Jim Lee’s brilliant Batman story, ‘Hush’ inspires Niue’s latest DC comic series silver coins

When you take one of the most iconic superhero characters of all time and give him to one of the best comic artists of the modern age, you get a story like Batman: Hush. Originally published over 12 issues of Batman (#608 in Oct 2002 until #619 in Sept 2003, the Jeph Loeb penned story was pencilled by Jim Lee and tells the story of Hush, a stalker seemingly obsessed with creating havoc in Batman’s life. Considered one of the best Batman stories, it had a comprehensive cast of iconic characters, including Catwoman, Harvey Dent, Superman, The Joker, Scarecrow, and The Riddler, amongst many others.

Back in 1992, Jim Lee and several other high-profile creators formed Image Comics, his own imprint called Wildstorm Comics. Finding publishing a hindrance to his passion for art, he sold it to DC Comics in 1998 and accepted a role there. Despite that, he worked his way up the DC hierarchy and is currently the Publisher and Chief Creative Officer of DC. But it’s his brilliant and dynamic art for which Korean-born Lee is most admired.

The NZ Mint has issued several Batman ranges to date, of varying quality of design, but they’re on solid ground with this series. We missed covering the first coin, called simply ‘Gotham City’, but with the issue of the second coin today it’s time to take a look at this superb series. Choosing the rectangular format that works equally well on the excellent Guards of the Empire’ Star Wars series, these are 1oz in weight, antique finished and with a colour application that suits perfectly – eschewing the gaudy brightness that characterised the 1960’s TV series, in favour of the gritty world we know more today.

The first coin was a classic pose of the modern Batman, but the second is a sublime image of the superhero in the embrace of Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Terrific art, and the coin is a superb render of it. The presentation is also first class, with the mint continuing to use the outstanding perspex display frame. Each coin has a mintage of 2,000 pieces. If you’re a comic book fan, a Jim Lee based series of Batman coins has got to be a highlight. Available to order now, the NZ Mint is currently under shutdown for a month, so please do expect delays in shipping at this trying time.

BATMAN, THE CAPED CRUSADER

Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Originally named the “Bat-Man,” the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective.

Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. Batman originated from an incident in Bruce’s childhood; after witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.

Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any inhuman superpowers. He does, however, possess a genius-level intellect and is a peerless martial artist, and his vast wealth affords him an extraordinary arsenal of weaponry and equipment. A large assortment of villains make up Batman’s rogues gallery, including his nemesis, the Joker.

The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, different interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures’ live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character’s prominence in mainstream culture. (WIKIPEDIA)

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 36.0 x 53.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Coloured
MINTAGE 2,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes