There are few creators in the history of Batman who have had a greater impact on the character than Paul Dini. As one of the showrunners of Batman: The Animated Series, he shaped not only how a generation of television viewers would view Batman, the Joker, and Gotham City's other heroes and villains, but also how the comics would be influenced for decades after the show's launch.

Behind the scenes, though, it seems as though 1993 was a rough year for Dini's relationship with Batman, owing to a violent mugging that left him with a broken skull and his faith in the ideas behind superheroes shattered. Now, as revealed at The Hollywood Reporter, Dini is revisiting that trauma alongside artist Eduardo Risso in a new graphic novel from Vertigo, Dark Night: A True Batman Story.

According to the announcement, the story will focus on how Dini interacted with the characters, including conversations with his mental images of Batman and the Joker that followed the attack.


“What makes Batman and what makes other superheroes work is the myth that when life is at its lowest, and when you need a hero, a hero swings down and helps you,” Dini says over breakfast in Studio City, suddenly overcome by emotion and choking back tears. “And I didn’t have that.

“Here I am writing these stories for an audience that loves this form, in comics, in animation, but now I was saying to myself, ‘I can’t go on with this. I don’t believe in it anymore. There is no hero for me. Where is my hero?’"

Dini composes himself and then says, “The answer is: you have to be your own hero.”


While Vertigo has traditionally been an imprint that avoided the use of DC's more prominent superheroes, it's worth noting that Dark Night will not be the first time a graphic novel has explored the relationship between a character and a creator. In 2004, Steve Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen created It's A Bird, an autobiographical exploration of Seagle's time writing Superman.

Dark Night: A True Batman Story is scheduled for release in June of 2016.