With all the talk about Batman v Superman over the past few days, it reminded me that it’s nowhere near the worst story told featuring the Caped Crusader. No, that honor belongs to Just Imagine Stan Lee’s Batman, published in September 2001 — making it the second worst thing to happen to America that month. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, let’s take a step back in time, shall we?
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.
If it weren’t for Michael Uslan, we definitely wouldn’t be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Batman this week. In fact, Uslan is the reason there are any Batman films in theaters at all. You see, Uslan and his producing partner Benjamin Melinker are responsible for every live action Batman movie from 1989 to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, plus 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the animated Mask of the Phantasm and even The LEGO Movie. Basically, anytime Batman’s been in a movie, you can thank these guys.
When he attained the rights to make movies of the character in the late 70s, no one save for Uslan ever imagined that Batman would be the center of a multibillion-dollar grossing film phenomenon. Not even the brass at DC Comics! Only Michael Uslan — a self-described blue collar, comic fanboy from New Jersey — knew the world was ready for a “dark and serious” take on the Caped Crusader. In honor of the milestone anniversary of his labor of love, Michael agreed to sit down with me to talk about how he ultimately brought his vision of Batman to the big screen. Part One of our conversation is below.
On Monday, June 23, the movie that kickstarted the modern comic book renaissance — Tim Burton’s Batman — celebrates its silver anniversary. So what better way to celebrate the landmark film than to dedicate a whole week’s worth of posts to the Dark Knight Detective himself? Because 2014 is not only the 25th anniversary of Batman, it’s also the 50th anniversary of Carmine Infantino’s iconic “new look” costume design, the 75th anniversary of the character himself, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Batman’s co-creator Bill Finger.