A title from our Zine section
The greatest mystery Bat-Man has ever faced may be the disappearance of his wife, Amity. The wooded acres surrounding their castle home offer few clues, and months of searching have led him no closer to the truth. In a case of this nature, even his unmatched investigative techniques may not be enough.
"On the periphery, there is always the woods. For many they are "lovely, dark and deep." For others, they are a place where one can "live deliberately." But for some, the woods are wild, unfettered, where the witches dance, the place outside the social order. For those people, the forest is as much about possibility and mystery as it is about freedom. The woods are poetry and the procreant urge.
Weird shit happens out there in the trees.
David Enos' Bat-Man is Lost in a Woods embraces this sentiment fully with pages of painted panels that squeeze you right between that which you know and that which you envision. It stands heroically both within and without, one foot in dreams, one foot in some other place. That which is familiar is now seen anew.
There is a narrative to Enos' work. Publisher California Clap has the following solicitation for this book: The greatest mystery Bat-Man has ever faced may be the disappearance of his wife, Amity. The wooded acres surrounding their castle home offer few clues, and months of searching have led him no closer to the truth. In a case of this nature, even his unmatched investigative techniques may not be enough. Yet this description allows access only, an opportunity to reference and to put up walls. Bat-Man is Lost in a Woods gathers familiar objects in order to provide a map into reverie. This is not super-heroics or even a plotted out here-to-there. It is Lynchian, a blurred Magritte, full of plaintiveness and unease.
Enos' art is static, flushed with the colors of bile and dissociative nightmares. His Batman throws us back to the comfortable Adam West iteration of the hero, but removes the campiness and replaces it with a fugue state. The hyphen Enos adds to his Bat-Man forces the dichotomy that has always been at the heart of the character. Here, though, the pause between the two words becomes the focus.
Bat-Man is Lost in a Woods is a right brain book out of left field, shepherding intellectual property out of the city and into the forest. Where you stand is in the middle, smiling and shaking your head in the end."
-Your Chicken Enemy
"Batman. Now, there's a subject for you. Most of us out there can easily hook into Batman. What David Enos has done is play with that familiarity. His Batman taps into arguably the most accessible version, the Adam West model. The Enos Batman is a no-nonsense guy with little room for drama. The big case he's on in this story is familiar enough too: a search for a long lost love. It's the sort of plot that can easily be deadened by a too obvious treatment. Enos is having fun with these tropes by taking everything right up to the edge of the banal. He throws in some light humor and sets this whimsical Batman off on a surreal landscape, a mashup of grim, dark, and camp.
It is a rite of passage for any cartoonist to create their take on superheroes. There is a divide that will always exist between independent cartoonists and the world of mainstream genre. There is little crossover but, when it happens, it is something to study on a case by case basis. When it does happen, the big two comics publishers have found interesting ways to work with relatively indie creators. It’s pretty simple, the most popular superheroes are mega-franchises. Not just anyone is going to be handed the keys to the Batmobile. The mistake is when an indie cartoonist dismisses genre comics out of hand. As David Enos demonstrates here, there are endless possibilities to work with genre, subversive or otherwise. DC Comics and Marvel can always learn something new from alternative cartoonists.
It is a lot of fun to watch this banal Batman recalling the bittersweet days of his marriage to a pretty young woman named, Amity. Understandably, this is not a character from Batman canon. But she does make for a suitable match in the spirit of Silver St. Cloud. Amity is younger and more prone to pouting than anything else. She just wishes that Batman made more time for her and that they had more of a normal life together. Ah, isn’t that always the way with these sort of relationships? Enos deftly pulls the strings on what seems like a merely juvenile plot that unfolds into a dreamy and disturbing narrative, more like HBO’s "True Detective" but also hinting at the sinister origins of Batman going back to his debut in "Detective Comics" in 1939. There was always something weird about Batman. That’s what makes him interesting. David Enos celebrates that weirdness in this comic."
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