Dedicated to The Dark Knight – Written by Paul Lee
With the recent release of Batman Vs. Superman last Spring, Suicide Squad and Batman: The Killing Joke this Summer, I’ve rediscovered my obsession with the Dark Knight. Ever since I was a wee lad, I’ve been a Batfan and my love of Batman began when I watched reruns of the goofy 1960’s Batman series. I remember having an 8-inch Batman Mego figure in a cloth costume that had a removable rubber cowl and cape. This toy really lit up my life until Batman had a tragic accident as he tried to fly from our roof and his flying cape malfunctioned. What a bummer.
I started collecting Batman comics in the late 70’s and early 80’s until I reached high school in suburban Boston. I stopped collecting all comics as I shied away from comics due to a fear of being singled out as a nerd. I figured girls would steer away from a comic nerd so I turned into a Rock ‘n Roller and chose guitar over comics.
In 1986 Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns arrived on the comic scene and elevated the Batman comic mythology to a more mature level. My love of Batman resurfaced after I read Miller’s seminal work. Right on the heels of Miller’s masterpiece came Batman: Year One which was another stellar work of graphic awesomeness that also played into my renewed interest. Recently both graphic novels showed up in our store.
In 1989 Batman fever struck me with even greater force as Tim Burton’s Batman arrived with a crash and bang on the cinematic scene. I found Jack Nicholson’s Joker a comically sinister villain. The movie was miles away from the silly 60’s show and added a darker and more interesting vibe that had an obvious Frank Miller influence. Finally, there was a great cinematic vision of the Dark Knight that paved the way for more to come.
Burton’s 1991 Batman Returns enraged the Batfan fire within me and I fell head over heels with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and found Danny Devito to be a wonderfully grotesque Penguin. Burton’s dark and inspired vision of the Bat universe found a perfect balance between the duality of the dark and light aspects of the Batworld.
Fast forward to 2004 when it was announced that Batman Begins was due to hit theaters. I was overjoyed. Batman Begins and the following two epics The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were everything that I hoped for and more. Finally, there wasn’t an ounce of campiness! It was high time that Batman was taken seriously and was part of a movie franchise for adults.
Since the trilogy made it’s final farewell with The Dark Knight Rises, there have been some good direct-to-video animated movies like Batman Year One, and the two-part The Dark Knight Returns. In addition, artist Greg Capullo and writer Scott Snyder breathed new life into the Batman comics with the “Court of Owls” and “Death of the Family” storylines.
I’ll continue to read the graphic novels that show up in our store and I’ve recently came across Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Night that looks at the world of Batman through psychological perspectives. It’s starting off really well. Even though my obsessions will wane, it’ll keep my interest in the Batman universe alive and satiate my hunger for the Dark Knight.
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