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Special Feature:

Article from Issue #015

"The Boy Who Loved Batman" - Book Review

[Keep up with the "Special Feature" column and Christian Fannin will sit you on his lap and talk to you about whatever movie-related topic he feels like.]

So you think you're a big fan of a certain comic book character huh? Then chances are you'll fall for this memoir recounting the ultimate fanboy dream. Follow along as a boy from New Jersey in the 1950's discovers the Dark Knight and pioneers the way for his feature film debut in 1989 along with today's slew of comic book movie blockbusters. Michael E. Uslan was the fan who couldn't give up his childhood and pursued the passion with everything he had no matter what others thought of him along the way. He was and is The Boy Who Loved Batman.

The Boy Who Loved Batman book cover art.

I should start off by noting that I'm not a huge fan of memoirs, biographies, etc. especially if they're not by Teddy Roosevelt, Andy Griffith, or some other prominent someone with a particularly adventurous or positive outlook on life. That's why Michael Uslan's book took me by surprise. I read the tar out of this memoir. I'm going to jump to the blurb and say "The Boy Who Loved Batman reads like a real life episode of 'The Wonder Years'". And that's a very good thing. It's his everyboy charm that sucks you right into his shoes retelling the stories of his first comic book purchases to his awkward high school years when it wasn't such a cool hobby.

Part of the reason you'll find yourself advancing through the book quickly is due to the scrapbook layout that breaks the stories down to manageable sizes. Instead of an author's pretentious 50 page chapters, you'll find short stories pinpointing pivotal moments in Mr. Uslan's life and career. It's not really even about his life but more like his love for Batman as each story wraps up by reverting in some way to the fanatic theme. Scattered on nearly every page are photos of the people Mike encountered in these moments, letters of rejection from movie studios, and snippets of the very comics that kept him going.

So what is the ultimate goal in this story? Well, I'm surprised to have not been familiar with the name Michael E. Uslan, seeing as how he's been a part of the production of nearly every TV and movie version of Batman post-1960's TV show. He began as the convincing voice behind the first dark onscreen appearance of Batman in Tim Burton's movie and has been there through Keaton, Conroy, Kilmer, Clooney, and now Bale. Needless to say, he's been by Batman's side through the best and absolute worst times. Even most of us so-called fans can't say that.

Despite it's obvious 20-30+ year old demographic, The Boy Who Loved Batman should also be recommended as inspiration for young boys who dream of carrying on their love for superheroes into adulthood. Mike Uslan is proof that you don't have to leave all that behind and "grow up" to become a success. Kids can take from his experiences that the path to being the supreme fanboy can be achieved if you hold on to your driving force. It's a story of encouragement wrapped in the basic formula of life that we can all relate to. Whether our personal "Dark Knight" is a superhero or whatever makes us tick, at one point or another we've all been The Boy Who Loved Batman.

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Don't hesitate to tell Christian what you think of his column and suggest a topic by e-mailing him at: christian@cineweekly.com

- Christian Fannin -
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