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The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

‘Batman’ Executive Producer Michael Uslan discusses bringing superhero tale to silver screen

"Batman" Executive Producer Michael Uslan. (Wikimedia Commons)
“Batman” Executive Producer Michael Uslan. (Wikimedia Commons)

The monster grabs the criminal as he begs for his life. He brings the sobbing man to the edge of the rooftop and says, “I’m not going to kill you…I want you to tell all your friends about me.”

The criminal, indulged in fear, says, “What are you?”

The creature says, “I’m Batman.”

This moment was in the 1989 “Batman” movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

Although this movie happened 24 years ago, this scene is when executive producer Michael Uslan realized his dreams of bringing “Batman” to the silver screen was coming true because it was one of his first movies.

Uslan will be coming to DePaul Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., to talk about his career as the originator and executive producer of all the “Batman” movies from 1989’s “Batman” through 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” He will also talk about 2016’s “Batman vs. Superman”.  The New Jersey native’s passion for comic books and the cape crusader led him to be one of the most successful executive producers in Hollywood.

“Comic books and superheroes use to be considered very uncool,” he said. “Over the process of a few years, they now transcend culture and are the foundation of movies, TV shows and even fashion.”

Uslan loves heroes, like Batman and Superman, and sees a connection between the superheroes creators, Jewish immigrants and first generation American Jews, with their lore and tradition.

He believes that Superman and Moses have more similarities than some realize. Similar to Superman, Moses was sent away and discovered by a family who raised him as their son. Moses grows up and learns his true heritage while becoming a hero to his people.

Although Uslan is successful today, he will also talk about how he struggled and persevered through countless rejection of wanting to turn “Batman” into a big movie franchise because he was displeased with the 1966-1968 “Batman” TV series starring Adam West.

“I was horrified because the whole world was laughing at Batman,” Uslan said. “I vowed to show the true Batman.”

Uslan believes they were laughing at Batman because West’s version of the cape crusader included cheesy monologues and onomatopoeias like “Wham” and “Zap.”

Uslan still keeps the rejection slips as a reminder of the all production companies that didn’t believe in his idea.

“I have an entire closet filled with rejection slips,” Uslan said. “Columbia Pictures is my favorite…They didn’t think “Batman” could be a serious movie because it was from the funny pages.”

In his early 20s, the “Batman” fanatic even struggled financially.

“I didn’t know where the paycheck was coming from some days,” Uslan said. “I was doing anything and everything to survive. I was writing comic books, writing cartoons and stories.”

He wrote “Batman” comic books for DC comics and was also involved in the Emmy award winning cartoon “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?”

Uslan’s family has also been a big part of his success and he will discuss how his loving mother, Lillian, father, Joseph, and brother, Paul, helped in making his dreams a reality.

“I got from my mother and brother that when you make a commitment you stick to it,” Uslan said. “My dad was the ultimate role model because he worked from when he was 16 until he was 80. He loved what he did and when you grow up with somebody like that, you find your passion and make it work.”

The world’s first person to receive a doctorate of comic books from Monmouth University is excited about coming to the city of Chicago. He loves the city because some of his “Batman” films, like “The Dark Knight”, were shot here.

“Every time I come to Chicago it’s great,” Uslan said. “It’s one of the greatest cities of all time.”

Uslan said that he hopes when DePaul meets him they realize he is no different from them.

“I want to show them how a 20-year-old kid got the rights to ‘Batman,’” Uslan said. “Hopefully, I will inspire DePaul to follow their dreams.”

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