Paul Dini has left an indelible mark on DC Comics and particularly on Batman. Alongside Bruce Timm, Dini helped turn Batman: The Animated Series into one of the greatest animated series ever made. However, at the height of the series' popularity, Dini was brutally mugged, leaving him deeply scarred. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the Batman writer is ready to explore that pain with his fans — in graphic novel form. Titled Dark Night: A True Batman Story, the book will show Dini grappling with his trauma, but with Batman and the Joker at his side.
Dini told THR that the assault happened back in 1993, while he was walking down La Peer Drive in Los Angeles. Two men attacked him, shattering his skull and forcing him to get surgery. The experience, as you might imagine, changed his outlook on life and on superheroes dramatically. "What makes Batman and what makes other superheroes work is the myth that when life is at its lowest, and when you need a hero, a hero swings down and helps you," he told THR. "And I didn’t have that."
"When you need a hero, a hero swings down and helps you. I didn't have that."
Drawn by Eduardo Risso, the novel takes a close look at his recovery, as he's coached on by Batman and his supporting cast of freaks and superpowered villains. Eventually he does convalesce, but he's changed by the experience.
Dini is well known in comics fandom for making Batman: TAS such a lauded cultural touchstone. Harley Quinn, one of his signature creations, gained a massive following after her debut in 1992, paving the way for her to appear in both the comics and in the critically acclaimed Arkham games. Elsewhere, his take on Mr. Freeze quickly became canon, turning what was once a campy villain into a tragic figure. The prospect of Dini looking inward, but with Batman still an integral figure in his story, is an exciting one. Dark Night: A True Batman Story will see release next June.