Although an invention of the late 20th century, the internet didn’t really become the driving juggernaut it is today until the 21st. Making behind the scenes information much more available to the general public, with access to it. So, the editorial decisions being made at DC back in the 80s regarding Barr, Davis and Neary were unknown to me. But I do remember McFarlance’s rather flamboyant art style quite clearly. His work kinda stays with you.
And regarding another of those “similar covers” I mentioned, I was watching Batman: the Dark Knight Rises, again the other day. About half way through it hit me, why that story seemed so familiar to me. I’d seen it before, or at least a version of it, back in 1988. At the time, it was thought of as the darkest Batman story ever. And maybe it was. Batman: the Cult, was authored by Jim Starlin, art by Bernie Wrightson and edited by Denny O’Neil. Top talent, all!. And they proved it on this 4 issue mini-series. One cover of which, also sported another “Batman w/gun” image.
This is “old school” Batman, before the kevlar upgrades. So much of the DKR content, is present. Replacing Bane, is the “Deacon” Joseph Blackfire. A charismatic con-man, and leader of thousands of foolish followers. Instead of the broken back inflicted by Bane, the Deacon breaks Batman psychologically. Turning him into one of his brainwashed minions. So much so, that at the end of the story, we are still left wondering if Batman (seen dropping an Uzi) had used it, in his name.
Almost everything about DKR seems like a rewritten screenplay of the Cult. So much so, I’m surprised that Nolan didn’t acknowledge it as an inspiration for the film, in the credits. Many of you under 30s out there have probably never read it. If so, I highly recommend it. It’s a canon piece of Batman history that should not be forgotten.
Stay safe, be well.