by: S. Scott Stanikmas
Anyone who grew up with Batman: The Animated Series is familiar with the name Paul Dini. The man behind the creation of fan favorite character Harley Quinn has been entrenched in the Bat-universe for over 20 years now. And while he’s been responsible for some of fandom’s favorite adventures starring the Dark Knight, his next story may be the greatest one that he’s told yet.
Dark Knight: A True Batman Story is Dini’s tale of when he was violently mugged back in the early 90s, an assault which left him physically and mentally scarred. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the Original Graphic Novel will hit comic book stores through DC’s Vertigo Imprint and recount the assault that left Dini with broken bones in his skull and in need of surgery.
For a man who writes about superheroes for a living, Dini was left shaken to his core:
Here I am writing these stories for an audience that loves this form, in comics, in animation, but now I was saying to myself, “I can’t go on with this. I don’t believe in it anymore. There is no hero for me. Where is my hero?”
The OGN will use Batman and his Rogues Gallery as a sort of Greek Chorus, explainign the conflicting emotional states that Dini was experiencing post-attack. There are things like Batman berating him and giving him ways he could have escaped (Hindsight being 20/20) and The Joker telling him it’s okay to not go outside again (Which is the exact opposite of what he needed at the time).
The book will be drawn by artist Eduardo Risso, whose most acclaimed work is the crime saga 100 Bullets, which was also released under the Vertigo banner.
The whole process has been very therapeutic for the Emmy-winning writer, but not without dredging up some painful memories:
When I first downloaded the pages from the attack, I looked at them very quickly once, horrified. Then I put them away for a week…I burst into tears. I couldn’t look at them.
But Dini did express that he felt relief after telling this story:
I feel like, even if it hasn’t completely, I feel stronger and I can carry it better. I feel like it’s not going to crush me.
Dark Night: A True Batman Story is scheduled for a June 2016 release.