Patrick Leahy The Batman ‘geek’ spends time between US Senate and Gotham City

This Batman mega fan calls himself “a bit of a geek,” but everyone else calls him senator — as in US Senator Patrick Leahy, a veteran Democratic lawmaker.

The 77-year-old Leahy is such a fan of the Caped Crusader that he has made cameo appearances in five Batman movies, including “Batman Forever” (1995), Christopher Nolan´s “Dark Knight” (2008), and most recently in “Batman vs Superman” (2016).

At one early film shoot, he even got to meet the late Batman co-creator Bob Kane — and like any self-respecting fan, he asked him to sign some of the comic books in his collection.

“Batman doesn´t have any superpowers. He has to use his brain and his courage. That´s what always appealed to me,” Leahy told AFP.

In an interview in his office on Capitol Hill, Leahy explained how he discovered Batman´s adventures at the age of five at a library in Montpelier, in his native state of Vermont, which he represents in the Senate.

His hero was created in 1939, just one year before the future senator was born.

And thus a fan came to be.

´Teasing´ from Senate colleagues

Batman has been by Leahy´s side during his long political career, which began with his successful 1974 Senate run, in which he won in a three-way race.

One of his opponents? Bernie Sanders, the future senator and presidential hopeful. Leahy was just 34 at the time.

Today, even if the tall lawmaker is slowed a bit by age, he is forever young at heart — a Batman logo adorns his agenda, visible on his desk.

Leahy says his passion for the hero of Gotham City has made him the target of some “good natured teasing” from fellow senators over the years.

Leahy is actually a serious comic book fan and collector.

His favorite author is Frank Miller, best known as the author of “The Dark Knight Returns,” a mid-1980s series portraying a gritty, middle-aged Batman in a violent future, and the comic book series “Sin City” (1991-1992) and “300” (1998).

Encyclopedic knowledge

In 1992, managers at DC Comics, which publishes the Batman books, asked Leahy to write the foreword to a special collection of the first four Batman comic books.

The senator displays a quasi-encyclopedic knowledge of his hero´s adventures: he remembered that, contrary to popular belief, Batman used firearms to kill his enemies in the early days.

“I told them the date and gave them within a page or two where it was and where the frame was,” Leahy said.

“They said, ´Yeah, right.´ They were not going to argue and wanted to humor a senator. But they found out that I was right.”

Four years later, while in the midst of a congressional debate on banning landmines, Leahy reached out to DC Comics for support.

He asked if they could come up with an issue on the horrors of using landmines.

The result? “Batman: Death of Innocents” (1996), a comic book in which the Caped Crusader faces the real-world threat of children being killed by the devices in war zones.

Leahy is actually a serious comic book fan and collector.

His favorite author is Frank Miller, best known as the author of “The Dark Knight Returns,” a mid-1980s series portraying a gritty, middle-aged Batman in a violent future, and the comic book series “Sin City” (1991-1992) and “300” (1998).

Encyclopedic knowledge

In 1992, managers at DC Comics, which publishes the Batman books, asked Leahy to write the foreword to a special collection of the first four Batman comic books.

The senator displays a quasi-encyclopedic knowledge of his hero´s adventures: he remembered that, contrary to popular belief, Batman used firearms to kill his enemies in the early days.

“I told them the date and gave them within a page or two where it was and where the frame was,” Leahy said.

“They said, ´Yeah, right.´ They were not going to argue and wanted to humor a senator. But they found out that I was right.”

Four years later, while in the midst of a congressional debate on banning landmines, Leahy reached out to DC Comics for support.

He asked if they could come up with an issue on the horrors of using landmines.

The result? “Batman: Death of Innocents” (1996), a comic book in which the Caped Crusader faces the real-world threat of children being killed by the devices in war zones.

References: geo.tv

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