…continued from BUILDING TIMELINES FOR DUMMIES / A FEW PARTING WORDS…
WHO I AM, HOW I CAME TO BE
A lot of folks often e-mail me and ask me about my own personal history with Batman. I don’t often get into that on the chronology sections of the website, but I did do a lovely interview with Steve Lemlek on Unleash the Fanboy that answers a lot of personal stuff if you’d like to learn more about my background. But here’s a bit more in that vein to sate my patrons.
My love of superhero comics in general stems from many different things—uniqueness of character, costume design, sci-fi weirdness, dramatic scripts, resplendent illustrations, socioeconomical commentary, cultural critique, discourse on sex politics, shark-jumping, detailed world-building, and more. I value world-building more than character drama when it comes to superhero stories, so it should come as little surprise what piques my interest the most: how a myriad of individual comic books fit together. How can hundreds of thousands of comic book titles, all drawn and written by various creators, possibly function as a cohesive narrative that makes sense, especially over the course of decades? When faced with such a kaleidoscopic farrago, the comics coalesce to form a vast puzzle. Piecing together this difficult puzzle is exactly what the Real Batman Chronology Project is all about.
But where did my passion for superhero comics specifically begin? To make a long story short, my history with Batman probably isn’t all that different from a lot of people that grew up in the 1980s or 1990s. I was an impressionable 9-year-old when Batman the Animated Series first aired. That show definitely got me hooked on Batman. (Likewise, the criminally underrated Superman the Animated Series got me hooked on the rest of the DCU! DC owes so much more to Bruce Timm and Paul Dini then they will ever acknowledge.) My passion for Batman was further stimulated when I read a few Peter Milligan single issues at random during my pre-teen years and then when I devoured all the “Knightfall” issues as an early teen. I also really loved the Tim Burton films when I was a kid. So, with that foundation I was pretty much all-in.
My main inspiration for doing The Real Batman Chronology Project revolves around my previously stated obsession with figuring-out and ordering canon. The original goal of my project, around 2008 when it was first conceived, was to document the process of reading every single Modern Age Batman comic book. However, after I began reading I quickly realized that DC publishes a lot of monthly comic books that feature Batman, but they don’t tell you in what order to read them or how to organize them. And you can’t simply read them in the order they were published. It’s way more complex than that. When I inaugurated my blog about reading Batman comics way back in 2008, I noticed that there weren’t any timelines online (any decent ones, anyway—besides Chris Miller’s chronology, of course) and was quite frustrated. With little fear of arrogation, I decided that I myself might as well be the authority on the matter, or join the elite cognoscenti at the very least. Thus, an adventure in comic book reading evolved into the project you see before you: An attempt to stratify every Modern Age Batman appearance into chronological narrative reading order. The Real Batman Chronology Project was originally a blog, but its scope expanded tremendously and warranted significant change in 2011. Hence, the site you see here mirrors the blog, but in a more accessible and aesthetically pleasing format. The site also allows me to continue ongoing various research-based projects in regard to Batman Continuity—Continuity with a Capital C. The new blog contained within this site, called disCONTINUITY, also allows me to conduct commentaries on comic book narrative, authorship, fandom, culture, news, and more.
If there’s any one single comic book author that has most influenced me and who I would credit with truly inspiring me to create my chronology project, it’s without-a-doubt Grant Morrison. His first few years on Batman (2006 through 2010, especially) reaffirmed my love of superhero comics (and Batman) at a time when my interest was honestly starting to fade. And as they say, the rest is history.
If you are so inclined, please check out the now archived http://therealbatmanchronoproject.blogspot.com and add yourself as a follower! And feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com!
And last but certainly not least, thanks to Ashley Jean Mastrine and Ross Holtry for supporting me from the awkward beginning. Thanks also for the multitude of divers hands assistance that I’ve received along the way from countless friends and strangers alike.
ABOUT THE SITE CREATOR/PROJECT MANAGER:
Collin Colsher is a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and comic book scholar that currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is the creator of The Real Batman Chronology Project and disCONTINUITY. Collin also serves on the jury for the annual Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which is sponsored by the US Library of Congress.