Saturday, June 24, 2006
Frank Miller's Batman-Spawn Crossover
As a side note to my discussion of Frank Miller's double reinvention of Bamtan in the 1980s and in the new century, I want to say a quick word about his Batman-Spawn crossover. (Joglikescomics has a pretty good discussion of the thing if you want to check it out). Realizing that there are two squarely defined Miller Batman periods -- the hyper-masculine Batman of the 1980s and the grotesque Batman of this decade -- I now finally get how his 1994 Spawn/Batman crossover fits into his artistic development. I always considered it a fluke. Now I see that it is the transition between the 80s Batman and the present one (it falls right in the middle of the timeline); and what better way to work on making Batman grotesque than with one of the artists famous for drawing grotesque out-of-proportion bodies, Todd McFarlane. McFarlane's cartoon loony-ness heads straight into DKSA. The little green note on the inside cover makes sense after all: "Spawn vs. Batman is a companion piece to DC Comics The Dark Knight Returns. It does not represent current DC continuity." If my comparing Miller's All Star Batman story to Jack Kirby's art seems superfluous -- Spawn/Batman is dedicated to Jack Kirby who died the year it came out; there is a full page picture of him on the inside cover. The ghost of Kirby hovers over the whole thing.