14 September 2008

Working on His Skills

Today's weekly Robin comes from the pages of The Batman Strikes, #40, written by Matthew K. Manning and illustrated by Adam Archer. This comic book (which is about to see its last issue) tells stories within the "DCAU"--the DC Comics Animated Universe, as opposed to today's standard DC Universe.

The DCAU comics grew out of the very successful Batman TV cartoons of the 1990s, and in many ways they're like how superhero stories used to be. The content is kid-friendly, with lots of humor. Stories tend to wrap up in one or two issues. And the DCAU drawing style is simpler than in other DC comics because the artists aim for the look of the TV cartoons, which in turn aim to keep labor costs down.

Of course, it's hard to see that drawing style in these panels since Archer has drawn his figures in silhouette to emphasize the arson in the background. (Since it's a comic, those silhouettes are allowed to include the eyeholes of Batman and Robin's masks and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon's glasses, so we know where their eyes are.) These panels also have repeated images, a technique I've discussed before.

Without further introduction, Batman, Gordon, and Robin discuss the crime scene.

The Batman Strikes creative team has carried over one element of the modern DCU Batman and Robin stories that's different from the comics of the 1940s through the 1980s: nowadays, Robin is often the more mature partner.

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