Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dark Night

I don't just read single issue comics and collections. Sometimes, I read graphic novels, too. Here's the one I read today.

Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini

Dini is best known for working on "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Tiny Toon Adventures" for Warner Bros. for writing comics, and most notably, co-creating Harley Quinn with Bruce Timm. In the early-'90s, he was living his dream, writing the characters he'd loved as a kid, especially Batman, and financially secure enough to buy the toys and collectibles he desired. But his life was hollow, until the night he got mugged, surviving a vicious beating. In this graphic novel, wonderfully illustrated by Eduardo Risso, Dini recounts that event and what happened after, but also puts it in context of his childhood when he felt invisible except for when he could retreat into his imagination.

Dini's way to deal with the trauma of the attack was to retreat. He knew he had to make changes in his life -- the lack of anyone waiting for him when he staggered home made that clear -- but his feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and powerlessness stand in his way. It's up to the Bat villains and Batman, himself, who are there with him, to give him the push he needs. Risso's art varies, swinging from cartoonish to realism to suit the scene as Dini explores the dark places in his soul and ultimately, hopefulness for the future. A lot is packed into the 120 plus pages; it's not often we get to see inside the mind of a creative person, let alone one who suffered what Dini has. I highly recommend this.

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