Title text: I'm really worried Christopher Nolan will kill a man dressed like a bat in his next movie. (The man will be dressed like a bat, I mean. Christopher Nolan won't be, probably.)
This comic is a reference to the comic book and movie character Batman, who is actually wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne, as we see on the left being referenced as "Master Wayne" by his butler Alfred. Batman, in contrast to Superman and other comic book heroes, has no superpowers. The name "Batman" suggests that he is a man who is part-bat, or has bat-like powers, but his only actual connection to bats is that he wears a bat-themed costume -- hence the description, "a man dressed like a bat." Thus, when Batman's connection to bats is made explicit, he loses a lot of his mystique.
In the middle is the stick figure representation of Batman and on the right is the Joker, as played by the late Heath Ledger. Each of these is an actual scene from a Batman film - specifically, the Dark Knight Trilogy - with the subject text replaced. In this way, Randall is pointing out that Batman commands a lot of respect and fear considering that all he is is a man in a costume (and arguably a silly one at that).
Then in the title text, Randall expresses his fear that Christopher Nolan (the director/producer/writer of the latest Batman trilogy) was going to kill Batman off in the then-upcoming movie Dark Knight Rises. Of course, Randall substitutes for "Batman" as in the comic. This causes a grammatical ambiguity which Randall points out where the "dressed like a bat" could apply to the "man" or to Nolan. A similar ambiguity explicitly discussed in the title text of 1087: Cirith Ungol.
There have been several comics using substitutions, but this may have been the first.
- [One panel, depicting three wavy circles. The one in the center is slightly larger, and the ones on either side are higher up. Their edges are touching.]
- [The left circle has Bruce Wayne in the foreground, with Alfred in the background.]
- Alfred: Know your limits, Master Wayne.
- Bruce: A man dressed like a bat has no limits.
- [The center circle has a close-up on Batman in his cowl.]
- Someone off-screen: What the hell are you?
- Batman: I'm a man dressed like a bat.
- [In the right circle is The Joker.]
- Off-screen: What do you propose?
- Joker: It"s simple - we kill a man dressed like a bat.
- My Hobby: Whenever anyone says "Batman," I mentally replace it with "a man dressed like a bat."
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