Batman propels comic ‘geek’ to Hollywood fame

NO, REALLY: Michael Uslan could easily blow Campbell River’s entire annual city budget in a couple afternoons on the set

The coolest sweatshirt I ever owned no longer fits. Truth is, it’s long-gone and I don’t recall wearing it.

But a single photograph attests to its existence. There I am, perhaps three years old, standing on the front porch of the family home.

I’m wearing jeans, a red ball cap with toy binoculars around my neck, and a soft, white, cotton sweatshirt. And the best thing about it is the bold, black Batman logo emblazoned across the chest.


Later, as a teenager and a Batman fan, I searched high and low for the same sweatshirt, but was foiled time and time again by those jokers working in the Chinese T-shirt factories.

Still haven’t found it, but on Tuesday night I considered nagging Michael Uslan to see if he had a spare Batman sweatshirt or hoodie floating about in the back of his closet.

But the line-up of fellow Batman fans was long in the Tidemark Theatre lobby as Uslan took the time to sign each and every autograph, and to pose for photos with fans as well.

As the producer of the mega-successful Batman series of films, Uslan could easily blow Campbell River’s entire annual city budget in a couple afternoons on the set of his next big film.

He could also be eating caviar sprinkled with gold leaf in some tropical paradise, but somehow I don’t think that’s his preferred style. Instead, Uslan – multi-millionaire, Hollywood juggernaut – is a down-to-earth family guy, who comes from humble roots and clearly enjoys sharing his passion with others. And that passion is comic books.

Even at 61, the youthful-looking Uslan retains a child-like enthusiasm for comics. This quality, combined with a never-ever-quit attitude, and a visionary sense for what entertains movie patrons, has propelled him to the top.

It also helps when your movies and the related spinoff products generate billions of dollars for the corporate overlords.

But money isn’t the prime motivator for this self-admitted comic geek who accumulated 30,000 comic books in his New Jersey garage by the time he was a teen.

He’s motivated by his passion, to seize opportunities and take risks, to keep evolving in a constantly changing world, and to rely on yourself to enable change.

It’s that last trait which is very Batman like. The appeal of the Caped Crusader, says Uslan, is he has no super powers like Superman or the X-Men.

He’s just a regular human being – albeit a rich one – who’s motivated by the death of his parents to fight criminals in a crime-ridden city.

That speaks to a lot of people, says Uslan, who spent 10 years hearing “no” as he pitched the Batman film.

It was a treat to hear Uslan and see Batman again. It still holds up!

Now about that sweatshirt…

  • Why does super-famous Hollywood producer come to Campbell River? Well, you can thank the super-connected Joan Miller of INfilm who invited him here.