Tuesday, March 30, 2010

DC Unbound - Batman: Year One, Deluxe Edition

I have really had a lot of fun reading Batman stories over the last few years. I had never read a proper Batman comic until 2008 when a friend gave me DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore with Batman Annual #7 in it. Since then, I’ve enjoyed Jeph Loeb and Tim Sales’s Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Haunted Knight, along with Frank Miller’s Absolute Dark Knight.

I read Batman: Year One, also by Miller, over the weekend for the first time. Miller’s writing is gritty and so far from the bulk of what I was reading back in the day. I have always loved Frank Miller’s mainstream comic work at Marvel… Daredevil and Spider-Man in particular, and now Batman is also firmly on that list.

This Deluxe Edition trade paperback is a perfect collection. The four-issues are reproduced beautifully with original story arc colorist Richmond Lewis doing all new coloring for this edition. Apart from a short essay by Miller, artist David Mazzucchelli serves as a gracious host and tour guide through the extra material that makes up nearly half of the 140-some pages collected.

Mazzucchelli starts things off with a really cool four-page comic, a la Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, where he shares his first memories of the Caped Crusader, his thoughts on what motivates Bruce Wayne, why he likes the Batman and Robin dynamic, and his philosophy on how we view comic book super heroes. There is an overabundance of sketches and samplings from Mazzucchelli’s portfolio presented here, too, including his first comic page from when he was six years old (“Batman Comics”) and promotional drawings from the Year One era.

We get copies of Mazzucchelli’s marked-up pages of Miller’s script paired with his rough layouts, and some great examples of Lewis' original colored pages and he re-colored, hand-painted art from the Deluxe Edition. It really is a treasure trove of Batman: Year One goodness. If you somehow missed this the first time around like I did, do not hesitate to pick-up this fantastic story presented in a first-rate edition.

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