Batman Comics of the 60s and 70s and Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”

Hey guys! Sorry for the delay! Last week was very hectic and didn’t get to sit down and blog as much as I wanted to! For this post I’m going to try to incorporate some of the readings we did earlier this week, and then also talk about Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

The first readings were scans of Batman comics from 1963-1976. The three comics we read were “Robin Dies at Dawn”, “The Jokers Five Way Revenge”, and “There’s No Hope in Crime Alley”. The latter were written in the 1970s and do not include Robin in the narrative. I found this very interesting, as Robin was such a huge part of the Batman fandom at this point in time. Robin was featured in the 1960s television series, and seemed to be a huge part of the Batman world. I personally prefer my Batman stories without Robin, so I liked these latter comics much better. The “Robin Dies at Dawn” comic was very interesting, and the whole time I was wondering if Robin was really going to die in the end.

Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is such a darker turn for Batman than these early comics. Just at first glance it is very different. The coloring of the Dark Knight is very dark and shaded. There are very few pops of color, but for the most part the color scheme sticks to black, grey, blue, and white. When color is included, it is very muted. Almost pastel in color, it is not nearly as bold and vivid as the early comics. While I was reading this novel of comics I found it very odd that Robin and Superman were both involved in the comic. Before reading this I had seen the first of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, and was expecting the comic to follow that sort of tone. By including Superman and Robin within the comic, it brought more light to it than I expected there to be. To me it felt very disjointed and just plain weird having them involved with the dark knight. Superman and Robin both remind me of the early comics, and the mix of them in a Batman comic written in the 80s feels weird. I’m not sure if Miller was going for nostalgia here, but to me it didn’t work. It threw me off while I was reading and took me away from feeling the dark and gritty tone I was expecting to feel.

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading! Feel free to post questions or comments!

Batman Comics of the 60s and 70s and Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”

One thought on “Batman Comics of the 60s and 70s and Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”

  1. I agree that the it seemed a bit out of place to incorporate “Robin” and Superman in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight” , but I think that may have been an intentional contrast. As stated in class, there seems to be a recurring theme of contrasting the binaries. In reference to the presence of Superman, he served as the idol? a tamer conformed version of himself, where as Batman is poised as the “other”, the radical opposition to tradition and authority. Robin’s role seems to be included for a bit of perhaps nostalgia as you phrased it. As for your comment to the story feeling disjointed, I agree there was just a lot going on., too many possible themes. Perhaps though the complexity is what makes it a interesting bountiful discussion topic.


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