Batman: Child of Dreams – Kia Asamiya, adapted by Max Allan Collins

Kia Asamyia’s Batman: Child of Dreams is the perfect fusion of Japanese and Western comic styles.

Historically, my biggest trouble with manga has been the absurd cartoonish styles, and how each volume only captures a small portion of a wider story arc. Most of my books I get from libraries, so with Japanese comics I’m only likely to be able to read one or two volumes from each series. This often means that I’m parachuted into a story without any understanding of previous events, and that the volume will end before the story reaches any sort of satisfactory conclusion. This problem is much rarer with Western comics. With a Superman or Asterix comic, you can feel well assured that the protagonist will have their major problem resolved by the time finish the book. Western comics also have the advantage of being about iconic characters. While small details will vary across multiple continuities, you are never going to be wondering why Superman can fly or why Batman does what he does. So when I say that Batman: Child of Dreams combines the best elements of both traditions, I mean that is manga with a self-contained narrative featuring characters I recognize.

It is also a manga blown up to the proportions of an American graphic novel, which is definitely a novelty. The art has also been flipped, and the sound effects have also been translated. Besides the Japanese name of the author, the cover gives no real hint that this book is a manga.

The story is also good. It’s about a Japanese reporter who goes over to America to investigate The Batman himself, and gets caught up in wacky Bat-jinks. A new drug has hit the streets of Gotham, and it turns some people into Batman villains! The major theme of Batman: Child of Dreams is how fannish devotion can go dark, and even hurt the object of adoration.

If you see this book, read it. It’s good. Especially recommended for Bat-fans and those who like manga.

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