I recently finished the trade of the Batman: Kings of Fear mini-series, which was written by Scott Peterson and drawn by Kelley Jones.
Who’s Kelley Jones you ask? He’s one of the most unique artists in modern comic book history, especially when it comes to his work on Batman.
His association with The Dark Knight spans original graphic novels (The Batman & Dracula Trilogy), cover art (his first for the Batman series being Batman #491), cover and interior artwork (beginning with Batman #515) and mini-series such as Batman: Haunted Gotham, Batman: Gotham after Midnight, Batman: Unseen and most recently, the aforementioned Batman: Kings of Fear, issue #1 of which has recently debuted on DCU.
Jones’ Batman is very distinct as he tends to draw him with a slightly elongated body, a massive cape, clawlike hands and highly exaggerated cowl ears. His rendition of Batman is one you will definitely not mistake for that of another artist, as you know his Batman when you see it.
Returning to the Batman: Kings of Fear mini, I loved it, just loved it. It may just be the definitive modern era Scarecrow story and at minimum, it’s certainly one of the best Scarecrow stories ever. I’ll refrain from further details so as to not spoil anything, but if you like Batman, Scarecrow and/or stories that examine the worth of Batman’s war on crime, you should definitely read it. Again, the first issue is currently available in the DCU comics library.
Upon finishing Batman: Kings of Fear, I was immediately hungry for more of Kelley Jones’ batwork, so I began re-reading his run on Batman with writer Doug Moench (with whom Jones worked with on Batman: Unseen as well), which is also available in full in the Comics section right now.
This run (again, it began in Batman #515) was hit and miss with me for years as I wasn’t an immediate fan of Jones’ rendition of Batman. I remember seeing it as a kid/borderline teenager and thinking “Why does Batman look so…odd?”. I mostly skipped Batman during that time and looked to the other Batbooks when I was jonesin’ for my fix of that Caped Crusader mix.
Enough pontificating on my end, what do YOU think of Kelley Jones and his take on The Dark Knight? Do you have a favorite story/series that his vivid pencils have brought to equally vivid life? Are you brand new to his highly unique vision of Batman and want to know more about it?
Spread your cape below and let’s discuss one of the most wonderfully unique artists in Batman’s 80 year history.