Archive for November 12th, 2011

By Bob Clark

In the seventy two years since the character was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Batman has featured in countless comic-books, television shows and films of all manner of style, ranging from the lighthearted tone of the camp-classic Adam West & Burt Ward series to the dark, art-deco inspired musings of Bruce Timm & Paul Dini’s acclaimed animated programs from the early 90’s onward. Besides the creators of Bruce Wayne, Gotham City and the rogue’s gallery of villains and heroes vying for control over it, there have been a handful of creators in their respective mediums who have put their distinctive creative stamp on the character of the Caped Crusader, but by and large few (arguably none) have done more to influence the tide of the public’s conception of this figure more than Frank Miller. As creator of the acclaimed graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, he almost singlehandedly rescued the character from the lighter approach that had dominated since the West & Ward series, bringing readers back to the dark roots of a lonely vigilante still traumatized by the deaths of his parents, a hero who at times becomes almost as obsessive and psychotic as his enemies in his one-man war on crime. Since the publication of these two works in the late 80’s, hardly a depiction of the character in any medium has gone without at least some variation of their dark and gritty tone, especially in cinematic outings. Tim Burton’s two Batman films arrived with every bit the same kind of brooding, noir-inspired atmosphere as Miller’s comics, and even Joel Shumacher’s reviled installments were at least a fair deal darker than the West & Ward series, though no less gaudily campy.


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