This article over at The Hollywood Reporter is mainly about Christopher Nolan’s hesitancy to embrace digital like so many of his peers have. But the really interesting part to me is this:
Nolan says he did not refer to the Batman comics, and never found the origin story of the characters all in one place in any case. He focused on just telling the best story he could. If he was influenced, it was by earlier Batman movies, some of which he found fanciful. He wanted his movies to be much more grounded in a kind of reality.
“The source material is irrelevant,” says Nolan. “The challenge with Batman is to find what is a believable character. You put your stamp on it.”
Still, he was always keenly aware that Batman is an iconic figure and a “classic brand.”
While I’m trying to stay away from the superhero genre as much as possible on this blog, I’m also using films as a point of reference for many of my recommendations, so this all kind of ties in together. Whenever comics fans, comics media, and comics publishers talk about getting non-readers into comics, it is mostly referring to Marvel and DC not being able to bring the million dollar and billion dollar movie audiences into comic shops to read about the heroes that they’ve just seen on the big screen.
And inevitably an argument is made about the difference between the films that are out at the time and what’s in the comics being published at the time. The blame is always put on the publisher or the parent company for not capitalizing on the movie to push the comics.
But Nolan’s right. The source material IS irrelevant, and it’s because these characters have become iconic, and have become brands. These characters are well defined in the public consciousness and have defined what comic books are to most people. He isn’t approaching this series with the goal of legitimizing super hero comics, he’s focused on telling a story.
So maybe it’s about approaching comics in the context of comics. In the context of: THIS IS GOOD, CONSUME THIS, like you do with a book, album, or movie, or a kitchen sink cookie. Not, if you liked the film, check out THIS! But, if you like good stuff, here’s more good stuff.
I don’t know. Some people seem to be okay with comics defined as a niche medium, but right now I’m not. I’m going to end on this slightly off note, and jump in next time with thoughts on a comic that made me smile: Owly.