Read Batman: Year One and respond to the 4 questions of the Comic Template Response (see below). Frank Miller, who wrote the comic, is one of the influential comics writers of the present era, having basically reinvented Batman in this comic and in his iconic The Dark Knight Returns, which is about a middle-aged Batman who returns to fight crime after retirement. Miller is also famous for his
series, and has been
involved in adapting many comics for the screen. Along with Alan Moore, he is
perhaps the man most responsible for the way superheroes are portrayed in
movies today--as tortured, complex, dark, and dangerous. Here is a recent
interview with Miller for those interested in learning more about his ideas
about Batman: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/10/07/frank-miller-batman-new-york-comic-con Sin
THE COMICS RESPONSE TEMPLATE (use this for all the graphic novels in class)
Q1: How is the novel illustrated? Be specific: would you characterize it as sketchy, realistic, cartoony, artistic, ornate, spare, expressionistic, tight, loose, etc.? What is the overall feel of the artwork, and what kind of tone does it create for the reader? Do you feel it is the uniquely suited to the story being told? Or is supposed to go against the grain of the story?
Q2: Why do you think this story written as a graphic novel/comic book? What might this story lose if translated to a novel, short story, or even a film? What elements of the story almost require the juxtaposition of words and images? In other words, what does the comic format allow us to see and experience that a traditional novel wouldn’t? Again, be as specific as possible.
Q3: How does this comic discuss the ethics of being a superhero—someone who has powers and abilities beyond that of normal men/women, and is thus able to influence the world based on a hero’s specific notions of good and evil? According to this comic, what does it mean to be a “hero” and a “villain”? Do the heroes ever cross ethical boundaries in his/her quest to save humanity? Also, does a superhero always play by the same rules, or does one’s age, sex, race, or religion also play a role?
Q4: Examine a single passage in the novel, either a frame or a series of frames (but no more than 1-2 pages) that you feel is particularly significant to understanding the book. Help us appreciate what this passage helps you (and others) see and why. Choose the passage more for the theme/characters than the technique (though you can mention how the technique helps underline the larger thematic concerns). Make sure we can not only see what’s going on here, but we see how it relates to the story at large.