Azazel with tail X-Men First Class

For over two weeks now, this picture’s been getting a lot of hits here at Big Other:

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364 total page views, and counting. Just the image, mind you—not an actual post. What makes this even funnier is that this JPEG never appeared in a Big Other post (well, until now). Instead, it’s a leftover from my discussion with Jeremy M. Davies about X-Men: First Class; there was at one point a part where I said something about Azazel, but it was dumb, so I cut it, and I thought that when I did, I deleted the image. I was wrong.

But since he’s here and people are eager to peer at him, let’s see if we can’t make him earn his keep…

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Reading Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, part 7

Batman #404 (“Year One, Part 1”) (February 1987), page 23 (detail). Written by Frank Miller, art by David Mazzucchelli.

Seventeen years have passed since my last installment in this series, so let’s at last sit down and write some kind of conclusion. But first, a recap:

  • Part 1 and Part 2 provided background for Frank Miller’s groundbreaking four-issue comics miniseries—namely, I described what he’d been up to prior to that, as well as what North American comics were like at that time;
  • Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 offered close readings of the respective four books in the series;
  • Part 8 (now up) examines the impact TDKR had on Miller’s subsequent career.

Now, in these final entries, I’ll outline what became of Batman, Frank Miller, and comics themselves after the Dark Knight returned…

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Reading Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, part 4

TDKR page 78.

This post is in memory of Dick Giordano (20 July 1932–27 March 2010), original editor of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Time now to talk about Book Two (of four): “The Dark Knight Triumphant.” Having prevented Two-Face from destroying Gotham’s Twin Towers, Batman turns his attention to the Mutant gang that’s been terrorizing the city. We learn more about Commissioner Gordon’s impending mandatory retirement, and meet his successor: Captain Ellen Yindel, whose appointment (and hostility toward the Dark Knight) will motivate much of Book Three’s plot. Miller also introduces a new Robin, the young teenager Carrie Kelley, who will become a central character. And Superman is given subtle orders (by President Reagan) to help ensure that the newly-returned Batman stays in line.

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Reading Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, part 2

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Frank Miller released the sixth and last issue of Ronin in August 1984. Not everyone was sure what to make of the limited series, but Miller and his colorist, Lynn Varley, emerged from the project emboldened. As Miller put it to the Comics Journal in 1985, “[W]e’re scaring the horses. They need scaring” (Thompson 37).

Their next opportunity to startle their editors, peers, and fans would be much higher profile: DC editor Dick Giordano offered Miller the chance to reinvent Batman, whose books at the time were suffering declining sales. (Indeed, by 1985 Batman’s sales had reached such a low point that some at DC had suggested killing off the character.) Could Miller pull with Batman the same trick he’d managed with Daredevil?

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