Yes, Batman is vengeance. Yes, he is also the night. But underneath all the Dark Knight’s sturm and batarangs is a semi-normal dude who, when written correctly, enjoys the everyday moments of life just as much as he enjoys punching the Riddler in the face.
With that in mind, I have chosen to counter the internet’s many, many lists of “most epic” or “most badass” or “most sociopathic” Batman moments with a list of my own: A list of ten times that Batman proved he is just as human as you and me. In this post, you will see Batman enjoy eating food, spending time with his friends, and dicking around on the internet. If the thought of seeing Batman smile makes you cringe, this post is not for you. If the thought of Batman testing baby formula on his skin makes you giggle, this post is most definitely for you.
Because I am who I am, I inevitably receive a gaggle of fantastic comics each Christmas. This year, my friends and family gifted me four wonderful books, and while I have not yet finished all of them, I figured I’d post my initial thoughts on each here – as both a thank you to my loved ones, and a way of telling you all where you should spend the Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards you received for Christmas. (Yes, I received some of those, too.)
Friend, secret Santa, and regular Waiting on the Trade co-host Callum Smith started Christmas early by sending over the first volume of Head Lopper. I know this comic has been on Cal’s shortlist of “comics to discuss on the podcast” for some time, and after reading it myself, I can see why. This book does a ton of things that are right up Cal and my’s respective alleys, within a sword and sorcery world that’s easiest to pitch as a mash-up of Hellboy and Adventure Time.
The titular Head Lopper does, of course, lop heads. And if you’re into colorful, kinetic, D&D-style action, you’ll definitely find it here. However, I suspect Cal is particularly fond of this book because he loves Agatha the Blue Witch – an absurdly comic personality who is just a head, yet is one of the story’s most animated characters. While I have not quite finished this first volume (which is partly Cal’s fault, as you’ll see later), Head Lopper is a real treat. I’m stoked to discuss this comic with Cal and WOTT co-host Patrick FitzGerald-Fleck at some point later this year, especially because I think Pat will love the fantasy-novel-style maps that precede each chapter.
I can’t connect with most cosmic superhero comics. To me, the word “cosmic” is shorthand for visual bombast, overly-complex politics, and extended metaphors that writers and artists rely on in place of crafting compelling characters. That’s why, even with current-best-Marvel-writer Al Ewing attached, I wasn’t sure I was going to love the most recent volume of Guardians of the Galaxy.
However, Guardians 2020 is clever, touching, and most definitely a character piece – while still delivering the bombast and spectacle that cosmic comic fans desire.
As promised, I recently completed my Astonishing X-Men re-read. And as I finished the series, a key scene between Colossus and Kitty Pryde helped me make sense of how I’ve felt during key moments in this bullshit year: