Batman: The Dark Knight Falls (1986) Cover art by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley.
Book 4, 1986, DC Comics ($2.95)

“The Dark Knight Falls”

writer/artist, Frank Miller; inks, Klaus Janson;
color & visual effects, Lynn Varley; letters, John Costanza;
editors, Dick Giordano & Denny O’Neil

Harlan Ellison appears off-panel on pages 13-14 as an on-air guest during television coverage of a nuclear attack on Gotham.


Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was Frank Millers groundbreaking story of the Batman, some time in the future at the end of his career, in his final battle against the Joker and the training of a new, female Robin. Issue 4, “The Dark Knight Falls,” features both a nuclear attack on Gotham City and Batman’s final fight with Superman, now a weapon of the US government. One of the many stylistic themes throughout the series were panels of television screens, allowing the programs on television to provide exposition and allow the author to comment on media saturation. HE appears off panel during a string of reports on the nuclear attacks.

The first page features a television host who gives the following intro:

“Thanks for the data, Dan. But we’ll all know soon enough what it can do. Right now, we’ve got Author Harlan Ellison in the studio…”

On the next page, we return at the end of the segment. In a panel that focuses on the former Commissioner Gordon watching the television in the street we are treated to two lines of dialogue. Harlan Ellison speaks:

“…be eating our own babes for breakfast.”

And the host responds:

“Thank you, Mr. Ellison… Yes Dan?”


Collected in a variety of trade-paperback and hardcover collections, including:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, November 1986, Warner Books/DC Comics ($12.95, ISBN: 0-446-38505-0)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Tenth Anniversary Edition, 1996, DC Comics ($45.00)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 2002, DC Comics ($24.95, ISBN: 1-56389-341-X)
  • Absolute Dark Knight, 2006, DC Comics ($99.99)