Today is a day to celebrate Batman as the Caped Crusader is seeing tributes flood in from all across the world. One particular tribute that fans might not have seen coming was from Stephen King way back when. Comic legend Rob Liefeld posted the letter to Dark Knight Returns creator Frank Miller to mark today's holiday. That correspondence is one of the most full-throated co-signs of Miller's seminal work ever put to paper.
King was arguing that this wasn't just a great Batman book, but that this graphic novel was the greatest popular comic ever. He was careful to add that caveat about being from a major publisher in there to cover himself. But, the endorsement is still strong and strident in a way you don't often see people talk about anymore. Check out the selection posted to Liefeld's Twitter account below:
For Batman Day. When Stephen King thanked Frank Miller for saving BATMAN. pic.twitter.com/OhbOge8I4C— robliefeld (@robertliefeld) September 21, 2019
“From the cancellation of the unpleasantly campy Batman TV show until 1982 or so, Batman lived in a shadow-world not just as a character but as a published fictional character. There was a time, I don’t mind telling you, when I remember scanning the newsstands carefully (and a little anxiously) around the middle of each month, sure that the Caped Crusader would be gone, a character who had simply slipped away into that quiet hall of obscurity where such great creations as J’onn J’onzz, Manhunter from Mars; Plastic Man; The Blackhawks; Captain Marvel; and Turok, Son of Stone had gone before him.”
He then commented that he was “wrong to worry” and “you can’t keep a good bat down.” If we put aside how delightfully strange it is to read that sentence, the sentiment is true. There is jus something about the character that sticks with audiences through all the different periods of his history in print.
The author continued, “During the last four years or so, one of two things has been happening: either new fans have been interesting themselves in Batman’s doings, or some of the old ones have been quietly stealing back. Either way, the blast of publicity and triumphant sales of DC’s The Dark Knight Returns, probably the finest piece of comic art ever to be published in a popular edition, seem to have assured Batman’s continued success. For me, that is both a great relief and a great pleasure.”
As a part of the character's 80th Anniversary, the Bat-Signal is set to shine in New York, Melbourne, Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London, Barcelona, Mexico City, Johannesburg, São Paulo, Berlin, Montreal, and Los Angeles. Other people from all levels of the comics world have paid tribute today. Kevin Smith chimed in with some memories. Mark Hamil took a moment to celebrate his immortal adversary Kevin Conroy who played The Dark Knight on Batman: The Animated Series.
Batman is riding high today, but really in the world of comics, it is hard for a day to go by and not think about the fan-favorite crime fighter. The outpouring of love today is just icing on top of the cake.
Cover photo of Stephen King by Thos Robinson/Getty Images