During this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, five of comic books’ most talented gathered together to discuss Batman’s 75th anniversary. The panel included Frank Miller, (“Batman: Year One” and “The Dark Knight Returns”), Jim Lee (artist of many Batman related comics), Scott Snyder (writer of “Batman”), Geoff Johns (writer of “Batman: Earth One”), and Dan Didio (Co-Publisher of DC Comics). During the panel, the five discussed various Batman related topics including which creators influenced them.
“The best Batman that I grew up with was written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Neal Adams,” answered Miller, an artist every bit as influential in the realm of the Caped Crusader as the men he mentioned. “Without it, I don’t know that I could have done ‘Dark Knight’ because they opened my eyes to what possibilities this character had.”
Johns also mentioned how Frank Miller’s work was important and influential to him. “Between ‘Dark Knight’ and ‘Batman: Year One,’ the past and the future, he’s kind of defined it in a way that no one else had before then, and the influence is still felt. I don’t know if you can say that about a lot of characters.”
Didio goes on to mention how he was a fan of classic Batman artist, Jim Aparo. He also mentioned how Aparo’s work brought new life and energy into Batman’s character that made him appealing.
Miller cited the two creators of Batman, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, saying, “One [underrated creator] is Bill Finger, who was arguably co-creator of Batman [with Bob Kane], and the other is Jerry Robinson — who got very little credit for an astonishing amount of work and established a mood and a look for Batman.”
Current “Batman” writer, Scott Snyder, went on to say how influential “Batman: The Animated Series” was. He goes on to say how the series added so many integral details to the canon, including the infamous story “Heart of Ice” which brought Mr. Freeze’s wife Nora to existence. Miller then added that series creator, Bruce Timm, took the best of each era of Batman, which would help remind people why he is such an important character.
The panel goes on to mention why the character has lasted 75 years while other characters from the Golden Era of comics have faded away. “I think one of the reasons [for Batman’s longevity] is the art form of comics,” answered Lee. “It’s all about letting the creators, the talent, come in and do their definitive versions of these characters. We’re not trying to say, ‘This is Batman, this is the style guide, this is the length of his ears, the length of his cape, draw it just like this and you can only do these kinds of stories.’ We fortunately work in a form where people are encouraged to do new things, add to the mythology. I think that’s how you keep it fresh, modern, and contemporary.” Miller even likened the DC super hero to one of his predecessors, stating: “Batman, somewhere along the line like Zorro, became a folk hero. Each generation wants to celebrate that folk hero.”
Finally, Johns mentioned how the character’s elasticity is due to the fact that under the suit, his wealth and all that he is a human. Snyder agrees with him and adds, “For me, writing him, the thing that’s so inspiring all the time is that the core, if you take away the wealth and the gadgets and all the fun stuff, he’s someone who takes this traumatic event and turns it into fuel to become the pinnacle of human achievement…He’s also a tremendous source of inspiration for anyone that’s facing challenges.”
Source: Comic Book Resources