Back in 1989, unable to wait for the release of Tim Burton’s first Batman, I remember trying to get hold of anything Dark Knight-related — and as I spoke only French at the time, the choice was limited. Though, I managed to find Frank Miller’s amazing Batman: Year One — which heavily inspired the most recent movie adaptation — and the French translation (published by J’ai Lu, I believe) of The Further Adventures of Batman, a collection of short stories compiled by Martin H. Greenberg.
A few of the stories were trivial or outdated (hear all about Bruce Wayne’s super-computer, powered by… vacuum tubes — the pre-1950 precursors to transistors!), some were curious (Isaac Asimov’s take on the Dark Knight, using his Black Widowers format), but a handful left a really lasting impression on me.
In particular, one, Neutral Ground, took the viewpoint of the man who makes Batman’s costumes and gadgets. The treatment was subtle and tactful, the in-jokes delightful… And the ending was absolute genius.
More than twenty years later, I still remember the story, and recently I wondered who had written this masterpiece. Could he have committed some other delicious little things like this one?
It took some time digging out the information (the book doesn’t seem to be published in French anymore), but I found it, and…
Morality… I don’t know. Though maybe… “There are people who wouldn’t know what to do with it if they were given gold; and there are some, who can just take anything and turn it into gold”.
And do try to get hold of this short story if you can — it’s a mint.