Am I the only one who has done this that finds some of these hard to answer?
So today it’s a book I love but hate at the same time. Hmm.
Okay this one is kind of easy. The Dark Knight Returns. I love this graphic novel, it’s one of THE graphic novels that have defined the superhero genre and have managed to escape the trappings of typical reactions to comic books. For those unfamiliar with it, TDKR is set in a future where Batman has retired, but is forced out of retirement to save Gotham one last time. It’s full of great moments and is a strong exploration of the character. It deserves all the high praise it gets so why am I choosing it in response to this topic?
I chose it because of the reaction it has had on other comics. I love this book, but people have taken this interpretation of Batman and run with it, ignoring all the other interpretations of the characters. It’s very dark and dystopian in tone and that works for the book, but it’s meant to show Batman in an extreme light and I feel that a lot of other writers have taken it as how Batman should be normally, and because of the success of TDKR we’re kinda stuck with this version.
The other character it has a negative impact on is Superman. There was a worrying quote when Superman vs. Batman was announced where they referenced the fight in TDKR and…no, just no. This is not an interpretation that embodies the core concepts of Superman and he’s used in this book to highlight characteristics of Batman. In no way should a version of Superman be inspired by his appearance in this graphic novel.
TDKR has a very grim and gritty tone, which is awesome and it works in this book, but I don’t think we need it in everything that follows. Not everything has to be so dark. So I love TDKR, but I dislike how it’s inspired such a narrow view of the characters.