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Released mere weeks before Christopher Nolan’s final Batman instalment storms into cinemas, Holy Franchise, Batman! offers fans of the caped crusader the opportunity to delve into the history of his screen appearances.
Composed of 256 pages, the book acts as a reference book to Batman’s journey to screen and his appearances throughout TV and cinema history. Gary Collinson’s passion for the Dark Knight is evident throughout. Writing enthusiastically, engagingly and, perhaps most importantly, informatively, Collinson weaves interesting facts and tidbits into the wider history he describes.
First created in 1939 by Bob Kane (for National Periodical Publications, the company that would later become DC Comics), Batman has enthralled fans for many generations. Collinson explores the transitions made by the superhero chronologically in his straight forward chapters. Divided into three parts, the book deals with Batman’s live-action and animated appearances, ending with a very short segment on what the future holds for the caped crusader.
Part One features the stories behind the now infamous Adam West Batman series (including an episode guide), Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s additions to the canon as well as Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Gaps between films are explored as are the cultural receptions to the different guises Batman has taken. Throughout the reader is given fun facts to wow their friends with, even if such facts are hidden amidst lengthy paragraphs. Part Two focuses on the Bat’s animated adventures whilst Part Three manages to date the book, speaking as it does about the impending releases of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. To this end it seems an unnecessary inclusion.
Batman is in more than capable hands with Collinson, a man who posts a weekly superhero news round-up on flickeringmyth.com, a site he founded. The book is sorely lacking in the picture department and, although some are included, there isn’t enough to match the promise of the book’s fun title and gaudy and well-designed cover.
Despite the small flaws, the book offers a surprisingly engaging history of Batman’s screen appearances though the ages – the perfect accompaniment to any Bat-fan’s collection.
Best fact: Nolan’s Batman series could have been headed by Jake Gyllenhaal, with Dennis Quaid in Gary Oldman’s role.
The book is released 30th June 2012 and will be sold at the London Film & Comic Con on 7th & 8th July 2012. The author will also be in attendance on the Saturday, signing copies of the book.
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