Frank Miller’s First Encounter with Batman

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Frank Miller’s first encounter with Batman:
 
 
“If your only memory of Batman is that of Adam West and Burt Ward exchanging camped-out quips while clobbering slumming guest stars Vincent Price and Cesar Romero, I hope this book will come as a surprise.

 
For me, Batman was never funny.
 
I was eight years old when I picked up an 80-page annual from the shelf of a local supermarket. The artwork on one story looked good and scary.
 
Gotham City was cold shafts of concrete lit by cold moonlight, windswept and bottomless, fading to a cloud bank of city lights, a wet, white mist, miles below me. The street sounds were a soft, sad roar, unbroken and unchanging. Then somewhere, somewhere in the stone rat’s maze down there, tiny but unmuffled, a pane-glass window shattered. The sound was almost pretty, like chimes. The chimes became a single ringing bell, a burglar alarm, the old kind. A Thompson machine gun spat at the bell. A madman laughed wildly, maliciously. The laughter echoed forever.
 
A shadow fell across me, from above. Wings flapped, close by and almost silent. Glistening west, black against the blacked sky, a monster, a giant, winged gargoyle, hunched forward, pausing at a building’s ledge, and cocked its head, following the laugh’s last seconds. Moonlight glanced across its back, across its massive shoulders, down its craned, cabled neck, across its skull, striking a triangle at one pointed bat’s ear. It rose into spaces, its wings wide, then fell, its wings now a fluttering cape wrapped tight about the body of a man. It fell past me, its shadow sliding across walls, growing to swallow whole buildings, lit by the clouds below.
 
The shadow faded into the clouds. It was gone.
 
. . . the 80-page giant comic cost 25 cents, but I bought it anyway.”

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