Mark: In a few weeks, the Batman Eternal creative team will have produced more issues than even the longest running New 52 books. With the task of producing so much content, the challenges of serialization in a weekly title are magnified compared to a monthly title. Plot and action have to be metered out very carefully as to not burn through too much too fast, but at the same time every issue still has to feel like an event as readers have been trained to expect by monthlies. With that in mind, it’s enjoyable for me to watch the writers of Batman Eternal juggle the many, many plot threads they have introduced over 30 issues. I’ve read every issue since the title launched, and every few weeks I have a good “Hey, remember when this thing was about NANOBOTS?!” moment when something introduced months ago and seemingly dropped suddenly comes back to the forefront. The narrative whiplash is part of the fun. Continue reading
Drew: Why does society seem to place a premium on auteurism? The vast majority of artforms are highly collaborative, yet we still talk about directors, show-runners, composers, and other creators as if theirs is the only intent that matters. Aside from a few notable exceptions, comics have always been a collaborative medium, but there’s something palpably different about a written-by-committee series like Batman Eternal. Indeed, it seems to have more in common with the conveyer-belt system of network tv than the short-season, tightly controlled cable model, but is that a bad thing?
Drew: I hate recommending art. From movies to books to music, I think there’s something really presumptuous about the statement “you’d like this.” Moreover, I hate what recommending that art says about me, especially if the person I recommended it to didn’t like the art in question. This may all stem from a particularly traumatic recommending experience where, while staying overnight at my cousins, I insisted that we all watch the TGIF programming bloc — a mainstay of my Friday nights at home. For whatever reason, this particular Friday aligned with all four shows delivering episodes uncharacteristically romantic in nature. I’m sure it was as tame as a kitten fight, but it struck my young mind as profoundly inappropriate — at least in part because I was acutely aware that my aunt had already banned The Simpsons in her household, which seemed unfathomable to me. As if to intentionally make me feel more devious in my tastes, at the conclusion of the night, she remarked, “well, that’s really not the kind of thing we like to watch around here.” The absurdity of being made to feel TGIF was inappropriate aside, I still get incredibly nervous when someone consumes art on my recommendation. That feeling is only exacerbated in cases of serialized narratives, where the sampled episode/issue may not be indicative of what you actually like about it. That’s more or less the feeling I have introducing Shelby to Red Hood and the Outlaws with issue 13. Continue reading
Drew: We tend to talk a lot about writers here at Retcon Punch. We certainly pay attention to the art, and have often found rewarding things to discuss when doing so, but we always seem to come back to the writer. Writers have so much control, particularly over the kinds of things we like to talk about here — character development, voice, plotting — but forgetting how much influence the artist has over the final product is a mistake. It’s like valuing a film or playwright’s input over that of the director or actors’; sure, it make sense in theory, but you don’t have to see too many community theater productions of Shakespeare to know that even the best scripts can be muddled in the wrong hands. It’s unfortunate that it often takes examples like the community theater to emphasize the importance of the other collaborators, and it is also unfortunate that this issue is one such example. Continue reading
Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 11, originally released July 18th, 2012.
Peter: Red Hood and the Outlaws is a bit of an odd duck. It has the makings of a Bat Family book: it’s got Jason Todd, once Robin the Boy Wonder, now ultraviolent vigilante. It also has two ex-Teen Titans, one of whom apparently was a bad ass space captain, while the other was addicted to heroin. While the early story arcs really focused on Jason, (and the Night of Owls), this current arc is about Koriand’r/Starfire. Turns out, she used to be (and still is) a badass.
Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 10, originally released June 20th, 2012.
Patrick: Red Hood and the Outlaws is a kitchen sink sort of series. There are aliens, there are mist-women, there are secret races of warrior people – and at the heart of it is a trio of heroes that don’t really make sense in each other’s worlds. Whenever the series teeters on the edge of a metaphysical discovery of the ancient mystical world, a spaceship flies in, or some classic Batman villain makes an appearance. So much of the series’ appeal comes from the way our core group of heroes interacts and adapts to these insanely diverse (diversely insane?) scenarios.