In 1993, Batman: The Animated Series co-creator Paul Dini suffered a traumatic incident that changed his life - not unlike the Dark Knight himself. And now Dini is bringing that to Batman.
Dark Night: A True Batman Story brings Dini back to Batman's world, using the Caped Crusader and his arch-enemies as a device with which to tell the story of his own mugging and brutal assault. Dini was mugged in Los Angeles, and suffered severe cranial injuries and fractures.
“What makes Batman and what makes other superheroes work is the myth that when life is at its lowest, and when you need a hero, a hero swings down and helps you,” Dini told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I didn’t have that.”
“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?’”
According to Dini, "You have to be your own hero."
Dark Night: A True Batman Story follows Dini in the aftermath of his mugging, using Batman and his enemies as voices guiding him through his healing process.
“I’m not saying I talk to cartoon characters all the time, but the characters are very real to me - in a very non-insane way," says Dini, who recalled seeing the assault depicted in art for the first time. “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.”
For Dini, creating this graphic novel is part of the healing process. “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.”
This wouldn't be the first time DC has published an adult-oriented story with its top characters based on real events of the authors; in 2005, DC released It's A Bird... by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, alluding to Seagle's identification with Superman.
The 121-page Dark Night: A True Batman Story pairs Dini with artist Eduardo Risso, and will be published through Vertigo on June 15, 2016.