Graphic Novels vs Regular Comic Books
Graphic novels are a unique genre. They combine the visual art components of comic books with the longer storylines of a novel. A regular comic book has relatively little space for narrative, and therefore, only limited scope within which to develop a storyline. Graphic novels open up a new frontier in the world of comics by allowing for detailed and rich storyline development. Comic books are also generally part of a series, which can sometimes require them to stretch storylines in awkward ways. Graphic novels are usually self-contained, and therefore allow for greater exploration of a character within a discrete narrative.
One of the great American comic book heroes is Batman. This character, who is the secret identity of millionaire Bruce Wayne, fights crime in a costume which makes him look like a bat. His costume enables him to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. One of the alluring parts of Batman’s story is that, unlike other superheroes, he doesn’t have any special powers. His abilities are all self-taught. His continued success as a crime fighter stems from his sheer will to continue improving himself and outsmarting his enemies. Because of this, an interesting angle on the Batman story is to consider, what happens to Bruce Wayne as he gets older? There must come the point when age overpowers his will to go on and breaks his ability to keep fighting. It is precisely this story angle which is pursued in the greatest graphic novel ever, The Dark Knight Returns.
Batman Comes Out of Retirement
When an issue of The Dark Knight Returns went up for auction in 2013, it fetched close to $500000. People have fallen in love with this Batman story. It considers the life of Bruce Wayne at age 55, years after he has given up the mantle of Batman. Because he had stopped fighting, Gotham city, Wayne’s hometown which he had protected for years, fell once again to debilitating crime. Eventually, Wayne is spurred to action and puts on his costume again to continue his fight. The graphic novel medium is used to significant effect to consider the experiences of an old fighter who is weaker and less agile than he once was, though as powerfully committed to defeating his opponents as ever.
A short description like this cannot do justice to this graphic novel. Go out now, and pick up a copy for yourself!