Thursday, June 16, 2005

Holy Grim & Gritty!

'Critics have accused this story of giving birth to the era of "grim and gritty" comic books'
-- The Dark Knight Returns entry at Wikipedia.

'Tim Burton later adapted the comic's bleak sensibility for his first "Batman" movie, and since then, countless comics creators have aped the "grim and gritty" milieu.'
-- San Francisco Chronicle

'Overall, a very cool image that suggests Batman Begins will return the franchise to its grim and gritty pre-Schumacher days.
-- FilmForce

'If the original Dark Knight seems almost normal today, it’s because... it set the tone for the wave of “grim and gritty” superhero comics that’s still going on.'
-- Portland Phoenix

'Comic book writers wrestle with his dark, grim and gritty traits while trying to make him a mainstream hero to whom readers can relate.'
--Detroit News

So, to recap the conventional wisdom: Batman sucked until 1986, when people began to describe him with the grown-up sounding "grim and gritty."

Well, I found the earliest known citation of the term as it relates to Batman, and it will shock you. I am not kidding. It's true, I swear. And you'd better be sitting down:


NARRATOR: When last we saw our beleagured battlers, they were slowly sinking in a bitter batter of Riddler quicksand! A grim and gritty end awaits them unless something awfully good happens awfully fast!
-- Batman, A Riddling Controversy, first broadcast February 9, 1967

So, to all of you people who take the Dark Knight oh-so seriously: your very mantra comes from the ADAM WEST TV SHOW! When he was trapped in a GIANT CAKE! HAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry. It's just... HAAAAHAHA! Oh, God!

[Hard evidence here.]


El Duque said...


Congratulations. Your grim and gritty determination has paid off with a sensational journalistic scoop.

Rob Schamberger said...

And all these years Tim Truman said he invented the term. What a poser.

Dave Lartigue said...

So has anyone made a super team called Grim and Gritty yet?

Randall Kirby said...

The Thing and the Sandaman.

(And only in my head for years.)

Timothy Truman said...

Well, I never said I invented the term-- but the first time I ever heard it was at the First offices at an editorial meeting. I think it was the same meeting in Mike's office where we came up with "Sill Your Guts" as a title for the lettercol. We were talking about Joe Kubert's war comics, as I recall-- and I was describing his work as "-- that his characters always had a layer of dust and grime on them-- that they were dust caked, beard stubbled and "gritty"-- and that's one reason they looked believable. Onward we talked, Grimjack entered the dialogue, and the phrase "grim and gritty" worked its way into the converation. A very productive, entertaining, and enlightening meeting, all told. GJ was still a backup and we were specifically discussing the launch of the first issue (including such important topics as what to call the letter column). Which predated Dark Knight (a great comic that I enjoyed quite a bit) by a few (four, five?)years, boys.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

As for being dubbed "a poser" by a guy I don't think I've ever met, well, whatever. Maybe we'll run into each other one of these days and we can talk about it personally.

Ya'll have a good life. Great post. The revelation about the '67 Batman blurb was fantastic and much appreciated.

Superfrankenstein said...


Thanks for stopping by. I'm a fan of your work & I'm psyched that you liked the bat-revelation.



Anonymous said...