:batman_hv_1:[World of Bats}:batman_hv_3: Batman Book Club: Batman: Black and White (2013)

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Howdy y’all @AquamonC137 here and welcome to another installment from the Worlds of Bats! This week we’ll dive into a slew of short tales with the Dark Knight featuring a host of talented writers and artist from DC Comics in, Batman: Black and White (2013) issues 1-6.
This installment will go from 2019-11-09T06:00:00Z2019-11-16T06:00:00Z

Comics of course use illustration to help tell their narrative. Sometimes the art is better than the story and vice versa. A great artist can ease the load on what the writer needs to say or describe while provoking an emotional response that might otherwise be absent, leaving one disconnected from the story. Normally I like it to be a free for all when it comes to hearing y’alls thoughts on the comics at hand. But for this month as I’ve stated, my focus is on the art. So, this time there is a few questions I would like y’all to think about while going through this week’s reading.

Link to the mini-series: https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batman-black-white-2013/6d9a2ddf-7b66-44c9-8b38-a0fc8e35afc9

  1. Which story was your favorite in each issue, and which had your favorite art? Were they the same?
  2. Which story was your overall favorite?
  3. Which story had your least favorite art? If this story had been told with your favorite art style, do you think it could have changed your choice?
  4. Given the short number of pages for each story, which writer delivered the most complete story?

As always, thanks for joining us and happy reading! :trident:

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Great pick.

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Ah! We both forgot to put the link up! Thanks for the assist, I’ll put it up on the first post too just to make sure everyone gets it.

But yeah, the really popular ones from back in the day are here in the their original forms as back-ups in Batman: Gotham Knights.

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Finished Issue 1. I think I’m going to have some unpopular opinions about the art, but here goes nothing.

Art rankings:

  1. Michael Cho on “Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When.” I just love that stylized pseudo-Silver Age look. I’ve seen a few different artists who do it to varying levels of effectiveness, and Cho was pretty solid.
  2. Joe Quinones on “Justice is Served.” It looked the most… complete, if that makes sense. Like it was drawn to be in Black and White, rather than just not being colored in.
  3. Chris Samnee on “Head Games.” Good use of negative space, but not especially remarkable one way or another.
  4. Sean Murphy on “Driven.” I don’t know, something about the proportions and shading looked really weird. Maybe I’m just not used to his style. I will say that without colors, it was hard to differentiate the flashbacks from the “present.” I feel like there must’ve been something that could’ve been done with the shading there.
  5. Neal Adams on “Batman Zombie.” Impossible to tell what was going on. Some inks would’ve helped. A lot. Like, Adams is a good artist, but this is simply unfinished art.

Story rankings:

  1. Howard Mackie on “Head Games.” I don’t know, I just like Scarface and the Ventriloquist.
  2. John Arcudi on “Driven.” This was just cool and interesting, despite my issues with the art.
  3. Chip Kidd on “Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When.” The Joker having a teleporter was a little random, but it was alright.
  4. Maris Wicks on “Justice is Served.” Meh. Just… meh.
  5. Neal Adams on “Batman Zombie.” Batman has a dream that he’s a zombie watching bad government things happen. Uh, OK.

Overall, nothing was abjectly terrible (other than the fact that they literally just didn’t finish the art on Batman Zombie) and nothing blew me out of the water.

I think I’m going to do these for every issue and then merge the rankings into a bigger list so I can give my final answers.

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Issue 2!

Art:

  1. Dave Bullock on “Silent Knight, Unholy Knight!” The moment I saw the art, my out-loud reaction was “Look at that!” Love the sort of expressionist silent-film aesthetic he brought out.
  2. J.G. Jones on “Manbat Out of Hell.” It had an interesting, Alex Ross-ish aesthetic to it.
  3. Rafael Grampa on “Into the Circle.” The art was kind of cool and stylish. I think I like the concept of the style better than I like it in practice.
  4. Rafael Albuquerque on “A Place In Between.” I’ve liked some of his variant covers, but his style is just weird and scratchy for interiors.
  5. Alex Nino on “Winter’s End.” I have no idea what I was looking at here.

Writing:

  1. Rafael Albuquerque on “A Place In Between.” I was skeptical until Albuquerque took that left turn at the end. Very clever.
  2. Dan DiDio on “Manbat Out of Hell.” I was sorely tempted to punt this to the bottom for being Dan DiDio, but it was honestly pretty solid.
  3. Michael Uslan on “Silent Knight, Unholy Knight.” Eh, it was alright. Didn’t quite live up to the art, though.
  4. Jeff Lemire on “Winter’s End.” There’s nothing specifically wrong with the writing, but “Bruce did something with his parents not long before they died and being reminded of it makes him sad” is a device that’s been beaten into the ground repeatedly.
  5. Rafael Grampa on “Into the Circle.” The circle metaphor is a little tortured, and the plot doesn’t really seem to have much logic other than showing off the art.

I think this was a bit weaker than the first issue. I only liked the art in two of the stories, and while several of them had OK writing, the only one that I thought was particularly good was A Place In Between.

Favorite overall was Silent Knight, Unholy Knight, mostly just because I’m the film nerd that I am. I think I actually do like it better than Head Games (which I’d say is my favorite from the first issue).

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I think I mostly agree with these. Cho, Samnee and Quinones do some great art in this issue. I like Sean Murphy’s art a little more, but I think part of it might be my reading a lot more of his work (if you haven’t read White Knight DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF BOB), but I do agree that some of the art and writing felt weird, like I’m not sure if I got what the story was going for.

Neil Adams’ contribution was definitely the worst. Like, I expected his writing to be half-baked gibberish, after reading a bit of his previous work, I kind of expected that. But the art here just felt incomplete, like he just threw out some sketchy pencils and called it a day.

Also, bumping this up because it somehow got unpinned and the next entry comes out in a couple of days! I gotta hustle to read the rest too.

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Definitely agree on “A Place In Between” being the better of the stories, though I enjoyed the art there the most. I was kind of digging the idea of “Batman in hell,” and the twist with Scarecrow nd of bummed me out for a second, but still a great story.

The DiDio story was pretty good – say what you will about him as co-publisher and his opinions on characters like Nightwing and Wally West and all that, but he is a pretty good writer. I’ve liked his other work in books like OMAC and The Metal Men for Wednesday Comics.

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Issue 3!

Art:

  1. Lee Bermejo on “Rule Number One.” I love the detail on this.
  2. Rian Hughes on “It’s a Black and White World.” I like more stylized art, though it felt a bit flat somehow.
  3. Damion Scott on “Hall of Mirrors.” It was kinda blobby-looking, but alright, I suppose.
  4. Riccardo Burchielli on “An Innocent Man.” The fact that there’s no grey makes it kind of hard to tell what’s going on.
  5. Stephane Roux on “Role Models.” It was just kind of inconsistent and weirdly-shaded.

Writing:

  1. Marv Wolfman on “An Innocent Man.” It’s a little dense for the short length of the story, but I love a good Batman mystery.
  2. Lee Bermejo on “Rule Number One.” Simple, clever story. Nicely done.
  3. Paul Dini on “Role Models.” The point is… that Harley and Ivy beat up somebody arguably sort of worse than they are (that is, if we ignore the fact that both of them are mass murderers, which seems to be the thing to do recently), so they’re… role… models…? I love Dini’s writing, but I have no idea what he was trying to say here.
  4. Rian Hughes on “It’s a Black and White World.” I feel like he was trying to make fun of pretentiousness, but the story came out doubly pretentious because of it.
  5. Damion Scott on “Hall of Mirrors.” Batman… monologues to himself about the fact that he fights villains sometimes?
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I also really liked Lee Bermejo’s story – the only downside I can think of is that I wasn’t quite sure who Robin was supposed to be, either Dick or Jason.

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Just finished this up, in the nick of time!

Which story was your favorite in each issue, and which had your favorite art? Were they the same?

Issue one, I would say my favorite story was probably “Head Games,” a solid mystery story, and Chris Samnee’s art in that story would have been the winner, were it not for the book also having Sean Murphy’s art. The story around Murphy’s art was okay, but Murphy’s was just great.

Issue two, I would go with “A Place In Between” for both writing and art. Like I said in an earlier post, part of me was a little bummed we didn’t get a full on “Batman in Hell” sort of story, which I can imagine being sort of like Doom but with batarangs instead of super shotguns, but the story we got was pretty cool.

Issue three I would definitely go with “Rule Number One” by Lee Bermejo. Great writing, and just God-tier art.

(And as an aside, “Role Models” is a close second, and to @BatJamags, considering that the stories where Harley and Ivy commit mass murder are all plum freakin’ awful, yes, I am perfectly willing to forget about them and pretend they never existed.)

For #4, I’ll go with Dustin Nguyen with “Long Night.” Nguyen is a great artist, but he surprised me with how solid his story was for someone who, from what I understand, has mostly only co-written the Lil’ Gotham series. As a close second in the art department, it was really interesting to see Kenneth Rocafort, who I normally associate with bright and colorful works of art, doing his thing in black and white. I don’t think it was his best work, but still really good.

#5, I think best overall was “Cat & Mouse.” It was a solid story about the kind of dumb mooks that try to take advantage of people in Gotham, and was really solid as a one and done. Art-wise, I think I liked Paulo Rivera’s work most, but the story to his art was…weird.

Finally, #6. I think I’ll say my favorite was “Bruce” by Olly Moss and Becky Cloonan. I thought it was a pretty interesting, unexplored part of the Batman mythos. We always see this from Bruce’s perspective, his using society girls as cover for his playboy persona, but it was really interesting to see it from their point of view, and how it’s really messed up when you think about it. From Bruce’s end, we always see these girls as a means to an end, but from their perspective, he really comes off as a serial ghoster and a grade-A creep. Really solid story, with Cloonan as usually delivering some excellent storytelling.

It’s funny, when I first opened up #6 and saw that Adam Hughes was writing and drawing a story, I immediately figured that would be my favorite story. But, while the art of it was, of course, impeccable, I’m not yet sure how I feel about how Hughes writes Catwoman in this story. I could get Selina manipulating things to get Bruce to bust some gangster heads while she steals all their stuff, but pretending to have been crippled, especially knowing Bruce’s history, knowing what happened to Barbara, and exploiting that? That’s horrifically out of character and needlessly cruel of Selina, I feel.

Which story was your overall favorite?

I think I’ll say overall “Rule Number One” by Lee Bermejo.

Which story had your least favorite art? If this story had been told with your favorite art style, do you think it could have changed your choice?

Well, first I’d say that I don’t think any of the art in this issue is inherently BAD, but some don’t appeal to me as much as the others, and the one that comes to mind is Sean “Cheeks” Galloway. As to whether changing the style would have made me like that story…I read this earlier today and I don’t remember what happened in his story, so…I’m probably going to go with “No.”

Given the short number of pages for each story, which writer delivered the most complete story?

I hope I’m not being too preferencial to it, but again, Lee Bermejo’s story felt rather complete and solid. Overall, I feel like most of the stories here felt pretty complete, didn’t really have any problems on that front with any of them on that front.

Really? No good stories where either of them kill a lot of people? I didn’t mind, for instance, Detective Comics #823.

I’d need to fish around a little more for Harley since I haven’t read as many stories with her, but I thought she was pretty heavy on the pyrotechnics even in her earliest appearances in BTAS.

They’ve at least done enough that they’re going to pretty solidly fail any definition of the term “role model.”

Oh yeah, I kinda forgot about that issue. I don’t know if I’d really call that issue “good,” though. See, when you were talking about “mass murder,” I figured you were talking about that one Villains Month issue of Harley Quinn where she killed a whole bunch of people through game consoles rigged with explosives, which is a complete trash heap and should be tossed with the rest of the trash.

I guess I would say that I would definitely put them in the villain category, but I would put them in the same breath as, say, The Joker in terms of body-count. That’s why I thought it worked in that story that they would take their time to save this kid from her creepy kidnapper – they’re villains, but there’s lines they wouldn’t cross, if that makes sense.

I guess I can buy their acting the way they do in the issue, I just sort of resent being expected to actively admire them for it.

Also, I just realized my post came across a lot more passive-aggressive than I meant it. Sorry about that, I’m just tired and not thinking all that clearly.

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Oh, you’re fine, I didn’t get any bad vibes from it. :slight_smile:

y’all stop fighting please!
Slides 2 battle axes on the ground. LOL

Jokes aside Thanks y’all for sharing your thoughts on these. Crazy week but will be writing up my responses tomorrow. :upside_down_face:

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Issue 1: I hate to be the contrarian, however I really enjoyed Neil Adams’ work here. I liked just seeing the pencil work, I thought that was really beautiful, and this story is the one that stayed with me the longest, probably because it surprised me the most. The meta take on it - where this comic character becomes a ethereal zombie, unable to touch any real life problems, spoke to me. The stories we read about the good guys punching bad guys are fun, but they don’t have anything to do with real “evil” in the real world.

Issue 2: My favorite art & favorite story in this issue was the Man-Bat tale from Dan Didio and JG Jones. That was really well done, and I agree that Didio tends to be a fairly solid writer.

Issue 3: This one’s a really tough choice as far as art goes! I’m going to say Lee Bermejo had my favorite art work - his stuff is always pretty mind-blowing, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Damion Scott’s graphics. There’s probably some really cool tattoos that could be inspired by some of that. My favorite story was Marv Wolfman’s - it felt like the most complete short story in the issue.

Issue 4: My favorite art in this one would be Kenneth Rocafort’s. I’ve like everything I’ve seen of his, but my favorite story was Dustin Nguyen’s Long Day. It reminded me of a “day in the life” story they did in Batman back in the '80s (all he wanted in that one was a place to sleep) and I just thought it was nice, kind of sweet, look at Batman’s life.

Issue 5: That first story drawn by Paolo Rivera was, by a large margin, my favorit art in this issue. For writing, I’m going with Keith Giffen’s Cat and Mouse. That was awesome. If we added in a whole mess of curse words, we’d have there sort of a Tarantino take on Batman, and I dug it.

Issue 6: Anytime Adam Hughes is tasked with drawing Catwoman, you’ll have my attention. I loved that art, and the story, too, that was pretty good. I liked the ice cream beat at the end, I could just hear the Batman growl, “FINE!” But, altought less fun, the last story from Dave Johnson was my favorite story in this issue. I wonder how Batman felt after reading the suicide letter.

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Tough call. I’m going to go with Cat & Mouse. That was a really well done script.

Rafael Grampa’s version of the Joker just didn’t sit will with me, which I guess is okay when it comes to the Joker, but, I don’t know, art is subjective and I just didn’t like it much. The art throughout that story felt too busy, too. The second part of this question doesn’t work - would my pick for the story with my least favorite art change if the art was better? Well, yes. If you’re asking my least favorite story have changed with a different artist - no. I just didn’t get what Rian Hughes was going for in Alfred’s future tale. It had beautiful art, but story-wise, I just didn’t get it.

Probably Marv Wolfman’s, he was able to make his short page count feel like a whole issue.

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I just realized we went through this entire week without anyone acknowledging this joke. I was proud of that.

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