Random Comic Panel of the Week #60

The Amazing Spider-Man #177 (Marvel, 1977) by Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, Glynis Wein, John Constanta, and Len Wein.

The Mud Pack, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Batman

Like every child of the 1990s who ended up reading comics, my path was forged by Saturday Morning Cartoons. I discovered X-Men and Spider-Man through FOX Kids and still remember watching the premiere episode of the former, riveted by the high drama and mournful screams of Wolverine as he watched his funny little friend Morph fry by Sentinel fire.

I have less vivid recollections of my first experience with Batman: The Animated Series but Batman was the show that defined my childhood, the ultimate appointment viewing above all other shows, animated or otherwise. X-Men might have arrived with bombast and melodrama but Batman etched itself into my consciousness, becoming a part of my very sense of self in a way very few pieces of media could compare. Batman has been a part of my life from before my memory even begins. I wish I could say there was a lightning rod moment where the character etched itself into my life. But, really, Batman has just always been a part of it.

I can’t say that I remember the first comic book I ever read.

Continue reading The Mud Pack, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Batman

Batman: Knightfall and The Light Beyond the Darkness

In the 1990s, massive status quo shake-ups were the engine that drove the industry. Superman was killed in battle and four pretenders vied for the throne. Spider-Man was replaced by a long-forgotten clone. Every issue of The X-Men promised to change everything, or mark the first appearance of a new character.

No matter the hero, things would never be the same. That was the promise. 

Continue reading Batman: Knightfall and The Light Beyond the Darkness

Batman Month at Urbane Turtle

Welcome to Batman Month here at Urbane Turtle dot com!

During my hiatus period toward the end of last year, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to write about and how I want to approach it. What is speaking to me, or that I think I have some insight into? What’s most important to me—churning out content on a regular schedule? Making regular columns that talk about the “industry” broadly? Focusing on regular comics reviews?

None of that really appealed to me. I like what I am doing here, taking a step back to look at books and media from any period as the mood strikes me. It isn’t good for building an audience or SEO but I have at least one other outlet for quick reviews and initial impressions on series. What I most enjoy is digging into books and media and figuring outwhat makes them tick, or what speaks to me, and to celebrate how those stories are told.

Taking comics seriously. Taking genre stories seriously.

What I found myself struggling with as I began getting into the thick of things was deciding what to engage with and wrestling with what I think makes my perspective or voice unique. This kind of idea paralysis continues to be my biggest mental block. As I began to consider what I wanted to write about, I looked at big milestones over the next few months, and one thing stood out to me, and that is the release of the new Matt Reeves directed, Robert Pattinson starring, The Batman.

I got excited about tying my writing thematically to Batman as a character and a franchise, both as an opportunity to produce somewhat timely content but also because it struck me that I have never written seriously about Batman or Batman comics. I engaged with the character a bit over the course of my DCAU Rewatch many years ago, and first approached serious themes with the character in my short-lived retrospective on Grant Morrison’s work with the character. But both of these things are quite old, the work of a younger person with less skill and perspective.

Truth be told, I have been quite burned out on the character for several years now, confusing my frustration with the Zack Snyder era of DC films with a general disillusionment with the Batman. Preparing for this series sparked something in me I had forgotten about…an abiding love for Gotham and its world. Batman is what brought me to comics, the bridge to my passion for the art form.

So, I invite you to join me as I celebrate what makes Batman enduring, what he inspires us to be, the challenges he empowers us to overcome, and the fears he helps us grapple with. The essays I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks range from the more analytical and academic you might be more familiar with if you have been a reader, to the more reflective and personal. I am trying to push myself over these weeks, to bring myself to the stories and you, the reader, and to share what Batman and superhero comics, mean to me, and how I think he speaks to something deep inside all of us who hunger for justice and hope in the dark corners of the night.

Week 1: Batman: Knightfall and the Light Beyond the Darkness

Week 2: The Mud Pack, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Batman

Week 3: Batman: Cold Days – The God in the Cape

Week 4: The Lowest, Most Despicable, and Most Harmful Form of Trash: Batman’s Secret Identity in the Silver Age