Tag Archives: Graphic Novel

Batman: The Long Halloween (1996/1997) – Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale

Continuity-wise, The Long Halloween sort of follows Year One‘s story-line, continuing Batman and Gordon’s quest to rid the city of crime. The Long Halloween, like Year One, was a huge influence on the Christopher Nolan films Batman Begins and  The Dark Knight; in fact, there are a couple of scenes in the graphic novel that were translated directly to The Dark Knight. While Year One introduced Batman and Jim Gordon, well, The Long Halloween introduces pretty much everyone else, from Catwoman to the Joker to the Riddler and so on. We even see Harvey Dent’s transformation into Two-Face! 

Christopher Nolan, director of the newest Batman film trilogy, called The Long Halloween an “epic tragedy”, and that description is right on the mark. A murderer who comes to be known as “Holiday” starts killing people on holidays, and everyone tries to figure out who is doing it, including The Joker and The Riddler…a “this town isn’t big enough for the two of us” kind of thing. It’s bloody and dark.

The art in this graphic novel is fantastic. Everything is so sharp and dense and, though I hate to use this word, gritty. It’s got a sense of realism that makes the story all the more compelling, and the limited color range of the artwork adds to this even more. The darker, more bland color scheme gives a sort of crime noir feel to it.

Bottom line: The Long Halloween is one of the top 5 best Batman comic story arcs of all time, and it heavily influenced the Nolan Batman films that we all love. It’s dark, brutal, and completely engrossing; if you’re a Batman fan at all, you’ll love it.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

-Chad


Batman: Year One (1987) – Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli

Last week, I decided to order a few graphic novels online, and, supposedly being the best Batman comic ever written, Batman: Year One was at the top of my list, along with The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke (don’t worry; The Dark Knight Returns is also on my list!). They all arrived in the mail today, and Year One was the first I read.

Holy awesome, Batman! I’ve only read a few comics in my day, and none of them were Batman; this blew them all out of the water. Though I really enjoyed the artwork, it was the story that really amazed me. It was well-written and did something that I didn’t expect from a Batman comic: it focused more on Jim Gordon than Batman. You see, the “Year One” in the title refers not only to Bruce Wayne’s first year in the suit but Jim Gordon’s first year on the Gotham police force as well, and he’s really the focus of the story.

It’s quite clear to see that Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer’s screenplay for Batman Begins drew heavily from this graphic novel, borrowing elements like Batman’s reason to dress like a bat, the inner corruption of the Gotham PD, and other like elements. Lieutenant Fox (as he is at this point in time) is tough and well-liked by the community but not by his co-workers, adding on stress to an already stressful job. We see the effect of the death of Batman’s parents in his childhood and how it affects him as an adult, and we see that, even early on, Batman does whatever he can to stop crime without killing.

The emphasis of the story is summed up at the start of one of the chapters, when it refers to Gotham as a city that “likes being dirty”, and it’s the job of Gordon, a clean cop in a dirty PD, and Batman, a caped crusader who instills fear in the criminals of Gotham, to wipe out crime and make the city a place that no longer needs a Batman.

The art is fantastic, the story is grounded and real, and it is the definitive origin story of Gotham’s Dark Knight. This is a great place for anyone to get started in Batman comics.

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

-Chad


Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident – The Graphic Novel (2009) – Colfer/Donkin/Rigano/Lamanna

Like the first one, the graphic novel for The Arctic Incident is a visual treat that is a very faithful adaptation of the source material. In fact, both graphic novels largely feature direct quotes from the books on which they were based, which is both a blessing and a curse. Oftentimes, the direct quotes are words by the author that were not actually spoken by the characters, but are rather given from the outside. Using quotes like this in the graphic novel usually requires attributing them to the characters on hand, which often comes across as awkward and unnecessary.

I also feel like the potential of the graphic novel format was wasted. Yes, I’m glad that they were faithful and that they looked great, but why would you only adapt it? Why not give it something new that you wouldn’t get from the book – aside from pictures, of course. There were a couple of instances in The Arctic Incident‘s graphic novel where you get pages that are intended to be background information, but even these are sometimes direct copies from the book. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to maybe sneak in background information in the same manner that wasn’t in the book. Give us something new to chew on.

However, one thing that I really do enjoy about the graphic novels is that it gives me a chance to clear up some things if I had trouble visualizing something from the book on my own. Since Colfer was directly involved with the creation of the graphic novel, it’s safe to say that, for the most part, what we’re seeing is how he initially envisioned the characters he created, as well as the situations he put those characters in.

Despite its flaws, The Arctic Incident: The Graphic Novel is very good – an excellent companion to its book counterpart. If you choose to read only one, read the book.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the original book that this graphic novel is based on here!


Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel (2007) – Colfer/Donkin/Rigano/Lamanna

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

The story is very well-adapted by the author and Andrew Donkin, and the art/color are quite vivid and a pleasure to behold. While most of the characters looked differently than I imagined, getting to see this world come alive was just the best. If you like the book, buy the graphic novel. However, I would definitely recommend it as a companion to the book; it’s too (understandably) choppy to stand on its own.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the original book that this graphic novel is based on here!