A True Batman Story

by Tony Farina
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Do you like to read biographies? Do you like to read comics? If you answered yes, run, don’t walk and get Paul Dini’s Dark Night: A True Batman Story.

Do you like comics but are not keen on biographies because not only is there no art but biographies are missing Batman? Well, if that is the case, Paul Dini’s book is also for you.

Paul Dini, with the help of artist Eduardo Risso presents his life story as a comic book lover who always put work ahead of happiness.  The whole book is presented as a pitch meeting with the top brass at DC.  We see an adult Dini, bare all showing his story boards and ideas to the faceless editorial team. Will the fact that we do not see their faces matter? Well, since Dini is an expert story teller, what do you think?

We see images of an 8 year old Dini living inside his head trying to avoid the mundane aspects of life as well as the bullies who give him grief for being a book worm. His grey life is interjected with the technicolor images of his imagination.  It is during that time that Dini comes face to face with his personal hero, Batman. As his grades fall, his passion for art and storytelling soars. His parents give him lectures which he ignores and he follows his dreams.

As an adult, he gets hired as a writer for Tiny Toon Adventures which eventually earns him the gig of his dreams working on the ground breaking Batman: The Animated Series. The reader is taken into the life a full fledged comic book geek. His house and office are covered in Bat-everything. Comic cells, Pez dispensers, Bat-bath bubbles. If you have seen Batman on it, you can be sure that Dini had it. He becomes so obsessed with his pals in Gotham and his work that his personal life is a mess.

After a particularly terrible date, he is mugged, beaten and left on a street corner. He is ashamed. He is embarrassed. He is devastated when he realizes that the police in Los Angeles have no lead and admit, there is nothing they can do. He drinks away his sorrow only to be visited by the rogues of Gotham. Joker mocks. Ivy taunts. Scarecrow applauds the fear in his soul and Two-Face shows up in the most unexpected place: Dini’s mirror.

The imagination that once brought him joy and life, now bring him fear and sorrow. He spirals out of control. He builds his own mental Batcave and he hides there. His hero shows up to try to talk him out. He and Bruce, in full cape and cowl bicker like the old married couple they have become in Dini’s mind. Why wasn’t Batman there to save him? Why did this happen to him? He even imagines his own salvation.

A True Batman Story


Things go from bad to worse until ultimately, like he always does, Batman finds a way to help Dini out of his jam by no longer being his hero, but by being his muse.

Do we finally see those faceless members of the DC/Vertigo editorial team? We do. For you to see the big reveal, you should pick up the book yourself at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever books and comic books are sold.



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