Monday, 6 August 2012

Two Batman/Dark Knight Series

It is generally known that Frank Miller wrote a "graphic novel" called The Dark Knight Returns.

A "novel" is a long prose fiction, not necessarily substantial, e.g., novels include War And Peace and Mills and Boon romances.

The phrase "comic novel" can mean "humorous novel."

A "graphic novel" is a long comic strip that is as substantial as (prose) novels can be.

"Comics" were originally humorous, as "novels" were once new.
A better name for "comics" might be "graphics"?

I agree that The Dark Knight Returns is a graphic novel although it was first published not as a single volume but as a four issue mini-series, thus simply The Dark Knight, whose opening and concluding volumes were The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Falls, respectively.

Thus, there is a curious although probably coincidental parallel between the titles of three works by Miller:

Batman:Year One;
The Dark Knight Returns;
The Dark Knight Falls;

and the titles of the films in a recently concluded Batman/Dark Knight trilogy:

Batman Begins;
The Dark Knight;
The Dark Knight Rises.

In both cases, the Batman begins his vigilantism and is later renamed "the Dark Knight" but then he either falls or rises.

At the end of The Dark Knight Returns:

the Batman dies fighting Clark Kent and is identified as Bruce Wayne;
at Wayne's funeral, Kent hears Bruce's heart restart and thus knows that the death had been faked;
on Wayne's orders, Alfred had blown up Wayne Manor, coincidentally dying of a heart attack immediately afterwards;
Wayne and the third Robin lead a survivalist army in the Cave.

At the end of The Dark Knight Rises:

the Batman dies saving Gotham City and Wayne is also believed to be dead;
however, Alfred glimpses Wayne in Europe;
Wayne had bequeathed the Manor to an orphanage;
in a fundamental change to the story, the first Robin now enters the Cave to become a masked crime fighter.

The familiar characters can be put back together in just about any combination.

I have said in previous posts that I do not regard Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again as a valid sequel. A sequel to the film trilogy is possible although improbable - that was probably just a clever ending to The Dark Knight Rises - but I hope that, if such a sequel (Robin?) were to be made, then it would maintain the quality of the trilogy.

Finally, I have not read  Miller's All Star Batman And Robin stories which, apparently, are sequels to his Year One and prequels to his Dark Knight.

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