One of my favorite artists to draw Batman in the last decade also happens to be one of my favorite writers to script his adventures. Matt Wagner's Batman and the Monster Men and Batman and the Mad Monk are modernizations of Golden Age Batman stories, reaching back to the Dark Knight's early career with two tales that occur during the timeline of Batman: Year One. The former depicts Batman's first confrontation with Hugo Strange, while the latter involves the Caped Crusader's first encounter with the supernatural. Both are equally fantastic, but perhaps even better is 2003's Trinity, which covers the first meeting of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The story is terrific, and Mr. Wagner provides what is probably the most beautiful artwork in superhero comics today.
I am always impressed with the successful execution of a writer/director in movies, a filmmaker who crafts the story from start to finish. The same is true for a writer/artist in comics. Not that collaborative efforts don't result in great books, but one person handling both tasks ensures that there is no disconnect between the intent of the author and the interpretation of the artist. When I had a chance to meet Mr. Wagner at HeroesCon last year, I brought my Trinity hardcover to have signed. Like Ethan Van Sciver, he did more than simply sign the book. See for yourself:
The few extra seconds Mr. Wagner took to sketch out the Big Three put this book near the top of all my collectibles. I enjoyed meeting him, and it's always nice to find out someone so talented is also very down-to-earth and friendly.
One more installment left for tomorrow, and I've saved the most important for last.
Sign Here, Please: Matt Wagner