About Me

…continued from Building Timelines for Dummies/A Few Parting Words
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WHO I AM, HOW I CAME TO BE

I don’t often get into my own personal history on 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—the characters, the costumes, sci-fi weirdness, the drama, the art, social commentary, cultural critique, and shark-jumping. I also value detailed world-building when it comes to superhero stories. Because of this, I am highly interested in how a myriad of individual comic books fit together. How can this chaotic bricolage—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.

My passion for superhero comics started when, as a five-year-old, I was gifted a treasure trove of random comics, including some great Frank Miller and Peter Milligan single issues, which were my first dip into the medium. After that, 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 six-year-old when Tim Burton’s Batman was released in theaters. I couldn’t have been more enamored. And I was still impressionable when Batman the Animated Series first aired three years later. That show definitely got me hooked on Batman more than anything else, although I was still mostly unfamiliar with the comics version of the character. My interest, then, turned to collecting DC and Marvel trading cards for a few years. But due to Warner Bros holding the copyright license to Batman back in those days, the DC cards never included the Dark Knight or his rogues. Having very few Batman comics of my own—and being more into Star Wars and Marvel as a kid, I still didn’t know much about the Caped Crusader’s vast narrative history. It was the criminally underrated Superman the Animated Series that got me obsessed with the shared comic book world of the DCU, which ironically led me into the paper world of Batman! DC owes so much more to Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett then they will ever acknowledge. By the time the final amazing seasons of Superman the Animated Series aired from 1998 to 2000, I was in my mid-teens and it was much easier for me to visit the local comic book stores and graphic novel section of the big chain bookstore, now specifically seeking out material that matched the amazing characters from the Superman show. I immediately devoured Cosmic Odyssey, The Dark Knight Returns, and all of “Knightfall,” and then I was all-in forever.

My main inspiration for doing The Real Batman Chronology Project revolves around my previously stated idée fixe 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 princeps 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 current version of the Real Batman Chronology Project 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.

This project is an exegetical study of serialized storytelling in superhero comics. As such, it speaks about something broader than just Batman—it speaks about the complexity of superhero comics in general. When we read (or create) serialized superhero comic book narratives, we engage in a perceptive (or creative) process that is quite unlike any other. My project serves to analyze and catalogue this phenomenon. Some fans (maybe most fans) have little interest in a deep dive like this. For some fans (maybe most fans), a deep dive like this can actually ruin the type of engagement they have with comics and superheroes (i.e. an intensely “fun and carefree” type of fandom, but one that is less analytic). For example, some fans (maybe most fans) might consider my project as having as much worth (or worthlessness) as Tim Leong’s Super Graphic. I’m not trying to yuck anyone’s yum or draw attention to the flaws or inconsistencies within the superhero genre. As I’ve said before, my project is a labor of love. In doing a deep dive, I show superhero comics as they are—warts and all—but I always wind up caring for them even 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 project, it’s without-a-doubt Grant Morrison. His first few years writing 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.

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.
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ABOUT THE SITE CREATOR/PROJECT MANAGER:

Collin Colsher, the creator of The Real Batman Chronology Project and disCONTINUITY, is a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and comic book historian that currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has lectured at various universities, libraries, and book fairs. Collin has also served on the jury for the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which is sponsored by the US Library of Congress.
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