The King of Horror took on the myth of the Caped Crusader in his 2012 short story, “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation.” Now, fans can hear Stephen King‘s story read aloud by actor Stephen Lang, best known for playing the villainous Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron’s “Avatar.”
“Batman and Robin Have an Altercation” was first published in “Harper’s Bazaar,” and is included in King’s 2015 short story collection, “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.” In the story, a middle-aged man named Sanderson struggles to connect with his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, while they have lunch at Applebee’s. The power of the “Batman and Robin” mythos comes to bear on their relationship, in one of King’s characteristically supernatural and strange plots. We won’t spoil too much, but the description calls it “shall we say, intense.”
The story starts at about the 5:30 mark in the recording embedded below.
King previously wrote an essay about the Dark Knight, titled “Why I Chose Batman,”, which served as a special introduction to DC’s “Batman” #400 anniversary issue. In his essay, King tried to unpack the timeless appeal of the character, and why he was personally so drawn to tales of Gotham City and its hero. He also wrote a backup story in the first arc of “American Vampire,” the Vertigo Comics series written and co-created by Scott Snyder, who went on to enjoy a lengthy stint on “Batman” during DC’s New 52.
Lang’s reading of “Batman and Robin Have an Alteraction” is available from Selected Shorts, an NPR podcast in which “spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen.” The podcast recording also includes an interview with Stu Tinker, a “Stephen King superfan” who’s spent decades giving tours in King’s hometown of Bangor, Maine.
Lang can next be seen in director Fede Alvarez’s “Don’t Breathe,” a thriller about three thieves who plan to rob a blind veteran thinking they’re in for an easy score. Lang’s character will soon make them regret their mistake.
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