Batman comic legends on Dark Knight's enduring legacy 75 years later

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Oct 2, 2019, 3:51 PM EDT (Updated)

What happens when you get a few of the living legends responsible for making Batman the hero he is today together in one room? This, and it’s awesome.

New 52 Batman writer Scott Snyder, acclaimed 1970s era Batman writer Denny O’Neil and former Batman editor Paul Levitz met up for a panel at New York Comic Fest this weekend, and they had some fascinating things to say about the Dark Knight.

Bleeding Cool was on hand, with a full report from the panel. We’ve pulled a few of the highlights below:

Scott Snyder: “Batman has always been my favorite. I used to race home and watch it on TV and didn’t realize the series was campy. Shark repellent was a real thing to me. [The Dark Knight Returns] changed the way I saw comics and writing and made me want to write. It was so intensely personal and visionary and different and made Batman so pathological [and led to the] understanding that you can take a superhero character and make him that elastic. That you can make it about your own demons and not betray the essence of the character. I was that age where suddenly it was talking up to me.”

Denny O’Neil: “[We] found what we did was to go back to what was implicit. By 1945, Batman was a cop, by the 50’s, he was Gotham City’s leading citizen … Write about what you know, and this has to do with our fantasies. There are guys who fantasize omnipotence, but those are not my fantasies. From a practical standpoint, the basis of this kind of fiction is conflict. How do you create a conflict with such a character [as Superman] without stopping to explain why he didn’t use power he used last month— that is sloppy writing. Finding Superman was difficult but finding Batman was something fun.”

Paul Levitz: “One of the things that’s changed in a fascinating way over the years [is] when comics started, no one really looked for a way for comics to fit together. My generation, with guys like Mark Gruenwald, a small group of people, started to care about how things fit together. We’ve now swung to a new point where the sophistication of the audience means that there’s comfort with the folkloric quality about Batman and we can have different story types as long as they are true to essence in parallel versions.”

Check out the full panel report here, which is an admittedly lengthy read — but well worth it if you have the time. A recording of the panel is also available below:

(Via Bleeding Cool)