I recently reread Batman: The Dark Knight Returns after twenty years or so. OK, looking it up, clearly not twenty years, as I certainly didn’t read it in the issues, and I doubt I read it immediately upon its release as a book. It’s possible, though. I had friends who were very into comics at that point; I suspect that one of them would have lent it to me (possibly the same person who lent me the Alan Moore MiracleMan issues). Anyway, it had been a while. I was wondering whether it would be any good at this point, what with all of its innovations and shocks no longer fresh.
Answer? I didn’t like it much. Oh, some of it worked very well, but a lot of it was just blah, even things that had totally knocked me out when I first read it. The structure is not very impressive, and some of the wordcraft (but not all) is clumsy. Oh, and I found myself much more annoyed by the political stuff than I was before.
In general, I find myself much more annoyed by political stuff in books than I used to be. Perhaps I’m more aware of it, or less able to keep myself unaware of it. Or perhaps it’s the famous Poisonous Politics of our age. Or perhaps I’ve become an aesthetic Stalinist in my middle age. Or perhaps it’s blogging. Probably it’s blogging. I find myself wanting to respond to the writer’s points. Not just the character’s points, although that too, of course, but that’s a success, not a failure. No, I find myself wanting to write up an analysis: Frank Miller may think he’s doing blaah, but actually by presenting blaah in blaah manner, and juxtaposing it with blaah, he’s actually providing fuel for blaah blaah blaah blaah blaah. I don’t do it, thank the Divine. But I find myself wanting to. And that’s no way to enjoy a comic book.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,