“On Oct. 10, New Jersey’s Monmouth University will confer the world’s first fine arts doctorate in comic books on Michael Uslan, the originator and executive producer of the blockbuster Batman movie franchise that began in 1989, including the recent Dark Knight trilogy.“
So begins the press release about Michael Uslan, who got started in movies by getting — for no charge — the rights to an old obscure comic book called Swamp Thing. He’s since become a major player in the DC Movie Universe, producing for both the live action and animated franchises.
His comics movie credits include the Nolan trilogy along with Batman: Year One, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, The Spirit, and… (ahem) Catwoman.
Monmouth President Paul G. Gaffney II says Uslan was chosen because of his decades-long work making comic book movies a legitimate genre of entertainment, something to be taken seriously by mainstream audiences. “We are proud to award Michael Uslan an honorary degree in the ‘fine art of comic books,’” he said. “Through his work and teaching, he has shown the world that comics are a legitimate art form and uniquely American.”
Uslan is recognized as a leading comic book historian, and has recently released his autobiography, The Boy Who Loved Batman (Chronicle). Along with his credits as a movie producer, Uslan has also written comics — notably the revival of The Shadow for DC Comics.
“Next,” says Uslan, “I’d like to see creative geniuses from the industry like the venerable Stan Lee recognized with Kennedy Center Honors for their achievements. What were once simply comic books are now being translated into the performing arts and it’s a crime that neither Stan nor any other creator from the field of American comic books and graphic novels has ever been recognized and honored by that illustrious group. And if it’s a crime, it means that Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, the Hulk and the rest will be after them if they don’t make it right.”