' we want to discuss...

American fans probably won't have got this, although I'm sure when they saw it the first time they must've felt something was afoot. This is a very British (and more accurately Scottish) comic in-joke. So allow me to explain it with this...

The three Known Associates are the grown-up Wilfred, Fatty and Plug of The Bash Street Kids fame.  

So this is what happens when you continue a path of mischief, you move to Gotham and end up on Batman's shitlist!

As all British comic fans ought to know The Bash Street Kids are iconic characters in British comics that appear in Dundee-based D.C. Thomson & Co's 'The Beano' comic.

Since I noted this in-joke, it has filled me with a wave of nostalgia. What introduced me to comics was that when I was about five years old my mum would buy me weekly copies of The Beano, in order to shut me up, I think. And to say that 'The Beano' has left a lasting impression over 25 years later is an understatement (I still can't believe I kept those Library editions for over twenty years in the attic!).... The Beano probably is the first reason I can think of as to why I read and adore comics as a medium. Seriously, I'm not alone in this nostalgia, for a lot of Brits from my generation and those older, the characters of The Beano are as important and closely loved than Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny is to American fans.
As to why this appears in Shadow of the Bat (and this time it's not just because it's another Scottish reference) is simply this... Alan Grant (along with Pat Mills and John Wagner) cut his comic creating teeth working at D.C. Thomson!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Dark Knight Strikes Again

I was well away from comic book news and outlets at the time, but I heard the news: Frank Miller was going to release a sequel to one of the definitive comic book stories of all time. A sequel to one of my favourite stories (and you can add that I loved it as much as ANY story in ANY media). Yessir, Frank Miller was going to follow up The Dark Knight Returns. And I was excited.

Fortunately, I was well away from fanboy forums, comic shops so when I bought a Trade paperback in 2003 from Waterstones in Aberystwyth. I was able to read it without any influences upon my opinion. I was expecting more super intense story-telling, glorious plot points. I was expecting another game changer of a book. I was expecting the second coming...

Of course, I was gloriously disappointed.

I got something that I wasn't expecting, something that I actually started to hate.

A lot.

That book got lost three years later in a house fire in Bristol, and it took another five years (and a lot more comic reading) to summon the bravery to have another go at it. I tracked down the three issues on the Bay and paid next to nothing for them. And after the second reading, I started to Get It.

So what's to Get? Spoilers exist from here on in...

The first thing you have to understand about DKSA is that this is a totally different Frank Miller that wrote DKR. As an artist and writer he'd simply moved away from the superhero comics he'd influenced during the eighties. Sin City was finished and in this crime-noir baby, his art and storytelling evolved into what we have in DKSA. There were also all manner of 'dream-team' combinations with other comic heavyweights (the Martha Washington series with Dave Gibbons, Spawn with Todd McFarlane, and my personal favourite, the one that no-one talks about: Robocop versus Terminator with Walter Simonson), these also affected Millers storytelling in DKSA. Basically, Miller experimented a lot to get to where he did by the point he wrote DKSA, and I now understand that he must have decided that the super intense, frame heavy pages were now no longer needed, as he'd done it; and he must've wanted to do something different. Because creative people need to move forward, therefore the sequel to DKR needed to be different.

The other major thing about DKSA is that Miller is not necessarily trying to create a classic, he's actually trying to make a commentary on the comic business all the while including politics and social commentary. He's also doing this a lot more blatantly than he had done in DKR. Yes, the Frank Miller Goddamn Batman is there, but it is a work that is definately more preachy and sure of itself. Miller continues this trail of thought in other creative endeavours around the time (DKSA follows '300' and precedes 'Holy Terror', for you continuity junkies out there).

Influences on this book are subtle. But they are there. Miller is aware that the Dark Age, as Grant Morrison calls it, that he helped usher in is slowly coming to an end, and maybe that is why he attempts a Team Book. Therefore, Grant Morrison's JLA run is definitely an influence here, and I also sense a touch of city-destroying, we're-obliged-to-save-everyone-regardless-if-they-want-saving-or-not-Authority.

Artistically, I see a lot of Simon Bisley influence on the art. Miller makes some panels intentionally messy, chaotic and anarchic in places. There's a direct reference to Manga (remember manga was supposed to lay seige to the American comic book market at the turn of the century!). There are cool references to The Great Wave off Kanagawa during the Sexual Acts of God Superman/Wonder Woman scene. This, in itself, is proof that Miller is still thinking about what he is drawing and why he's drawing his pictures. Hell, to give me my monies worth, and make me grin cheesily, he even references himself, redoing a splash from Sin City: instead of a car knocking over the bad guys we get a Bat-Plane!

What really impresses me about this work, and this has been noticed by others is the social media contexts, questions and that Miller raises. The Superchix thing is all about celebrity without being much else other than being a celebrity. He successfully parodies all superflous reality TV shows where beautiful, un-original people throw tantrums for no reason... There loads of numerous internet and blogger references (although, Miller isn't entirely certain what to make of them). The political rants that are featured in DKSA, are less political debates (which are seen to be more developed in the original DKR, even if a bit one-sided) but are featured as a series of very SHOUTY sound-bites. There are plenty of in-jokes, and these only really exist simply to be picked up by sad bastards like me: I mean, have you actually been to www.scifigeeknews.com (and please don't click there on my account, as no one owns this domain)? In fairness, I feel Miller had more fun writing this than he did the original. That's probably why it couldn't be anywhere as near as intense as DKR.

And I'm not even commenting upon the satire of an American President being just a computer generated sprite yet be considered a true American.  Lets face it, this is cool concept, and a scathing attack on modern day politics.

Of course, this is still a sequel, and sequels often retread some of the same things. Done differently, and in DKSA's case better. The Bats/Supes rematch is better executed than the first fight. The 'talking heads' stuff that dominates much of DKR, returns, but has a lesser significance. Again, the story's flow is better for it. When the super-intense storyboard layouts make an appearence, they actually have bigger significance (hell, that's what should happen). I'll also argues that the splash pages in DKSA are much cooler that the splash pages than DKR- true, there are a shedload more of them! The scope of DKSA's plot is also way bigger than just Batman and Gotham, and Miller should be applauded for his ambition.

It's still Millers' Batman, the Dark Knight, which is the main draw though. Miller revisits the Batman mythos, with a nod to Zorro. And it is done in a startlingly fresh, yet chilling way. Yes this is a grimmer Batman (even grimmer than Miller's original Dark Knight), but it's not yet a superhero that abducts children in order to keep them in a cave without food...


Everyone that has read this book, knows that DKSA is a divisive piece of work. More than most think of it as an incoherent, self-indulgent mess, but there are people like me that now appreciate it as an failed masterpiece. Regardless of the merits of the work, DKSA is not DK2, it's no where near as immersive and intense as DKR, and I think that this is the core of all the books criticism. Truly, for everyone, DKSA should be read as a stand alone work to be liked. Trouble is because of the importance of The Dark Knight Returns, which is standard issue on every comic book shelf, it cannot be.

To bottom-line this blog. I'd like to make a point, that appears to be lost amongst the comicarrati. Frank Miller, one of the most visionary, revolutionary comic creators, is now lost to the Hollywood machine. Its happened slowly over twenty years and that is a great loss to the hobby. As a result, every and any piece of Frank Miller work is now equally important. From Daredevil to DKR to the Dark Horse collaboratives to Sin City, we-as readers- have witnessed Millers' progression as a writer and an artist. And frankly, we should be thankful for the experience.

And it's always been a privilege for me to read his stuff.

I, for one, miss him. I selfishly want to see him producing more comic work. I know it isn't going to happen too often now, so I'll take DKSA for being simply a Frank Miller book. Dark Knight Strikes Again might be an extreme example of Miller's glorious creator independence (And he'll do anything with the Batman he goddamn pleases) but it does deserve a place on my shelf now.

At present, I don't hate it like I used too....

Monday, 2 April 2012

Monthly Haul: March Musings

It's all starting to become a little bit expensive this month.

I'd started to notice last month that the price of Batman back issues especially 'Key Books' had started to rise. At first I though it was the result of the upcoming 'The Dark Knight Rises' affecting the market.

Of course, it certainly has helped the value of Vengeance of Bane #1. But the real culprit is the highly addictive, and really good video game, 'Batman: Arkham City'.

Yes, I bought it this month. And spent way too much time playing the blasted thing. So it's good. In a 'I've-lost-three-hours-looking-for-riddles' kind of way. To hell with it, I was hooked.

I reckon, and this may be fleshed out with a bit of research, that since 'Arkham Asylum' game was released there was a slow rise in prices of all the those key books that have been referenced in that game. And I think this has happened again since the release of 'Arkham City'.

It's a theory at the minute, but I'm reliably told that the 'Arkham City' toys/figurines (especially Catwoman and Poison Ivy) have been unbelievably great sellers by those who sell them. And logic dictates that when something becomes collectable, the source material value also rises.

Now, how did this affect me this month?

Well, I managed to pick up three #360-ish 'Batman' books on eBay and had to pay over £5 for each of them. Usually, there are a few bidders for these books, but the aggressiveness of the bidding was truly astounding. It got so cut-throat that more than one sniper was present at the end of each auction.

Best expample was a NM Batman #366 (1st Jason Todd as Robin) which finished at £13 after 29 bids! This was proper mental for a UK auction. Once it went past £10, I decided to pick it up Near Mint from a proper dealer for less than a tenner included the p+p, while it stinks of panic buying (and believe me, the British went panic buying in spectacular manner over the potential Petrol Tanker Strike this month), I have this horrible feeling that this might turn out to be a shrewd purchase. And a clever investment, should I ever be interested in that part of the hobby.

Oh, and while I am on a Key Book rant... and after last months bemused statement about what the hell is so important about Detective Comics #871, I was able to get a copy (thanks to an eBay 'Second Chance'- the original buyer bottled the purchase!). It is said that this will be a modern key due simply due to this being the first written work on Batman by Scott Snyder.

I'd heard that this Snyder character was getting a strong fanboy following (there was a ridiculous forum on CBR wondering if this guy was going to be the next Alan Moore. No pressure then...), now I've since read the entire 'Tec run. And I haven't made up my mind whether it is as great as people believe it is. I'll have to cogitate that one, I think.

Fortunately to off-set this Key-Book Bubble nonsense I have been able to pick up one copy of Harley Quinn and several Nightwing issues for a snip. Maybe I'll concentrate on the periphery titles until all the furory over the film and game dies down.


I wonder...

Already hinted in 'Batman: Arkham City' there is a suggestion that follow-up will heavily feature Hush and The Ventriloquist (as in the Albert Wesker incarnation). Both characters debuts are relatively recent, neither are considered 'rare' but I have a feeling the value of these books will start to rise, as of this moment.

Just watch, and blame the The Batman Quest, for starting the panic buying.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Completed Series: Batman: The Dark Knight

This was a series that was supposed to be an ongoing new title released in late 2010. It got through to Issue 5 (before the New-52, kicked in and restarted the title), by Summer 2011. The title showed me a lot of promise, it was, what is rare in modern comic books, a sole creators take on a one of the main comic book characters in the business. And to underline the point, the title, 'The Dark Knight', invoked that it was building upon the legacy of the movie, of Frank Miller's DKR, and picking up where the the old anthology title 'Legends of the Dark Knight'.

Basically, guys when I ordered this first issue from my comic book shop, I was expecting a quality experience, sadly I got a strange experience.

Shall we get the bad points of this series out of the way first...

The biggest and most frustrating thing about this run, and this was compounded by the lateness of the books (which I can only assume, occurred when Finch found out that the New-52 was on it's way, therefore making the bigger stor arc unfinished) is that it is very incomplete. There is a longer narrative at play here. The story is going somewhere and that it feels that it may take a long time getting there. While the first five issues finish an arc, there are a lot of plot points that needed to be completed. And this is, for a completest, really frustrating. I know that this isn't really Finch's fault, and for all I know he is finishing it in the New-52 title (although, away from the Batman Incorporated back-drop), it just annoyed me, that's all.

The second problem I had with this title, and this was a major thing I had when reading other Batman work of the same era, is the dour and hopelessness of it all. Batman, staggers from one death to another. People get maimed, killed and manipulated, and Batman- a hero, which I think is best used as preventing all of the above, cannot do anything to stop it. After going through the five issue debut story, I was thoroughly depressed. And if I am being overly critical, there is an element of a greatest hits compilation of previous Batman stories, but I suppose this is also a strength which I will be discussed about later on...

As for the criticism that this book is too light on substance, and too over the top. With way too much grandstanding, well remember guys what I am reading here is a comic book. Maybe this is the teenage boy in me, but I am not expecting Asterios Polyp, From Hell or Love and Rockets here, should I want an uncomplicated superhero comic, this'll do. Maybe that's what Finch was planning?

There are two cool things about the title and these are David Finch himself.

The writing is promising, he sets up the various long-term storyline (An over ambitious cop, threatening Jim Gordon's status in GCPD. Why would somebody be paid to steal the Batmobile? Where's street-based venom coming from?), as I'm frustrated by the titles end may be interpreted by my curiosity as to how the minor plot points being untied. The story is told very simply, and to be honest that's a good thing. Finch's Batman has a distinct voice, the use of Bruce Waynes internal dialogue when reminiscing about his younger life before his parents murder is excellent. Finch, by and large nails it and any new reader to Batman would easily understand what is going on.

And the art! I'm one of those rare breed of fans that don't really prefer one style over another. Being brought up on 2000AD where you'd get Arthur Ranson photo-realism one minute, Anthony Williams cartoony-zaniness the next, and then Simon Bisley spray-painting anarchy the next... I say this, because some of the reviews I've seen about the individual issues were scathing about Finch's 'Image-Art'. I'm used to appreciating any artists endeavour, as long as it works with the narrative, I'm pretty cool about it any style. For me, Finch's style of work is awesome, especially in his characterization of the classic characters, and backs this all up with a Gotham City he is trying to create. He's totally excellent at making Batman broody in a rainstorm.

As an introduction to other villains, new readers will realise Penguin, is unbelievable horrible to see. And that is a good thing. Killer Croc is mean, nasty, monstrous bastard, and that is a good thing too. Finch draws Ragman and The Demon, whom appear in later issues are also brilliantly done (and the moment where a demon exits through the Ragman's mouth is up there with my favourite bits of the book). Yes, there is a bit of self indulgence by David Finch, and there is an element of 'look what I can draw', but it's his book, and I suppose he can do what he likes.

And this was why I was finding the book strange...

Batman: The Dark Knight probably was frankly, aimed at the wrong part of the comic audience and suffers terribly for it. This should have been an Ultimate Marvel-style title, a great introduction for new (and definately, younger readers). It should've been presented well away from then-main Batman/DCU continuity, where Finch wouldn't have to include elements of the Batman Incorporated thing, I think the story would have been better for it. Crucially, though, it ought to have been aimed squarely at a new, younger audience. An audience that wasn't going to look at it and pick flaws in it, and find the other best bits of other Batman books (by that I mean, the use of re-introduction of superdrug Venom, Demonic possessions, ambitious public officials, and young brats stealing bits of Batman's car etc, etc) as tributes. An audience that wasn't likely to complain that Image-Art is sooo last century. An audience who would think that this was 'fresh'.

If DC had been boldly inclined, they could have used this title as a way to get a younger audience onto the character. Perhaps even use this title as the core book instead of the cartoony 'Batman and Robin Adventures' entry level books. Hell, the way the book serialisation is episodically structure (with one more character being introduced every issue) would be great for a younger audience. And the art would make younger readers think 'wow', just like I did when I first saw Bisley's 'Judgement on Gotham'.

True, the general tone of the book would have to be made more optimistic (although the tone for all the Bat-Book in 2012 were downright horrible). Yes, Batman would have saved the gal, all arm breaking sequences would have to be removed. Yes, more emphasis on hero, less on thuglike behaviour. In short, I just think that most impressionable teens would love this book solely for the art, all the while slowly get an education about Gotham City without having to look at Wikipeadia every five minutes. But hey, I'm not a DCU editor, I'm a collector.

For me, as a guy who will probably read more Batman that most human beings, this is simply okay. It's just that 'The Dark Knight' wasn't written for me. I mean it was supposed to be, but it shouldn't have been. Which is a damn, damn, shame.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Rehab is for Quitters

Well, being pure and be-having didn't really work. Well, I tried. I really did.

Then I started to notice things on Ebay that were screaming at me to be bought.

And I kicked out of the cold turkey into buying a long run of Batgirls, Nightwings and then promptly started to (and this is my biggest problem, trying not to start another run) pick up all but a few issues of Garth Ennis' Hellblazer run.

By and large the biggest thing I have noticed this month is the serious uptake in prices of the key Batman titles. Seriously, I was watching a CGC 9.8 Vengeance of Bane #1 (for educational purposes, you understand) sell for £140! One of the reasons I thought the Batman quest was do-able was that unlike the Marvel titles (where there are key books scattered throughout their titles numbers, that command serious coin), Batman and the other DC hero titles generally do not provoke this kind of premium, even in key books. Therefore, I thought, it will be cheaper for me to complete this collection.

I know that there is a price link between a comic book hero and its upcoming, related movie franchise that causes speculative prices of key books to jump through the roof. But, I cannot believe how much more expensive some later Batman books have become in less than six months.

Somebody ought to start a rumour that Azrael is secret addition to The Dark Knight Rises cast, and watch what happens to that Sword of Azrael #1 book value!

Yeah, this could be interpreted as a rant of fan, that is a little bit aggrieved that a lot of other people are jumping on his hobby bandwagon. But I am genuinely curious to see what happens when this Batman comic market bubble rises, and inevitably pops.

Oh and while I am ranting. What the Hell is so important about Detective Comics 871!!!?? Did I miss the CBR posting that announced that this book was bound by staples made of platinum...

Final Tally this month: About sixty books (and thank God, for Travelling Man's bargainous 50p back issue boxes for picking up the less fashionable series).

And I am not proud of myself.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Monthly Haul:

To be honest the entire cunning plan to collect every single Batman title hit a brick wall during this month. And this is all down to one simple factor, moving house.

When you have to deal with Estate Agents, Solicitors and Surveyors (and the rest of the fuckers that think you're a human cash machine), there is little cash left in the pot to buy comic books.

Well, that would be the normal response to dealing with the above situation, especially if you were a responsible person. So, I got to the last week of January by only buying two books: 'Tec 871 and Batman 399 and then I got that tingle back.

That tingle (and other collectors must know that feeling too) that says: I NEED TO HUNT DOWN MORE.

And to accomplish this I had to visit Warrington's ever expanding Millenium Comics and promptly became ridiculously irresponsible.

Less than 30 minutes later I was walking back to my car with two crappy plastic bags full of Legends of the Dark Knight Annuals, a shedload of 'Tecs and most of the #370-#398 Batman run.

Best of this splurge bunch was picking up Detective Comics #393. Which is right up there with some of the earliest books I've managed to get my hands on so far. So the trip was thoroughly worthwhile and economically viable, if a bit ill-advised.

And as I drove away, it dawned on me that this might be the last time I might be able to go this mental in a comic shop for a while. That I might have to go Cold Turkey for a month or so... That the thrill of the Batman hunt, might have to stop if only for a little while.

You see, since I've set this ridiculous collecting goal, my actual comic collection has grown to a point where an increasing proportion of it has never been read. And these include one-offs and mini-series that really have nothing to do with post-Year One Batman continuity. Hell, I figure, what's the point of having these books, if I'm not going to read them.

This large stockpile of Batman pulp fiction must be enough to get me through this self-enforced sabbatical (and a few bits of business that have just been completed will turn up in my letterbox over the next few weeks, as to ease this buying sobriety). Comic Book Buying De-Tox may cause grinding teeth, ithcy skin and vomiting but I will not... and must not... be arrested by the Rozzers ram raiding Krpyton Komics.

It can't be harder than quitting smoking (twelve years and counting).

Can it?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Coming up smiling in 2012

So what? This is late. Blame the alcohol or the dodgy Chinese takeaway.

2011 was a vintage comic collecting year.

Regardless of the ridiculous amount of Batman I've picked up this year, and the new focus on a specific character title and which started in earnest with me picking up Batman #181 in January, there were other hobbyist collecting highlights.

So what were my other 2011 Hits?

-Finished collecting the 'Miracleman' books. And that hurt the wallet.
-Picked up a number of Bronze Age Marvel key books. You can have the Silver Age, zombies, The Bronze Age is MY Golden Age!!!
-Reduced my overall wishlist by a load of cool titles. Scratching off titles like the 2006 'Blade' run, 'Godland', 'Sandman Mystery Theatre', 'DV8', Ed Brubakers' early Wildstorm work . And got that impossible to find seventh issue of 'Automatic Kafka'.
-I gleefully read the hundred plus run of Peter David 'Incredible Hulk'.
-I fell in love with Marvel Hardbacks. Did you know that the Human Torch died? I only noticed last night! What about when Captain America was kicked out of the USA by President Clinton? Paul Pope's Lockjaw story in 'Strange Tales' actually exists? All good stuff.
-Actually was stunned that Mignola killed Hellboy. I'm sure he'll get better.

As for the Batman Quest, I finished 2011 by completing the first volume of Azrael (and for anyone who plans on doing something similar: remember: #47 is a special double-sized 'flip-book' with Shadow of the Bat #80. That will be the reason you can't find that book...) My Christmas present to myself this year was Detective Comics #400, Man-Bats début.

However, two moments really sprung out.

I got me a bespoke John McCrea drawn 'Hitman' at the Manchester Comic Con, which looks awesome.

And I shook Alan Moores hand, which considering he did Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day' (and may have even referenced Batman Villain Scarface) on New Years Morning, as well as being Alan Moore, was kind of cool!

So what plotting am I hoping for 2012? Of course I should tell you....

Should the world survive the apocalypse that awaits us in 2012, these resolutions are enacted!

1.Try to pick up all the 300s in Batman (1940)
2.Finish the Detective Comics run between 500 and the titles conclusion.
3.Complete the Nightwing run
4.Complete the second volume of Azrael.
5.Complete Catwoman volume 2 books
6.Complete Gotham Knights
7.Compete Batman Confidential
8.Start picking up Batbooks from the Silver Age.
9.Buy at least one piece of original Batman comic art.
10.Try to pull my entire comic collection under one roof, and organise them in a sexy way.