The man who redefined Batman is coming to Comic-Con.
Frank Miller, who wrote and penciled 1986′s game-changing Batman miniseries “The Dark Knight Returns” (along with “Sin City” and “300,” among many others), will be appearing at a panel chock-full of Bat-artists and scribes, including Grant Morrison, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, the current “Batman” creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
Warner Bros. announced the panel “Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight,” which will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, as part of DC Entertainment’s Comic-Con plans to celebrate the Caped Crusader’s diamond jubilee.
In “The Dark Knight Returns,” Miller re-introduced Bruce Wayne as an aging, gritty and embittered hero sparring with Superman and taking on the Joker in a climactic battle for the soul of Gotham. The new take on the character paved the way for Batman’s renaissance and big-screen domination of the late ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. A follow-up graphic novel, “The Dark Knight Strikes Again,” was released in 2001.
Miller’s version of the Dark Knight has also been said to be a guiding influence on Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which is slated for a 2016 release. (Miller has his own film, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” coming out Aug. 22.)
Snyder, whose acclaimed ongoing run on “Batman” with Capullo has been a consistent bestseller, talked with Hero Complex earlier this year about how Miller influenced his work and what it was like to finally meet his hero.
“We talked a lot about Batman,” Snyder said. “We talked about the need to make the story personal and the challenge of making him personal when the character is so universal and everyone has opinions about him and he’s a corporate character…. How constantly trying to keep it important to you as a writer is the key to writing him well for fans. And also having a birth and a death for him in your mind…. You’re writing them to be as though you made them up, and you have to do it that way or you’re just going to be terrified the whole time you’re writing them because you realize how much they mean to you and to everybody else.”
Miller, Snyder and Capullo’s fellow panelists have also made significant contributions to Batman’s legacy: O’Neil and Adams told seminal darker Gotham tales in the 1970s, in contrast with the lighter take that had been seen on TV. Morrison last year wrapped a seven-year run with the character that included establishing “Batman, Incorporated” and re-introducing Bruce Wayne’s son with Talia al Ghul, Damian, into comics, making him a new Robin.
The panel is one of many celebrating the Caped Crusader’s momentous anniversary.
Warner Bros. also announced that Batsuits worn by Christian Bale, George Clooney, Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton on the big screen will be on display in the DC Entertainment booth. The Dark Knight will also appear on the cover of the con’s official souvenir book, and on a con-exclusive T-shirt designed by DC Entertainment Co-Publisher and legendary artist Jim Lee (“Batman: Hush”).
– Justin Sullivan and Blake Hennon | @LATherocomplex