Batman: Lovers and Madmen

Posted: February 15, 2009 in Batman, Book Review, DC Comics, The Joker
Tags: , , ,

I have just started reading Batman: Lovers and Madmen by Michael Green and Denys Cowan. In the forward to the book Brad Meltzer states that this is a great book and a great Joker story and that Green understands the Joker character extremely well. I may not be a best selling author like Meltzer, but I beg to differ, as I could not even finish this piece of crap.

This story, which aims to be the definitive version of the Joker’s comic book origin, is just terrible. It does not even bother to build on previous Joker origin stories like The Man Behind The Red Hood or Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, and instead seems to have much more in common with the Jack Nicholson Joker from the 1989 movie than anything else. In fact, in Green’s story there is no mention of the Red Hood and worse still, this Joker has a real name. I’m not one of those people who expect continuity to be fixed and strictly followed, yet here Green just shits in the face of the writers who created the previous Joker origin tales by not even acknowledging them at all.

This is where I have a big problem with DC’s policy of trying to entice people from outside the comics’ industry to come in and write comic stories. They encourage people like Brad Meltzer, Michael Green and Jodi Picoult to write horrible stories and wonder why long time fans stop buying the books or criticize them on the internet. I don’t care if someone has written a New York Times best seller, or is the head writer for the hottest show on TV, I just want someone who has a least read some comic books to be the ones writing them. Is that too much to ask?

  1. monkeyboner says:

    I dont mind it. Having a fresh perspective is always a good thing. It’s true that most of these writers they bring in aren’t comic book geeks like you and me but sometimes that works to great advantage. Take Bryan Singer for example. He had never read an X-Men comic in his life when he signed on to do X-Men And X2. Those two are pretty darn good adaptations of the comics and its characters. Sam Hamm, screenplay writer of Batman (1989) is also not a comic book person and you may argue that it was he who changed the Joker’s origin story somewhat radically (this also ties in to your gripe about the Lover & Madmen story), Batman (1989) is widely considered the film that brought comics-to-movie adaptations into the mainstream again (Superman 1978 of course being the former catalyst). I do acknowledge that my examples here are all movie adaptations but all I’m saying is that an outsider’s take is sometimes more interesting than a purist’s who is very set in their ways.

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