The Dark Knight returns for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He has a degree in media production from the University of Sunderland and is the founder and editor of the UK movie site FlickeringMyth.com.

Here he discusses the new Batman and what fans can expect from the Man of Steel sequel…

It’s only been a couple of years since Christopher Nolan brought the curtain down on his Dark Knight Trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises, but Batman is back in front of the cameras once again… and this time he’s not alone.

batman v supermanAfter giving us a first look at Ben Affleck in his Dark Knight Returns-inspired Batsuit a couple of weeks ago, Warner Bros. has officially announced the start of filming on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, which now has the official title of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The choice of title is very telling; not only is this movie a lead in to the long-awaited Justice League movie, but the fact that Batman’s name comes before Superman in the title of a Man of Steel sequel makes it plain that Warner Bros. sees The Dark Knight as the centre of fledgling ‘DC Cinematic Universe’, and it’s not hard to see why.

In terms of general public perception, the Man of Steel may be one of the most recognisable superheroes around, but as last year’s reboot proved, Superman alone is no guarantee of success – at least, not on the scale of Warner Bros.’ main comic book movie rivals, Marvel Studios.

Holy Franchise BatmanWhile Marvel Studios has turned second-tier characters such as Iron Man and Captain America into bonafide A-list superheroes, the popularity of Wonder Woman, DC’s third-biggest name, is arguably at an all-time low, and it’s hard to imagine many non-comic book fans will have even heard of Cyborg.

But throw in Batman – the only superhero character to have two solo movies grossing over a billion at the global box office – and now the studio has a sure-fire box office smash on its hands. Not only will the inclusion of the Dark Knight elevate Warner’s other DC characters, but it also gives them an ensemble to rival The Avengers. And that’s before we even get to Justice League…

– Gary Collinson

Holy Franchise Batman! by Gary Collinson is available to buy now at all good retailers

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Christmas Favourites from Robert Hale Ltd

Wondering what to buy your nearest and dearest this holiday season? Wonder no more. We at Robert Hale Ltd have got something for everyone – from gripping ebooks for the technologically advanced to the ultimate Bat-bible for comic book fans and everything in between.

For fans of classic British literature, check out Maggie Lane’s Understanding Austen. Lane, acclaimed author of many Jane Austen books, turns her attention to the fascinating nuances of Austen’s language and the way it embodies her most profound beliefs about human conduct and character. Jane Austen Award nominee Amanda Grange shines a light on the life of Sense and Sensibility’s Colonel Brandon in Colonel Brandon’s Diary, offering fans of Austen’s work a chance to explore her world a little further.

If you know people more inclined to pick up a comic book than an Austen novel, however, we have the ultimate Bat-bible, Holy Franchise Batman! by Gary Collinson to entertain any bat-fans, even the more knowledgeable ones. The book follows the many manifestations of Bruce Wayne/Batman over the years from TV to cinema and is filled with fascinating Bat-facts.

If your loved ones shy away from books altogether, preferring to pick up their Kindle or Kobo and delve into an ebook, our ebook range includes everything from westerns to crime and romance. We have Robert Goddard’s first ever book Past Caring, the brilliant Inspector Box crime series by Norman Russell or the Helen Forrester series: Three Women of Liverpool, Liverpool Daisy and The Latchkey Kid. Both Aunt Letitia by Dominic Luke and Elizabeth Jackson’s Language of Thieves have zoomed up the Amazon rankings recently or you could try Peter Tickler’s Blood in Oxford series: Blood in Grandpont, Blood on the Cowley Road and Blood on the Marsh.

Don’t forget to check back with us for our Christmas ebook catalogue… coming soon!

If you fancy giving the men in your life something to laugh about this holiday season, check out Wearing Combovers and 49 Other Things That the Modern Man Shouldn’t Do, a book suitable for men both young and old that is packed with witty, laugh-out-loud observations on the human condition. Ranging from ‘Don’t be a Bond fantasist’ to ‘Don’t leave a high-five hanging’, this book is a hilarious addition to any man’s Christmas stocking.

If, however, your man is much more of an exercise/fitness fan and likes to keep in shape, our comprehensive guide Marathon Training by Nikalas Cook is sure to get them to the finishing line safely. In 28 weeks, you can go from complete non-runner, through your first 5k, 10k, half-marathon and finally to success in the full 26.2 miles of the marathon.

For those friends and relatives who love nothing more than to curl up this winter with a great piece of fiction, we have plenty to choose from. Delve into any of the compelling historical fiction tales by the late E.V. Thompson, including his final book, The Bonds of Earth. Alternatively, enjoy Wendy Perriam’s amusing writing edge either in Broken Places as librarian Eric struggles to move forward in his life or with I’m on the Train!, Perriam’s book of entertaining short stories.

Whatever you end up buying or reading this holiday season, enjoy yourself! Happy Christmas and season’s greetings from all at Robert Hale Ltd.

Author Interview: Holy Franchise Batman! Author Gary Collinson on the Rise of Batman

Holy Franchise BatmanOn the day that the final Christopher Nolan Batman film – The Dark Knight Rises – hits cinemas, we talk to Holy Franchise Batman! author Gary Collinson about his love of all things Batman, the weirdest thing he found out during all his research and where the Caped Crusader could go next…

What is it about Batman that made you such a fan?

I guess, like a lot of people, my real introduction to the Caped Crusader would have been through reruns of the old Adam West TV show. As I got a bit older I discovered some of the great Batman stories like Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, A Death in the Family etc., and that pretty much confirmed his status as my favourite comic book character. It definitely helped that the late 80s / early 90s were such a great time for the character, with the Tim Burton movies, the animated series, KnightFall and so on. As for the appeal of Batman, it just comes down to the character and his story. Unlike most comic book heroes, Batman possesses no super powers, he’s just a normal guy who’s pushed himself to the very limits after suffering a huge tragedy, in order to become a paragon of justice for the people of Gotham City. As Bruce Wayne, he could have anything he wanted, but he’s chosen to devote his entire life to this crusade, to the point where he’s completely consumed by the Batman persona. Plus it helps that he’s got such a good range of supporting characters, along with a rosta of villains that’s second to none.

There’s a lot of comprehensive information in Holy Franchise Batman!. How long did it take you to do your research?

Holy Franchise, Batman! originally started out as an article for Flickering Myth back in 2010, so I had already done some research before starting the book. I’ve been following the development of the Batman franchise pretty closely online for around a decade now, so with that – not to mention the countless viewing hours I’d already accumulated – I was working from a decent starting point. But of course there’s a huge amount of history to cover and once I began digging through the research I started uncovering more and more information. I’d say I spent around three months solely on research, not including all the time I spent revisiting the movies and shows, which was definitely the best part.

What was the weirdest fact you found out during your research?

I uncovered quite a few odd facts, but one that sticks out is that Bill Murray had been considered for the role of Batman in the 80s. I’m not sure how that would have turned out. Hit or not, we might not have seen another serious take on the character, so maybe its a good thing it never came to anything.

Who’s been your favourite Batman to date? And your worst…?

In terms of live-action, I’d have to say Christian Bale, but as good as he is I’m not sure we’ve seen a truly definitive screen Batman yet. Overall though, I think Kevin Conroy does a fantastic job of embodying both Batman and Bruce Wayne with his animated voice work, so I’m going to opt for him. As for the worst – Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and even George Clooney have some merits, so it’s a toss up between Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery, both of whom played Batman in the 1940s movie serials. They’re both pretty bad, but Robert Lowery looks a little lost at times, and his atrocious Batsuit doesn’t help matters either.

Dark Knight Rises Poster

There’s a lot of love for Christopher Nolan’s Batman films – Batman Begins and The Dark Knight – and expectations are high for the final film in the trilogy – The Dark Knight Rises – which is out today. Is he your favourite director to bring Batman to the screen?

Without a shadow of a doubt. I don’t think anyone could make a case for Joel Schumacher, and while Tim Burton’s films have their fans, for me they just don’t hold up next to Christopher Nolan’s. Nolan has given us three exceptional comic book movies with Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, and as a trilogy I’d have to put it right up there with Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. However, I’d also give special praise to Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Erik Radomski and particularly Bruce Timm, who were the producing team behind Batman: The Animated Series. At its best, it’s right up there among the greatest animated shows ever made, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is about as close to a perfect Batman movie as you can get.

The Dark Knight Rises will bring a close to the Nolan Batman films. What would you love to see happen next for the Caped Crusader?

Given Batman’s enormous popularity, there’s always going to be new interpretations of the character, but I think the feature film series now finds itself in a very difficult position. It’s going to be very hard to anyone to top what Christopher Nolan has done, and considering how much of a fan favourite Nolan has been, any change in direction is likely to encounter its share of hostility. Ideally, they’d give Batman a rest for a few years before rebooting the series, but with a billion-dollar franchise, that’s unlikely to happen. If they are to reboot the character, then the logical step seems to be a Justice League movie, which may soften the blow of a new Batman by having him team-up with his fellow DC heroes.

Holy Franchise Batman! is out now

Holy Franchise Batman! Goes to the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC)

Holy Franchise BatmanThis weekend, Gary Collinson and Robert Hale Ltd staff went to the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) to promote Holy Franchise Batman!, written by Collinson. Batman was certainly a popular costume choice for film and comic fans at the event with many people dressed as the Caped Crusader himself, the Joker, Riddler, Catwoman and even a couple of Banes. One Batman even came to sit with us for a bit.

Batman fans loved stopping by to chat with Collinson about the impending arrival of the final film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, and speculating as to the very best and worst parts of Batman’s screen history.

Check out our photos from the event below and order your copy today!

– The Robert Hale Ltd team

Holy Franchise, Batman! by Gary Collinson is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%.

For more information, follow @holyfranchise on Twitter.

OUT TODAY: Holy Franchise Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen by Gary Collinson

Holy Franchise BatmanGary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He has a degree in media production from the University of Sunderland and is the founder and editor of the UK movie site FlickeringMyth.com.

HOLY FRANCHISE, BATMAN! OFFICIAL BLURB

Since the Caped Crusader first made the leap from comics to silver screen in the early 1940s, generations of audiences have been captivated by the screen adventures of Batman, establishing the celebrated comic book hero as a true icon of popular culture. Now, Gary Collinson traces the entire screen history of Bob Kane’s Dark Knight Detective, providing a fascinating insight into one of the most successful media franchises of all time.

Beginning with the early movie serials of the 1940s, Holy Franchise, Batman! charts the development of Batman’s many exploits across both live-action and animation, presenting a comprehensive overview of his illustrious screen career. From the classic 1960s television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward to the hugely successful blockbuster feature films from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, as well as early Saturday morning cartoon outings through to the acclaimed ‘DC Animated Universe’, this book explores the evolution of Batman – a journey that has taken him from ‘camp’ crime-fighter to Dark Knight.

Holy Franchise, Batman! by Gary Collinson is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%.

For more information, follow @holyfranchise on Twitter.

ComicBookMovie.com Gives ‘Holy Franchise Batman!’ by Gary Collinson a Five-Star Review

Holy Franchise BatmanWith just over a week to go until Holy Franchise Batman! by Gary Collinson is published, the lovely folks over at ComicBookMovie.com have reviewed the book, calling it a ‘bible for Bat-fans’ and explaining that ‘once you start reading you won’t be able to put it down’.

If you’re going to London Film & Comic Con on 7th and 8th July, don’t forget to come and say hello to Robert Hale Ltd staff who will be there selling copies of the book, with Author Gary Collinson there to sign copies on the Saturday.

For the full review, check out ComicBookMovie.com, but here are some of our highlights:

‘My plan was to scan over a few chapters and get a fair idea of it but I honestly ended up almost finishing the whole thing in a few days. I consider myself a big Bat-fan and knew (so I thought anyway) quite a bit about the movies and shows covered here, but I came across many little bits of information and trivia in pretty much every section that I wasn’t aware of…’

‘I really could go on and on about this book but to delve any deeper into it would mean I wouldn’t stop writing. Even if you are just a casual Batman fan I would highly recommend it, but if you love The Dark Knight then it is essential.’

Holy Franchise Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen is available to pre-order now. For more information, you can follow Holy Franchise Batman! on Twitter @holyfranchise.

Gary Collinson on the New ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer and the Evolution of Batman

Holy Franchise BatmanLast week saw the arrival of the third and presumably final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises – the hugely anticipated final installment in British filmmaker’s Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman movie trilogy. Arriving in cinemas on July 20th, The Dark Knight Rises promises to deliver ‘the epic conclusion’ to Nolan’s Batman saga, with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight star Christian Bale donning the cape and cowl once more, as the Caped Crusader contends with his greatest challenge to date in the terrorist leader Bane, portrayed by Tom Hardy.

With the $250m-budgeted sequel being billed as ‘The Legend Ends’, one question which has dominated fan debate over The Dark Knight Rises is, ‘will Batman survive?’. In Bane, he must face ‘The Man Who Broke The Bat’ – a reputation that stems from the classic Batman comic book story arc ‘KnightFall’, where Bruce Wayne suffered a broken back after a devastating confrontation with the brutal super villain. From the moment that Bane was announced as the antagonist, speculation has been rife that Nolan will transfer this storyline to the screen with The Dark Knight Rises, or perhaps even take things one step further to present a truly definitive end to his Batman story.

Regardless of Batman’s fate, one thing is abundantly clear: rather than being the ‘end’ of the legend, The Dark Knight Rises is but the closing stanza of the latest chapter in the illustrious history of the Dark Knight Detective. Created back in 1939 by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, Gotham’s masked vigilante is one of only two Golden Age heroes to enjoy an unbroken comic book publication run (the other being Superman) and his crime-fighting exploits have entertained generation after generation, resulting in one of the most successful media franchises of all time.

Dark Knight Rises Poster

Just four years after Batman’s comic book debut, actor Lewis Wilson made history by being the first person to bring the Caped Crusader to the screen, taking the lead alongside Douglas Croft’s Robin the Boy Wonder in the fifteen-part low-budget Republic movie serial Batman. Five years later Wilson was succeeded by Robert Lowery for another fifteen-part serial, Batman and Robin, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that ‘Batmania’ first gripped the public consciousness, with Adam West and Burt Ward donning the tights as the Dynamic Duo for the iconic ABC television series Batman – a ratings phenomenon that took West’s Caped Crusader to the cover of Life magazine.

Due to the enormous popularity of the television series, Batman soon fell victim to his own success. In the eyes of the public, the crime-fighter had become synonymous with the camp, tongue-in-cheek approach of the TV show, and it was more than twenty years before ‘Batmania’ resurfaced once more as director Tim Burton and star Michael Keaton took the character back to his roots as a grim avenger of the night in Warner Bros.’ 1989 feature film Batman. A huge hit upon its release, Batman was followed by the 1992 sequel Batman Returns before Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer stepped in for the departing Burton and Keaton on 1995’s Batman Forever, with Kilmer then making way for George Clooney on 1997’s Batman & Robin.

A dismal failure with fans and critics alike, Batman & Robin brought Warner Bros.’ feature film series to its knees and it wasn’t until Christopher Nolan rebooted the franchise in 2005 with Batman Begins that credibility was finally restored. Then of course came 2008’s The Dark Knight – a runaway smash that become one of only a handful of films to gross in excess of $1 billion at the box-office, and the first superhero movie to achieve such a feat. Now, four years later, Christopher Nolan faces the challenge of having to top what is generally regarded as the finest comic book movie of all-time, and with The Dark Knight Rises, he may just succeed.

For more on the screen history of the Dark Knight, be sure to check out my book, Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen, which charts the development of Batman’s many exploits across both live-action and animation, presenting a comprehensive overview of his illustrious screen career. From the classic 1960s television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward to the hugely successful blockbuster feature films from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, as well as early Saturday morning cartoon outings through to the acclaimed ‘DC Animated Universe’, the book explores the evolution of Batman – a journey that has taken him from ‘camp’ crime-fighter to Dark Knight…

Gary Collinson is a writer, lecturer, and the founder and editor of the movie site FlickeringMyth.com.

For more information, you can follow Holy Franchise Batman! on Twitter @holyfranchise

Holy Franchise Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen is available to pre-order now.

Holy Franchise Batman! Another Trailer!

Holy Franchise BatmanThis week saw the release of a gripping and intriguing new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises – which stars Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. The trailer seems to suggest that, even though the poster claims ‘The Legend Ends’, this particular legend is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.

Gary Collinson’s book ‘Holy Franchise Batman! Bring the Caped Crusader to the Screen’ will be published this June by Robert Hale Ltd, a month prior to the film release of The Dark Knight Rises.

ABOUT HOLY FRANCHISE BATMAN! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen

Since the Caped Crusader first made the leap from comics to silver screen in the early 1940s, generations of audiences have been captivated by the screen adventures of Batman, establishing the celebrated comic book hero as a true icon of popular culture. Now, Gary Collinson traces the entire screen history of Bob Kane’s Dark Knight Detective, providing a fascinating insight into one of the most successful media franchises of all time.

Beginning with the early movie serials of the 1940s, Holy Franchise, Batman! charts the development of Batman’s many exploits across both live-action and animation, presenting a comprehensive overview of his illustrious screen career. From the classic 1960s television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward to the hugely successful blockbuster feature films from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, as well as early Saturday morning cartoon outings through to the acclaimed ‘DC Animated Universe’, this book explores the evolution of Batman – a journey that has taken him from ‘camp’ crime-fighter to Dark Knight.

For more information, you can follow Holy Franchise Batman! on Twitter @holyfranchise

Holy Franchise Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen is available to pre-order now.