"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
7. Jeph Loeb
Jeph Loeb’s contributions to the Bat Universe began small, with just a one-shot for Halloween with artist Tim Sale. Then they did another one. Then another one. And then the pair decided to turn their annual Halloween one-shots into a sweeping epic maxi-series known as The Long Halloween, examining the world of Batman after Year One, as Frank Miller had left the case of the crime bosses of Gotham quite unsettled. The Long Halloween led to a sequel, Dark Victory, and a spin-off of sorts starring Catwoman.
Loeb then made his way to the main Batman title where he and Jim Lee got together for one of the most popular storylines of all-time, the epic known as Hush. Loeb knows how to tell big stories, and few stories are quite as big as Hush. The story brought into play pretty much every major Batman villain and every major Batman ally, plus a few minor ones! All to tell the mystery of someone who knows Batman’s secret identity and is trying to destroy him.
Few parts of Hush spotlight Loeb’s willingness to go BIG more so than first having Batman and Catwoman finally get together Post-Crisis and then have Superman show up under the control of Poison Ivy…
See what I mean? Loeb knows so well how to use the BIG moment. And he is a favorite writer for so many artists because he knows how to get the best out of their artwork. He’s an artist’s writer, for sure. It is little surprise that the top artists in the field have all lined up to work with him on various projects.
He followed up Hush by launching and then having an extended run on a Batman/Superman team-up series that pitted the heroes against President Lex Luthor and then introduced a brand-new Supergirl (who Batman doesn’t trust) and then saw the Legion of Super-Villains alter the past so that Batman and Superman are villains. He worked with star artists Ed McGuinness, Michael Turner and Carlos Pachecho on this run.
Between Hush, Superman/Batman and The Long Halloween, Jeph Loeb is responsible for three of the most popular Batman story collections of all-time.
6. Paul Dini
Paul Dini became known to Batman fans as a writer and producer on the famed Batman: The Animated Series. After drawing wide acclaim for that series, he turned to the world of Batman comic books. He had a short stint on the Animated Series tie-in comic and he and Bruce Timm (also from the cartoon show) combined for a number of special projects, most famously the award-winning Mad Love, spotlighting their creation, Harley Quinn.
Dini eventually took over as the regular writer on Detective Comics roughly a decade ago. He told mostly one-off or two-issue-long stories and he showed off his vast creativity with an assortment of clever plotlines. He also introduced Zatanna to Batman’s supporting cast, redeemed the Riddler and also invented a brand-new Ventriloquist. His most famous story from this era was most likely a Christmas tale (with artist Don Kramer) where the Joker kidnaps Robin and forces him to go on a joyride with him as the Joker runs people down with Robin unable to do anything about it, until…
Such a classic.
After a continued series of short stories, Dini produced perhaps his finest arc on Detective when he attempted to redefine the character of Hush as a major threat (after writers between Loeb and Dini had let the character falter a bit) once again. The Heart of Hush is chilling as well as compelling.
After that, Dini launched a brand-new Batman series, Streets of Gotham, starring Dick Grayson (who had taken over as the new Batman) as well as a series, Gotham Sirens, starring Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. When Bruce Wayne returned, Streets of Gotham ended and Dini’s time as a regular Batman writer came to a close.
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