My earliest encounters with transgender characters came in Vertigo comics in the mid-90’s, especially Wanda in Sandman and Coagula in Doom Patrol. Wanda dresses a bit like a drag queen (and dies a tragic death), and Coagula is a sex worker, but they both felt like real people, which is not how I’d ever previously been encouraged to view trans people in any medium. Growing up, reading comics has always played a role in my understanding of my own identity and worldview. I certainly wouldn’t say comics had an effect on my gender, but they definitely affected my understanding of gender.
Recently, I’ve been wanting to look back farther than Wanda and Coagula and the mid-90’s. Amidst recent discussions of trans representation in comics, I’ve found myself thinking about what preceded trans characters in comics, before there was any chance of them existing.
Here's a weird thing about this career that I've found myself in: A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a few disparaging remarks about one Andrew Bennett, the weepy star of DC's I... Vampire, and the next day I got an email from one of my childhood heroes asking, jokingly, what I thought of the Andrew Bennett story that he'd done in the pages of Brave and the Bold. The writer was Batman: Year Two's own Mike W. Barr, and the issue in question was BATB #195, where he and artist Jim Aparo sent Bennett on a team-up with the Caped Crusader to deal with a sudden wave of vampire crime in Gotham City. To be honest, it's really one of those perfect superhero comics for Halloween. It's fun, it's exciting, and as you may have guessed, it's more than a little weird.
Largely because it takes the World's Greatest Detective to figure out that all this vampire crime might have something to do with Gotham's newest business, Club Dracula.
Okay, so there's good news and bad news. The good news is that ComiXology is having a massive sale on Batman comics, and has knocked a bunch of them down to 99¢ each, which means that you can grab some great stories on the cheap. The bad news? Since this whole thing is in honor of Batman's 75th anniversary, they've put 750 comics on sale, plus a handful of graphic novel collections. All things considered, that's a pretty good problem to have, but still, that can be pretty overwhelming.
Fortunately, we're here to help. As the World's Foremost Batmanologist, I've sifted through the sale to bring you safe bets for what you should be grabbing during the sale. Assuming you've got the obvious ones -- like The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and the recent runs by Morrison, Snyder, and Capullo -- here's what to grab next!
As much as I love Batman, and I think the record will show that I love Batman a whole heck of a lot, I haven't really been looking forward to sitting down and cracking open the new Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years hardcover. Last year's Superman anniversary hardcover was a disaster of revisionist history, 300 pages that would have you believe that one of the world's greatest superheroes did nothing for seven and a half decades but cry. With that in mind, I had no idea what DC Comics was going to do with Batman. If you'd asked me to bet on it, I would've put good money on a prediction that they'd craft a narrative that acknowledged Batman only as a scowling vigilante, consumed with vengeance and every bit as crazy as the villains he fought.
But it turns out I didn't have to worry. The Batman hardcover is exactly what it says it is -- a celebration of Batman across different eras, with a roster of stories that highlights one of the character's true strengths: How well he works across different kinds of stories.
With a run on Detective Comics in the late ’80s that includes some of the best Batman stories of all time and other work that includes Son of the Demon and the co-creation of Batman and the Outsiders, it’s no exaggeration to say that Mike W. Barr is one of my all-time favorite writers. Recently, he returned to Batman alongside artist Tom Lyle for a three-part tale of Batman, Robin and deathtraps in DC’s digital-first Legends of the Dark Knight, and ComicsAlliance decided to mark the occasion with an extended interview about his long history with Batman.
Today, continuing from part one, Barr talks about the creation of Batman and the Outsiders, The Maze Agency, and his new Legends of the Dark Knightstory.
With a run on Detective Comics in the late '80s that includes some of the best Batman stories of all time and other work that includes Son of the Demon and the co-creation of Batman and the Outsiders, it's no exaggeration to say that Mike W. Barr is one of my all-time favorite writers. Recently, he returned to Batman alongside artist Tom Lyle for a three-part tale of Batman, Robin and deathtraps in DC's digital-first Legends of the Dark Knight, and ComicsAlliance decided to mark the occasion with an extended interview about his long history with Batman.
Today, in part one of the interview, Barr discusses Son of the Demon, the importance of Robin, and his views on whether or not the Batman should kill his enemies.
Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That's why every week, Senior Writer Chris Sims puts his comics culture knowledge to the test as he responds to your reader questions!
Q: Why am I so wrong for hating Batman: Year Two? -- @BatIssues
A: No joke, guys: As bad as its reputation might be, Batman: Year Two has a special place in my heart. If I'm honest -- and the Ask Chris column is nothing if not a sac
Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That's every week, Senior Writer Chris Sims puts his comics culture knowledge to the test as he responds to your reader questions!
Q: Batman's no kill policy: when did it start in the comics and what do you see as the limits of it? (Killing vs. "Not Saving") -- @ELB_Brian
While DC's upcoming Flashpoint event is poised play out across an altered present, the publisher's also got plans to pay tribute to the past this July through August. This afternoon during the DC Nation Live panel at WonderCon, DC Entertainment co-publisher Dan DiDio announced Retro-Active, a wave of one-shots that will pay homage to the spirit of the Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Justice League of America stories of the '70s, '80s and '90s.According to DC, the writer breakd
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