Oh, sure, lots of Batman fans would love to live, eat and breathe the world of DC Comics‘ Dark Knight.
Scott Beatty has beaten them to it, though. The fruits of his immersion will be published on September 1, as “Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight” from book publisher DK.
“DK has had great success with the format in other properties — Star Wars, for instance — so I’m sure Batman and DC’s other stable of characters seemed like a natural pick,” Beatty told CBR News on Tuesday.
Beatty himself was a natural pick as well, it seems.
“DC Editor Steve Korté approached me with the project. My reputation as a ‘Secret Files’ contributor and armchair DC historian preceded me when it came time to find a writer willing to immerse himself in over 60 years of Bat-Lore. Nevertheless, as a lifelong Bat-Fan I would have killed for the opportunity to work on this book.”
The book really required a historian, armchair or otherwise, given the nature of how it was approaching the subject matter.
“It’s not subtitled ‘The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight’ for nothing,” Beatty said. “Some readers are savvy to the fact that DC’s Bat-Offices commissioned specific redesigns of Bat-Equipment, the Batcave, Wayne Manor, and all the trappings of the franchise following the conclusion of [the year-long story] ‘No Man’s Land’ and revamp of the Bat-Titles. It’s all part of the ‘Bat-Bible,’ basically a comprehensive reference guide sent to writers and artists working on the monthly books. Much of these re-imaginings have been peppered throughout the individual Bat-Titles and have never been explored in any great detail, neither in the monthly books nor any subsequent ‘Secret Files.’ The book includes wonderful ‘cutaway’ diagrams of several Batmobiles, floor plans of TWO Batcaves, and the most comprehensive guide to Batman’s weaponry ever published. And that only BEGINS to describe the content.”
And while some of the content is never-before-seen and rarely seen material, it all springs from the actual comic books at some level.
“The comics’ continuity is the template for everything, from origins to histories to ongoing character motivations. While all the technical material is rendered by illustrator Roger Stewart — who also worked on DK’s ‘James Bond: The Secret World of 007’ — decades of Bat-Comics have been mined for iconic representations of all the characters and key moments in Batman’s life and times. We’ve even included the FLYING BATCAVE!”
Although DC periodically streamlines continuity on the Batman books and all its titles, it’s still a fairly daunting chunk of information for the casual reader. Beatty says the book manages to offer something to both hardcore and casual fan.
“It’s really a mix of both, written ‘reader-friendly’ for ages 12 and up, yet touching on the vast majority of ‘canonical’ Bat-Continuity. Kids with a passing interest in Batman should enjoy it just as much as hardcore Bat-Fans who live and breathe the minutiae. Intrinsically, the book is intended to immerse any reader in the long rich history of the Dark Knight, and that includes all the requisite bells and whistles of Batman’s world. Ideally, it’ll provide new information for the longtime readers and perhaps spur a few new fans to seek out back-issue bins and discover Batman.”
And for fans who can’t get enough of this sort of nitty-gritty detail, more is on the way.
“Right now, I’m hard at work on the next volume scheduled to be published in 2002. This time Superman’s secrets will be laid bare. I’ve already seen some really mind-blowing preliminary artwork for the Fortress of Solitude and Krypton. I’ll be immersed in the completion of this one through the end of this year.”
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