As much as I love Batman: his dark dilemmas, his dusky disguise, and his dreadful ego, and I realize that much praise should go to his creator, Bob Kane, I'll have to admit, the real superhero in one of my favorite graphic novels is Sam Kieth. I don't usually discover new comics at the library, but when I came across Batman: Secrets a couple of years ago, I had also discovered who would become one of my most admired illustrators and writers.
As writer and artist, Sam Kieth has placed Batman inside of a dark tunnel where his most beloved nemesis, Joker, waits and watches as Bruce revisits some of his most strange and dreary childhood secrets.
Sam himself seems to have a clear grasp on images of strange. His faces are always lenghty, hair and chin showing some sense of liquid. He has a way of illustrating Joker's sinister smile, his hellbent eyes and bloodthirsty lips. "Bang" and "wham" and crimson streaks and very nice girls in polka-dot dresses. Mr. Kieth has an incredible eye when it comes to lay-outs. He cuts and he pieces, one stringy scribble on top of another. His idea of interlude in this trade, are dark pages of debate between Batman and Joker while they are "...trapped in the same hell together, on opposite sides."
There is the anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing, the idea of live satellite broadcast television, media and its lustful thrill-ride on the expense of others dismay, a young Bruce Wayne, the Joker with a story to share, and a creeping secret, a single shell and the feeling of feathers and the smell of foul.
It is full of a lot of Joker's "Ha, ha, ha's!" and all of Batman's suppressed rage. And as always with Gotham's Dark Knight, never a redeptive feeling.