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Old October 28 2011, 08:57 PM   #1
Hugo Rune
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Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Preface: Much rambling below, read at your own risk:


So, here's my thing.

I'm a collector, an (almost) hoarder. After much gut-wrenching, I managed to pare my book collection just under 1000 and I've managed to curtail my art collection solely due to a lack of wall space.

So, this almost fanatical need to collect is burning in me.

Now, I have never been a comic junkie. I in fact started a thread here, maybe a year ago, asking for ideas on what to read, and graciously I must thank you all as most of the ideas were well received by me. And yet, as I read the borrowed graphic novels from the library, devouring some superb literature no doubt, there was this niggling, almost baying, voice in my head: They're just too expensive to collect...

This was in large part due to the fact that the vast majority of the stories I was reading were from the 80's and being able to afford 12-24 original issues of the comic book (rather than buying the trade paperback) was a ridiculous notion.

On top of this I feel very much like a Johnny-Come-Lately, finding these treasures decads after the fact.

So, both the collector in me, and the nerd, is looking to get in on the ground floor with some new stories/writers. Books that have started recently which I would be able to track down (if I enjoy them) via ebay/local comic stores etc and begin the collection with everyone else.

This has all started after a friend leant me a trade of Volume 1 of Powers by Brian Bendis when I heard it was being turned into a TV show. I completely devoured and adored these stories and the collector in me screamed "YOU MUST OWN THIS". And, for a laugh, instead of just going to Amazon and purchasing the Collected Issues, I went onto Ebay and found an American comic book store selling the orginal First Edition comics from 2000-now. And doing the maths, including postage, the comic books ended up being cheaper than the trade paperbacks!! And 4 were SIGNED! So I bought all 67 editions of Volumes 1/2 of Powers

And then the obsessive side of me really kicked in and noted that Bendis had a new book, Brilliant, out and so picked that up hoping to, well, you know, start something.

And since then I have picked up the original 8 Kick Ass comics (plus the four releases of the sequel) and the complete First Editions collection of Y-The Last Man

And on finding a very cool second hand comic store near to where I live I have also found some very good VF+/NM of some of Millars newer work (Superior in fact) and some other bits and pieces which I found curious. All about £1/$1.60 a shot. Bargain.

So - here we go, after all that rambling here's my question to the collective nerd conciousness:

What is NEW (past 2 years or so) which has really tickled your fancy as a comic reader? What is COMING UP which has you excited?

Now, just a proviso: Although I have listed some super-hero comics up there I am not particularly intersted in the standard SuperHero (TM). I have struggled reading Superman (finding thus far only Kingdom Come to really resonate with me, and even from my noob standing point, I would, guess that's more of a JLA kind of book). I have tried many iterations, including the much lauded Allstar Superman, which frankly I found so dense and so wrapped up in the rich mythology I found myself wholly disengaged from it all. In fact the only "Superhero) I have really connected with has been Batman, and I have devoured everything done by the likes of Miller/Loeb/Dini, Mazzucelli, Morrison and others).

Frankly, though this may sound sacreligious, the likes of Flash/Green Lantern/Thor/Iron Man/Hulk/Daredevil etc don't really interest me. No doubt it is likely because I have found little or no interest in their film premise's and the characters as a whole etc but still, archetypcal comic book "heroes" just don't fill me with awe or interest. But, I appreciate the likes of Miller's run on Daredevil is meant to be legendary, and I will try and hunt it down, but I fear that is going to be the exception rather than the rule. Though I'm not closed minded enough to turn my back completely on them.

In fact, on my list of "Comics left to try" the only major Superhero(es) on there is X-Men, and fankly it's currently limited to the (much lauded) Joss Whedon Run of Astonishing X-Men.

So, to give you an idea of what I have read (other than noted above) I'll make a list below, but anyone with suggestions of ground floor books will be greatly thanked:

And anyone with some good general reading ideas (from 90's back which I can only afford in the Trade Paperback format) will be thanked also!


Hugo - has enjoyed the following in the past month: Powers / DMZ / All things Alan Moore / Preacher / Sandman / Kick-Ass / 100 Bullets / Ex Machina / Walking Dead / Hellblazer / Turf / Y-The Last Man
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Old October 28 2011, 09:07 PM   #2
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Well. The entire DCU just rebooted (or relaunched). That's about as Ground Floor as you're gonna get.

Now, personally, one of my favorite series of recent: Planetary. Loved it.
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Old October 28 2011, 09:16 PM   #3
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Planetary is excellent, agreed.

I've really enjoyed the Strange Tales and Bizarro World anthology books from Marvel and DC, respectively. Having independent creators have fun with the classic characters was great. Anything by Chris Ware I strongly endorse; ditto for Charles Burns.
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Old October 28 2011, 09:48 PM   #4
Hugo Rune
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
Well. The entire DCU just rebooted (or relaunched). That's about as Ground Floor as you're gonna get.

Now, personally, one of my favorite series of recent: Planetary. Loved it.
Mmm, yeah I noted this and the general reviews appear to be very mixed. Ironically, given my statement above, the one that appears the most interesting is Morrison's new(er) spin on Superman, yet I am generally wary of these iconic DC heroes.

Still, Planetary, sounds intriguing so has been chucked on my "library" list, so thanks!

Sean Aaron wrote: View Post
Planetary is excellent, agreed.
Anything by Chris Ware I strongly endorse; ditto for Charles Burns.
And thanks for these, Charles Burns' Black Hole has been on my "library" list for a while
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Old October 28 2011, 09:52 PM   #5
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Hugo Rune wrote: View Post
Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
Well. The entire DCU just rebooted (or relaunched). That's about as Ground Floor as you're gonna get.

Now, personally, one of my favorite series of recent: Planetary. Loved it.
Mmm, yeah I noted this and the general reviews appear to be very mixed. Ironically, given my statement above, the one that appears the most interesting is Morrison's new(er) spin on Superman, yet I am generally wary of these iconic DC heroes.
Action is pretty good. However, I suspect you might not be a totally mainstream superhero guy. Maybe something with a twist.

Have you read the Hellboy books?


Still, Planetary, sounds intriguing so has been chucked on my "library" list, so thanks!
My pleasure.
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Old October 28 2011, 10:36 PM   #6
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Another you may not be familiar with is The Last Zombie by Brian Keene. It will be a total of 50 issues, and the story is told in five-issue mini-arcs. Each mini-arc is then collected in one graphic novel.

I believe issue #9 has recently come out, so you could start on the ground floor with this series.

The premise is sort of simple ... There's been a zombie apocalypse. As one would expect, when there are no more hosts/victims, the zombies will die away, since the bodies rot away over time.

At least one group of survivors is in an underground military bunker.

What happens *after* the zombie apocalypse? How do the survivors handle the world they know being basically destroyed, and can they rebuild?
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Old October 28 2011, 11:44 PM   #7
Hugo Rune
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

OmahaStar wrote: View Post
Another you may not be familiar with is The Last Zombie by Brian Keene. It will be a total of 50 issues, and the story is told in five-issue mini-arcs. Each mini-arc is then collected in one graphic novel.
Thanks, reading around this it sounds pretty interesting. I'll put it on my library list and see if I can dredge the first issues to get a feel for it! Seems like an interesting companinion piece to The Walking Dead

Going back to Action Comics, reading around it I like the general theme to ground Superman a touch and change the tactics of Luthor and General Lane so they come off a whole lot less mustachio-twirling. Given it's Morrison and the fact that I found first print issues of #1/#2 I thought the £6 I spent for the pair was a sensible gamble. We'll see if it pays off or not.

Either way, thanks for the pointer and thank the gods I worked an insane amount of overtime recently to pay for my new obsession


Hugo - will come back and start reviewing what he's read and try to generate some discussion
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Old October 28 2011, 11:58 PM   #8
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Hugo Rune wrote: View Post
And thanks for these, Charles Burns' Black Hole has been on my "library" list for a while
He's not that prolific and thankfully his early stuff has seen reprints.

You can cover the bases with:

Hard Boiled Defective Stories (the great El Borbah originally from the pages of Heavy Metal)

Skin Deep (more short stuff)

Big Baby

Black Hole is excellent and the first part of a new series was just published: X'ed Out.

If you like Burns then a book by Daniel Clowes that has a similar "David Lynch" vibe is Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron - really creepy to read alone at night.
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Old October 29 2011, 12:36 AM   #9
Hugo Rune
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Sean Aaron wrote: View Post
He's not that prolific and thankfully his early stuff has seen reprints.

You can cover the bases with:

Hard Boiled Defective Stories (the great El Borbah originally from the pages of Heavy Metal)

Skin Deep (more short stuff)

Big Baby

Black Hole is excellent and the first part of a new series was just published: X'ed Out.

If you like Burns then a book by Daniel Clowes that has a similar "David Lynch" vibe is Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron - really creepy to read alone at night.
Noted RE: Burns

And one of the very first graphic novels I was given was in fact Ghost World so Clowes has always been on my radar, yet tracking down his work at local libraries is a mission. Still, I'll endeavour to dredge up Velvet Glove given the recommendation!

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
However, I suspect you might not be a totally mainstream superhero guy. Maybe something with a twist.

Have you read the Hellboy books?
I in fact read the first Trade of Hellboy and was pleasantly charmed by it, much more so than the films (though Pearlman nailed the titular character), yet, as with above, for all its size and wealth of culture, finding a comic book in a London Library is akin to finding a sane poster on the Aint-It-Cool Talkbacks!!! So, the first trade was found and nothing more. I continue to search the databases in hope though...


Hugo - Dear Josh, we came by to fuck you, but you were not home. Therefore... you are gay. Signed Tiffany and Amber
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Old October 29 2011, 04:32 AM   #10
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Sean Aaron wrote: View Post
Planetary is excellent, agreed.
Man, I bet it's a lot better reading it at once rather than over ten. Fucking. Years. You go to hell, Warren Ellis!

Long-ass list of fun crap because I've got nothing better to do:

LONGER FORM (i.e., more than one volume)

Transmetropolitan, also by Warren Ellis and (usually) Darrick Robertson; 60 issues; do you like Hunter S. Thomspon? this is a comic book starring him as written by some cyberpunk dude, maybe William Gibson, maybe China Mieville, I don't know, I don't really read books without pictures in them.

Sandman, by Neil Gaiman and various; 75 issues; everyone loves this, it's basically about syncretic mythology and its interaction with mundane but weird people; by issue 25 or so Neil Gaiman has learned that Americans don't talk exactly like English people. It's the best 2000 pages or so of comics ever made.

Miracleman, by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and some guys who drew it really well but I can't remember who; 26 issues if I recall. This is the transhumanist superhero comic to rule them all; but it's been out of print and in litigation for years wink wink nudge nudge--that said, apparently Marvel's finally gotten the rights and plans to reprint it next year.

Berlin, by Jason Lutes; 2 volumes; beautifully rendered comic about 1930s Germany, specifically (duh) Berlin; that said, the first book is way better than the second and it's unclear when volume 3 is coming.

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane, by all sorts of folks who are probably all dead now, but most definitively Kurt Schaffenberg; 137 issues; it's about Superman's girl friend Lois Lane; delightful nonsense all of them. Not in print. Also not actually any sort of serial narrative. I'd bet it'd be frustrating if you actually thought they were ever going to fuck in these books.

Promethea, by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III; 35 issues iirc; the most beautiful comics ever made; do you like textbooks? do you like magic? it doesn't really matter it's insanely pretty.

Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Two volumes of Art Spiegelman trying to explain to himself to his satisfaction why his Holocaust survivor father is such an asshole. Well-regarded. Jews are mice, Nazis are cats, etc. It's a weird conceit that stops being clever about three pages in, and I'm not sure is necessary or useful whatsoever, but on the plus side you sort of stop noticing it pretty quickly. Book 2 has the best title ever: "And Here My Troubles Began." Shit, man, you're already in Auschwitz...

The Invisibles, by Grant Morrison and various; 60 issues I think. Do you remember being a punk kid who wanted to blow shit up? Grant Morrison used to, and he wrote The Invisibles. It's weird, sort of incoherent, but it's got heart.

Ultimates 1 and 2, by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch; 25 issues. Pure cynical garbage, but here, it works entirely to Millar's advantage. The part where America is invaded has all its cake and eats it too. Not a single likeable character in the comic, except Thor. Watch out for the domestic violence scene, it's a little harrowing. WARNING: DO NOT READ ULTIMATES 3. Not by Millar, not by Hitch. By Satan.

Justice League/JLI/JLA/JLE by Keith Giffen, J.M. deMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Ty Templeton, amongst others; about 75 issues. Early 90s awesomeness. The funnest superhero comic books ever made. Lots of jokes, but sometimes some real heartrendering turns; there is a mastery of tone and the tonal shift here that I doubt has ever been quite replicated. And the 2000s revival in Formerly Known as the Justice Leagueand subsequent works is even better.

SHOTER FORM
(i.e., single volume)

Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Most technically perfect comic ever made. Most technically perfect piece of art ever made, really, which is to say there is no film or novel that is to its medium that Watchmen is to comics. Simply incredible. Also, watch the movie.

300, by Frank Miller. Frank Miller thinks the Greeks and particularly the Spartans are good, and the Persians are evil; this is presumably because he's an ignorant moron, which a reading of his body of work does indeed confirm. However, he can draw a pretty sequence of pictures.

The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller. Another stupid, crypto-fascist book, but this one is about Batman. It's still very pretty.

V For Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It's really amazing how this shaped up. Like, it's really strange how it begins as basically a Batman story in this really poorly thought-through 1984 pastiche, and goes on, vignette by vignette, to grow into a work to rival or surpass 1984 in many regards (main regard: 1984 does not have pictures). Ignore the fact that Britain's fascist dictatorship appears to consist of no more than a couple dozen inept technocrats, and you'll enjoy the hell out of this very depressing book.

The Death of Superman, by Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson probably, and some other people. Pure high-octane 1990s major-death-sales-grab fight comic, and the best of its breed by far. You will believe a man can die. Did they use that tagline? God, shouldn't they have?

Safe Area Gorazde, by Joe Sacco. Cartoonist-journalist Joe Sacco visits Bosnia in the 1990s. Learn something, won't you?

The Filth, by Grant Morrison and Chris Weston. Do you remember being a surly, washed-up adult whose only friend is his cat? Grant Morrison pretended he did, and he wrote The Filth. It's still weird, but not nearly as incoherent as The Invisibles. My favorite of his works.

All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Beautiful comic. Only complaint is that Morrison's Lois Lane is the worst human being who ever lived, and she's in it a lot. The last great work of the man who used to be the second best writer in super-, maybe any comics (and may still be, which is even sadder).
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Old October 29 2011, 06:49 AM   #11
Hugo Rune
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Myasishchev wrote: View Post

Transmetropolitan/Sandman
Both of these are part of my library list and I'm looking forward to them greatly, especially Sandman given my recent binge on Gaiman's novels.

Miracleman
Given the authors this now jumps right to the top of my "Kill To Read" list... let's pray the litigation gets wrapped up sooner rather than later and it's out in print soon!

Berlin
Noted for future reference...

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane
My ignorance might be in full force here, but this just does not appeal in the slightest, generally given my apathy towards Superman, let alone his girlfriend.

Promethea/Watchmen/V For Vendetta
Watchmen
is what started off my interest in the comic book/graphic novel format. Read well in advance of the films release I was utterly enraptured with it and even though I only read it for the first time about 2 years ago, I have re-read it 4-5 times since. And being the obsessive that I am, reading that led to to track down all of his other work, and thus far apart from Promethea and Swamp Thing I'm up to date and generally in awe of him.

Maus
On my list for over a year, just not got around to it yet.

The Invisibles
Just tracked this one down today, not to shy of your posting time to be honest. Looks like a hoot. A trip to a library next week will satisfy some curiosity

Ultimates 1 and 2
Wholly uninterested in this until your description. Subscribed to see if its the same kind of trashy fun like Kick-Ass, or just trash like Wanted

Justice League/JLI/JLA/JLE
I'll keep an eye out, but the general subject matter doesn't quite do it for me

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Old October 29 2011, 06:55 AM   #12
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

Apologies for the double post, but something on the formatting front went squewhiff...


300 & The Dark Knight Returns
Frankly, apart from most of his Batman work, I really can't stomach Miller. Of what I have read I have found him to be utterly superficial and damningly mysoginstic and, well, vapid. Which is what I found so odd about TDKR, which I actually found to be one of the deeper and richer Batman books I've read. The notion of a sequel to 300, or frankly much else that Miller is interested in doing just fills me with a sense of malaise. Pass.


Safe Area Gorazde & The Filth
Both noted for future reference.


The Death of Superman & All-Star Superman
And here's the rub. Try as I might, with all my will, I really do struggle with Superman. The former of your choices interests in a perverse way, yet the latter tried and tried me. The artwork was utterly glorioous, and the ending suitably beautiful. Yet, having not read a great deal of Supes prior to delving into this, I found it at times to be almost impenetrable. So wrapped up in the deep and rich history of the hero and his history I found myself boggled as to what they were talking about most of the time. And then there are the non-sequitor story jumps, almost akin to one of the fuzzier Gene Wolfe books, where "and out of the blue {...} happens". This is likely going to be an homage or throwback to a golden age style of Supes storytelling where just as he averts one crisis another, utterly unconnected one emerges. Sadly, I found the book wearying and because of this a lot of the power of the end was lost on me. Even though it was a fair translation, even the cartoon adapation did little for me. There was heart in the book, no doubt, but it felt so self involved and impressed with itself I found myself to be an outsider reading it. But then, perhaps I wasn't the intended audience.


Still, I never write anything off completely and in 5 years time after I've sampled a few more Superman stories maybe it will all connect with me. Who knows.


Thanks for the suggestions though


Has there been anything more recent which has tickled your fancy?




Hugo - worn out from feeling bad about not liking Superman
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Old October 29 2011, 07:08 AM   #13
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

You know, I never read Kick-Ass. I watched the movie, and as I understand it, the movie's got a lot more heart, a lot more human feeling, a lot less Mark Millaresque "isn't this cool wink wink" stuff. So I think I'm cool on never actually reading Kick-Ass, especially since I'm like the only guy who doesn't really like John Romita Jr.'s art a whole lot.

So, that's the long way of saying I don't know how much Ultimates is like Kick-Ass. It is a bit like Wanted, in that you can tell the same author wrote it, but it is not as... I dunno, whatever Wanted was. Ugly for ugliness' sake, I suppose. And I say that as someone who kinda liked Wanted, even the last panel where Eminem called me a pussy.

I almost wanna say that Ultimates 1/2 are actually important works, but I don't think I can ever articulate why I feel that way. I'll get very slightly spoilery here, but I think we all know that


Anyway, I think the pattern I'm seeing is that you don't like the somewhat goofy stuff. That's cool. If not, I guess Silver Age tripe isn't your bag (I mean, I've really taken a shine to it over the past few months, but to a degree because it's so of its time, so fluffy, so--well--good-naturedly dumb). JLI... I dunno. You could give it a shot. It's got a reputation as goofy, and it so is, but it's got some hard moments too.

And--I know I've said this before--one of the best covers ever:

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Old October 29 2011, 08:12 AM   #14
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

I was a fan of The Dark Knight Returns when it first came out, but as I've gotten older the appeal has dropped off a cliff because frankly it feels like some sort of Randian wankfest. I blame an Art Spiegelman comics course I had the good fortune to take in University where he makes an excellent observation about how utterly fascistic the political undertones (I'm being kind) are in that book.

Other than Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run and the Bizarro World books I have no DC heroes, but I did borrow Kingdom Come from a friend and enjoyed that. DC heroes just don't do anything for me for some reason; especially the silver age stuff - though I do remember having a weird Superman comic where he got a disease from a space dragon and had a lizard head and lost his powers for most of the issue.

At the end of the issue he meets up with an old enemy of his who has a skull mask and shoots lightning out of his eyes. That was pretty cool. He says he's dying and is going to finish Supes off by turning him over to Titano - the Super Ape! A door is opened to reveal a giant gorilla whilst Supes lies Supine on the ground. Needless to say it made an impression, but I can't say I'm curious enough to start tracking down 70s Superman books to find out how it ends. Presumably Superman lived.

If I'm not mistaken Superman's Friend Lois Lane is getting a Showcase/Spotlight/Whatever DC-calls-their-hardback-collections compilation soon.

I also hope Marvelman gets collected soon (given Marvel appears to own the publishing rights to the original stuff and has been releasing collections of it; I expect the Moore/Gaiman re-imagining of the character to revert to the original name and for them to publish that when the legalities are sorted) because I actually owned all of it in trade paperback form and sold them to a friend before it was apparent how valuable they were. I haven't read those books in well over a decade+.
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Old October 29 2011, 12:13 PM   #15
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Re: Comic Books: Getting In On The Ground Floor

The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller. Another stupid, crypto-fascist book, but this one is about Batman. It's still very pretty.

Really? Did you understand the whole thing?

Batman had to overcome his dictatorial impulses to stand up for what he truly believed in-individual freedom, a little item that


Anyway-you are way off-base. Batman is working to protect individual freedom.
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