Apr 8, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1138: Detective Comics #622, October 1990

https://www.comics.org/issue/48631/

As I was rearranging my collection a while back, the Batman comics we're going to look at over the next few days jumped out at me because of these AWESOME COVERS!! It really is just some over-the-top nuttiness, and so beautifully rendered by legendary Dick Sprang. The story beneath the covers is part of one of my favourite superhero sub-genres, in which the hero(es) must figure out a mystery through the vehicle of a comic book. In today's issue, an unauthorized Batman comic appears to be connected to a series of killings, responsibility for which is claimed by "the Batman." This issue opens with 9 pages of an alternate version of Batman, one linked to a repentant Satan, but still based in Gotham. In looks, he's very like Quinn and Vigil's Faust, who himself owes much to Batman. An interesting loop. And when the Batman is revealed in the pages of this faux-comic, we immediately cut back to Bruce Wayne at home, reading the comic, and reacting to this strange iteration of his story.

I'll get a little more into how the comic within a comic is functioning over the next couple of days, but one cool thing is the slight hint we're given, straight from page 1, that this is not "real." Each page of the comic is slightly smaller that the actual page it's printed on, and has another "border" that is ostensibly the edge of the page. So the whole page of the fictive comic, including its edge which is actually a border, are contained within the page and boundaries of the actual page. I'll have to get back to my Groensteen to see what all that means.

All that aside, it's an entertaining little Batman story, perhaps the first I've looked at for this project since I read through Morrison's Batman.

More to come...

Edit: I did a bit of research on the colourist for this issue, and sadly Ms. Roy passed away in 2010. Here's an example of her art outside of comics, and of a place I'd love to visit one day, the New Jersey Pine Barrens:

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