On June 19, 1992, Batman Returns premiered and was unlike any comic book superhero movie that came before — or after. Starring Michael Keaton as Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as Penguin, Batman Returns was a beautiful dark twisted fantasy that doubled down on Tim Burton’s gothic tendencies and created one of the most enduring female characters in superhero cinema.
In Part One of our conversation with Michael Uslan, the Batman movie uber-producer recounted his decades-long journey to bring a “dark and serious” version of the Dark Knight from the comic pages to the movie screen, a journey that is the foundation of his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman. After a string of Hollywood studios and financiers initially rejected the idea, the Batman film franchise has gone on to earn billions of dollars in box office and merchandising and solidify Batman as a cinematic legend, with even more big screen adventures on the way.
After the jump, Michael and I continue our discussion of what makes the Batman such an iconic — and enduring — character.
Originally posted at SuperJusticeForce.com
True story: several of the rejections that I got for Super Justice Force made mention of how difficult it was for certain editors to relate to my hero, Darius Logan. None of them came out and said they couldn’t relate to him because he was black, just that they couldn’t relate to him. Fair enough, I suppose. But I can’t help but wonder exactly what it was about Darius that they couldn’t relate to. Was it the fact that he was an orphan, like Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Tarzan, Superman, or Batman? Was it that he found himself stuck in a violent world not of his own making, like Katniss Everdeen? Was it that he was a tortured soul struggling to survive like… well… like many characters in some of the most popular stories of all time?
The fact of the matter is that aside from the recurring “teenage boys don’t read” and “this isn’t girl-friendly enough” responses that accompanied every single rejection of Super Justice Force, one of the most common complaints editors had was that they couldn’t relate to Darius. Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what that means, and unless it meant that my book was so poorly written that Darius was an unlikeable jerk, then it most likely meant that some people couldn’t get behind the fact that he was black.
If you’ve been reading my site recently, then you know that September was a month filled with conventions. It all started with Baltimore Comic-Con, which was followed by Retro Con, and finally there was Monster-Mania 26. I’m not even remotely a horror guy, so why did I go to Monster-Mania? Well, it’s simple — there was going to be a Batman ’66 reunion with Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, and Yvonne Craig. Stan Lee and Adam West have always been on my Must Meet list, and since I met Stan two years ago, now it was time to check Adam off the list. So, even if that meant I would be braving a horror convention, it was time to meet Adam West.