Dark Night A True Batman Story explores the result of a mugging on Batman: The Animated Series’ writer Paul Dini.
When talking about the success of Batman: The Animated Series the two people come to mind. They are writer Paul Dini and artist Bruce Timm. Harley Quinn was created by the pair and debuted on the series.
The team began working on the theatrically released Batman: Mask of the Phantasm early on in the show’s run. During this time Dini was mugged and attacked by two man as he was walking home. The attack left him needing surgery and permanently scarred.
The story of Dark Night A True Batman Story follows Dini before, during and after the attack.
This graphic novel was written by Dini himself and Eduardo Risso provided the art. Since this is a graphic novel is was released already collected in 2016.
We get a little insight of what it was like working on Batman: The Animated Series and its initial success but focuses on Dini and his struggles. Dini gives the reader a glimpse of his childhood and labels himself an “invisible kid.”
The reader gets transported to adult Dini as he is working for Warner Bros. and on Batman. Dini’s love life is almost non-existent as he dates an actress who doesn’t know she is dating Dini. Dini is mugged one night after one of these “dates.”
At this point the comic really begins. Dini is haunted by the attack and begins drinking heavily and becomes scared to go outside. He is expected to write scenes for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but he doesn’t see the point of writing an imaginary character like Batman.
As Dini battles his own demons and fears they become represented by Batman characters. The Joker begins to tell him to stop working and give up on life. On the other side Batman tells Dini to not give up and to use his fears to fuel his writing. He begins to become haunted by these characters and even Batman begins to tell him that he should of been able to fend off the attackers
I really enjoyed the use of the Batman heroes and villains to represent his internal struggle. It was like the angel and devil sitting on his shoulder but they were Batman and Joker. The different struggles were represented by a different villain. Dini’s love life struggles were represented by Poison Ivy and Dini’s fear of needles was represented by Scarecrow.
I began to really like Dini and saw a lot of myself in him. He really struggled with his self-esteem and self-worth as many people do myself included. His success didn’t help him find happiness and at one point cuts all his imperfections with the wings of his Emmy award.
Dini goes through a real rough time at what is the start of the peak of his career. I can’t help but to wonder what would have happened to the show and animation in general if the Joker won and Dini gave up.
Dark Night A True Batman Story is an amazing book which gives some great insight into the aftermath of a mugging and how it can have great and lasting effects of a person. I recommend this graphic novel to fans of Batman: The Animated Series. However, don’t be fooled this is not a Batman comic full of action.