A Battle With Demons
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its thirty-eighth choice, Dark Night: A True Batman Story written by Paul Dini and drawn by Eduardo Risso, reviewed by Tripwire editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Dark Night: A True Batman Story
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Letterer: Todd Klein
Today’s choice is a slightly unusual one. Comic characters like Batman has been used before to shine a light on real world issues but in a Gotham setting. Dark Night is the first tale that is set in our world that deals with a real protagonist encountering real problems using comic characters as imaginary figures. Paul Dini, the co-creator of DC’s Harley Quinn, took a very bold move when he decided to use the medium of comics to tell a particularly dark period in his own life. It was the early 1990s and Dini was a successful writer on animated shows Batman: The Animated Series and Tiny Toon Adventures. One night he was jumped and attacked by a number of men who beat him up and left him for dead. During his recuperation process which took months or presumably years, he imagined having Batman and The Joker at his side, one chivvying him on with the other mocking him.
Dark Night: A True Batman Story is a 128 page original graphic novel written by Dini and lushly illustrated by Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets) with a richness and a texture very rarely seen in mainstream comics. Risso has always proven himself to be a great modern comic artist but here he shows off a greater range than we are used to seeing visually. He brings Dini’s heartfelt and at times difficult story to life with rare pizazz and grace. In the story, Dini is the flawed and all too human protagonist and it is very courageous of him to revisit what was obviously a very painful time in his life and explore his thoughts and emotions at the time. There is an honesty and a refreshing vulnerability here that succeeds in bringing the reader into his tale. The addition of Risso gives every moment a visual immediacy that would have been lacking in the hands of many other modern comic illustrators.
Dark Night: A True Batman Story is a well-crafted and intelligent original graphic novel with an upbeat and positive ending, that intends to use a particularly awful moment in one man’s life to offer hope to readers who are struggling with dark emotions. It shows what can be achieved dramatically through comics in a way that is much harder to do through other medium like film or TV, where the story would feel ridiculous or mawkish. Kudos to Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso and to Vertigo and DC for publishing it.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far