“I’d spend hours reading and writing little short stories when I was young,” states British author Gary Collinson when recalling his childhood.” I always knew I’d like to be a writer and by my teens I’d developed a huge interest in film so my ambitions shifted towards screenwriting.” The second installment of the original Star Wars trilogy left a lasting impression. “For as long as I can remember, The Empire Strikes Back  has been my favourite movie; I’ve never grown tired of it, particularly the opening Battle of Hoth and the Cloud City showdown between Luke and Darth Vader which I could watch over and over again.” Deciding not to leave the North East of England for London, the resident of South Shields drifted from his initial aspiration. “After leaving school I spent a few years working in various office jobs and found myself writing less and less.” Collinson sought to assist young talented musicians who were being ignored by the local venues. “A few friends and I got together and started to promote gigs in our spare time, which then led to us setting up a small independent record label and promotions company. It was moderately successful but music has never been as much of a passion of mine as film. After a while I started to regret not exploring my own ambitions; I decided to quit my job and enroll on a media production degree at university.” To keep active with his writing, the graduate began composing film reviews; this led him to establish the UK movie blog Flickering Myth “as a place for me to collect together these reviews and other pieces, but it quickly grew into much more than that.”
“The biggest challenge in writing the book was sifting through the near seventy year screen history of the character and trying to work my way through all of the conflicting information,” explains Gary Collinson. “It helped that I’d already written the Holy Franchise article, which served as a basic outline for the book. I was a little naïve about how much more research was needed to ensure I covered everything, especially considering the tight time-frame I was working to with the publisher. Fortunately, my girlfriend was on hand to assist me with the research, and it helped that she’s also a fan of the character, although probably not so much by the time the book was finished!” The looming deadline altered the content of the publication. “Originally, I’d planned to include episode guides for both the 1960s show and Batman: The Animated Series. Unfortunately, due to time and space constraints, Batman: TAS was the one that had to go.”“Christopher Nolan’s movies have been so influential on the entire superhero movie genre, to the point now where every new film seems to be adopting the same dark, realistic approach,” observes Gary Collinson. “Obviously, after The Dark Knight Rises we’ll be getting a new ‘reboot.’ I imagine the studio will be looking to continue down the same path. There’s also the animated adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns  and the new CG Beware the Batman [Cartoon Network, 2013] series to look forward to next year. At the moment, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be seeing a return to the colourful, camp-style Caped Crusader any time soon, but you never know.” In regards to his creative accomplishment of turning his three-part feature into a 256-page publication, Collinson remarks, “I’ve already achieved more than I could have hoped by getting a book published, especially with the way things are in the publishing industry at the moment. To be able to walk into a shop and see a book I’ve written sitting on the shelf is something that I’d dreamed about when I was young; I’m very grateful to the people at Robert Hale for helping me to fulfill that ambition. Obviously, I don’t expect my name to be popping up on the New York Times bestseller list any time soon. Hopefully, anyone who picks up a copy of the book will enjoy it and maybe discover a few things they don’t already know about the character, which would make all of the hard work worthwhile!”
Many thanks to Gary Collinson for taking the time for this interview.
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.