Sunday, February 26, 2012

Art Across Time and the Batman (A Beginning)

In what's sort of the first stage of analysis of how Grant Morrison's Batman run holds incredible value if you've got a background in Art History, I've compiled a quick list from memory of references within MORRISON BATMAN OMNIBUS to try to validate my theory. There's certainly enough listed to further the thought in some kind of essay (once I've done some major re-reading and note taking), and I even think it's enough to say that it can't be coincidental (for instance, it can't just be the happenstance that in soon-to-be 75 issues a writer who is interested in art & culture just happened to inject a major reference to almost every major historical art movement into relevant Batman history.)

There's reference to Morrison's having wanted to go to Art School but being unable to afford it in the various Grant Morrison: Talking to Gods documentaries floating around out there as well, to cement the point.


Western Art History
Prehistoric Art
Final Crisis 1 – D.O.A.: The God of War!
Cave drawings. Anthro.
Final Crisis 7 – New Heaven, New Earth
Cave drawings. Anthro.
Batman 702 – Batman’s Last Case
Cave drawings. Anthro.
Batman: TROBW 1 – Shadow on Stone
Cave drawings. Anthro.

Mesopotamian Art
52 – Dark Knight Down
Demon-Cutting?
99 Fiends (Demonology) names come from here.
Biblical Demons.

Egyptian Art
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Crystal Cat of Karnak.
City of Karnak (Khufu, prior life of Hawkman)

Far Eastern Art
52 – Revelations
Lost City of Nanda Parbat.
Batman 670-671 – The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul
Tibetan Monastic Caverns.
Lost City of Nanda Parbat.
Batman 681 – Hearts in Darkness
Chinese Temple.

Roman Art
Batman 667-669 – The Club of Heroes
The Legionary & Charlie Caligula, in their way. Also the suit of Legionary Armor
in the Bat-Cave, which is probably from Bruce’s first time travel expedition with
Professor Carter Nichols.

Byzantine Art
Examples of Demonology, possibly.

Celtic Art
Batman, Inc. 5 – Masterspy
Oroboro antechamber, Celtic knotwork.
See also; Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight.

Romanesque Art
Batman and Robin 7 – Pearly and the Pit
The Tower of London.

Gothic Art
Batman and Robin 7 – Pearly and the Pit
London Architecture.
See also: Batman: Gothic: A Romance.

Northern Renaissance Art
Batman 667-669 – The Club of Heroes
The Triumph of Death by Bruegel the Elder
Batman: TROBW 2 – Until the End of Time
Martin Van Derm, Flemish Painter
Rembrandt van Rijn
“Malleus” as in Malleus Maleficarum.
Batman and Robin 13-16 – Batman and Robin Must Die!
The Triumph of Death by Bruegel the Elder
Knight, Death and the Devil by Albrecht Durer

Native American Art
Batman: TROBW – The Return of Bruce Wayne
Barbatos Statue.
Miagani Tribal bone sculptures.
Batman, Inc. 7
Chief Man-of-Bats and Raven Red, local historians.

Baroque
Batman: TROBW 3 – The Bones of Bristol Bay
Golden Age of Piracy, ship construction.
Blackbeard’s fashion. Probably the Musketeer’s as well.
Black Pirate’s dramatic opera style cape.
Jerome K. Van Derm.
Shakespeare. This one doesn’t need much help. Hamlet references abound – Batman
vs. Joker as Hamlet with Dick Grayson watching in flashback. Joker bringing back
Hamlet references in his guise as “Gravedigger”. Doctor Hurt, as “uncle”, whether
or not he may have murdered Bruce’s father driving Bruce insane.

Neoclassicism
Batman and Robin 10 – The Haunting of Wayne Manor
Portraits of Darius Wayne.
Anything to do with “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
Technically, Doctor Hurt is from this era.
Gothic Revival
Batman and Robin 10 – The Haunting of Wayne Manor
Wayne Manor.
Gotham City as constructed by Cyrus Pinkney.
Portraits of Solomon & Joshua Wayne.
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Alan Wayne, Portrait, Memoirs and Man.
Catherine Van Derm.
Genre – Gothic Horror
Entire run ...
Damian is something of a patchwork boy, like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.
See also: Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein.
Batman: TROBW 2 – Until the End of Time
Puritan Intrigue.
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Savage, Hurt & Midnight Horse.
Edgar Allan Poe references.
Genre – Dime Novel
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Jonah Hex.
The fact that it’s a comic book.
Post-Impressionism
Batman and Robin 13 – The Garden of Death
The Garden of Death by Hugo Simberg. Symbolism.

20th Century Art
Avant-Garde, Art Nouveau & Art Deco
Traditionally Gotham architecture incorporates all of these.

Genre – High Fantasy
Batman – (Wonder Woman represents this.)

Futurism
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Batman One Million, but all of the “time travel” locations.

DaDa
THE JOKER, in practically every incarnation.
Batman 663 – The Clown at Midnight
Batman 679 – Miracle on Crime Alley
Batman of Zur En Arrh
“Slow Vision” (Joker Vision)
Club of Villains
Batman 680 – The Thin White Duke of Death
Batman of Zur En Arrh
Joker’s rants, routine
Batman and Robin 1 – Domino Effect
The Domino Killer
The Circus of Strange
Professor Pyg
Even the nature of Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin, as the entire B&R run is
meant to be “haunted” by shades of Joker, whether it be Dick’s new enemies, the
color schemes, locations (Killing Joke circus) … everything therefore reflects
Joker’s DaDaist mantra. There’s also a bit of VAUDEVILLE.
Batman and Robin 2 – The Circus of Strange
Batman and Robin 3 – Mommy Made of Nails

Surrealism
Batman 673 – Joe Chill in Hell
Psychedelic mental trip during heart attack.
Batman 682 – The Butler Did It
Psychedelic mental trip during Evil Factory.
Batman 683 – What the Butler Saw
Psychedelic mental trip during Evil Factory.
Batman 701 – The Hole In Things
Psychedelic mental trip post Zur En Arrh.
Batman 702 – Batman’s Last Case
Psychedelic mental trip during Evil Factory.
Batman: TROBW 6 – The All-Over
Psychedelic mental confrontation in Darkseid’s hole in things.
Batman, Inc. 5 – The Kane Affair
Psychedelic flashbacks to Kathy Kane hallucinogen-fueled heartbreak.
Batman, Inc. 10 – Leviathan Strikes!
Psychedelic mental trip during Doctor Dedalus attack.

Abstract Expressionism
Batman: TROBW 6 – The All-Over
Much of Lee Garbett’s page & panel designs. The symbolism of the pearls, the gun.

Genre – Pulp Fiction & Noir
Every Batman Comic In History.
Batman 663 – The Clown at Midnight
Prose format, gritty hard-boiled detective drama.
Batman: TROBW 1 – Shadow on Stone
Robert E. Howard barbarian homage.
Batman: TROBW 2 – Until the End of Time
Robert E. Howard witch hunter homage with Lovecraft references.
Batman: TROBW 3 – The Bones of Bristol Bay
Robert Louis Stevenson homage.
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Dime-novel/Western homage.
Batman: TROBW 5 – Masquerade
James Ellroy/Raymond Chandler with a lot of pre-Batman Detective Comics.
Batman: TROBW 6 – The All-Over
Jack Kirby, Morrison’s JLA run and Heinland/Asimov/Vonnegut/Bradbury concepts.

Pop Art
Batman 655 – Building a Better Batmobile
Art for Africa (Jezebel), Hirst and Lichtenstein homages, Warhol.
Batman 656 – Man-Bats of London
Art for Africa (Jezebel), Hirst and Lichtenstein homages.

Genre – Japanese Manga
Batman, Inc. 1-2 Batman Japan
Making Bat-Manga canon.
Mister Unknown’s comic shop fa├žade.
Revamp of Lord Death Man into video-game based villain.

Genre – Secret Agent
Batman, Inc.
Spyral, T.H.E.Y., Leviathan, Doctor Dedalus (Post-Nazi), Kathy Kane, Gaucho,
Scorpiana, The Hood, School of Night

Postmodernism
Comic Books as the ultimate Postmodernist Vessel.

Genre – Spaghetti Western
Batman: TROBW 4 – Dark Night, Dark Rider
Based somewhat on “High Plains Drifter”

Genre – Hammer Horror/Cluedo/Vincent Price/Scooby-Doo. (British involvement)
Batman 667–669 – The Club of Heroes
Murder mansion mystery, one of you is the culprit!
Batman 676-681 – Batman, R.I.P.
Parlor masquerade with nefarious rich & powerful figures watching you die!
Batman and Robin 7-9 – Blackest Knight
Trapped in a mine with Crime Cultists. Slightly Scooby-Doo.
Batman and Robin 13-16 – Batman and Robin Must Die!
Occult ritual, devil summoning, drugs and pagans.
Batman: TRBOW 5 – Masquerade
Occult ritual, more 70s style. Devil summoning.
Batman, Inc. 9 – The School of Night
Secret cult of killers in a girl’s school.

Genre – Kung-Fu
52 – Revelations
Nanda Parbat monks.
Batman 670-671 – The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul
League of Assassins. Tibet.
Sensei and his Men of Death.
I-Ching. Psychic possession.
Nanda Parbat. Fountain of Life.
Batman # 671 – Hearts in Darkness
Chinese assassin flashback.

Deconstructivism
Entire Morrison Run recombines & fuses things. Break down Batman into parts,
glorify those parts.
Batman, Inc. 3-5
The Victory Vs
The entire concept of a kind of flawed super-team, these guys are a perfect
encapsulation of what Alan Moore and other writers were doing in the 1980s,
taking the gilded ideal of super-heroes and turning them into far-too-human
messes of people (albeit cleverly based on various British sci-fi figures).
Doctor Dedalus murdering them all is equivalent to the character assassinations
frequently employed in the 1980s. And what a shock, even “in story” this
massacre took place in the 80s.

Outsider Art
Batman 656 – Man-Bats of London
Each weapon, memento, keepsake crafted by a villain who is basically an
antisocial artist lashing out at society. Bruce would argue that the Bat-Cave is
an Outside Art Gallery. The Bat-Cave itself is depicted as this splendid showcase
of Bruce’s adventures through art history.

Genre - Digital Art
Batman, Inc 8 - Nightmares in Numberland

Genre – Future (Neo-Noir)
Batman 666 – Batman in Bethlehem
The 666 future, as well as the Batman Beyond future.
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman

Genre – Future (Dystopian)
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Batman 3050, Brane Taylor and Ricky fighting the Iron Heel of Fura – basically
this is the future where machines rise up against man, like Terminator or Matrix.
It’s 50 years after the Legion as well.

Genre – Future (Utopian)
Batman 700 – Time and the Batman
Batman One Million, a future that is a perfect harmony of nature and technology.

Genre – Sci-Fi
Batman – (Superman represents all forms of hard sci-fi.)
Whenever Superman enters Batman’s world it’s the sci-fi of the DCU stabbing into
the semi-realism (neo-noir) of Batman’s world. If that’s not enough, factor in
guys like Rip Hunter (Pulp Time Travel), Booster Gold, or Green Lantern (Space
Opera). Superman is the vanguard for Batman getting into INSANE adventures.

Ultra-Modern Art
Batman 655-Onward – The stimulus cocktail that made Joker into Joker.
Contemporary Flaneur
Graffiti
Street Games, Con-Artistry
Neon Billboards
Chemical Spill Rainbows
Glo-Fi Smog Skies

More on this later.

1 comment:

  1. I'd really love it if you could write about the new Batman Inc series (Volume 2).

    You had really cool ideas for the first volume.

    Stay strong!

    ReplyDelete