Maybe I’m the only one. Maybe all readers get it. That sudden wave of book ennui. Like a virus taking out the part of you that enjoys reading. It seemed that every book that came my way fell short of any expectations. And not just prose. Poetry, comic books, magazine articles, blog posts—everything!—I pushed them all aside. A mind at rest is will remain at rest. Because of this book ennui, my writing slumped. This blog suffered. Nothing got done.
Things seemed bleak. That is until Angela read two book reviews posted on AV Club website.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland caught my attention before I even picked up either book. That Friday I skipped (whether I skipped depends if you were there that night) through Barnes & Noble in search for either book. Although, by the time I arrived at the store, the titles slipped my mind. As was the fact there were two books on the my to buy list. The only thing that remained was the knowledge that somewhere out there was a book about a grade-A jerk. I did a quick glance at the website and picked up the Gabrielle Zevin novel. I didn’t even read the review to see if I chose the right one.
I won’t get into typing up my review for the book—it deserves its own post. I do assure you that the gears are turning and the book ennui is a thing of the past.
Back in the early 1990s, I started reading comic books. My mom would buy whatever issue I wanted from the local grocery store. I wasn’t an avid collector. Direct edition or direct sales or direct whatever wasn’t top priority. Story arcs were prominent during those early days of my comic book appreciation. In 1992, the world watched as Superman died fighting Doomsday. But killing Superman wasn’t enough for DC. In 1993, the comic company introduced Bane and sent him to Gotham to overthrow its dark knight. 1993 was the year Bane broke the Batman. And I never read anything that came as close to it.
When I decided to introduce Angela to comic books, I wanted to collect the titles that effected me most as a kid. Batman: Knightfall (at least the first volume), was on top of the list. However, I didn’t own it. Nor did I want to show her the crippling of Barbara Gordon and Batman in the same go. I biding my time, purchasing the first volume as a gift to myself. She’s still stuck reading the first Batman titles, anyway.
Reading the pages after 21 years, I catch the subtle differences between how writers and artist made comics then and now. Nothing that would lessen my appreciation for the titles I’m reading now. Just that reading something from my childhood turns on the nostalgia. Reminding me that kids and teens in this age of comics will never appreciate the thought that went into such story arcs. The gruel decisions. This comes during the week when the first issue of Batman: Eternal hits the stands. In the first page alone, we see a broken Bruce Wayne tied to the Bat Signal. On his chest, the bat insignia carved and bleeding. “Watch Bruce… Watch as you lose everything,” the caption teases.
Still, nothing can inspire me into reading—into writing—as Knightfall did in 1993. I wouldn’t be where I am now in my path of creative writing had it not been for the books I read then.
Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1
by Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, et al
Paperback: 640 pages
DC Comics (May 1,2012)
About (from Amazon):
The villainous Bane breaks the Bat in one of the most popular and well-known Batman tales! The inmates of Arkham Asylum have broken free and Batman must push himself to the limits to re-apprehend the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Killer Croc and more. Pushed to the limits, he comes face-to-face against the monstrosity known as Bane, who delivers a crippling blow destined to change the Caped Crusader forever!
This volume collects Batman: Vengeance of Bane Special #1, Batman #491-500, Detective Comics #659-666, Showcase ’93 #7-8 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #16-18.
Batman: Knightfall is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. An e-book edition is available for Kindle. Until next time, keep on huntin’.
It’s finally happened. I’m not longer an almost-two-year-old bad ass. Nope. I’m a nearly-three-year-old extraordinaire. For those of you who are out of the loop, I celebrated my nearly-three-year-old birthday Saturday. It was an ordeal, let me tell you that.
Dad’s been busy doing dad things. He’s suffering what he calls book ennui. Nothing is interesting him and he’s writing habits have reduced. I don’t know, but I worry about him sometimes. He’s given up sodas, I hear. Which worries me more. He’s trying to eat less yummy food, which has me downright frightened.
I don’t know what’s gotten into him. I suspect it’s those plant people he talks about sometimes. He tried to show me the movie, but I was like, “Dad, it’s boring. Plants aren’t people. Now lemme play with Talking Tom.”