Until about 30 years ago, the character of Batman had become something of a joke, having never fully recovered from the campiness of the Adam West TV series from the 1960s. One man — comics historian and writer Michael Uslan — instinctively knew that the character could be so much more. To this end, he somehow managed to acquire the rights to the character from DC Comics and began trying to convince Hollywood that his vision of the Dark Knight on film was legitimate. But it took more than a decade before he was able to do so.

“I was shocked out of my senses,” he admits in the new installment of CloserWeekly.com’s Classic TV & Film podcast, “when I was turned down by every single studio in Hollywood and repeatedly was told I was crazy. That you can’t do serious comic book movies. I was told that I was nuts; that you can’t do dark superheroes as a whole. I was out of my mind, because you cannot make movies out of old TV series. So as a result, from the time I bought the rights to Batman until we were able to get that first movie made, it took 10 long years. Ten years of a human endurance contest. Ten years of not knowing where my next dollar was coming from. Ten years of having my back up against the wall. Ten years of hearing nothing but rejection.

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(Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

“And when that happens,” Michael, author of the memoir The Boy Who Loved Batmanadds, “let me tell you something: you’ve got to search deep inside yourself. It tests your mettle as a human being, and eventually I asked myself the burning question: Is everybody right and I’m wrong? Am I just being stubborn? I was hanging on by my fingertips and it felt like a siege, but I considered myself to be Batman’s Batman. I was trying to defend and protect him. I was not going to let this go.”

There’s a lot more to the story, which Michael discusses in the podcast. You can subscribe to the Classic TV & Film podcast here.