The Dark Knight Returns: the sacred scribe of modern Batman mythology stole the show at Friday’s New York Comic Con. Yes, Frank Miller’s iconic masterpiece will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, however, this wasn’t the sole reason why Friday’s panel was a must see for Batman readers. The Dark Knight will strike again (pardon my reference) with an upcoming third series “The Dark Knight III: The Master Race ” based on Miller’s groundbreaking saga of the caped crusader.
On Friday morning, DC’s Vice President of Content Strategy John Cunningham hosted an All-Star Batman panel, which featured Jim Lee, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and FRANK MILLER! Yes, Frank Miller made a surprise appearance at Friday’s panel and received a rousing ovation from the thousands of Batman fanatics in attendance. Very few comic book announcements have generated this much excitement in recent memory; DC fans were in full Mardi Gras mode after DC announced DKIII. This news truly came out of nowhere – it once seemed impossible that Miller would ever revisit Gotham City after the backlash against The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
For most Batman fans, this is the mea culpa; a beautiful way to rebuild the mystical bridges of Miller’s Bruce Wayne. The previous incarnation was critically panned but this story gives readers a chance to revisit our favorite old, pissed off, and reckless Batman. If you are a Batman disciple, we decided to list our 10 favorite moments from Friday’s jaw dropping panel. This is MUST-READ information!
1. Frank Miller is heavily involved with DKIII but the torch has been passed…
Yes, Frank Miller single handedly established this Dark Knight universe. Don’t take this notion the wrong way – he made a huge contribution to this project, however, in his own words, “DC let me play with their toys (in the 80s). And Brian (Azzarello) asked if he could play with DC’s toys the way that I played with them.” Miller truly considers himself a consultant to Dark Knight III but the panelists repeatedly mentioned that Miller undersold his value to the team. Instead, Miller shared his gratitude towards Azzarello throughout Friday’s discussion.
2. Brian Azzarello almost didn’t work on DKIII
Jim Lee originally pitched the early concept of DKIII to Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello years ago during a Chicago Comic Con. When DC Comics resumed talks years later, they approached Azzarello to helm the storyline and he almost declined the offer. He had multiple projects in the works at the time; however, his dry humor response said it all; “I had enough on my plate so they took my plate away.”
3. Dark Knight III will blow audiences away
John Cunningham mentioned how intense secrecy surrounded Dark Knight III even at the DC Headquarters. Very few DC employees have been able to acquire credible information. He begged the company to let him read the first two issues since he was scheduled to host the DKIII panel. Regardless of his DC affiliation, he found himself mesmerized like it was 1986. He claimed, “It’s gonna blow your socks off. It’s not going to be what any of us are expecting with the story. If the first book was a deconstruction of superhero mythos, the ending of DKIII will be shocking. It’s not typical, it’s revolutionary”
4. There will be miniature storylines included in The Dark Knight III
Miller requested two comic books; yes, a second comic book in the physical package of DKIII, comprised of separate storylines that run parallel alongside the main storyline. Heroes such as The Atom will be featured in this first miniscule storyline while The Flash, Wonder Woman, and others will appear in later issues. Jim Lee mentioned how it was a difficult task to fit two comic books into one package but DC found a way to turn Miller’s idea into reality.
5. Fans will like Superman again!
Brian Azzarello confidently stated the following words, “There’s a couple Superman bits in this book that are going to make you like Superman again,” For unfamiliar readers, Superman became a corporate puppet for The United States government in the original Dark Knight Returns storyline. He lacked the ability to push the limits of the law – pretty much the opposite of Batman, especially an older Batman. As a fan myself, I wanted Superman to get his ass kicked by Batman since he was so brainwashed by government propaganda. Maybe Clark Kent will come to his senses this time around…
6. Multiple Covers/Hard Covers
Multiple covers were shown to the crowd including work from Andy Kubert, Klaus Jansen, and Jim Lee. Expect a plethora of top tier artists to contribute to this colossal event. A white hardcover was also shown featuring Miller’s Batman on the front and Superman on the back. This was a deluxe hardcover edition. Fans will drool from the mouth when they this package in person.
7. There might be another All-Star Batman in the future…
During the fan Q&A, someone broached the subject about another All-Star Batman series. The atendee asked, “Would you ever consider writing a sequel? If so, when?” Miller and Lee responded, “Right now!” They definitely didnt shoot down this question. Instead, they welcomed the idea and seemed open to another collaboration in the near future. Considering the hype for DKIII, I certainly expect DC to utilize Miller and Lee’s brand value in the future.
8. Batman v. Superman isn’t influenced by “The Dark Knight Returns?”
Could this be true? This notion conflicts with some credible sources. One fan asked Frank Miller how he felt about The Dark Knight Returns being a strong influence on Batman V. Superman, and Jim Cunningham strongly stated, “Batman V. Superman is not influenced by The Dark Knight Returns at all.” Again, take a look at Ben Affleck’s costume or notice the pretty massive fight between DC’s top two heroes and this seems questionable. However, this quote came from someone HIGHLY credible in the DC hierarchy. His conviction certainly caught my attention. Aside from the older Batman, maybe Zack Snyder has more in store that we could possibly imagine?
9. There might possibly be more Dark Knight Returns stories in the near future…
Azzarello dropped strong hints that this wasn’t the last hoorah for “The Dark Knight.” When asked if he would revisit the “Dark Knight” universe after this series, he sarcastically responded, “DUH!”
10. Frank Miller would direct “A Dark Knight Returns” live adaptation.
When asked this question, Miller responded “Yes, it will happen when his phone rings.” Could you imagine if this ever happened? Since he isn’t involved in Batman V. Superman, he made one thing clear. If this film is heavily influenced by The Dark Knight Returns, Miller confidently stated “Batman better WIN!” Hey Warner Brothers, listened to the legend on this one!