Batman Reaches 20th Anniversary
Michael Uslan – Movie Producer, Author and National Lecturer
At the age of 8 Michael Uslan dreamed of writing Batman comics. As a matter of fact, he made it his life goal. Fast forward to today and we discover that Michael Uslan is the man who helped make Batman the second largest movie franchise in history. It’s hard to believe, but this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the movie that started it all for Uslan. That’s right, it’s been 20 years since the release of the 1989 Batman movie which starred Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson as the Joker.
“When people ask me what I do for a living, I simply tell them when I wake up, I report to a giant sand box where I get to play with my favorite toys.”
Comic Books as Modern Mythology
In the 1970’s Michael was an undergrad at Indiana University. That’s where he took part in a program that gave students an opportunity to pitch ideas for classes at the school. If the dean and the advisors accepted the class, the student could then teach it. Michael pitched a class on comic books as modern mythology. The course was accredited and he found himself with a platform to put forth his ideas.
But, he decided he wanted a little more exposure. That’s when he called a reporter for United Press International, posing as an outsider, angry that Indiana University was teaching a class on “funny books”. Within three days, he was called by a reporter to talk about the class. From there it snowballed!
The UPI story was picked up by newspapers worldwide and suddenly the class on Comic Books and Mythology by Michael Uslan was known far and wide. As a result of the press coverage he received calls from Sol Harrison at DC Comics and Stan Lee at Marvel. Then, as an undergrad, landed a job at DC Comics, writing the comic book version of The Shadow. He also got the attention of Julius Schwartz, the editor of the Batman line at the time. Uslan says Schwartz called him up and said…
“Hey kid, I read your Shadow script. It didn’t stink. Wanna take a shot at Batman?”
Archie Comics & Movie Projects
One might think with so much going on, Michael Uslan would sit back and rest. But such is not the case. Michael is not one to stand still, nor let grass grow underneath his feet. Starting in September 2009 and lasting through the opening of 2010, his work as a comic book writer will be highlighted in a six-issue story in Archie Comics.
The first one actually hits stores on August 19, 2009
Archie Gets Married will run across issues 600 through 605. That in itself is a milestone as the Archie comic franchise has been running for six decades! That’s an achievement reached by fewer than a dozen comics in the history of the comic industry.
Other than Archie, Michael Uslan has a few other projects on the go too. He’s working on a live-action film based on the DC Comics title Shazam with Pete Segal directing the flick. Also in development is a new version of the classic pulp fiction character The Shadow with Sam Raimi.
I recently had Michael as a guest on my Live Line talk show. It was a great interview and we talked about a number of different things he’s working on. Including Batman and Archie.
Yours in entertainment news!