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Why DIDN’T I buy All-Star Batman & Robin?

Why don’t I ignore my sabbatical and just carry on posting as if my last post were yesterday? Let’s just say I was taking the ‘Clandestine’ part of the title too seriously …

The impetus for blogging again, apart from having an ego that believes my opinion is vitally important to the world, was the oddness of an incident in my comic shop of long standing, Gosh!, in the heart West End’s London (if I may steal a phrase from Stephen Fry).

The long-serving guys at Gosh! know me by now, which is a nice albeit geeky feeling, with the exception of the chap I believe to be the owner. When I went to purchase my weekly haul (100 Bullets #62, Desolation Jones #2, Fables #39, Seven Soldiers: Guardian #3 and Gravity #2 for all you keeping check; I put back Wonder Woman #218, as I’ve been considering stopping this for a while now, and the rather unattractive art from Ron Randall was the deciding factor. I enjoy Rucka’s work but I haven’t felt a connection to this stuff, all the while recognising it as well written, much like his short run on Elektra), he asked if I was going to buy All Star Batman and Robin while ringing up my books. I was stumped for an answer, and mumbled something incoherently about not wanting it before paying for the rest of my comics and leaving the shop.

It was only afterwards I realised why it was so strange. Normally, when one of the guys at Gosh! recommend something, it will be something I missed that I might like based on my shopping habits. However, this just smacked of desperate selling, as if he felt that they were going to be stuck with a load of copies they won’t be able to shift. My girlfriend thought I was being cynical, and she’s probably right, as she always is, but it still disturbed me.

My reasons for not wanting to buying the biggest comic of the year? Although I have an unhealthy admiration for Lee’s artwork, stemming from seeing it for the first time on the Uncanny X-Men, I wasn’t going to buy ASBARTBW just for that. Meanwhile, Miller, although producing work that I love, such as Batman: Year One, Born Again, the first Sin City story and most of Dark Knight Returns, is not an author who automatically gets on my pull list because his name is attached. So, it was always going to be a case of waiting for my trusty fellow comic bloggers to let me know if it was worth the wait. And, of course, skimming it in the shop.

The other reason, as eloquently outlined by the boss of intelligently written arguments, Paul O’Brien, in this post, is that I think the idea of Robin is completely stupid. I can understand why he exists, but I do not want to read a story about a boy becoming the sidekick of a disturbed and violent man who dresses as a bat. Seeing Lee’s alternate cover, with Robin’s face an expression of rapture in swinging through the night in that gaudy costume, made me shake my head with sadness.

To the comic itself? My brief browse confirmed my decision not to buy, and the views of my blog brethren seem to agree. The best review is Pol’s, over at Comics Should Be Good, which is very funny, and there are some interesting thoughts from Clandestine Chum Greg, the ever-reliable Tom the Dog and Jim that reinforce the view. There are more posts about this book for you to examine – so far, Technorati has 470 posts and counting – so at least it got people talking. But it didn’t get me buying …

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