December 1998


By Ruth Morrison
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A fly-by-night kind of guy Frequently American heroes take the form of vigilantes outside the legal system. Batman certainly fits the mold. He is a loner, obsessed with vengeance and justice, and as popular culture has grown darker so has the world of the Batman. Few fictional villains of any kind rank near the Joker on a scale of heartless malevolence. Watson-Guptill has produced a striking collection of Batman artwork, Batman Masterpieces: Portraits of the Dark Knight and His World by Ruth Morrison. This is not a greatest hits anthology. The book comprises oversize reproductions of the paintings originally reproduced in a DC Comics/Fleer Master series set of collector cards gorgeous, melodramatic paintings beyond the scope of comic books. They present a fragmented narrative, the pieces of which had to be collected and assembled by card-buyers.

Batman Masterpieces features original sketches and extensive remarks by the artists on how they envisioned the many incarnations of an American cultural icon.

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