Graphic Novel Review: Batman, The Black Casebook

I was warned about the incredibly campy content throughout The Black Casebook, but I thought that it would be worth it as context for brilliant work Grant Morrison has done on his run with Batman in the recent past. In that sense it absolutely was. Morrison lays out for his readers some really interesting precedents for what he’s doing, drawing from the deepest recesses of Batman’s history in the Silver Age.

Would I ever read full collections of Batman stories from that era? No.

Why? It’s not the same as it is now–it’s hardly even recognizably the same. Robin is a wimpy crybaby in green bikini bottoms, and I see Batman as that kind old uncle who you wish would stop talking long enough to actually do something useful. The writing is just…unfortunate.

Do I really appreciate the far-reaching grasp of Morrison’s research and innovation, bringing in some obscure references and building on them for use today? Yes I do.

Some of it was really impressive, like Zur-en-arrh and Bat-Mite being reused as psychological triggers for Bruce Wayne‘s sanity later on, and the introduction of what would later become Batman Inc, as well as the “reappearance” of Thomas Wayne and what would become the Black Glove.

I was really intrigued by a lot of it, but put-off (as I was warned I would be) by quite a bit more. Read this as source material for the brilliant run that Grant Morrison has had on Batman, nothing more.


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