Holy perfect Christmas gift, Batman! This year, Gotham City's Caped Crusader turned 80 and despite his old age, Batman continues to perpetuate his own brand of vigilante justice without fail. To celebrate eight action-packed decades of the Dark Knight, Insight Editions is releasing Batman: The Definitive History of the Dark Knight in Comics, Film, and Beyond. The massive 400-page tome by Andrew Farago and Gina McIntyre chronicles everything from the character's humble beginnings in comics, to his iconic gallery of rogues, to the multi-million blockbuster films he would one day inspire. No Bat-stone on the Bat utility belt is left unturned.
"Batman's been around for eighty years, and I don't think there's another character who's starred in more stories, across more media, than Batman. Step one was breaking Batman's history down, decade by decade, determining the most major developments for him as a character, then putting together a comprehensive outline for the entire book," Farago exclusively tells SYFY WIRE.
Oh, and did we mention that the Foreword and Introduction were written by two of the most beloved Bruce Waynes ever to grace the silver screen, Michael Keaton and Kevin Conroy?! You just know we had to do some sleuthing like the world's greatest detective and figure out how we could get an exclusive look at the most detailed publication about Batman in the DC hero's 80-year history. Fortunately, for us, Insight Editions was happy to oblige with three never-before-seen interior pages from the books, which you can check out below.
"Fortunately, I've been reading the Batman monthly comics since the eighties, and I'd seen all of the movies and most of the cartoons and TV shows produced over the years, so I didn't have to do a lot of catch-up at the outset of this project," adds Farago. "The next step after that, was lining up interviews with comic creators, animators, actors, writers, directors, editors—anyone with great, firsthand stories about Batman. I conducted nearly 150 interviews over the course of three months ... Something that really came through in every single interview was the enthusiasm that everyone brought to their time in Gotham City. Whether they'd written best-selling comics or directed international blockbusters or had overseen some of the most disastrous Bat-projects of all time, everyone set out to bring their 'A' game to Batman. I think some of the best stories in the book came from the creators whose projects, whether live-action or animated or in the comics, didn't set the world on fire."
In terms of those interviews, expect quotes from the likes of Denny O'Neil, Kevin Conroy, Scott Snyder, Steve Englehart, Julie Newmar, Doug Moench, Diedrich Bader, James Tucker, Mark Hamill, and more. To fill in gaps left by unavailable or deceased creators, Farago consulted with historians or utilized archival interviews and biographies. The undertaking was so massive, that McIntyre was brought in to handle the chapters on the live-action iterations of the character, his video games, and The LEGO Batman Movie."
As a full-time curator at San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum, Farago could not have been better-suited for the job.
"There have been a number of great Batman history books written over the years, but we really wanted this to be the most complete, most comprehensive look at Batman ever, and I think we accomplished that. At least until his 90th anniversary, anyway," he says.
Batman: The Definitive History of the Dark Knight in Comics, Film, and Beyond goes on sale everywhere Tuesday, Oct. 29.
"No matter how much history I'm packing into any given book, I want to make sure it's fun and accessible to casual readers," finishes Farago. "This is exactly the sort of book I would have checked out of my local library when I was a kid, so I'm keeping twelve-year-old me in mind as an audience. With the holidays fast approaching, I'm sure that a lot of parents and grandparents will be picking this up for the Batman fans in their lives—and maybe those parents and grandparents will give this a look, too ... At this time last year, my editor offered me a choice between writing the ultimate Batman history book or writing the ultimate Fraggle Rock history book. I stand by my decision."