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Tales Of The Batman: Tim Sale Paperback – Jan 13 2009
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About the Author
Tim Sale's name has become synonymous with great illustration due to his work on Daredevil Yellow, Super-man for All Seasons and Batman: Long Halloween.
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There is a great three-parter here called "Blades", starring a new hero known as the Cavalier. Not much to start with, but it picks up quickly. Batman is chasing a killer known only as "Mister Lime" while Gotham City is terrorized by a jewel thief. When the new hero crashes the scene, it seems Batman will receive the help he needs. Of course, there are plenty of things going on behind the scenes, but the character is cool.
A very short story involving Catwoman gives us a glimpse into what a "date night" would be like for Batman and her. The first story in the collection doesn't even have Batman in it at all! It focuses on the Arkham Asylum crew trying to live with normal prisoners. The final story includes the introduction of yet another new hero named Nimrod. He's after Catman, Killer Moth, Calendar Man, and Chaser...but why? Oh, this story is a good one!
The weakest spot to me was the inclusion of Tim's Joker story from the "Black & White" collection. I had to read through it twice to understand what was going on.
As a collection, this is strong stuff. The final pages are filled with every cover Tim has done for Batman in recent years (as well as the covers for the stories in this collection). Each story has an introduction by Tim and they're all a fun read into the background of comic book art. If you're a fan of Tim's other Batman stories like "Dark Victory" or "Long Halloween", you'll enjoy this.
Now, for those of you who are dying to know "What exactly does this book collect?" Here is your answer:
Showcase '94 #3-4 (my favorite Story)
Legends of the Dark Knight #32-34
Shadow of the Bat #7-9
SOLO #1 (most fun story)
Batman Black and White, Volume 2
included are a nice little (very) short story about jeremiah arkham and some of his famous mental patients, a great three-parter by james robinson involving a new hero in gotham (flipping through this book i accidentally spoiled the ending for myself, but it surprisingly didn't affect my enjoyment at all), a story about a group of batman's d-list rogues teaming up for a rather generic caper (with a somewhat neat twist thrown at the reader on at the very end that unfortunately feels tacked on), a fun catwoman story and a little black-and-white vignette with sale's beautiful inkwash work. also included are a bunch of batman and batgirl covers by sale.
i only have a few qualms with this book. one of them is the ordering of the stories. ideally this sort of volume should have the stories appear in chronological order to show the development of the artist, and for some reason that's not the case here. i don't know if the "blades" story was published before or after the "misfits" one, but the former appears earlier in the volume and is leaps and bounds ahead of the latter in every respect (design, composition, storytelling, even coloring), so they are either out of order in this book or sale just wasn't trying very hard on the second one (and who could blame him? he was working with much stronger material in the first one). i do know that the black and white story is years older than the catwoman one, so chronological order isn't being strictly preserved. it's not the biggest deal, but it struck me as odd. what bothers me more is that the covers to several of these stories are absent, and they were missed. also it's a shame that this collection only included some of sale's batman covers. i would have loved to see more, because those are some of his best work.
all-in-all a very good read. falls short of perfection, but buyers should find themselves pleasantly surprised, if surprised at all. bit of a hefty price tag, but well worth the amazon price.