The unfortunate demise of Bruce Wayne, and the somewhat middling comic stories that have cropped up in his absence has sparked a debate amongst the Dogs – how long is this going to last? was this a good idea in the first place?
We get into tons of stuff here, and I’m sure there is more to discuss, but for now, here is the first salvo…
First off we have Ricky who comes to terms with the insignificance of death in comics:
On to comic books. I know most of you don’t read GL corps and don’t give a shit about Kyle Rayner, but it seems he’s dead. My first reaction to this was “i wonder how they are going to bring him back?” After this event I realized how insignificant death in comic books is to me. Remember our conversation about how long Bats should stay dead? I was saying 5 years is good but now I’m going to have to side with Ross and say 10 years.
I go off on a tangent about Dick Grayson being the story of an entire life:
About death in comics. I’m going to have to go with 5 years, or less, for Bruce Wayne, and for Kyle, well that could comfortably go to 10 and I don’t think the general comic book reading audience would miss him. (How did he go anyways? Was it gruesome?)
Even so, I don’t think we’ll see him gone for that long. Think about how much shit happens in comic books in a given year. Alternate universes are discovered, and destroyed, discovered again, all in the span of like, 12 months.
I know the argument is, 10 years, or it doesn’t mean anything. But in addition to just being good business to keep your biggest and brightest names in circulation, I just don’t have that much faith in the creativity of this industry to provide a decade’s worth of stories that *don’t* have Bruce Wayne in it.
When Hal Jordan kicked the bucket, we got Kyle Rayner, and while eventually he found a place for himself in GL lore, he still really never gained public acceptance, not in the way Wally West took over Barry for the Flash. While DC might play with the notion, Batman, as a concept, isn’t a legacy character like GL or The Flash. Dick Grayson is also not Kyle Rayner, nor is he Wally West, I think in the years he fought as Nightwing he’s earned an identity that feels unique to him.
Being Batman, and probably even a competent and good Batman, is all part of Dick Grayson’s ultimate realization that he is his own man.
Plus, we know from interviews that Grant Morrison has a specific beginning, middle and an end for his whole run in Batman, which began waaay back in Batman and Son. If DC’s intention is to let the man who made the mess clean up after himself (ala Brubaker over in Cap), I have a hard time believing that DC signed him to a 10 year contract. The best basketball players in the NBA don’t even get contracts that lengthy.
Anyway, thinking about this makes me realize how fascinating a character Dick Grayson really is. You can follow, basically the life of a human being. From his adolescent years to his rebellious teenage days and now as an accomplished young man who other younger heroes look up too.
Following that logic, I wonder if we’ll ever see him grow old, like to 50, and then at 87, die, lets say…from natural causes. Wouldn’t have be an interesting death, and an interesting life?
Eshwin chimes in with 2 years, and gives us an overview of the current Batstories:
I was really excited about this era in the beginning, but I am losing interest. My favorite series right now is ‘Unseen: A lost tale from the life of Bruce Wayne’ which I think says it all. I’m not blown away by BnR anymore like most people, Red Robin started off amazing and now its mired in some convoluted league of assassin’s plot and as far as Detective Comics … there shouldn’t even be a Batwoman, let alone an ‘edgy lesbian’ Batwoman, I don’t care how great the talent on that title is. Judd Winick’s run on the new Batman main title was forgettable at best, but I have a little more faith in Tony Daniel.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say. sorry to derail the more thoughtful questions on an older Dick Grayson …. to attempt to answer that one, I don’t know if DC has ever handled a life in continuity like this. From boy, to teenager, to young man, to finally a guy who’s likely in his late 20s or 30s. But except in alternate universe, we don;t see those characters as old men because they are part of an ensemble, and Grayson’s not so popular that people aren’t going to be asking: Damn, so where’s Bruce Wayne now, is he still alive?
Every day I buy a comic book, people are talking about the resurrection of Bruce Wayne, how there are clues in Crisis of Infinite Earths and various other DCU events that Grant Morrison retroactively mined for clues for his story. Please …. please. No longer than 2 years.
Take Captain America for example. Brubaker has did an incredible job with the change from Steve Rogers to Bucky Barnes. He took his time and for about 9 issues there was no Captain America character in the Captain America comic. 9 issues from the death in #25, Bucky did not become Cap and don his version of the uniform until #34. That’s almost a whole year, while Dick became Batman in 3. I’m not saying that DC should have done the same thing as Marvel with Batman. All I’m saying is that maybe if they let it sink in a bit longer – say another issue of Jason Todd as the gun totting Batman terrorizing Gotham – Dick finally taking up the mantle could have had more impact.
But 5 years of no Bruce Wayne? Definitely a no.
Now Kyle Rayner’s ‘death’ in GLC is really a question mark. Is my favorite GL really dead? If I hadn’t seen the whole BN cheklist from the beginning, I’d probably be swearing left, right, and center.
Reading through what’s been said though, there is one character that I don’t think anyone has mentioned and has been dead for about 5 years now. I give you a hint: Grant Morrison killed her at the end of his stint at Marvel (at least i think it was the end), and after all this time, it still works without her.
Furthermore, I think that however they bring back Bruce Wayne, it’ll probably feel disappointing. After years of build up…how could it live up to the hype. This compounded with Grant Morrison’s (and many writers these days) tendency to write for collected editions means that the story, taken in pieces, is just going to feel a little flat.
Even now, and I echo the sentiments you guys have about Batman and Robin, it’s just kinda, whatever, type of comics. I might just wait for the trade, I remember similar feelings about Morrision’s past run on Batman, but having read them as a collection, I think they’re brilliant.
I really can only think of two comics creators whose stories in single issues actually felt satisfying, Jeff Smith’s Bone, where I collected almost the last 20 issues, and Paul Popes THB, which almost never really comes out at all, so every issue is a rare treat, on top of being weirdly cool stories to begin with.
It saddens me that you guys expect Bruce back that quickly. We SHOULD be sad that Bruce is gone. It shouldn’t be an annoyance that he is dead. We shouldn’t just be looking at our watches waiting for the writers to bring him back to life. His death should bring about a genuine feeling of despair. BATMAN IS FRIKKIN’ DEAD GUYS! And before he comes back they need to make you guys (yeah especially you Ninja Dog) miss him.
But I’m more sad that I’m *not* , and I feel like time won’t foster the proper emotion in me. While his demise was poetically symmetrical in a way, it was also just another death. I think everyone here knows that death in comics is simply a binary state. Dead.Alive.Dead.Alive.
Even our superheroes are sort of in on the joke about death too…
In Identity Crisis Green Arrow summons the ghost of Hal Jordan, they have a bit of a chat, and before he leaves, GA asks, “soooo…when are you coming back?”. Jordan, as the Spectre, plays dumb at first, then gives a knowing little *wink* and says, “I’m working on it”. *wink wink*
In Infinite Crisis, the heroes gather on the moon while Superman delivers Martian Manhunter’s eulogy…everyone is in tears and Supes ends the scene with “…and let us pray, for a resurrection”. *wink wink, nudge nudge*
This is jaded curmudgeony comics fandom at it’s worst, but what does it say that the people in the comics itself are aware of how impermanent death is?
Everything about death in comics, and Batman’s, is symptomatic of a larger problem in comics, the lack of creativity and originality, but that’s a whole other issue. Believe me I wish it weren’t so, that I’d elicit some kind of emotional response from death in comics, but you know…Ouroboros.
The end result though, is that people just wait impatiently for comics to return back to the safe, save state. And why not? It’s preferable, and comforting, to have slightly predictable Real Batman stories than slightly predictable and disappointing Batwing stories.
Anyways, my favorite comics these days are bat issues. My next post I will post here will be a review of what I feel is the definitive Batman issue, and my favorite Batman comic of all time. Then I think I will post it on Ninja Dog Corps after it sees a few more posts from you guys