I really enjoyed this fantastic secret history of how Batman became un-campy from The Atlantic magazine.
Of course, I had long been aware of the transition, but I had always credited Frank Miller’s work on the The Dark Knight Returns (fantastic, if you haven’t read it).
Atlantic writer Andy Isaacson traces it further back, to an eighth-grader annoyed by TV campiness — a Batman superfan named Michael Uslan:
“The whole world was laughing at Batman and that just killed me,” [Uslan] says. “One night I vowed to erase from the collective consciousness those three little words: Pow! Zap! and Wham! I said, ‘Somehow, someday, someway, I am going to show the world what the true Batman is like.'”
True to his word, Uslan talked his way into a Batman writing gig, then decided to aim for the movies. It’s incredible the amount of crap he had to put up with:
Columbia Pictures was no less encouraging. The head of production predicted that Batman would never work as a movie because their film Annie had flopped. “They’re both out of the funny pages,” Uslan says he was told.
How the Dark Knight Became Dark Again – Andy Isaacson – The Atlantic.
(at top: the evolution of the Batman logo)