But I d never bothered to wonder what anyone else thought of it It s so weird and relatively incomprehensible that I wouldn t recommend it to people trying to get into comics, and most people who are into comics have already read it, I imagine despite, as I said, never having talked about it with anyone So yeah Goodreads Goodreads kinda hates this book I mean, not everybody, but a lot of people And Batman comics are not the kind of thing that generally creates polarized opinions, if ya know what I mean There s The Bat books Fans Like and The Bat books Fans Hate, and every so often there s some idiot who goes I just think Alan Moore over intellectualizes and we all beat up that one guy And sure, everyone argues if Killing Joke or Year One or Dark Knight Returns is the best one, but it s generally assumed that ONE of them is your favorite and then a couple n00bs in the back start saying that either Hush or Long Halloween is the best, and we throw them out with the Alan Moore whiny guy But Arkham Asylum I dunno man It s a weird friggin book It s apparently like the best selling graphic novel of all time It rarely comes up in discussion And Goodreads kinda hates it.
Everyone who complains that Grant Morrison s cleverer than thou new age fruitiness is too naked here is right And that Dave McKean clearly rendered Batman as a black splotch because he couldn t figure out how to draw him, that s also obvious And that Batman acts completely out of character he doesn t save anyone, he lets people kill each other, he has no discernible plan, he admits he s just scared and then leaves at the end yeah, those folks are right too.
But dammit People like Batman because we all kind feel like we ARE Batman, I think Not like we have hero complexes but like we re alone on the edge of an abyss, either the sanest or the least sane in a strange dark world You don t have to be thirteen in your bedroom listening to the Cure to grok that, man And yknow, I m glad there s a fucked up scary Bat book where Batman is just doing all he can to stand upright in the face of muddy horror, you know With its facile Crowley references and lame ass anglocentric Tarot based page layouts or whatever Cuz good lord, some days your whole world feels like an ominous Tarot reading, no matter how far you get from that little kid who was scared of his own comics twenty years ago I m glad there s a book out there where my buddy Batman has a bad day too.
Loves you, booky book Loves you No matter what the little piggies say.
Based solely upon his 2006 2013 run, Grant Morrison might be the greatest Batman writer of all time But he wasn t always so brilliant as his first Batman book, the mega selling Arkham Asylum A Serious House on Serious Earth, shows The inmates have overrun the asylum and are holding civilians hostage With Joker running free with a knife, Batman goes into the asylum to stop him and enters a nightmarish netherworld Meanwhile, the troubled life of the asylum s founder, Amadeus Arkham, is explored The story is one long rambling mess, which is part of Morrison s intent It s designed to be dream like and to read like a song and therefore, as a comic, it s difficult to follow or really understand I get the impression the symbolism of the tarot is important but the book didn t make me interested enough to want to pursue a deeper understanding of it Batman s characterisation is a bit off too how was he beaten by a deranged doctor Some readers might scoff that Morrison s comics are always like this with his drug use, but he actually wrote this before he began using drugs and alcohol he writes in his afterword that he stayed up for hours on end to achieve the altered state of consciousness he wanted before sitting down to write So it s official with or without drugs, Morrison writes weird comics Hear that, poseur artists, you don t need vice to produce art Dave McKean s artwork matches Morrison s bizarre story well but it still looks a bit too avant garde for a comic McKean s best known for being The Sandman s cover artist and his art is well suited to that format But for page after page of interior art It s just headache inducing And when he does draw distinguishable figures, they look like poor Simon Bisley facsimiles I liked Morrison s idea to have the Arkham doctors try weaning Harvey Dent off of the two sided coin and onto the I Ching It seemed like an original and viable means of treatment for Two Face But other ideas like the Joker calling the outside world the asylum and the world inside Arkham the real world was just corny, and the Amadeus Arkham storyline just read like a poor man s Psycho Morrison s comics usually have substance to them but Arkham Asylum is all surface texture with few great ideas Arkham Asylum is a visually interesting book but it looks and reads like an art student s project, ie a pretentious mish mash of nonsense, than a good comic I definitely wouldn t rank it among Batman s classics If you want to read Morrison s best Batman books, start with Batman and Son and go forwards from there.
I have read many a poor overrated Batman story in my ten odd years as a fan, but this much referred to epic may take the cake As a Batman story, this is a total failure Batman acts completely out of character almost from the beginning When walking into a hostage situation masterminded by the Joker, he strikes up a conversation with his archenemy rather than planning how to rescue the innocents involved When Joker shoots a hostage in the head across the room from Batman I think the bizarre art style makes it nearly impossible to tell what is occuring at times , Batman makes no attempt to save the hostage or capture the Joker.
In fact, the story seems to be allegorical than literal, by showing Batman conversing with many of his rogues gallery foes rather than fighting them But rather than a meaningful point, the book seems to meander until it becomes a random melange of images with little relation to one another Batman accomplishes next to nothing by the end of the story, with little explanation as to why It is as though he started a mission, then thought better of it and decided to take a walk through Gotham Park instead.
In the end, this book is somewhat reminiscent of the film Batman Returns truly bizarre, with a completely different Batman than whatever iconic version lodges in the minds of his fans the early comics, the campy 60s TV show, the 90s animated series, etc However, while Batman Returns is original enough to watch for mere discussions sake, and at least offers a story of Batman fighting to protect Gotham citizens, this unfortunate graphic novel is worth reading only for the most completive Batman fan.
This book is, in short, postmodern garbage.
Arkham Asylum is the best graphic novel I ve ever read for two reasons writing, and art.
This isn t your average WHACK POW comic book In fact, there is almost no violence or glammed out secret weapons Grant Morrision takes us through a masterful exploration into the psyche of Bruce Wayne, a man who suffered a tragic loss at an early age and formed a very clear alternate identity Is he a crime fighter, or does he suffer from MPD Multiple Personality Disorder , and does it even matter.
Set in the halls of Arkham Aslyum, home to inmates like the Joker and the original MPD superstar, Harvey Two Face Dent, this tale is creepy as you begin to realize that this particular fight will not be done with fists and bat belts.
The only thing that tops the writing is the art Dave McKean uses traditional and digital media to create a world that feels as crazy as it s written to be The echos in Batman s head are shown in a fashion that you can almost taste and smell I found myself saying, yes, that s what that thought or feeling must LOOK like No other graphic novel has ever matched art and writing so perfectly If you read one graphic novel in your life, and if you want to see that even the most pop star of comic heroes can be gritty and real, read this book.
What a fucking mess The painted artwork was appalling, the story line was incoherent, the dialogue was barely legible, and, most importantly, the portrayal of Batman was all wrong This felt like a second rate haunted house horror that Batman was wedged into, and poorly at that Batman s encounters with various villains felt thrown in, in a cheap name dropping way, his decision making was baffling to non existent, and the story s resolution hanging on a coin flip was absurd The back story to Gotham s Arkham Asylum was done much better in the Batman Arkham Asylum video game If I d read this first, I may never have played that game due to fear it was this bad I only did decide to read this after seeing it on multiple best graphic novel lists How can so many lists be so wrong And how is the Goodreads rating so high What am I missing Sorry, guys Didn t like it.
I have a headache and my eyes hurt.
Not joking here.
One of my eyes is actually throbbing.
Yes, only one.
I m going to take some Tylenol