Review of Michael E. Uslan’s Batman’s Batman
If you’ve seen any Batman movie, live action or animated, in the last 33 years, you may have seen Michael E. Uslan’s name in the credits. He is the owner of the film rights for the Caped Crusader, and has executive produced every movie with the character, as well as other DC movies like Joker, Constantine, and Shazam!, since 1989’s Batman. His previous memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman, chronicled his childhood in New Jersey, his time at Indiana University (of which we are both alumni, go Hoosiers!), and his journey into Hollywood to try and get a serious version of Batman on the big screen. Now he has released a second book, Batman’s Batman, about his multiple decades in the movie making business, and the wild stories only someone in the Hollywood machine could have.
The book is structured in a way where each chapter is giving you a different tip on producing. Examples are given from Uslan’s own career; some around successful projects, but many around those that never ended up seeing the light of day. This is definitely not a textbook though. There is a colloquial vibe to Uslan’s writing and it feels like you’re sitting down with him over a long dinner and hearing him reminisce. He admits many times throughout the book when he goes off on a long tangent, but never apologizes for doing so, and you wouldn’t want him to. The anecdotes he has about himself or has heard from others are all delivered with a vivid flavor that makes you feel like you’re there.
It does need to be said that for a title that has Batman in it twice, there isn’t much said about his time on that particular character. The title refers to him being a champion for the projects he is passionate about, and how a producer’s persistence needs to rival that of a hero trying to save a crime ridden city. What we do get to read about are tantalizing behind the scenes tales of high-profile projects that could have been, like his original pitch for an epic Green Lantern story. It’s also apparent that Michael’s eye for success isn’t just focused on the superhero genre, as he recognizes just how popular the Carmen Sandiego game is and how successful it could be on television. Spoiler alert, he was right.
You can tell from his writing that Uslan has a long history with Hollywood and has learned plenty of hard lessons, but can also still access the outsider’s perspective that he had when first entering the business. That makes his lessons feel even more important. It is clear that he had to make his own way in the industry, and it gives hope to anyone starting out that they can make it too. Michael Uslan has a lot to say, and with another live action Batman currently in theaters, there’s no better time to sit down and listen.
Batman’s Batman by Michael E. Uslan is available for purchase now and further information about this thrilling Hollywood memoir can be found here through the publisher, Red Lightning Books.