Haters Gonna Hate: Letter from Irate BATMAN: YEAR ONE Reader

Sometimes people might forget what things were like BEFORE THE INTERNET. Back then, ignorant bile wasn’t not only tolerated by publishers, but published. Here we have such an example. Published in Batman #408, the fourth part of the now legendary Batman: Year One storyline, this fan from my old neighborhood in Queens has a problem with David Mazzucchelli’s art from issue #404. More than anything I’m impressed that DC did publish it, and I guarantee you that wherever that dude is, he still thinks it was trash. Unfortunately, you won’t find a comic fan alive today who doesn’t think that art is sublime.

OK, you would. But I don’t want to think about it.

I can just imagine Mr. Dwayne fuming, his $0.75 lost, maybe forever on such dreck, and if you could find the handwritten screed, or better yet, if he’d pulled out a typewriter, I bet you could smell the lonely and indignant stink of a righteous anger. Remember this next time you’re feeling a little too hot under the collar about something that happened in a comic book. Do you want to be the Kevin Dwayne of 2036?

Oh, and he did look a bit like Gregory Peck. So he’s got that going for him.

Thanks again to Jeff Reid, who continually scours the annals of comics for our delight.


  1. Two things:

    1. The main lesson here is, if you’re writing an angry letter, never end it with “I bet you won’t publish this!” It just makes you look like an even bigger dick when they do.

    2. To be fair… the art in “Hagar the Horrible” IS pretty amazing.

    • What I can’t understand is how so many fans constantly say, “I bet DC/Marvel won’t even publish this!” when in just about every comic that has a letter column, they almost always publish at least one angry letter.

      They aren’t afraid of your opinion guys. Guess what? You already paid for the book.

      Anyway, this actually made my day. Thanks Mr. Flanagan.

  2. Bruce Wayne being modeled after Gregory Peck is not only awesome but not unusual (see: BATMAN: YEAR ONE & KINGDOM COME).

    I giggled a bit when he complained about paying “$0.75 for that shit”. Oh man, those were the days.

  3. Since when is resembling Gregory Peck an insult?

    • Avatar photo JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

      I’m assuming that Kevin Dwayne is not a fan of photo-referencing in his comics.

    • I believe Gregory Peck was an ongoing character reference throughout Batman’s history, much like how Paul Newman was for Green Lantern in the 60’s, Buster Keaton for Superman in the early days, and Vincent Price for Dr. Strange in the Silver Age.

    • That Gregory Peck comment was the funniest part of the whole letter.

  4. I bet angry messages on the internet would look a lot different if you had to pay $0.27 for every comment you left. Maybe not *better*. But definitely different.

  5. Batman: Year One was the run that got me hooked as a kid. The art is awesome. Wow.

  6. Dear Kevin Dwayne.

    I will take that book of your hands. No lie. I will also give you a full dollar for it. 25 CENTS PROFIT!

  7. Batman Year One and DD: Born Again. My top 2 superhero stories of all time for a reason. Miller/Mazz = lightning in a bottle!

  8. I kind of want to send this guy Asterios Polyp.

  9. This should be a “Great Moments in Comics” post

  10. There needs to be a Jeff Reid tag.

  11. Wow…..I can’t imagine anyone looking at that book and thinking the art was bad enough to warrant such a heated response….crazy.

  12. I hope someone ‘egged’ his house!

    But seriously, this is a great lettercol find. I’m always looking for good letters and sometimes even blog about them. They truly are windows into a different time.

  13. Also, note the “Dear Gentlemen”. Don’t see that on the Internet.

  14. Make Mine Marvel? I wonder if he also hated Mazz’s Daredevil?

  15. You know you’re doing something new and original when people take the time to tell you how much they hate you.

  16. Well, at least back then, angry comic readers had their real names and addresses published. Let’s see a message board that required that info in order to post their insults.

    • there is another popular comics site that uses the “login with facebook” method and on any given article they have like 5comments…

      give a man a mask..

    • dude, i just wouldn’t want employers to look me up on facebook and see me talking about comics all day. come on now

    • apparently the login with facebook/twitter/or some other accountable source is becoming extremely popular with more mainstream media sites that have controversial subject matter like politics….keeps the trolls out and elevates the comment/debate intelligence…allegedly.

    • It’s probably more about traffic. Facebook is ubiquitous. If you’re on Facebook, there’s a higher chance someone will find you because one of their friends was on.

  17. I’m not sure how this guy came to spend 75 hard earned cents on a book whose artwork he sooo loathed when he was perfectly free to look through the book before purchase? It’s not like it was polybagged. He has only himself to blame for his poor purchase.

  18. Man, that letter hurt me. ouch.

  19. When Jeff first tweeted this my original thought and it’s still tickles me now is that:

    He used the word ‘disgustedly’ in a proper way. He had no problem calling the art ‘shit’ but he knew he had to end the letter formally. So he used a word that obvious has no proper use to end it.

    Just fantastic.

  20. I can only add that when I got issues #404-407, when I paid for a year’s subscription to the comic book the year after I graduated high school, when I pulled them out of their packaging, I was in awe of Mazzucchelli’s artwork. I thought it was amazing how he conveyed so much detail with so few lines (I thought the coloring was fantastic, too). I consider those issues and that story to be a modern masterpiece of comic booking, particularly in the world of Batman comics.

    I still get flashes of some of the panels in my head sometimes (Miller’s dialogue seemed more appropriate than in The Dark Knight Returns; didn’t seem so over the top): “There are 12 working defenses from this position…” (my memory is crap nowadays, but I think that was the gist of it), and the classic shot of Batman sneaking out of the building in that swarm of bats.

    Just amazing!

  21. This isn’t the only angry letter published about Year One, Chris Sim’s from Comics Alliance expanded on this article here:


  22. Dude I totally thought Batman looked like John Saxon too in Kingdom Come! HILARIOUS!!!
    All I could think of was Enter The Dragon or Nightmare on Elm street…Not the Rorschach Freedy version either

    I wonder what this dude thinks of gas prices today.

  23. That back handed slam on Hagar the Horrible was kind of uncalled for.

  24. I thought the artwork was pretty bad in Year One back when it came out and I was 13. (I thought the art on Year Two, Alan Davis and Todd McFarlane was much cooler!) But it certainly didn’t send me into an angry rage or make me only want to read Marvel comics. That’s silly.

  25. When I was 13 and Sienkiewicz’s New Mutants came out, I thought it was horrible. By the time I was 17 he was my favorite. Now I have his mobile number and lots of his artwork.

    So let’s give this a happy ending and imagine that Kevin has evolved and is hoarding all those Mazzucchelli pages, which are only rarely seen on eBay.

    • I hated Sienkiewicz’s work, too. And Jack Kirby. I was buying DC Who’s Who, and I thought, “I don’t know who this Jack Kirby is, but he is the worst artist I’ve ever seen.”

      Later on I learned how bad ass he really was.

    • Sienkiewicz is a fave of mine, probably the first comics artist whose career I followed.

  26. Wow..I’m astonished..!
    Between Batman:year one and Daredevil, Frank and David created beautifully-rendered timeless stories. I was so excited watching David’s work mature so quickly; and it was the first time in so long that Frank had done anything marvel that every page was just golden!