Background Reading/Interlude One: The Black Casebook
It is strange to think about how old Batman is, and how few of his stories people generally read; before The Black Casebook the oldest Batman book I had read was 30 years old, and considering he's been around for over 70 years, that is a lot of his history that I am ignorant of. The Black Casebook helps alleviate that by providing thirteen comics from the fifties and sixties that inspired Batman: R.I.P. I think that without reading R.I.P first many of the insights that I was supposed to gain, into Morrison's thought process as he constructed this series, were lost on me.
|These comics are so overly camp and often utterly nonsensical but awesome at the same time.|
It is interesting to go back and read such old Batman comics as they have a distinctly different style, but I am glad that they have evolved since the fifties and sixties. The narrative style treats the reader like a bit of an idiot and is overly repetitive, what is happening is narrated and then reiterated by the characters. Sometimes as the goons are getting punched they will say exactly what is happening in detail before being knocked out. I think that modern comics let the illustrations do a lot more of the storytelling and any dialogue or character thoughts tell the story in a much more subtle manner.
Approaching Morrison's series I only had a vague idea of what happens during it; I know the outcome, but not really the journey. I would definitely advise people read the Black Casebook, as it is a fascinating piece of Batman's history, but only after they have first read R.I.P. Many of the stories show a more vulnerable side to Batman, or at least he has greater willingness to show his weaknesses in front of others, and this is really interesting to see, as well as how the relationship between Batman and Robin is more of a partnership at this point.