DC Universe - Michael Uslan interview

Sam and Amy’s interview with Michael Uslan gave much insight into how comic fandom has grown from a small collective to a much larger behemoth. I recall in the Film Threat issue covering Batman '89 Chris Gore interviewing Michael. Smart move for Uslan purchasing character rites when he did. Best of all, he did ut out of a lifelong passion for the medium.


Yeah I always love talking to older long time fans, even in my lifetime things have changed so much with comics and the fandom. Wish they would do more interviews like this with long time people in the industry or even just long time super fans.


I agree, I thought both segments were great.


Islam had a dream and followed it through. The most important thing is how much he paid for those rights and the most important bit, Batman wasn’t in the public consciousness like he is today. Not by a long shot. I think younger generations have no idea that was true. I wonder if they can actually wrap their head around that idea.

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Amazing, both parts. He’s always great to hear, he has a certain way of describing the character like nobody else, and clearly knows his stuff. I’m
Superpower he didn’t talk about when he teached a Comic Book Course, the way he got the gig was describing how Superman and Moses are the same, as in their stories, which was pretty spot on. I think he got where he did because he knows how to talk the talk and makes people
change their perspective on things they turned their noses down at!


*surprised, not superpower! Ha ha!

If Uslan wanted to talk about aluminum siding, I’d be there.

I’ve never read or seen an interview with him that’s anything less than fascinating.


Just bought his book

Writes like he talks



Michael Uslan has had a fascinating life and I truly enjoyed this interview. This is the sort of content I want to see more of one here. I was right there with Hector, I wish the interview could have gone on far longer, too!


I just finished his book.

The last chapter is the World Premiere of Batman in 1989.

In his speech before the movie starts he has his parents stand up and the two female teachers who encouraged him to write when in high school so many decades earlier as well. He had limousines take the two ex teachers from their homes to the theater.

It is a love letter to his family, his friends, the professionals st DC comics and everyone else who helped him throught his life.

And He has ownership of swamp thing and ten other characters associated with him including Constantine.


Just after we acquired
the rights to Batman,
I told Ben that the
time was ripe for a
little 1950s throw-
back monster movie
featuring a monster
in a rubber suit where
kids could “boo” for
the bad guy and cheer
for the good guy and
run to get popcorn
during the romantic
scene. The object of
our affection would
be the canceled DC
comic book that I used
to love called Swamp
Thing, a tale of Amer-
ica’s favorite walk-
ing, talking spinach
soufflé. We went in
to talk about it with
an exec at Warner
Communications, the
huge corporation that
owned DC Comics, and
he could NOT believe
DC published a comic
book with “such a
ridiculous title.” Then
he found out that DC
didn’t even publish it
anymore. I explained,
“Exactly, but if we can
turn it into a movie
and build it up as a
brand, DC can bring
it back again and it
won’t just gather dust
in its library” “We will
NEVER publish this
again!” he bellowed.
“It’s defunct. It’s
without the slight-
est hesitation, Ben
jumped in, “You’re
right! It IS worthless!
So give it to us for free
and we’ll spend our
Own money and make
all the effort to breathe
new life into it. Not
only that, we promise
within the next ninety
days to spend not less
than $15,000 to do so.”

We were given the
rights for FREE… ALL
rights, except comic
book publishing and
a split of merchan-
dising. We had just
become the literary
property owners of
Swamp Thing. And
in the negotiated lan-
guage of the contract,
Ben noted that we
had all rights to any
characters, stories, or
elements HERETO-
appearing in the pages
of the Swamp Thing
comic books. As a re-
sult of this language,
we wound up owning
the rights to some
eleven different DC
characters, including
one John Constantine,

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I’d say that DC was foolish for being so dismissive of their own properties, but it’s precisely because they had so little faith that Batman '89 was even realized as it was. No faithlessness, no Michael Uslan. No Michael Uslan, no Tim Burton. No Tim Burton, no Batman '89. No Batman '89, no Animated Series. No Animated Series, no DCAU. And so on.


A fine life Michael Uslan has had, one which any comic afficianado could appreciate. We gotta have vision and tenacity always! The interviews are a worthwhile part of DC Daily.


I didn’t know he wrote a book, I am going to have to hunt that down.


I don’t think DC was foolish about the property. It had been a decade+ since Batman 66 and when the bottom dropped out of that, it nearly killed the character. Also remember it was 79, before Superman had premiered. There had been one superhero movie (Batman 66) all the others were serials from the early 40’s.

Mad props to Uslan for having and sticking to his vision. However, when he acquired the rights nobody knew thought a serious superhero movie would draw. Not to mention that Batman 89 had the largest production budget of any film to date. It was a huge risk and hats off to Uslan for having the guts to try “Go big or go home”. He, even more than Donner deserves credit for the explosion of the superhero film genre. He’s “The Godfather” of comic book movies.



I put the cover on my first post here

It is called

The Boy who Loved Batman

I bought and read it on the Amazon Kindle App on my Android Phone.

It is a bio but with lots of the stuff he discussed for two days at DC Daily.

He had 30,000 comics by high school. A lot of Golden Age he bought for a nickel.

He was outbid for Batman 1 at the comic con in NY. He had 27.20. The winning bid was 29.00.

His wife bought him Batman 1 as a gift, when they were both successful and she could afford it.

He had a crush on Otto Binder’s daughter who was named Mary after Mary Marvel. She did not think him reading comic books were weird because her father worked in comic books. She died at age 16 in a car accident. Both Mother and Father died not too long afterwards, of grief.


None of the original artists and writer of the Golden Age had any fringe benefits, since they were work for hire.

Mike said that Paul Levitz as head of DC Comics tried to help them if he heard about it. He ensured that all had a memorial service (Paul was the main person in DC office that pushed the company to settle with the creators of Superman, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. They got 20,000 each per year, which would continue with their heirs, plus health insurance.)


Paul Levitz’s behind-the-scenes help
for struggling,
aging, and ill
artists, writers,
and editors who
were facing huge
challenges and
crises in their
lives. Paul also
organized and
ran beautiful
and dignified
memorials for
those DC talents
who passed on,
creating a sense
of comfort and
joy for their be-
reaved families
and coworkers.


Paul Levitz-- a prince amongst men.

Uslan is a hero of mine. So Inspirational! What gusto & passion! Thank You Uslan! :woman_superhero:

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