When I read that the Asbury Park Boardwalk would be holding a Bat-Fest, Egghead, Bookworm, not even Mad Hatter could stop me from getting there. On Saturday August 20th, an entire day of events dubbed “Bat-Fest” promoted Jersey born bat-producer Michael Uslan’s new memoir The Boy Who Loved Batman. If you’re male and you like Batman, then that title should sound like a familiar story.
The Batmobile is constantly maneuvering the streets of Gotham and isn’t used to cruising around down the shore, but on Saturday it made the trip from Gotham to Asbury Park on autopilot. That’s the kind of clout that Uslan has, after all, he was the man responsible for bringing all the Batman movies to the big screen. Both the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles were on display courtesy of John Brown of Gotham City Supercars for fans and beachgoers to take pictures with. Seeing the 1966 Batmbobile has been fairly common lately since it shows up at a lot of pop culture conventions, but the ’89 car isn’t always around, so I was excited to see it. The sleek ’89 model was parked beside the boardwalk and was in mint condition and driveable, unlike the shell that sits outside Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great Adventure.
Chicks dig the car, but they also like romantic rendezvous on the beach, and there was a little bit of that also. Going to watch movies on the beach has become a popular event in many shore towns, and Asbury Park presents many of them. Bat-fest capped off with a showing of the 1989 Batman movie introduced by Michael Uslan himself. I thought Uslan’s intro was insightful as he compared the Gotham City in the film before it’s 200th birthday to Asbury Park, a once crumbling city that has recently made quite a comeback.
Once I thumbed through Uslan’s book at The Sundry Times store on the boardwalk, I knew I wanted to read it. The first thing that struck me was the high quality pages and lots of color photos. What can I say, too many words intimidate me! I was able to speak with Michael at the end of the festivities and he took time answering my questions and signed my book as well.
Uslan isn’t just some guy who wanted to be a Hollywood movie producer. His heart has always been with comic books and superheroes. He once had a collection of nearly 30,000 comic books that he has since donated to Indiana University’s Lilly Library. You can take a look at Uslan’s IMDB profile and you’ll literally be amazed at how many comic book related projects he has produced throughout his career (Batman, Swamp Thing, and The Spirit to name a few) Uslan also created and produced one of the cartoons that I watched before leaving for school as a kid: Dinosaucers! I’ll be reading his book after I finish a couple of others and I can’t wait!
The Boy Who Loved Batman is available through Chronicle Books, Amazon, and book stores:
The Official Site of The Asbury Park Boardwalk: