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Old 12-01-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
Black Narcissus
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Default The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

I've never been much of a comicbook reader, but this comic was given to me by my grandpa of all ppl. I've been obsessed with the character ever since.



I also bought the animated film.

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Is it real? Or a wig? Maybe he wears a wig in the movie cause he is bald and then at the end of the movie he rips off the wig and throws it at Superman.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

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I've never been much of a comicbook reader, but this comic was given to me by my grandpa of all ppl. I've been obsessed with the character ever since.



I also bought the animated film.
How's it going, Samuel Jackson?

I also love this comic. It renewed my like for Batman back in 92 (when I first read it).

Btw, what did you think of the animated film?


Cheers.

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Old 12-01-2014, 02:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

I liked the first animated film, didn't think much of the second.
And it's strange, because I could never get myself to read the full comic.

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Old 12-01-2014, 02:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by schereZada View Post
How's it going, Samuel Jackson?

I also love this comic. It renewed my like for Batman back in 92 (when I first read it).

Btw, what did you think of the animated film?


Cheers.
I really liked the animated film, but I wanted Conroy and Hamill to comeback for it. Weller did a fine job though.

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Is it real? Or a wig? Maybe he wears a wig in the movie cause he is bald and then at the end of the movie he rips off the wig and throws it at Superman.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

The coolest Batman comic ever when I was ten or eleven years old.

Me: "What, Batman is a fifty year old? Robin's a girl? Mutants? What is this crap?"

5 minutes later:

Me: ""

Anyway, it's a great elseworlds story, but I don't want Batman to be portrayed that way in "regular" comics.

I looked forward to The Dark Knight Strikes Again, but it didn't live up to TDKR.

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Old 12-01-2014, 02:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

I'm reading Year One.

Great stuff so far.

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Is it real? Or a wig? Maybe he wears a wig in the movie cause he is bald and then at the end of the movie he rips off the wig and throws it at Superman.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

The comic is one of my favorite books ever. Not just comics but all literature in general. I've only seen the first part of the movie. It was good but not without shortcomings.

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Old 12-02-2014, 12:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

This is a mashup of a couple of posts I did on DKR and DKSA. I think it touches on the theme of this thread.

I remember the context in which DKR was released. It was the first major comic series of the eighties to get recognition from both genre and mainstream media. It was a boldly innovative and controversial look at a conventional hero who had been regarded as camp by most of the population who only knew Batman from the TV show.

It was also the first time that North America was exposed to the European and Japanese tradition of comics dealing with issues for adults and being treated as a valid literary art form.

Miller's artistic style perfectly reflected the themes and subtext of his message, which is that superheroes either become enemies of the system they have sworn to uphold - the disenchanted Bruce Wayne/Batman who really endorses a brand of fascism by the end- or co-opted and neutered by the very people they once fought to bring to justice - a Superman whose ability to function depends on compromising the very reason for his functioning by selling out to government control.

You also have the yin/yang or duality of the roles played by Batman and Superman demonstrated by the artwork. Batman is large and grim and as the story progresses returning to his original gray and black form. The art shows every scar and wrinkle brought on him by his life's work. His size -larger as Batman than as Wayne- indicates how diminished he felt as himself and how his power was directly related to his role as Batman. He becomes more of a untamed uncontrollable force of nature when he reassumes his destiny as Batman.

Conversely, Superman who actually is a force of nature is drawn in bright colours, and as Kent his large, round blank eyes (as portrayed by glasses made unnecessary by his acknowledgement of his identity) convey an innocent and guileless quality similar to "Little Orphan Annie". Note that he is diminished and then restored by the nuclear explosion - and the sight of the stricken and shriveled Superman is one of the most haunting images in comics IMHO - but Batman seems to go stronger and purer as the story develops as his focus returns to give him a clarity of purpose even stronger than his traditional pursuit of justice/revenge. There is no doubt of the winner in a battle between the two.

Finally, you have to put DKR into the context of literary and mythological heroes. One of the weaknesses of comics as a literary form is its inability to provide an ending point for its characters. This is due in great part to the commercial nature of its existence. Yet all great characters need an end. Arthur would not be Arthur without his death at the hand of Mordred and his final journey to Avalon, to return in Britain's time of need. Robin Hood, poisoned by Marion fires his last arrow and is buried where it lands. These denouements provide the bittersweet and dignified closure to a hero's career. We know they can't go on forever, but hope that they have found peace or, at the very least, a renewed sense of purpose at the end. DKR was one of the first attempts to do this in comics and is, I think, responsible for Marvel comics attempts to providing endings for some of their characters - ie Hulk and Wolverine- and also for DC's character rollover where the original here - ie Green Lantern - is replaced by a newer younger hero adopting his/her mantle.

Like it or not, DKR provided the paradigm shift necessary for comics to become what they now are.
The difference between the original Dark Knight returns and the DK2 to me was that DKR was a fully realized and complete story that knew from the first panel where it was going. All good legends and myths must have a final act that completes them. Robin Hood, poisoned be Maid Marian shoots the arrow that finds his final resting point. Arthur sails off to Avalon to return at the time of Britain's need. These provide both closure and renewal to a character and an idea, and in some cases an era. DKR accomplished this by having Batman waiting to come on stage for one final act. His disappearance at the end provided hope for the future. Myths and legends also must reflect and resonate the time in which they are written. DKR was a reflection of Miller's view of the state of the world at the time he wrote it . By reading it, even if you didn't agree with it, you were forced to examine the real world and your place in it.

DK2, on the other hand tries to resolve the hope left at the end of DKR and by so doing diminishes it. There is never really any further development of the themes of DKR beyond that of "ultimate power corrupting ultimately". By shoehorning Luthor and Brainiac into the plot the currency of its reflection of our times is lost. In DKR, the fear came out of the fact that the events were put in motion by "real" people, or at least Miller's reflection of them. In DK2, we have the standard comic book plot of evil villains teaming up to manipulate the world to their own ends. It was hardly groundbreaking.

In DKR, there was a linear quality to the story. Its focus, although not immediately revealed, was apparent throughout. It's why the enjoyment of reading it does not diminish with time but actually increases. Knowing how the story proceeds allows you to appreciate even more the elements that get you there.

DK2, on the other hand doesn't have that focus. It tries too hard to include random elements and tie up loose ends. It's inclusion of the original Robin in his new incarnation is a perfect example. A passing reference to an unknown fate of Grayson in DKR is turned into a extraneous incident in DK2 with weak motivation and exposition to back it up. It would have been far more satisfying to have Dick Grayson introduced earlier and developed as an actual character with understandable motivations, then to have a caricature of him summarily disposed of. It seemed like his inclusion was to provide a threat to the new Robin and answer the question as to his fate. The story would not have suffered at all if this entire subplot had been eliminated.

Finally, I found the artwork disappointing. In DKR, the power of Batman as more an idea and will than an actual man was apparent from his dominance of every panel he was in. The Bat symbol became a totem of his idealism and power. Certain images still haunt me: Superman shriveled to a husk; Bruce hunched over the wheel of his race car; Batman exploding onto the scene in full costume. In DK2, the art appeared hurried and unfinished, almost as if it was a not quite complete draft. It conveyed what was happening but no more.

Anything Frank Miller does is going to be worth reading, but he himself set the bar high with DKR ; Batman - Year One, and his work on Daredevil. While I applaud his attempt to continue the story I'm disappointed in the result.

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Old 12-02-2014, 01:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

Interesting post, Irony Man

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Old 12-02-2014, 02:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

I saw the big theme of the book being when you get older, you don't change, only the worst parts of you become bigger.

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Old 12-02-2014, 02:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

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only the worst parts of you become bigger.
Like your manboobs and beer gut.

Kidding. I think DKR can be interpreted in many ways.

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Old 12-03-2014, 12:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Dark Knight Returns Appreciation Thread

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I saw the big theme of the book being when you get older, you don't change, only the worst parts of you become bigger.
I think that's one of the major thematic throughlines in it. That's why it hardly ever worked when people, including Miller himself, copied this version of the character for their stories. This Batman was particularly dark and brooding because of his age. Everything about the book is specific to the context of the future its presenting so it doesn't make sense to transplant it into a younger version.

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