Getting into superhero comics is tough. With over 80(!) years of material out there, new readers often have a hard time figuring out what they should read first!
That’s why I’m launching the “Where to Start” series. In these posts, I’ll lay out recommendations for where new readers should start with some of Marvel and DC’s most enduring characters.
First up, we’ll talk about the character that got me into comics, the Caped Crusader himself: Batman.
Twenty-some years on from its initial publication, Batman: The Long Halloween continues to leave readers without a clear answer to its central mystery:
“Who was the Holiday Killer?”
Because the book is often recommended to new readers, and because its ending contains so many open-ended statements and contradictions, the question of who committed what Holiday murders will likely never fade away. Indeed, as I prepared to write this post, my own hypothesis of who Holiday is flip-flopped, proving how nebulous any theory likely is.
But in my mind, there’s one clear place to start when assembling any theory about the Holiday Killer’s identity. And that’s by believing in Harvey Dent, as The Long Halloween so often asks us to do.
No full post this week because I’d like to encourage you to check out the retrospective on Rebirth-era Detective Comics I recently published at Multiversity Comics. James Tynion IV and his collaborators knocked their run out of the park, and I’m sad to see this era of Detective Comics end.
If you want to learn what you can build from Batman (Answer: A lot. Almost anything.), click the link above. And if you want to start reading from the beginning of the recently concluded run, click this shamelessly inserted Amazon link.
Like a lot of kids, I grew up wanting to be Batman. I was the right age to catch Batman: the Animated Series fresh as it aired on weekdays and Saturday mornings. My parents bought me Batman Returns toys without watching Batman Returns (which thank goodness, that movie’s messed up). My grandma noted my infatuation and taped Batman ’66 episodes as they re-ran on daytime TV, while I was at school. She, my grandpa, and I watched them together.
I quickly transitioned from TV and toys into comics. And while my mom might’ve hoped Catholic schooling would teach me to live by Jesus’s principles, my personal philosophy is much more Mantle of the Bat than Bible-based.
“The victory is in the preparation.”
“Death is powerless against you if you leave a legacy of good behind.”
“All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.”
Letterers don’t get their due. Even on this blog, I’ve already talked about numerous writers and artists, but not a single letterer.
Only two Bat-Specks in, but we already have a good sense of story and dichotomy thanks to our letterer.
Which is wrong. Because lettering often makes or breaks a comic. Bad lettering distracts from the art and the story, creating something unreadable. Good lettering services both, allowing a comic to unfold smoothly and easily.
But great lettering? Great lettering tells a story all on its own.