- As I was looking through the topics similar to that of my own I came across this blog and literally thought, “This would make for a very interesting addition to my blog.” Especially for those who skipped right over Frank Miller’s use of the movie Zorro in his Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comic, thinking that this was simply a moot piece of information and without realizing that Zorro was Bob Kane’s inspiration for Batman.
- The comic begins showing Bruce Wayne drinking with Commissioner Gordon, “you’ve certainly learned to drink. Remember those old days, Bruce? That playboy routine…you with your ginger ale pretending it was campaign fooling everybody-almost. Now well- I almost worry” (Miller, 12). Bruce unable to handle the monotonous life he leads after retiring from his role as Batman turns to alcohol and spends his time living and breathing inside his mansion while the rest of Gotham suffers at the hands of the mutants and other horrible criminals. Even Alfred is concerned about his well being saying, “I’m hoping that the next generation of the Wayne family shant face an empty wine cellar” (Miller, 21). It is not until Bruce’s recent run in with members of the mutant gang that leave him extra agitated that we see a change in her persona. Upon turning on the television he is graced with Hollywood’s finest presentation, “The Mask of Zorro”. Fighting an inner battle, Bruce is trying to convince himself that this is no more than a movie but he can barely handle the memory associated with what was once his favorite film, “you loved it so much you jumped and danced like a fool…you remember…you remember that night-” (Miller, 21). That same night he is reflecting on was the night that a robber-turned murderer held Bruce and his parents at gun point, killing both his mother and father in front of him and stealing from them, specifically his mothers pearls. As said in the blog I re-posted, Zorro may not strike you as a superhero, Zorro, very much like Batman has no “super” powers, but they are heroes nonetheless. And this scene in Frank Miller’s comic is representative of Bob Kane’s use of Zorro as an influence for Batman’s character. For it is after this scene where Bruce Wayne can no longer fight the beast within himself and once more returns to a life of fighting crime as Batman.
…little did they know that this would leave a very influential mark on Bruce Wayne.
- Miller, Frank. Batman: the Dark Knight returns. New York, N.Y.: DC Comics, 2002. Print.
- The Dark Knight Rises. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway. Warner Bros., 2012. DVD.
I’m no expert on superhero films and even less on the comic books that spawned them, but the recent release of The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray started me thinking about the historical development of the cinematic superhero. As a result, I’ve come across what appear to be some of the earliest incarnations of cinematic superheroes, ranging from 1920 to 1948. It’s interesting to note that all bar one of these characters still holds cultural currency today.
The Mark of Zorro (1920)
Zorro isn’t a superhero you say? A masked crusader with a secret identity who goes around saving people from organised criminals – that’s a superhero (or at least the beginnings of one). This film was a vehicle for Douglas Fairbanks, later to be known for swashbuckling roles like Robin Hood (1922) and The Thief of Baghdad (1924), and he would later go on to star in the sequel…
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