I’m trying to be less reliant on my phone for everything. Between work, playing games, and those time sucking social media apps whose purpose I’m always questioning, I am on my phone way too much. I didn’t want to find another use for it, but then two great forces converged and made it well worth my while to stay glued to my miniature screen. Hoopla and Batman.
Hoopla if you have not heard, is a new streaming service offered by the Cedar Rapids library. It is easy to sign up for from the library resources and services page. Call or ask a librarian if you have any trouble with it.
The comicbook/graphic novel collection on Hoopla is vast and includes the first 9 volumes of Tom King’s run on Batman.
Like every good Batman run it involves his entire rogues gallery, as well as his family of Alfred, side kicks, and former side kicks. (I believe that number is up to 5 right now? it can be hard to keep track.) The series focuses on his developing relationship with Catwoman which King makes believable and authentic. The storytelling so far is par-excellence.
Batman is such a modern day mythic figure. The character celebrated his 80th Birthday just this passed September 21st. You would think that all the stories about him have already been told- that it would be impossible to bring some originality into his 80 years of comic books, comic strips, cartoons, TV series, and movies. But the fun when dealing with such an iconic figure, is that every good author has their own slant on who the character is. This slant takes the stories in directions that are original, and are also homages to all that has come before.
With Tom King’s take on Batman, there is this idea of a hero who is empowered by misery who is on the verge of finding some happiness. Will that happiness get in the way of his self ordained holy mission? Or after all the pain Batman has seen and experienced, does he need this happiness to be able to continue what he does? After just reading volume 7, that thought provoking question persists. Along the way through this series I’ve read about a scary alternate time line, some flashbacks that speak to the twisted nature of Gotham, and some hilarious banter between Batman and Superman when they dress up in each other’s costumes. It wouldn’t be a good Batman series if his detective skills were not being tested. King’s short, medium length, and over arching mysteries unfold at a compelling pace. Through the nail biting unraveling we witness Batman’s deduction skills play out, and we learn about the diabolical actions of villains that simultaneously humanize them. I can’t wait to get through this series and then explore other series Tom King has written.
Hoopla makes it so enjoyable to read comics this way. What I love most is how the app is built to read comics. It is easy to scroll through the pages, and I can even read it panel by panel. Ever turn the page of a comic book and you try extra hard to not look at the big splash happening on the bottom right hand corner till you’ve read everything else- because you just know it is a spoiler? Not a problem with Hoopla when you are reading panel by panel. I even enjoy the artwork more than I expected- as you can zoom in on any page.
With more Batman to read, Tom King’s other DC stories, and Astro Boy on my hoopla list- I’ll be keeping my phone charged for several months to come. I’ll just cut down on the battery sucking games so that my phone doesn’t turn off during a cliffhanger.