I’ve painted The Dark Knight a lot this past year.
Every since I was a kid, even before I could speak English, I was a fan of The Batman, though back in those early days I thought his name was Badman, watching him on the telly when the cartoon series “Superfriends” was on. I couldn’t figure out why someone who was “bad” was “good”. It could have been a language barrier issue, but it wasn’t long before I figured out his real name.
And then I was enthralled with the comics, reading everything I could find on The Batman. And so I read every issue of Detective Comics, Batman, Batman & the Outsiders and some Justice League, anything I could get my hands on. I embraced my neediness with comic books. I remember Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight graphic novels like it was yesterday.
I watched the Batman TV series, and even back then I realized how campy those shows were, not really The Dark Knight I knew. However, I still liked the series. And then the movies came out, first in 1989 with Michael Keaton as the heroic title character and Jack Nicholson winning the Oscar for his turn as The Joker. Subsequent movies were not as good (though I did like the second).
It truly changed with Christopher Nolan’s three-part epic tale Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Heath Ledger’s epic performance resulted in a posthumous Oscar. Michael Caine and Gary Oldman were the soul of the movies. The first two were filmed in Chicago, many of the scenes near my office. In fact, the bat signal was on a rooftop on the building right next to mine. I ended up watching the second movie almost ten times in the movie theater, over half those times in the IMAX. One of those times, I ended up walking all the way home, smiling to myself. Why?
I was walking through Gotham City.
That was 2008.
- “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now…and so we’ll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector…a dark knight.”
- “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”
- Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never.
- “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
- “It’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.”
- People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy, and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood; I can be ignored, I can be destroyed. But as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible. I can be everlasting.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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