I am not naturally drawn to graphic novels but am quite willing to dabble in them. And in doing so I’ve discovered gems like Will Eisner’s A Contract with God, David Small’s Stiches, and Guy Delisle’s Shenzhen. Each is non-fiction, intriguing, and surprising in its delivery. Yet, at the start, I was still skeptical of Batman. I mean, it’s still just a comic book, right?
As usual, I quickly realized I was making the same mistake I always make with graphic novels—charging through and not studying the pictures. They matter. In fact, the pictures often make the point. You have to slow down and read not only the words, but the pictures too.
I also underestimated the Batman stories. Even though I struggled to differentiate between characters (I had the same problem with Art Spiegelman’s Maus), didn't understand why there are multiple Robin’s, and couldn’t quite make out several of the pictures, I still found the story has a surprising depth and intelligence.
As Bruce Wayne promises that “…a better, brighter Gotham is one dream away,” the legendary Court of Owls is coming out of hiding to ensure the opposite. It’s got action. It’s got mystery. And it’s got feeling. While I’ll probably gravitate back to the more serious graphic novels (well, la dee da….), Batman: the Court of Owls has proven an interesting and enjoyable foray to the outside of my reading comfort zone.