Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth

Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth

In this groundbreaking, painted graphic novel, the inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over Gotham's detention center for the criminally insane on April Fools Day, demanding Batman in exchange for their hostages. Accepting their demented challenge, Batman is forced to live and endure the personal hells of the Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and many other sworn enem...

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Title:Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth
Author:Grant Morrison
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth Reviews

  • Keith

    So after buying this book for the third time in my life today (the first, a hardcover edition that all the pages eventually fell out of; the second, the paperback edition sans script that now sits across the country with the rest of my books) I decided it was worth going on Goodreads to wax poetic about it. Because goddamn I love this book. I got it right after the '89 movie came out, of course, and was absolutely terrified of it -- it sat on my nightstand and gave me nightmares regularly, until

    So after buying this book for the third time in my life today (the first, a hardcover edition that all the pages eventually fell out of; the second, the paperback edition sans script that now sits across the country with the rest of my books) I decided it was worth going on Goodreads to wax poetic about it. Because goddamn I love this book. I got it right after the '89 movie came out, of course, and was absolutely terrified of it -- it sat on my nightstand and gave me nightmares regularly, until I put it away for years before revisiting it again in my late teens.

    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

    or

    or

    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

    or

    is the best, and we throw them out with the Alan Moore whiny guy). But

    ? 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.

  • Shannon

    This is not your traditional Batman tale. Some people won't like it. In fact, Batman seems like a normal man when confronted by the horrors within and acts in very non Batman ways. There's a two part story here where we switch back and forth to the founder of Arkham and why he turned his mansion into a facility for the mad and Batman trying to navigate his way through the madness of Arkham.

    Batman action is minimal. This is much more of an emotional journey.

    There is distinctive lettering for

    This is not your traditional Batman tale. Some people won't like it. In fact, Batman seems like a normal man when confronted by the horrors within and acts in very non Batman ways. There's a two part story here where we switch back and forth to the founder of Arkham and why he turned his mansion into a facility for the mad and Batman trying to navigate his way through the madness of Arkham.

    Batman action is minimal. This is much more of an emotional journey.

    There is distinctive lettering for different characters and massive amounts of symbolism so several things will be missed by the casual reader. Think of this as a true nightmare tale for Batman. Sometimes the symbolism is a bit much and gets in the way of the tale. This graphic novel influenced a video game of a similar title but that one is more action based. It also influenced Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker.

  • Jeff

    The Caped Crusader with footnotes!?!

    or Art for Art’s Sake.

    or Holy Histrionics, Batman, I’d rather have listened to an opera…

    Grant Morrison gets “serious” – it’s even mentioned in the title twice in case you need a reminder – and if Carrot Top wants to star in a remake of Death of a Salesman or Billy Joel wants to write a concerto for flugelhorn and triangle, I don’t want to hear about it.

    Yes, Goodreader, this is why I love you, because nothing ever gets by you.

    The Caped Crusader with footnotes!?!

    or Art for Art’s Sake.

    or Holy Histrionics, Batman, I’d rather have listened to an opera…

    Grant Morrison gets “serious” – it’s even mentioned in the title twice in case you need a reminder – and if Carrot Top wants to star in a remake of Death of a Salesman or Billy Joel wants to write a concerto for flugelhorn and triangle, I don’t want to hear about it.

    Yes, Goodreader, this is why I love you, because nothing ever gets by you. Nothing.

    This is the 25th anniversary edition of the publishing of this pretentious pile of crap, so we get Morrison’s script tacked onto the actual comic. The script includes footnotes because Mr. Morrison wants to share each and every pop culture allusion and Easter egg that he’s cleverly included for us.

    The script actually came in handy, because I could actually read what The Joker was trying to say, but shuffling back and forth between the comic and an addendum quickly wore thin.

    A plot summary: The inmates at Arkham take control of the asylum because it’s Tuesday and demand that Batman pay them a visit, because they love him so so much and want to cuddle and spoon and eat Toll House cookie dough real fast, which is a good thing because this isn’t take-control-of-the-situation-with-a-few-well-placed-bat-flash-gernades-and-a-couple-of-kidney-punches-and-or-batarang-or-two-to-the-dome Batman, this is Emo-boy-Mr.-Feels-Kyle-Raynor-is-my-psychic-twin Batman, so let’s brood, shall we?

    Therapy seems to work wonders for a few of the rogues – yes, Two-Face

    pick a card to see if you can scratch your ass.

    The rest:

    Mad Hatter:

    Stop spouting drivel and take a tranquilizer!

    Clayface:

    He’s seen better days.

    Idea: Bats, shove him into a kiln and present him to Alfred as a big ashtray or something. You can put him between the dinosaur and the big penny.

    Did I mention that the asylum is haunted because the Arkham’s were a bunch of loons or the Arkham’s were a bunch of loons

    the original house was haunted?

    No? Sorry.

    : The art is purty, but then so was Where’s Waldo? And with Where’s Waldo you didn’t have to work as hard to find the player(s).

    Another word association? Ready?

    This book…………………….Crap.

  • Eric

    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-stor

    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

    . How can so many lists be so wrong? And how is the Goodreads rating so high? What am I missing?

  • Anne

    Sorry, guys. Didn't like it.

    I have a headache

    my eyes hurt.

    Not joking here.

    One of my eyes is actually throbbing.

    Yes, only

    .

    I'm going to take some Tylenol...

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