What made a legendary Batman writer scream out loud during Batman & Robin

Contributed by
Jan 24, 2014, 3:59 PM EST

Most of us agree that Batman & Robin is bad, but one legendary Batman scribe found a particular moment so awful that he absolutely couldn't hold in his displeasure.

Denny O'Neil is easily one of the most important creators ever to work on Batman. Together with artists like Neal Adams and Bob Brown, he crafted a darker incarnation of the character in the 1970s, pulling Batman away from the campiness of the Batman '66 TV series. During his run as Batman writer he co-created Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia, returned the Joker to fearsome form and composed classic issues like "There Is No Hope in Crime Alley." In the 1980s, he returned to Batman as an editor and was arguably even more influential, presiding over numerous classic stories, including the landmark Year One, A Death in the Family, Knightfall and No Man's Land. He's Batman royalty for sure, and his dramatic take on the character continues to influence writers to this day.

One thing O'Neil's Batman didn't influence much, though, was director Joel Schumacher's two-film stint on the Batman film franchise, in which he brought us the campy Batman Forever and the campier Batman & Robin. Those films, with their neon Batmobiles, codpiece close-ups, Batsuit nipples and supervillains that seemed to gain sustenance entirely from puns, were in many ways about as far from O'Neil's take on the character as you can get. Because O'Neil was still on the DC Comics staff at the time Batman & Robin was released, though, he was invited to attend a special early screening of the film with fellow DC employees. He probably knew enough to expect it to be campy, but according to fellow writer Peter David, one particular moment of peak campiness in the film sent O'Neil straight over the edge in the middle of the screening.

"At least YOU didn’t see 'Batman and Robin' at a special private screening for DC staffers and guest. I’ll never forget the moment Batman whipped out the Bat Mastercard, and someone behind me screamed like a lost soul howling its agony from the pit of the damned," David said. "It was Denny O’Neil. What a blood-curdling sound THAT was."

So, after all the camp unloaded on him in one and a half Batman flicks, O'Neil just couldn't take it anymore when George Clooney said, "Never leave the cave without it." Remember that the next time you catch Batman & Robin on cable. 

(Via CBR)