“It’s not easy”: Converting DC Comics Arcs to Animated Movies Was a Nightmare for the Legendary Alan Burnett For a Simple Reason

Alan Burnett reveals some challenges that make it hard for the creators to adapt comic books to animation.

“It’s not easy”: Converting DC Comics Arcs to Animated Movies Was a Nightmare for the Legendary Alan Burnett For a Simple Reason


  • Alan Burnett is one of the most iconic producers in the animation industry, especially with respect to the superhero genre.
  • He has produced dozens of movies featuring DC Superheroes and recently revealed the effort that go behind making them.
  • Adapting a comic book to an animated movie is "not easy," as per the titan himself.
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Alan Burnett is a true titan of the animation industry. From the “Smurfs” to “Batman: The Animated Series” and more, he is known for his masterful storytelling. But even for a groundbreaking artist like him, there always are challenges on the road.

The Batman beating Penguin and his henchmen in Batman: Hush
A still from Batman: Hush

The task of adapting classic comics into visually stunning movies is a nightmare for the creators including Burnett as well. DC Comics has a rich roster of superheroes and stories. Bringing these characters to the screen is a dream. However, turning this dream into reality is no easy feat.

Alan Burnett Reveals Some Challenges In Adapting Classic DC Comics To Animated Movies

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) - IMDb
A still from Batman: The Killing Joke

Alan Burnett recently spoke to The Pitch on a number of topics. The conversation eventually moved to the task of adapting the stories of DC to animated movies. He has produced a number of DC Animated Movies like The Mask of Phantasm, Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, The Return of Black Adam, The Killing Joke, and many more.


Despite being one of the most experienced guys in the field, Burnett still pays his respect to the complexity involved in comic book movies. The primary reason is the expectations of fans. The comic books run for a long time and thus, there is a lot to cover in a period of sixty to ninety minutes.

“Well, it’s not easy.” Alan Burnett talking about making comic book movies “You wanna respect the original property, but some of these stories that we put into a 90-minute video, maybe 70-minute video–some of them are 12 comic book issues long. I generally found that the best stories for the videos that we were producing covered six comic books. It was a matter of making cuts that still gave you the core story that the fans wanted to see.”

“Sometimes it was difficult. There was only one story where we did, The Killing Joke, which was a 50-minute story. It would not get any bigger than that on screen and we adhere to it pretty closely. We had to fill it out to full DVD time. We added a prelude story to it, but you figure it out as, as you go along.”

The creators have to decide how to fit all that work within their time limit without disappointing fans via major exclusions.

Three Decades Later, Mask of the Phantasm Is Still One of Alan Burnett’s Most Loved Projects

Alan Burnett's Mask of the Phantasm
A still from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Alan Burnett was a television legend before the 1990s and ventured into filmmaking at that time. His second movie was Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, which became one of the many reasons why The Dark Knight is the one character that comes into mind upon hearing the word ‘superhero.’


During his interview with The Pitch, Burnett was asked his opinion on the movie being called the “definitive Batman cinematic achievement.” He certainly had no complaints about this and revealed that he loved the story right from the start.

“Yeah, it is.” Alan Burnett on Mask of the Phantasm being the Batman cinematic achievement. “I’ll tell you the truth because I wrote the story and I liked the story and it was a group effort with all the writers on staff.”

Fans can stream Mask of the Phantasm on Amazon Prime Video.


Written by Piyush Yadav

Articles Published: 158

Piyush Yadav is a young and cheerful writer from India. Wrestling, Movies, TV and Gaming - He loves all things entertainment. From WWE matchups to the Hollywood news, he has been exploring these worlds for more than two years to create informative and engaging content. Balancing his passion for writing with his pursuits of Chartered Accountancy, Yadav aims to provide a fun read to a wider audience.