As the co-crator of Watchmen, artist Dave Gibbons is pretty much an expert in crafting bleak, gritty superhero stories. But even he found Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice "too dark," especially when it came to the film's depiction of the Man of Steel. Gibbons explained that in making Superman just as brooding and macabre as the Dark Knight, director Zack Snyder's movie lost the essence of the character, which ultimately led to a failure to capture the duality of the heroes.
"... I think probably the failure of the Superman-Batman movie was that it was really too dark, and that Superman was made as dark as Batman," Gibbons said in an interview with ComicBook.com. "And to me, that really doesn't work, I thought that's the perfect opportunity to contrast the two characters. Which is something that I did actually, in the graphic novel series that I wrote back in the '90s, where you know, they were seen as kind of yin and yang, you know, the two sides of the superhero coin, so."
Gibbons was referencing his '90s story with Steve Rude, World's Finest, a lighter story that saw Superman and Batman team-up to take on Lex Luthor and Joker. Gibbons also stated that he wanted to do lighter stories at DC Comics right after the 1986 Watchmen epic with Alan Moore, saying he didn't think at the time that the dark style of superhero storytelling they pioneered would still live on today, even going as far as to accept some of the blame for the modern trend.
"You know, there was a time when superheroes had to be really dark. And I think of the Dark Knight movies. And of course, I also feel a bit guilty, because Alan Moore and I very much kind of instituted the idea of dark superheroes. We never thought it would persist for 25 years, you know," he admitted.