Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Iconic Batman: Steve Englehart

With a twist of the cape, and the most devastating cowl ever to be put over Bruce's head, the Marshall Rogers Batman is delicious, dark, powerful version of the revenge archetype, and, as i've said many times before, the best version to ever get laid on to newsprint of the character. The team of Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin laid down the law when it comes to the Batman.

And yet, as Danny Boy posts on his blog, here is a little missive from Steve Englehart that says volumes:
As most everyone getting this knows, I wrote DARK DETECTIVE III beginning in January 2006, but Marshall Rogers died tragically and completely unexpectedly as he was drawing the first issue. What happened after that was puzzling.

A DC editor called up Terry Austin - not me - and said "There are some people up here who want that series dead, and Marshall's death gives them their excuse." Whereupon they cancelled the series. That in itself was not so puzzling, because DC has never liked the idea that the Englehart-Rogers-Austin Batman established the Batman film and animation franchise (and in retrospect, by creating the first adult superhero, the whole superhero film genre since 1989). They never deny that it did, because they can't; they just never talk about it at all.

I've exerpted my favorite part, but you have to go read the whole thing. Don't worry, I'll be here when you're done.

Back? Good. I was watching Constantine on Tivo last night, and basically watched a comglomeration of the best of Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis with a decent budget, but with nary a credit in sight. And its a shame. The Batman movies? Must be even worse for Steve, since, given how many times they're thrown a bucket of money at people to do a new and great version of the character, they keep going back to 1977 to steal the right ideas for the movies. That they decided to rip off the most recent version that Steve did surprises me not at all. Just makes me sad.

And really, they're not going back to 1939 to make this work, are they? They really are going back to Steve's ideas of what makes the character work in a modern context, because going back to a gothic Bob Kane version would be all kinds of retro fun, but would hardly work for the character in the present day.

Lis Fies, fresh from the editing bay, watched Dark Knight and had the same reaction that most people had: why doesn't the film end? Why are we sitting here in the theatre still when the main story seems to be over? Given that Lis was busy paring down her new horror opus The Commune down to its terror-soaked marrow, why, she wondered, is there a whole extra 60+ minutes of padding in The Dark Knight?

Good question, now we know.

Why not just pay Steve to write the damn first draft and hand that over to Nolan? Is it so hard to spread a little of that green around to people who are supplying your main ideas?

Yes, that is rhetorical. I know that. No one wants to let go of their money, not even a little bit. but where do you go from here? Do you want a third Batman film that is as bad as the third X-Men film? If you're Warner Bros., don't you want to give Nolan whatever it takes to get him on the third film?

Howzabout a good story?

1 comment:

Kid Sis said...

Soooooo frustrating. They give everyone money BUT the guys who deserve it and could make movies kick-ass...I just can't...ugh, it's so frustrating.