Thursday, August 15, 2013

How would you define "Dark" or "Light" books?

Sally brought this up recently and I started thinking of lighthearted books. The ones that came to mind made me pause once I thought about them. Would most see the books I thought were light like I did? Take both Booster Gold series for example. In the first volume it never lingers too long in depressing scenarios but there still there. He's hated in his own time and has to flee to ensure he doesn't get the death penalty. Michelle dies, the guys creating his comic book are murdered, he's betrayed and loses everything. Sure there's fun stuff and hopeful notes but I wouldn't call this a strictly fun-loving title. It had dark moments as did the second series. I mean the Time Stealers straight up murdered a baby in it's crib! To say nothing of other events in the book.

So basically some "dark'" titles I've gotten.

Justice League Dark: It's in the title but it's mostly called that because of the group using magic. Their mostly messed up people and there's a lot of manipulation at work with it's leads. The first arc is pretty gory. I've read up to the second trade which isn't as violent but the potential is always there especially with characters like Constantine that are willing to go there.

Red Hood and the Outlaws: I know those that haven't read this series--or at least haven't read it past issue one--won't believe this. The truth is this isn't a dark series. Not like the others here are. While the bad guys are killed from time to time it doesn't really affect the mood. The darkest parts are when the leads have to confront their past or we the readers get glimpses of what happened. For Kori it's being traded into slavery by someone she loved, her feelings of isolation prior to meeting the guys and hints of something bad happening with Dick. Roy has bits with his addiction(s?), falling out with everyone, an attempt at suicide and his self esteem issues. With Jason his issues are explored but none of these things ever weigh the series down. Their friendship and good humor makes it one of the most lighthearted books I've read. Sure Jason has suffered from DOTF but there was always a positive outlook.

Demon Knight: Amazing series but I wouldn't say it's light, maybe the right mixture of both? Innocents die. A lot. The fights are brutal as are the betrayals. It has humor and excitement too. I suppose it's more apt to say it's a medieval book that gives you what you expect but also has a sense of fun.

Batwing: This one's not as humorous as some of the others, at least with David. I decided not to keep going with Luke since it's not the same book. David dealt with real life horrors like being a boy solider forced to kill others until he ran away. The police he works with are more corrupt than they are in Gotham. It's depressing and pretty much an impossible battle. But David represents hope and honor. He stands for something and that's amazing to read about. This book's lightheartedness comes from it's hero's honest pursuit of the greater good.

I, Vampire: This is dark but it's not entirely bleak. At least where I left off in volume two. The series ended and I don't have the last trade yet. So it could end on a bad note. That's not to say it doesn't have it's own sense of humor. It does, it plays with the bromance cliché and even has the Queen of vampires' reaction to Batman saying he'll bring her to justice. I would rate Demon Knights--at least where I left off with it--as lighter than this one. If DK is a grey area this is dark grey.


  1. All Comics seem to have a certain dollop of angst and violence...otherwise, where would you get a plot? I also don't really mind some of the darker moments, because, done right, it can be excellent story-telling.

    I just...I just wish that it wasn't ALL so dark...all the time. Demon Knights had some rather amusing moments, and even Justice League Dark had some dark humor as well.

    Booster's own book was certainly less campy, but Booster, with all of his problems strikes me as being a pretty heroic fellow, and an optimist to boot. That said, I have to admit that I simply adored the old JLI. And I miss it terribly.

    I loved books like the new Blue Beetle with John Rogers and Keith Giffen, Nextwave, the Thor book with Chris Samnee and Landridge, that was hilarious and moving at the same time...the old Birds of Prey with Gail Simone, the Secret Six, also with Gail Simone, that was sublime...wickedly funny and violent all at the same time. Young Avengers has been fabulous, as was Journey into Mystery.

    Also, Ambush Bug.

    And seeing Hal Jordan get hit in the head while showing off his buttocks always puts me into a good mood.

  2. Sometimes shows/comic/etc. have dark subject matters but the characters make it more balanced out. When I think grim/gritty I don't think of things that have dark subjects like war but things that are pointlessly dark for shock value. Like all the times they killed off a Robin. Cry for Justice. Rise of Arsenal.

    Blue Beetle was fun which made me really frustrated with the direction after the reboot. They got rid of the best parts of the book just to make it more angsty.

    Well I think we can rest assured that will always be the norm with Hal Jordon.