This year’s New York Comic Con had the honor of hosting the dedication ceremony honoring Batman’s 75th anniversary with the unveiling of his very own stamp! Jim Lee along with Dan Didio were on hand with stamp sheet designer, Greg Breeding, and USPS CIO Jim Cochrane as a select few were given their first look the 2014 Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamp. As they came across the stage to a nice round of applause the Caped Crusader accompanied them while stopping for a few pictures and waved at the crowd. The applause grew even louder as Jim, Dan, Greg, and Jim began to take the blue sheets down giving the fans their official look at the giant sized replicas of what some fans in the audience called the “Batstamps”.
Now, this isn’t the first time Batman has been on a stamp as he was part of the DC Comics Super Heroes sheet back in 2006. However, this time he gets the spotlight all to himself. With artwork by Bob Kane for the Golden Age stamp, Dick Sprang’s art was chosen for the Silver Age, Neal Adams has his version of the Dark Knight on the Bronze Age stamp, while Jim Lee’s Batman adorns the Modern Age stamp.
You might wonder how in the world could Batman’s 75 year presence be narrowed down to just four stamps. Didio and Lee did assure those present that it wasn’t an easy decision since many great artists have had a hand in the Dark Knight’s visual look over the decades. Didio also spoke a bit about the history of Batman and made it official that young Bruce Wayne was a stamp collector to help keep that connection with his father after his death. This brought a few laughs amid the applause and cheers from fans. Lee went on to say that “Batman has inspired and influenced fans around the world for generations and will continue to do so for the next 75 years and beyond.” Didio also joked about the fact there are 80 million of the limited edition stamps and that his definition of the phrase is quite different from the USPS. The four gentlemen talked a bit more about the history and evolution of Batman over his impressive 75 years while pointing out what they thought were their own favorite moments. They soon wrapped up the discussion and headed down for autographs and interviews.
We were able to get a few minutes of Jim Lee’s time to pick his brain about the legacy of Batman after a round of introductions and a few laughs.
Comic Attack: Since Batman has been drawn by so many talented artists is there a version of him that didn’t make it on the Forever Stamp that you would have liked to have seen?
Jim Lee: I would have loved to have seen The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller stamp. That would definitely go up on my wall! Stan (Kaye) would have been awesome. Also Daivid Mazzucchelli from Batman: Year One, Brian Bolland with a Killing Joke stamp would have been amazing! Marshall Rogers…wow…there’s so many that I could go on and on! Oh! Greg Capullo’s art would have been a great modern piece for the collection!
CA: The scope of that is pretty huge by itself so how hard was it just to actually narrow it down to the four stamps in this collection?
JL: [laughs] Wow…well, that was the challenge. We could have done two dozen of these and STILL would have left off some of the great Batman artists. In over 75 years you’re going to have a lot of great talents touching the world of Batman and adding to that mythology and it would have been great to honor them all. But thankfully and hopefully there will be more sets of Batman and we’d love to include more artists and actually more members of the Batman family.
CA: Who are some other characters that you feel are deserving of an honor like this?
JL: Obviously Wonder Woman! I think her anniversary is coming up fairly soon and she’s arguably the most popular super heroine in the world. An icon in herself and I think it would be a great honor to have a Wonder Woman stamp. So luckily we now made this connection and hopefully can make that happen!
CA: Now, what have been some of your favorite Batman storylines over the years
JL: I would say the heyday for me was the 80s. That was when Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns came out, Batman Year One, Killing Joke…that was when I was really into my comic collecting days. Those stories were so impactful, not just in terms of the entertainment value but they really inspired me to become a comic book professional. I remember Dark Knight came out in 86, I graduated college that year and I just decided I would be a comic book artist and there was no turning back from that point!
CA: In looking at the different incarnations of Batman all around us today, do you have a preference in terms of the Batman symbol? Yellow background or no back ground?
JL: [laughs] I personally like the yellow background but people get very um…fanatical about that and go “no we can’t do that. It’s gotta be just grey or just black.” So I’ve been shot down a couple of times! [laughs] You’d think I’d be able to wield a little more influence than that but people are really particular about their Batman. It’s just like how much milk to add to cereal. It has to be very, very personal.
CA: With all of the celebration for Batman’s 75th anniversary are there any plans for a new Batman animated series to debut soon?
JL: There are plans for Batman in all media at all times, guys. I can’t divulge or share any more than that! [laughs]
So after thanking Jim for his time and a few more exchanges the event came to an end and the Batman Forever Stamp was made available to buy at the DC booth! If you’re a fan of Batman, stamp collecting, or both then I’d suggest snatching up a sheet or the framed display before the 80 million stamps are all gone!