Michael Uslan, 60, had realized his life goals. Write Batman comic books? Check. Bring the original Batman comic to the big screen? Check. So what would be next for this New Jersey native, who spent childhood days pedaling among three different Asbury Park comic shops seeking out the latest illustrated tales about his hero?
The answer is a memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman (Chronicle Books), in which Uslan describes his struggle to transform Batman into a movie star. Initially turned down by Hollywood, he eventually took part in the production of every modern movie on the Gotham superhero, from director Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 through The Dark Knight Rises, to be released next summer. Uslan says the book is about realizing a dream. You can do that, he says, “if you…are willing to get off your butt to make something happen, and if you’re willing to knock on doors until your knuckles bleed.”
The Boy Who Loved Batman is also about Uslan’s formative years in the Garden State. He was born in Bayonne and raised in Deal Park, a town just north of Asbury Park. “I wanted to try to capture and present my own nostalgic love letter to Ocean Township and Bayonne and Asbury Park, the places [where] I grew up and were so important to me and molded me,” he says. While working at DC Comics for the summer of 1973, for example, he drove a Comicmobile along the Jersey Shore, selling comic books and fielding opinions from kids about what makes good comics.
Uslan still lives here and often takes his wife and two children to Asbury Park, which he likens in his book to his beloved comic-book heroes. “Like Batman, Superman, Captain America, Green Lantern and the Flash, it has come back from the dead for some new glory days.”