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Dark As The Knight

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“Oh, what are you reading….. The Dark Knight Returns?? Tsk, is that a comic?” Technically no, it’s a graphic novel but if it gets up your nose then yes, yes it is a comic. With Bloomsday behind us, I got to thinking about literary greats and their weight on our world. Personally, I found James Joyce boring, long winded and ultimately a bad writer. Have you ever tried to read The Portrait of The Artist as A Young Man? You’d have more luck decoding the Big Bang Theory and definitely more fun, which brings me to my point, dear reader.

Why graphic novels are never talked about in literary circles. But wait James, Watchmen is on the The Times Greatest 100 Novels of All Time. Just a numbered placement on a grander scale, it will never be revered in the same way The Great Gatsby, Huck Finn and Ulysess is. Why I hear you decry? Again, this is only from personal observation and from encounters I have had myself. Snobbery, snobbery and a sense of general ignorance.

“Comics are only for children.” I got news for ya, there are loads of things people do that they carry on into their adult years. Washing, breathing and I don’t know putting on fancy clothes because it makes you feel special. There is nothing wrong with growing older, it’s when you grow up that you want to get worried because the day you do is the day you edge closer to the grave.
With that in mind dear reader, here are five graphic novels I can highly recommend!!!!

The Walking Dead: Volume One Days Gone By

A relatively new one and one that I’m sure you will only be familiar with thanks to the sublime AMC show of the same name. The graphic novels tell the story of the television story, despite them coming first! It is a page turner par excellence and keeps you on the edge of your seat with a cliff hanger pretty much at the end of every chapter. I could go into the minor, sometimes major differences of the show and the novel but that would mean spoilers. Go read it!

The Killing Joke

One of the most brutal graphic novels I have ever read, written by Alan Moore with art work by Brian Boland. The Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum and goes straight back towards Gotham targeting Jim Gordon or more specifically his daughter Barbara. What ensues is a violent, horrible series of events and there undercurrents of sexual deviancy. The Joker then tries to drive Jim Gordon insane it is truly a monumental piece of art and for my money the definitive Joker Story.

From Hell

Another one from Alan Moore. This novel mixes historical fiction and crime noir. It tells the tale leading up the Whitechapel Murders by Jack The Ripper and the cover ups that ensue. An outsider is named as “The Ripper” and challenges you to accept that maybe the story we all know could very well be a massive cover up in itself!!


The novel that reinvigorated the idea of a “superhero”which has a sprawling, gargantuan script undercut by gorgeous art work, set in an alternative universe. A universe where the good old US of A is nearing nuclear war with the Soviet Union, Tricky Dicky is in his fourth term of office and a masked vigilante named Roscharch is convinced that masked superheroes are being targeted and murdered. Can the “Watchmen” in their diminishing numbers stop the war? Read it and find out!!

The Dark Knight Returns

Simply put this is one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. And this bad boy was a major influence on Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, (as was Knightfall but more on that at a later date). TDKR follows the brooding, dark character that we know today. Released in 1986 it emerged at a time when Batman was laughed at thanks to the camp tv show and his general sense of camp crusader.
Bruce is old, old and broken down and he has a lot to contend with. His city is falling to shit, a new Robin is on the rise and he has to deal with The Joker and Two-Face! But he does what he does best, kicks in teeth and wreaks vengeance. The art work is gaunt, claustrophobic and stark. It paints Gotham as a hell on earth, a place that seemingly has no hope and where gangs run riot with no sign of a hero. A staggeringly good novel which is a follow up to the also impressive Batman Year One, and a precursor to The Dark Knight Returns Again but the less said about that travesty the better!

All these novels are available online. I can recommend The Big Bang in Dundrum Shopping Centre. I get a regular supply from these guys. Find them on Facebook and tell them Jamie sent you. Happy reading!!!


Written by thepanch

July 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm

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