Guest article from Superfan Andrew Levine :
Hey now Superfanworld. My name is Andrew Levine. I’ve been a proud member of SFS for 3-4 years now. I don’t post a whole lot so most of you don’t know me, but I read a lot of the posts. I asked our fearless leader Mooski if i can contribute to the site in any way I can and he’s letting me share my vast nerd knowledge with all of our friends here at SFW and what better way to introduce myself than to talk about my favorite comic book characters. The man known as Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. I’m going to talk about Bats in different media..comics, video games and movies; all leading up to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, in theaters the eve of March 24th. I plan on writing this in parts since one long article would take a long time to read. You would think I would start with the comic
Batman on screen started in 1943 with Lew Wilson playing the role of The Caped Crusader. Obviously, I didn’t see both serials in 1943, or the 1947 serial starring Alan Lowry, but with the magic of DVDs, I was able to enjoy the movie serials. There’s not much I can really say about the serials except they were done in the 40s where apparently you were able to call the villain who was Japanese “japs”. Try saying that today, lol. As for the 1947 serial, I thought it was hilarious that Batman and Bruce Wayne both drove the same car, except when he had the costume on, the top was down. Makes sense…after all, nobody can tell that Clark Kent is Superman when he doesn’t wear his glasses.
The next is the TV series which is one of the most popular depictions of Batman which is extremely campy. Even though, I prefer the darker, current variation of the Dark Knight, this was a very fun show to watch, but ended after 3 seasons. I honestly think it could have lasted longer, but just like with most fads, it was crammed down our throats to the point that it became stale as quick as it became hot.
Everyone remembers at least a few things from that series, whether it’s the theme song, the animated POW, BIFF, WAM, etc.. to the special guest star villains like Vincent Price, Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, and all 3 Catwomen; Julie Newmar, Earth Kitt, and Lee Merriweather. It was a great family oriented show, but not the Batman I love.
I’m going to skip the Superfriends/Batman & Robin animated series because it was pretty similar with the campiness along with Batman solving mysteries with Scooby Doo and the gang. Besides, if there’s an animated series I want to talk about, it has to be the early 90s Batman: The Animated Series. In my opinion, not only is this one of greatest superhero animated series, but one of the best animated series period. The writing, voice acting, stories were so good, you didn’t want it to end. On a personal note, for the past 9 years, at the beginning of the New Year, I sit down and watch all 4 seasons of Batman, Batman Beyond and Justice League/ Justice League Unlimited.
Batman Beyond was made shortly after Batman: TAS ended it’s run and it takes a futuristic look at Batman and more of a What If standpoint from a comic book standpoint. Barbara Gordon isn’t paralyzed in this series like she was in the comics at the time, and Terryville McGinnis takes over the mantle of the Bat since Bruce Wayne is in his 80s, however Bruce does take a fatherly/mentor role to Terry and tries to teach him that there’s more to being Batman than just the suit. Justice League premiered shortly after Batman Beyond ended. JL followed the adventures of a newly formed team of Superheroes. Superman, Wonder Woman, the Wally West Flash, the Jon Stewart Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter and of course Batman. The show went on for 2 season with each episode in season 1 being a 2 part episode. Just like with its predecessors, the stories and writing were amazing, and although some episodes were character specific nobody really felt left out. Justice League Unlimited had a ton of superheroes and supervillains, some which I’ve never heard of but glad they put in. This series also went on for 2 seasons and with so many heroes to work with, naturally a lot of characters did get lost in the shuffle, but again, the stories were amazing to watch and by watching this series, it made me want to learn more about certain heroes and villains that I previously didn’t really care about or didn’t know.
In my opinion, these animated series’ are the best when it comes to learning about the mythos of Batman which is why I watch it every year.
Finally there’s Beware the Batman. Beware took a different approach to Batman by having lesser known characters, like Mr. Toad and Professor Pyg. Alfred also took a more trainer role than just butler/father figure and instead of Robin, we got Kitana. It was a really nice change and this series was done in total C.G.I. instead of animation. Sadly, this series didn’t really hold any traction and was cancelled after just 1 season.
It looks like I’ll save the movies for another article. Also, like I said earlier, I know I missed certain shows like The Batman, and brave and the Bold, but I never watched them..i actually only watch a couple of episodes of The Batman, and didn’t like the direction it took. The character designs were way out there and wasn’t a fan of the stories.
I hope you enjoyed this, my premiere article and hopefully you’ll want me to continue my Batman section. I also plan on writing reviews and opinions about movies, and video games so I hope you enjoy those too.