"Bruce Wayne. Humanitarian. You self-righteous hypocrite. You talk about the sanctity of human life… while you lie buried under scores of human victims. What about their lives? Are they simply the cost of upholding your cowardly morality" At the DC Fandome event, director Matt Reeves talked about the upcoming The Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, and specifically named the late Darwyn Cooke's Batman: Ego comic book as a major reference point for the psychology of the new movie. It's been mentioned before, but never so officially. "He's confronting the beast of the duality. Him confronting the shadow side of himself" and exploring a Jungian side to the Batman.
Batman Ego by Darwyn Cooke was published by DC Comics in 2000 and has been collected with either stories since. It was originally pitched for work at Warner Bros. Animation after replying to an ad for storyboard artists in The Comics Journal placed by animator Bruce Timm. His successful pitch included 14 pages that eventually would be published in 2000 as Batman: Ego. Described by Cooke as "What if Batman and Bruce Wayne were able to sit down and talk about what it is they do?", the internal dialogue of Batman: Ego between Bruce Wayne and Batman was inspired by the 1981 film My Dinner with Andre.
Batman Ego sees Batman tracking down the Joker through a henchman Buster Snibbs, only for Snibbs to commit suicide, knowing that the Joker will know he betrayed him. Bruce Wayne is consumed by guilt and decides to retire his alter ego, but instead divides his mind into competing narratives, his Batman Id versus his Bruce Wayne Superego.
They debate their shared history, Bruce's childhood, Batman's beginnings, and the rise of Gotham's supervillains. Batman refuses to be retired, and decided that they must kill the Joker. Bruce Wayne refuses. After much psychological torment, the two halves reach a compromise, Bruce Watne will accept the guilt and responsibility of Batman's crusade, as long Batman can accepts he must stand for hope as well as fear. As The Joker escapes again.
Batman: Ego came so close to not happening though. While Cooke worked in Warner Bros animation, his comic book pitch was forgotten until it was unearthed several years later by former DC art director Mark Chiarello, who contacted Cooke, and asked if he still wanted to do it. And that is how Darwyn Cooke started working for DC Comics – and the rest is history. And now DC has a movie out of it.
Yesterday, after no such sales for weeks. several sales of the original 2000 copy as well as the 2007 hardcover collection with other Batman stories by Cooke took place on eBay. Copies of the original comic, originally at $7, has now sold copies for up to $20 with one current copy at $30 with ten bids. Amazon Marketplace is trying to get fifty bucks…