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So on Monday, I watched the Gotham series premiere with about 8 million of my friends. I started writing a column about the show and what it says (accidentally and/or purposefully) about the role of Batman in pop culture right now. But working on that column got me thinking more generally about Batman: A character who has been around for 75 years, a figure in my cultural consciousness since before my memory begins. The next thing I knew, I was making a list of my favorite Batman things–the movies, the TV shows, the vividly recalled comic book story arcs and standalone issues, »
- Darren Franich
Gotham premiered on Monday to strong ratings, which makes it unlikely that Fox will let them build up an intricate mystery and then cancel it after eight episodes. (I miss you, Reunion! And New Amsterdam!) Eight million of you watched it, so what did you think? I’ll tell you what series star Ben McKenzie thinks, Actually, I will let him speak for himself. He did a conference call with reporters recently, and here are some of the highlights.
On whether his work as Bruce Wayne on Batman: Year One had helped him prepare for the role:
"Hmm… I don’t know! I’d like to think so! I’ve always been a fan of Year One, even before I did the voice of Bruce/Batman for it. And so, it was an opportunity to re-read it, as an adult, and look more closely at it in terms of how to interpret it on screen… »
- Mily Dunbar
I wasn't 100% on the idea of having a show based on Batman, you know without Batman. But once I started hearing more about it, the more I was convinced. Mainly with Ben McKenzie cast as the lead, who is no stranger to this universe, as he provided the voice of The Dark Knight in the 2011 animated film, Batman: Year One. But now that I've finally watched the pilot, I'll say that I was impressed, surprised even. First thing that caught my eye was the cinematography, dark, dirty and sufficient to keep me invested. Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue instantly click as Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, having great chemistry, butting heads with one another. The story is very straightforward, diving into the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, leaving a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) completely terrified. The interesting thing is how relatively shady things go down, simply trying to »
A man who decides the best way to fight crime in his native city is to dress up as a giant bat has to be a severely damaged individual on some level. But think about how damaged the city itself has to be for the man to think that the bat costume is necessary. Fox's new drama series "Gotham" (it debuts Monday at 8) wants to dramatize the crumbling infrastructure of Gotham City, which would eventually lead to Batman patrolling its streets. And it wants to play with the many wonderful toys available in that corner of the DC Universe, even if Batman himself can't be one of them, since the series begins with a 12-year-old Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) witnessing his parents' murder in a dark downtown alley. DC been down this road before with "Smallville," a show that took 10 seasons to let Clark Kent put on the red cape and blue tights, »
- Alan Sepinwall
In today’s world of comic-book remakes, it’s rare that an actor gets to portray multiple characters within any given universe. It’s even more rare that an actor gets to take part in a story that hasn’t been told before. But Ben McKenzie has done both.
In 2011, McKenzie got the chance to voice an animated Bruce Wayne in Batman: Year One, and three years later, he’s playing a young James Gordon in Fox’s upcoming series, Gotham. And despite the fact that Gotham is a prequel and therefore telling a new story, McKenzie is very aware »
- Samantha Highfill
Rrmbllll Kkkkrrakkk goes the lightning as Frank Miller’s Batman hits the streets for the first time in 1986’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns. A faceless, lowlife pimp throws one of his girls into a cab, threatening to cut her. The bearded, downtrodden cabbie accepts a stack of bills from the pimp; he mutters to himself, “dog eat dog world…” Unseen, Batman descends onto the yellow, checkered cab’s roof. The pimp finds himself on the receiving end of some brutality off-panel. The money is shredded. And with another Krakk – end scene.
This hardly feels like pages ripped from a William Gibson novel, more like frames from a grainy, 35-mm Taxi Driver print. The synopsis for Tdkr returns dubs itself “near-future”, and the genre “cyber-punk” has been tossed around by readers and critics alike. But really (mutant punks aside) the book falls into the Death Wish genre. Aging man, urban and moral decay, »
- Dan Black
We may be in the golden age of superhero cinema, but here are some DC movies that never made it…
Naysayers would have you believe that Hollywood chucks bucket-loads of cash at any old comic book movie pitch that happens to float through their corner-office window, get stuck to their shoe or come to them miraculously as an on-the-toilet epiphany.
However, this is not the case, particularly with DC comics characters. While some films that do get made may seem like bog-fodder (oh hey, Green Lantern), there are plenty of comic adaptation pitches, in-development scripts and passion projects that have ended up not getting made for various reasons.
We had a rummage through the aeons of DC cinema history (also known as extensive Googling) and pulled together all the comic book movie projects we could find that ended up in the bin of crushed dreams for Batman, Superman and more. »
Whatever your feelings about Frank Miller are, his influence over comics cannot be denied. Only Alan Moore's work in the '80s can be compared in terms of the effect it would have on superheroes - in comics, films and the public eye - over the intervening decades.
With the release of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - his second collaboration with Robert Rodriguez adapting his noir comic of the same name - Miller is back in the public eye, talking about his love of Superman and Batman and generally upsetting everyone.
To mark the occasion, we look back at the highs and lows of Frank Miller's career.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
If there is one character with which Miller is best identified, it has to be Batman. 1986's The Dark Knight Returns - which he wrote and drew - is frequently cited »
Last night, a Playboy interview with Frank Miller was brought to my attention as he discusses his new film, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, as well as his interpretation of Batman as seen in his graphic novels "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" and "Batman: Year One". He also doesn't shy away from giving his impression of movies based on characters he's worked on, up to and including Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, but let's take this one step at a time. As far as his approach to Batman, whom he portrayed as older and more grizzled, he says, "Well, you do get crabbier as you get older. laughs Also, I never believed that a guy who tortured people and dressed like Dracula was the most pleasant person to have over for dinner." Zack Snyder appears to be taking this approach »
- Brad Brevet
For almost 50 years, Batman has graced the silver screen. Whether working solo or accompanied by sidekicks and associates, Gotham City is continually saved by his enduring presence. Even though the eight theatrical live-action films featuring the Caped Crusader have had their ups and downs, there is no denying his appeal as a lead character.
With that in mind, these are all theatrical Batman releases, ranked from worst to best:
8. Batman and Robin (1997)
The dark cloud over a struggling franchise, Joel Schumacher’s second directorial outing in the Batman franchise hammered the last nail in the coffin and became known as one of the worst sequels, nay films, of all time. From the garish set design, poor character development, uninspired casting and hideously unfunny pun-filled script, Batman and Robin was a mistake from the moment it went into production.
7. Batman: The Movie (1966)
Occasionally forgotten as the first theatrical Batman film, this »
- Katie Wong
Before he would attract Hollywood's attention with "Sin City" and "300" —both graphic novels adapted into feature films, the former seeing a sequel released this year ("Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" opens on Friday)— Frank Miller had spent 20 years as a blue-chip comic book creator. Given the keys to the Batman franchise in the '80s, Miller's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" and "Batman: Year One" were widely believed to have reinvented the character, with those works undoubtedly serving as the template for Christopher Nolan's take on the comic hero. (Darren Aronofsky tried to make 'Year One' before "Batman Begins" but couldn't get it moving, and in 2011 an animated version of the graphic novel was released on home video). And speaking recently with Playboy, Miller revealed his inspiration for making Bruce Wayne older, more grizzled and more vengeful. "Well, you do get crabbier as you get older. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Warner Bros. Animation’s steady assault of direct-to-Blu-ray superhero movies continues at a frenetic pace, so much so that the subjects keep pushing further into the fringes of the DC Comics universe. So it is with “Batman: Assault on Arkham,” which assigns the Dark Knight top billing, but really focuses on a thrown-together team of lesser villains given the suicide mission of conducting a raid on Arkham Asylum. Yes, Batman shows up, as do a number of better-known members of his rogues gallery. Still, the movie will play best with those who don’t need to consult Wikipedia to identify King Shark.
Aimed squarely at hard-core comics fans (and given the carnage and implied sex, clearly not intended for bat-tykes), these Warner Bros. titles are defined by their frenetic, near-nonstop action, and the short-hand they can employ. Unlike live-action features, there’s no worrying about crossing over or pausing to explain anything, »
- Brian Lowry
The reverence comic book readers hold for Frank Miller is understandable when one contemplates the depth of his influence on popular culture. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy drew heavily from Miller’s reimagining of the iconic superhero in his 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns and 1987’s Batman: Year One. You can see shadows of Miller’s signature artistic style in the films of Zack Snyder, who directed the film version of Miller’s graphic novel 300 before taking on Watchmen and Sucker Punch.
But while his takes on classic DC heroes such as Batman and Daredevil were singular, Miller’s original creation, his hyper-noir Sin City graphic novels, may be his most celebrated work. Set in the deeply cruel and corrupt town known as Basin City, its vignettes paint portraits of tough men with tender souls, and women who are sexy, sinister and controversial… but never simple, or easy.
- Melanie McFarland
Origins stories are a necessary evil. Many feel that the most famous comic book conceptions don’t require retellings, but with DC’s 2011 reboot shifting the universe in a big way, it was time to dust off the Batman alpha and dive into his first adventures. After two stellar storylines, The Court of Owls and Death of the Family, as part of the New 52, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo were tasked with crafting another origin, but rather than a generic rehash, they offer one of the most complex, personal and engaging Batman tales in years. As Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One tackled the issues of the time, this twelve-issue event incorporates modern themes and fears — terrorism, climate change, random violence, cataclysmic events, identity crises. Separated into three parts, Zero Year is less about mobsters and corruption and more about exploring the man behind the pointy mask, who »
In the mid-1980s, writer/artist Frank Miller crafted two of the most influential Batman stories ever told: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. It's not hard to see why they've had such a potent legacy. Even today, three decades after they were published, they remain thrilling and insightful. But I swear to God, if one more filmmaker uses them as a source text for a Batman movie, I'm going to smash my face into a concrete wall. Today is a great day to reassess Miller's twin graphic novels' influence on the multibillion-dollar Batman movie industry, because today is Batman Day. Batman Day is, of course, an entirely made-up holiday that DC Entertainment declared to celebrate its ever-lucrative Caped Crusader's 75 years of publication history (as well as move product and build buzz in advance of this weekend's San Diego Comic-Con). Take a look at the initial announcement of »
- Abraham Riesman
The first few pages of Frank Miller's script for the shelved Batman: Year One have a disturbed Bruce Wayne waking up from chronic nightmares, some nameless prostitutes being slapped around by their pimp, and Jim Gordon putting a gun in his mouth.
You can see why Warner Bros didn't ultimately go for the project, which was to be helmed by Darren Aronofsky and would have rewritten the Bat mythology even more radically than Miller already had in his comic book arc of the same name.
"Our take was to infuse the Batman franchise with a dose of reality," Aronofsky has said, citing The French Connection and Taxi Driver among his influences. "We tried to ask that eternal question, 'What does it take for a real man to put on tights and fight crime?'" It's an approach not far from the one ultimately taken by Christopher Nolan in Batman Begins, »
On July 23, comic book stores everywhere will celebrate Batman Day as part of DC Comics’ yearlong celebration of the Caped Crusader’s 75th anniversary. In anticipation of the big day, EW conducted separate interviews with DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee and Batman the Animated Series creator and producer Bruce Timm, asking each to pick the most memorable and significant Batman stories of the past 75 years.
Both Lee and Timm have be heavily involved with Batman throughout their careers. Apart from being co-publisher of DC (alongside Dan Didio), Lee has illustrated several Batman comics including Batman: Hush with writer Jeph Loeb »
- Chancellor Agard
Fox's "Gotham" is one of this fall's most intriguing pilots, but also one of its most confounding. On the one hand, it has the full weight of DC Comics behind it; an interesting cast that includes Benjamin McKenzie as a young Jim Gordon, Donal Logue as his cynical partner Harvey Bullock and Jada Pinkett Smith as local crime boss Fish Mooney; and a fascinating look created by director/producer Danny Cannon that evokes '70s cinema classics like "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The French Connection." On the other hand, it is a Batman show that is never going to actually feature Batman, since the story begins with the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, with Bruce played by 13-year-old David Mazouz, while the show will feature origin stories for classic Batman villains like the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), making it a story »
- Alan Sepinwall
The Batman has been depicted many different ways and by many different artists during his 75 year publishing history. He’s run the gamut from scrappy urban vigilante, to paternal establishment figure, from cartoon character, to globetrotting adventurer, from dangerous borderline psychopath to a wizened hero of noble spirit and much more besides.
The important thing, however, is that, in any era, any incarnation, The Batman is always recognizable and familiar to his readers…
“…Then I heard giant wings flap. It flew down from the sky—Its wings were about thirty feet across. It bellowed like…Well, I’ve never heard anything like it…One of the felons I had not yet disarmed produced a .357 magnum. He fired –point blank range at the creature –and the bullet passed straight through the creature like it wasn’t there –and it started laughing…”
That was Jim Gordon’s former partner Detective Flass, »
- Chris Quicksilver
Trevor Hogg chats with Sid Kotian about encountering a chicken library, superheroes and a smoking hot redhead known as Allison Carter…
“My uncle was interested in art,” recalls Sid Kotian who is an illustrator from Mumbai, India. “There were always books lying around; they focused on works by the old masters like Goya and Turner so I was exposed to art at an early age. Also I used to steal his watercolours to paint stuff.” Kotian delved into the world of comic books. “Archie comics, Tintin and Asterix were always available plenty so that was what I thought comics were. I became aware of superhero comics in school and completely by accident. Back then we didn’t have the Internet or chain book stores. But there were a few lending libraries around the neighbourhood. This particular one was right behind the school I used to go to. I called it »
- Trevor Hogg
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