Dark Night: A True Batman Story

Paul Dini, writer; Eduardo Risso, artist

Vertigo Comics, 2016

Writer Paul Dini had a dream job during the 1990s: scripting the hugely popular Batman: The Animated Series and Tiny Toon Adventures. There was sufficient Hollywood buzz around those projects for Dini to date starlets. Walking home one evening, he was jumped and brutally beaten, leaving him with several broken bones and a shattered face that required reconstruction.

That event is the "dark night" of the title, but there is much more to the story than that. Dini fills in background on how he got interested in art growing up, as well as his personal and professional life before the assault. This has little to do with his physical healing, but everything to do with his psychological response. It's telling that he does not even think to go to a hospital until the next day.

Which is where the Batman comes in. As Dini heals, he imagines Batman as the better angel of his nature, encouraging him to become more self-reliant and re-engage with the world. The Batman villains (the Joker especially, but also Poison Ivy, the Penguin,  and Scarecrow) play on his fears, encouraging him to malinger. For awhile he hides out in his apartment, playing video games and feeling sorry for himself. At one point he even considers buying a gun to restore his feelings of agency.

A chance encounter at a record store (remember those?) shows him that his work does matter. Making a woman with cancer feel better, even briefly, was a more meaningful result than he had previously imagined. Perhaps a small thing, but enough to push Dini back into his life. Emerging from this personal crisis is the end of the story. Dini gives a brief summary of the twenty-three years since the mugging, and how he continues to cope. It may be a little pat, but it's a satisfying ending. Dini has told a harrowing autobiographical story very effectively using comics. Substantial credit has to go to Eduardo Risso's artwork as well. The noir story telling and distinctive character designs he employed in 100 Bullets fit this story very well.

Views: 42

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I read this when it first came out. I probably posted a brief reaction but I don’t think I wrote a full-blown review. I remember it to be very well-done, but also very disturbing. I would recommend this one to someone interested in but unfamiliar with comics.

I remember thinking it was very brutally honest.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I read this when it first came out. I probably posted a brief reaction but I don’t think I wrote a full-blown review. I remember it to be very well-done, but also very disturbing. I would recommend this one to someone interested in but unfamiliar with comics.

It is both rough and honest. He's hard on himself, both for putting himself into the situation and for the way he coped with it at first.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2017   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service