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  1. #1
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    Default Was Year One ever intended to be the prequel to DKR?

    Over on the Superman Year One thread, someone mentioned how Batman Year One really is the outlier in terms of Miller's Batman works - the only one that really doesn't fit into the rest of the 'DKR verse', not least because of Batman's very different characterisation.

    Which got me to reflect on how Year One is so often clubbed together with DKR and is viewed as the prequel to DKR. But was this ever Miller, or DC's intention? Or were they always two distinct projects that fans have tended to associate with each other because they're two of the most iconic Batman stories ever (if not THE most iconic) and both written by Frank Miller?

    Incidentially, this article on Comics Alliance makes an argument against Year One being a prequel to DKR. The gist of the article is that DKR was a conclusion to the story of the Silver Age Batman (much like "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" was for the Silver Age Superman), and Year One was the birth of a totally new version of the Dark Knight.

    https://comicsalliance.com/ask-chris...night-returns/

    The whole article is definitely worth a read, but here's a pretty pertinent excerpt:

    Anyway, even characterizing it as an "ending" to Batman doesn't quite do the story justice. It ends with Batman rebuilding his legacy, continuing on, going back to that never-ending battle. It's extremely optimistic -- far more so than the end of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, an interesting inversion of how those two characters tend to be categorized. That's what makes it such a great "ending," that it's not one, because these stories never really end.

    Instead, they just begin again, which is where Year One comes in. We see what happens to Silver Age Batman, closing out his career with a reminder that he'll always be out there fighting against evil, and then we get the setup of something new. The entire point is to leave it open-ended, and compared to DKR, the Batman of Year One is surprisingly mellow. There's an incredible contrast between DKR's first outing as Batman, marked by thuggish brutality, and the first strike we see in Year One, where Batman ends up having to drop his tough-guy persona to keep from accidentally killing the criminals he ambushes on the fire escape. There's a softness there, a return, however mixed it may be with the overt violence of Batman, to the childish idea at the core. He wants to fight crime without actually killing anyone.
    So what do you think Miller's intent was? And how do you see the connection, or lack thereof, between DKR and Year One.

    Personally, I've always been inclined to view DKR's grizzled older Bruce Wayne as basically the Adam West Batman twenty years later, having grown out of the enthusiasm of his younger "BIFF! BAM! ZAP!" days. And I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Miller essentially had the same idea.

  2. #2
    I am a diamond, Ms. Pryde millernumber1's Avatar
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    Really interesting idea. Because I adore Batman Year One, and am not a fan of Dark Knight Returns (though I do admire the craftsmanship), I've never really taken Year One seriously as a "prequel" to DKR or ASBAR. If Frank wants to say that, that's his right - I don't have to read it that way. But you draw some very interesting thematic ideas out here!
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, by Aaron Allston
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  3. #3
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be surprised if Miller views all his Batman work as being set as part of his Batman story. I don't view it that way, but he's open to it.

    Although I felt the animated depiction of Dark Knight Returns was definitely a sequel to the animated Year One.

  4. #4
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    I didn't like Selina Kyle being any type of sex worker in Dark Knight Return and Batman:Year One.

    I'd rather just have the backstories of being an orphan, spending her childhood in an orphanage, and living on streets while supporting herself by stealing.
    I definitely don't care for the amnesiac flight attendant and abused wife who steals her jewels back from her husband backstories.
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  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    I thought they're all part of the same universe. Year One, ASBAR, TDKR, TDKSA, TDKRIII?

    Year One was the one DC specifically asked to be the main universe origin though

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    I thought they're all part of the same universe. Year One, ASBAR, TDKR, TDKSA, TDKRIII?

    Year One was the one DC specifically asked to be the main universe origin though
    Except that when DKR and Year One was written, there was no specific intention to spawn them of into their 'own universe'.

    DKR was a standalone project. And Year One was supposed to be the reinvention of Batman in Post-COIE continuity.

    Its only when DKSA came out that the idea of a 'DKR verse' started, and it was claimed that all of Miller's Batman works, including Year One, were part of it.

    But I don't think that was necessarily the original intent. Year One certainly doesn't feel like DKR and the other related books. And DKR, which came out before Year One, reads better as a conclusion to the Silver Age Batman.

  7. #7
    Mighty Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    It definitely wasn't the original intent, but since then Miller sees them as the same. Whether he came up with that on his own or just wanted to give his fans what thy want I don't know, but that's how it is now.

  8. #8
    Incredible Member SicariiDC's Avatar
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    This is a great question. I see them as intended to be independent but universed over time. I dont think its impossible to link them, but the Silver/Crisis end/start makes more sense to me.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    I guess if the question is if it's originally intended to be a prequel to TDKR, the answer would be no. The intention was to create a new origin for Batman Post Crisis after DC saw the success of TDKR.

  10. #10
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    I think they can be read as one thing, or separately. Another reason, in a long list of them, why they're both perfect works.
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  11. #11
    Astonishing Member dancj's Avatar
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    IIRC, when Spawn/Batman came out, Miller said he considered it to be in the same universe as Year One and TDKR.

    No idea what was in Miller's head before that, but officially, Year One was in continuity and TDKR wasn't - and Spawn/Batman certainly wasn't.

  12. #12
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    At the time, I think yes. But over time its evolved into the definitive origin story. There really is nothing better.
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  13. #13
    I am a diamond, Ms. Pryde millernumber1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    At the time, I think yes. But over time its evolved into the definitive origin story. There really is nothing better.
    So much agreement.
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, by Aaron Allston
    "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
    "There's room in our line of work for hope, too." Stephanie Brown, Batgirl, by Bryan Q. Miller
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  14. #14
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    So I came across this interesting interview with Denny O'Neil recently:

    https://13thdimension.com/the-denny-...tman-year-one/

    I thought, like, when I took over writing Batman for the first time, if the parameters of the job are that what we’re doing is not working, what can we do? I thought, I have to send a message to the audience. I was on very good terms with Frank Miller and, because of that, I heard that he and Dave Mazzucchelli were doing a Batman graphic novel.

    I talked it over with Frank one day walking around a lake in L.A. and I talked him and Dave (Mazzucchelli) into letting me serialize it as a comic book — four issues of a comic book.
    They weren’t going to lose anything on this. I got them a contract that guaranteed publication I think within 6 months. Hardcover publication. And all the bells and whistles you can add to a contract like that. And yeah, it did exactly what I wanted it to do. It sent that message: We are doing something different. And I even wrote a house ad. This is not your father’s Batman. And off we went.
    This makes it seem like Miller was already planning Year One as a standalone graphic novel before O'Neil asked him to do it in the regular Batman book. Which seems to lend credence to the idea that he planned it as a prequel to DKR and didn't originally intend it to be in mainstream continuity. But DC then specifically decided to make it mainstream, bolstered by DKR's success.

    It'd be interesting to know why Miller specifically decided to tackle Batman's origin - especially since he's said in plenty of interviews that his primary fascination with Batman was the idea of the Dark Knight being old and weathered!

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