Back when it was coming out on a “regular” basis, All-Star Batman and Robin (or ASSBAR, as we used to call it) was consistently one of the best-selling and most hotly-debated comics of its era.
From 2005 to 2008, DC released 10 issues, written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Jim Lee. The release schedule was sporadic, with issues coming out once every six months or so.
The series was most famous for two things: First, Batman referred to himself in nearly every issue, at some point, as “The Goddamn Batman;” and, second, the tenth issue was recalled for accidentally going to print without properly editing out some colorful language.
Along with All-Star Superman, it was supposed to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Ultimate line – - a starting point for new readers, where the biggest names in comic book publishing were going to be creating classic storylines for the uninitiated, free of the decades of continuity that had bogged down all of the other main DC titles, which had made them nearly impenetrable for people trying to break in.
But after those first ten issues, they just… stopped. Which begs the question, what happened?
If you want the short version of that answer, it’s this: Nothing. Nothing happened, and nothing is going to happen. The series is dead, dormant, or defunct, and it won’t ever come back, unless by some sort of miracle.
The longer answer is more fun, though.
After two years of not seeing a new issue, DC announced in 2010 that the series would be rennamed “Dark Knight: Boy Wonder,” and the team of Miller & Lee would finish out six more issues (hopefully giving us a final fight between The Dynamic Duo and the Justice League, which had been promised and teased since issue one), a run that would start in 2011.
But that never happened.
Instead, Jim Lee became the Co-Publisher of DC Comics in early 2010, started work on The New 52 – - specifically the relaunched Justice League, written by Geoff Johns – - and was sufficiently sidetracked from ever going back to ASSBAR.
Meanwhile, Frank Miller took a property he’d originally written as a Batman story, “Holy Terror, Batman!” and rebranded it as “Holy Terror,” under a different publisher, Legendary Comics, with a different main character. It was widely disregarded as anti-Islamic propaganda upon release, which makes you wonder if it was actually Miller’s decision to take Batman out of the story, or if DC just flat-out told him he couldn’t use their character anymore.
At the same time, the bloom came off the rose on Frank’s film career, as The Spirit was one of the worst movies ever released. I don’t want to qualify that statement; I just want to let it sit there for awhile.
Now that the movie follow-up to “Sin City” has been delayed by nearly a year, it kind of makes you wonder. Has everybody in power finally given up on Frank Miller?
And isn’t it about time?