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Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Star Batman & Robin

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Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Star Batman & Robin

Postby LOLtron » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:50 am

Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Star Batman & Robin

After some 3 years away, Keb returns with new material for the Outhouse's historic column. This first piece takes a serious look at Frank Miller and Jim Lee's classic All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder.




 

Hello everyone. Welcome to my column about what I like in comics. Before I kick off into my piece, I just want to say it's nice to be back and writing for the Outhouse again. Now when I get into fights with Jude Terror about the front page, I can feel somewhat validated because I contribute. Peeing in Your Shower was the first regular column at the Outhouse a long time ago, but I stopped writing it because I stopped liking comics. The good news is that I like comics again so I'm going to try to write something on a weekly basis that brings seriousness back to the Outhouse. Big shoutout to the OH staff for helping me get back into the swing of things. Anyway ...

We all like to focus on our fiction in a serious manner. There is something about fiction that tells us something about ourselves. We can all relate to the characters we follow. It’s fairly obvious that as comic fans, we tend to gravitate towards characters we can relate to. When there are changes to the status quo, we get angry. Admittedly, I haven’t been reading modern mainstream comics, but I have been enjoying stuff that has been published in the past. I’d like to spend some time examining how we read comics with a “serious” approach.

I recently read 10 issues of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder and then began to start reading comics in a different manner than I normally would. In the past, I focused on the character. In All-Star Batman & Robin, my focus was on the Frank Miller Batman and Robin, pertaining specifically to Miller’s Dark Knight Returns universe. I’ve read The Dark Knight Returns and it is a wonderful book (etc.). The story is gritty and hardcore and it really shows a version of Batman that pushes the envelope in terms of what Batman is about. It’s no wonder that this version of Batman has been emulated for years.

However, when reading All-Star Batman & Robin, I realized that this approach would not carry over and was forced to throw away every reaction to the Dark Knight Returns. It’s not easy to understand, but there is an underlying ridiculousness to the Dark Knight Returns that exists in Frank Miller’s gritty imagination. For years I’ve always commented that Miller’s Batman is actually Sin City’s Marv in a Batman costume. He’s so gritty that he probably uses steel wool as a loofah sponge. It’s this silly imagery I took into reading All-Star Batman & Robin.

Okay, I’m about 10 years too late but I think it’s important that I read this series when I did. At the time, I was completely frustrated and/or bored with mainstream comics and this series was a breath of fresh air. It reminded me that superhero comics are meant to be fun, mindless escapes from the ordinary. The fact that Miller’s Batman is so over-the-top makes him completely unbelievable, and by doing so he becomes a reason for escaping the doldrums of everyday life.

When the reader distances his or herself from the character’s standards that they’re so used to seeing, they stop taking the character seriously and it dramatically alters the reading experience. The problem with superheroes today is that we’re trying to find some sort of realistic thread that we can cling to so that we can relate to them. As regular humans, it’s impossible for us to fly or use our unlimited wealth to create gizmos that will help us avenge crime. I believe that’s why writers have been exploring the “human” side of being “superhuman” for many years.

I can’t relate to Frank Miller’s Batman at all. I would never put a child in danger or tell him I’m the Goddamn Anything. However, by having no relationship to the character, I allow myself the distance to view him as a vessel for fantasy, and thus he becomes altogether entertaining. Miller works with a pre-defined one-dimensional character to create a one-dimensional reading experience. However, there is an onus on the reader to understand that. When understood, the simplicity of it all translates into the bottom line for superhero comics: FUN!

After reading so many issues of All Star Batman and Robin, I realized that the reason I enjoy comics is because they have that ability to be fun. It's something that at times, I think we as comic fans might overlook. There are times when we get invested in a comic or character and take it too seriously, altering the experience we have. At the heart of the superhero genre lies a disbelief in the realism of the world, and I think that essentially translates into what makes comics the fun experience that they are. After reading literature seriously for years, I almost forgot how to have fun, and the act of analyizing my lack of relation to the Goddamn Batman helped me realized that. I might just hate comics if I took him seriously, but I can't and that's really altered my reading experience. For that, I am ever grateful to Mr. Miller!

 





Written or Contributed by Keb Ellis


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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:42 am

I always thought this was the best comic of the new millenium. Miller was doing something that no one understood, and man did it piss fanboys off. I think your take is right-on.
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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Dragavon » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:29 pm

How dare you? Comics is serious business!
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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Keb » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:02 pm

Dragavon wrote:How dare you? Comics is serious business!

:smt019

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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby GHERU » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:37 pm

I loved this book
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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Chris » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:11 pm

A lot of people seem to equate bad comics with fun.


"I don't know, you guys.. Jeph Loeb's HULK is fun!" - chap

"Slott's Spider-Man is fun." - Frag

"X-Men Forever is so fun!" - Jude

I'm beginning to see a trend around here. :shock: :?
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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Keb » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:29 pm

I haven't read any of those. I never thought it was bad at any time. Silly, yes but not bad. Silly can be good too.

I do associate good comics with fun too.

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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Frag » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:27 pm

Expendables was terrible but fun. I don't see the problem with something being fun. Not everything needs to me a masterpiece.
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Outhouse Post #1,000,000:

Frag It wrote::smt117


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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby DMM » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:46 pm

I absolutely LOVED this book. This is one of the books that got me back into comics, and I'm sad that the series didn't have a proper ending.
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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby habitual » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:58 pm

Holland Oats wrote:A lot of people seem to equate bad comics with fun.


"I don't know, you guys.. Jeph Loeb's HULK is fun!" - chap

"Slott's Spider-Man is fun." - Frag

"X-Men Forever is so fun!" - Jude

I'm beginning to see a trend around here. :shock: :?


I think ASB&R was a cut above all those books, just for the mere fact that Miller, the last guy you would really expect, did a parody of himself while at the same time thumbing his nose at the fan boys.

Every issue of that comic has a nice gut buster in it.

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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby habitual » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:59 pm

Also while I'm thinking about it someone needs to start an All-Star Twigglet & Punchy thread. :lol:

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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Victorian Squid » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:00 pm

None of those other comics are in the same league as ASBAR.

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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Victorian Squid » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:10 pm

habitual wrote:Also while I'm thinking about it someone needs to start an All-Star Twigglet & Punchy thread. :lol:

Hab


Check out this book cover I saw today:

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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby IvCNuB4 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:38 pm

Did Dragavon just infer that Jude is an elitist asshole ? :P
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Re: Peeing in Your Shower: Taking Comics Seriously - All Sta

Postby Victorian Squid » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:45 pm

I couldn't get through any of those other comics but ASBAR I would get to the end and think, "NOOO! Please don't let it be the end!" And then it was gone. Like a candle in the wind.

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