The One Whose Soul Has No Price

In an effort to take a quick break from tiny, tiny text that has lead this particular tomb gnome to summon from the depths of the Abyss many a dessicated optician, I decided to strike off into the world of sequential art, and, in keeping with the theme of R.I.P., I thought how far wrong can I go when the very title of the story is “Gothic?”

Batman: Gothic, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Klaus Janson, was an incredibly entertaining read. It is a fast read, as comic are intended to be, but it managed to pack in a variety of references to both traditional Gothic fiction, early noir (particularly the unsettling Fritz Lang film “M”), and the very “personal” mythology of Batman, with, as an added extra, a very brief description  of the purposes of Gothic architecture.

This comic, beautifully, if traditionally, illustrated by Janson, isn’t quite a work of art, but it is certainly a highly skilled work of craft, with the dominant theme of arches, darkness, and spirituality brought out in the sharp, angular lines and occassionally surprising coloration.

As for the story, it is a laundry list of Gothic particulars. Debauched monks! Deals with the Devil! Black magic! Elaborate traps! Ghostly apparitions! Soaring cathedrals!  Prophetic dreams! Supernatural horror! It’s a phantasmagoria, with a certain emphasis on the “gore” near the end in a memorable discovery at the cathedral. It is still a brooding, violent Batman tale, with some incidental crime-fighting and a cast that includes a rogue’s gallery of interchangeable central casting mobsters, but the elements beyond that truly put this into a category worth reading: it is a true fusion as the title promises, wholly Gothic and wholly Gotham simultaneously.

A refreshing quote, to close my review, from the lips of a charming young woman we meet over the course of our sequential journey: “God’s not at home. He’s left and he’ll never come back here. The cathedral is God’s rotting refuse. People dig and burrow like maggots…”

With dialogue like that, who can resist?

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Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 5:39 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s some quote! 🙂

  2. Pretty good for the funny pages, I think!


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