The critical and box office success of the recent Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan speaks to the potentially broad appeal of a character and a fictional universe whose core fanbase has been and remains, well, geeks. Inversely, Michael Uslan’s charming new memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman, speaks to the power of those geeks who, if devoted enough and driven enough, can reshape the very objects of their affection through a sheer force of will that is greater than any superpower.
The title of Uslan’s book is apt for, you see, this is a fellow who really loves Batman. Loves, loves, loves. The X-Men are cool, and Spider-Man has his strong points, but oh, that Batman. Uslan recounts his childhood as a kid who “knew where the Batmobile was parked. I knew the name of the street where Bruce Wayne’s parents were shot and killed…I knew every trophy in the Bat-Cave and the one real date on the giant penny.” By the time most people are old enough to drive, Uslan had a comics collection thousands strong, particularly impressive considering what a slice of the catalogue that must have been in the 1960s. To a large extent, Uslan grows up with his chosen medium—in a memorable sequence, he even attends the very first comic-con. But where many channeled their passion for comics into costumed alter-egos of their own, for Uslan the passion became the ego, with no alter about it. “My life’s quest,” he says, was “to bring a dark and serious Batman to the silver screen.”