Batman Vs. Wolverine: Diving into Digital Comics

bat1I have had the ComiXology application since I got an iPhone years ago, but let’s face it, reading comics on an iPhone is a game for people who have a future as a LASIK eye surgery patient. Once I got an iPad however, portable digital comics became a whole new frontier. Learn about two of my first acquisitions – Batman ’66 and Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted – after the jump.

The Technology

Now I am no stranger to digital comics, but I am new to this kind of experience. Previously I had merely read the standard hardcopy comics only in a digital form. Instead of a floppy, I had a file, same comic, different interface.

What more could added to the experience? I have seen motion comics like Spider-Woman Agent of S.W.O.R.D. and Astonishing X-Men, which I really enjoyed, and having just got an iPad, I have just discovered Marvel Augmented Reality. This was something else, more in line with Mark Waid’s Thrillbent than anything else. I loved it.

bat2Biff! Bam! Pow!

Batman ’66 is a comic I have been looking forward to for quite some time. The premise is quite simple – nostalgia. The 1966 “Batman” TV series was my personal gateway drug to comics. I might have still been infected by my big brother’s Flash comics or my big sisters’ Teen Titans and Wonder Woman, but for me, the Adam West Batman came first.

The TV series has had a love/hate relationship with fandom. Most of us grew up with it, and its camp sensibilities and Pow! Zap! sound effects are still how the general public sees comics. Hell, even this very website takes its name inspiration from it.

What many folks forget is that even though it doesn’t represent how comics are, or even how we as fans want it represented, it was damned funny and entertaining. Adam West was, and remains, a master of subtle camp humor. And for most of its run, “Batman” was an enjoyable fun ride.

bat3Batman ’66

That fun from the TV show is brought to life by writer Jeff Parker who has always had a wonderful flair for writing all ages comics that appeal to everyone, and here in Batman ’66 where there’s adventure for the kids and wry humor for the adults, he’s perfect.

bat4The crazy 1960s pop art visuals are by artist Jonathan Case, and he and Parker immediately plunge the dynamic duo into adventures that would have been impossible with the TV show’s budget, or even on television. In the first segment, the Batmobile soars into the air after the Riddler as he escapes in a bi-plane!

Parker also brings a satisfying (to comics fans at least) continuity to the TV Batman’s world. There is villain crossover awareness as the Riddler references the Joker and even attacks Catwoman’s hideout. Also new life has been given to many of the old in-jokes of the series. I love this comic a lot, best thing I’ve read in quite some time.

bat5Japan’s Most Wanted

On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, recommended to me by friend and Biff Bam Pop! editor-in-chief Andy Burns, is Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted. The story is by Jason Aaron, who is no stranger to the character, and Jason Latour, who also wrote the script. Fast paced treachery and fight scenes by the best.

The layouts are by Yves Bigerel with art by Paco Diaz. I was not familiar with their names, but now I will be looking for their names, especially in this digital format. Even more Thrillbent than Batman ’66, this story is built for the format, and for the device, specifically widescreen tablet. The panel and storytelling flow is amazing. I couldn’t even imagine what it would look like in hard copy. Yeah, it’s like that.

bat6Comic Relief

I did get one other comic at ComiXology this week, mostly because it was free. Like Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted, it’s one of Marvel’s new Infinite Comics. And although I hate the TV series it’s based on, I got the free issue #0 of Ultimate Spider-Man.

The comic is by Matt Kindt and the above-mentioned Yves Bigerel, and although it’s filled with all the stuff I usually dislike in the animated series, I really kinda dug it. The new technology goes a long way toward making comics fun again. Be sure to check out Batman ’66, Marvel’s Infinite Comics, and ComiXology – great stuff!

bat7

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