Saturday, September 26, 2009


Ok, let me start this one with a brief history of my world of comics, to hopefully shed some insight as to why i love them so much but am catching up on works from fucking 15 years ago like theyre new.

So once upon a time, i was a lad and i got into comics. Early on it was xmen and silver surfer(i had almost 100 issues of surfer, which was quite a feat for a young kid with no money, let me tell you). My moms friends boyfriend Jon would take me to conventions and i knew a guy that would sell them off at 1.00 a pop. I saw power rangers before it came to america when i was there too. That one with the pig guy thing that wanted to eat the world or something, i dunno.

I think he had a helmet..

At any rate, after i grew a bit i required more grey areas than marvels black and white hero villain situation could provide, so i moved onto image, dark horse, top cow; anyone that would supply me with a little more realism and brutality, as well as new kinds of illustration that the big 2 wouldnt really back. I always thought DC was garbage, until i much later found vertigo, which is like one of the greatest comic companies there is; well its also a subsidiary of DC, so there that is.

Anyways, i collected and collected and read and loved until i had about 2 bookshelves full of comics and dr seuss books(oh yes).

Well the long and short of it is that the bookshelves were kept in the garage, and one fateful day the water heater exploded and killed every single one of them, as well as all my baby books and childhood pictures.

Its weird when the things you identify yourself with are suddenly removed, its like losing a part of yourself.

Which brings me to this:

Written in 89', its crazy as shit yet no wonder i hadnt seen it before, i was 7 years old when it was made. Well this is something ive always wanted. A book of madness; of villainy; of Arkham. Characters. Deep, dark, thought out, well developed characters. Oh man, i am salivating.

First off, its Grant Morrison and Dave McKean, both of whom are on my very very short list of gods in the field. Its both a history of Arkham the man and the asylum, as well as a story of the madmen within, led by the joker of course, taking over the place on april fools day and demanding batman come and join them. Keep in mind that this is during batmans brooding dark times when he was mentally very fragile and identified with villains more than heroes most of the time, so hes scared that if he goes to Arkham, he'll likely feel as if he'd finally come home.

This version also has notes by Morrison page by page, somewhat explaining the madness and other little nuances, its deep, and if you've ever seen McKeans work, you'll be well aware that putting him on a project about pure madness and villainy is the greatest idea anyones ever had, even better than sandwiches.

One thing that really stuck to me in the notes was Morrison explaining his take on the joker. He suggests that the joker isnt insane like the others are. He describes him as having some form of "super-sanity", which he admits stems from the belief he has that multiple personalities is the next form of human evolution. Joker does not have a distinct personality, he is reborn each time he wakes, and the only thing that makes him what he is is his ability to reflect and adapt on the fly to his environment, which is a perfect evolutionary shift to survive in this ever changing time frame we are now living in.

He simply goes with the flow and is whatever the situation demands him to be, all the time.

Theres something about that concept that resonates with me to the point of paradigm shift.

Read this or suck forever.

That is all.

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