A week or so ago, people started telling me I’m mentioned in the end credits of The Lego Batman Movie. Well, that’s all it takes to get me to a movie!
I’d already been invited to the world premiere in Los Angeles, but somehow DC Comics neglected to send us plane tickets, so Barb and I passed.
This mention in the end credits of this fun, funny film came as a surprise, and a cool one. It comes fast right toward the very end, and you may miss it, because I’m one of a lot of Batman writers and artists thanked. A good number aren’t listed, like my pal Terry Beatty, who worked on more Batman stuff than me by a long shot (it was always a mildly bitter irony that the Collins/Beatty team’s two members each worked on BATMAN projects but never together…though we tried with several rejected projects, one of which prefigured the animated show’s approach).
Terry was the one who figured out why I made an esteemed list that included such greats as Dick Sprang, Jerry Robinson and Neal Adams. I created two characters – one of the versions of Robin (the least popular of all time!) and the villain the Mime, who appears in the film. Check it out here.
Ironies abound. I quit the Batman comic book because the Mime premise (if not the character) was mishandled by the artist. I had written that in search of the Mime, the police had rounded up suspects – and I specifically said all of them would look identical, specifically stereotypical mimes. The artist decided to vary them, tall, short, fat, etc., ruining the gag.
I’d had it and, after a frustrating year or so, I quit…probably an instant before I’d have been fired, but I quit.
That issue’s Batman script was not the last I wrote, however, as the follow-up had the Mime meeting the Joker. It never went into production, however, and I wound up turning it into a short story for a Batman anthology, The Further Adventures of Batman (1989), “The Sound of One Hand Clapping.” The book, with my story singled out, is reviewed here.
Some oh-so-serious Batman fans hate the Mime character, although she clearly prefigures the popular Harley Quinn. These fans of the dark Dark Knight version of the character can’t abide that I brought humor to the mix, since Batman – the story of a guy who dresses up in a costume with bat ears and a cape and refuses to use a gun as he fights crime in the big city – is so obviously a deadly serious premise. Not at all something a couple of kids named Bob and Bill dreamed up for other kids back in the late ‘30s. Such “Bat fans” are seriously in need of therapy. I recommend Arkham Asylum.
And now my revenge: the Mime and I are in a Batman movie!
Briefly, and for no money at all, I grant you…but in it! And I’m ridiculously pleased.
Nice Quarry TV write-up here.
Here’s another good one, which includes all the special features, including an in-depth interview with me…no, wait, it doesn’t, because I wasn’t asked.
Here’s an interesting review of Mickey Spillane’s The Twisted Thing from top-notch writer, James Reasoner.
And for some context, my take on The Twisted Thing for the Rap Sheet back in 2008 is here.