RARA-AVIS: Re: Masked Detectives?

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 14 Jun 2008

Chuck wrote:

> This probably not hardboiled, but Baen is reprinting The Spider
> stories by Gerald W. Page from the 1930s. I just finished the first
> paperback 'Robat Titans of Gotham', and really enjoyed it. Nostalgia
> Ventrues is also reprinting The Shadow. Are there any other writers of
> this type of story that people might recommend?

(All together now)

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BATMAN!!!!

Okay, there may be a comic book or two featuring Batman, but you probably mean prose stories.

There have been some pretty good Batman short stories and even novels in prose form, particularly in the nineties, and at his best, Batman's always had a hard, noirish edge to him. My guess is it was the animated series ( a popular AND critical success, surprisingly subtle and nuanced) done for "kids", not the increasingly dreadful and increasingly campy movies done for children, that helped attract some of the better crime writers of the era to take a whack at the Bat: Greg Rucka, Joe Lansdale, Stuart Kaminsky, Max Allan Collins, James Ellroy, etc. In fact, some of them also wrote for the series, if I'm not mistaken, and there were a couple of collections of Batman stories published about the same time. And of course, there's THE DARK KNIGHT set to open soon on the multiplex near you, thankfully not based on Frank Miller's over-rated piece of graphic novel sludge (which, more than anything, is why I dreaded him getting his hooks on Marlowe).

And of course Batman himself made his debut in issue #27 of DETECTIVE COMICS, a monthly collection of hard-boiled comic stories inspired by the then-popular detective pulps.


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