Daily Archives: December 6, 2011
For me, Batman began with Adam West. As an aggressively physical boy of eight, each half hour installment of that venerated 60’s TV show was a smack dose of all the things an aggressively physical boy of eight needs: bright colors, capes and at least two massive fistfights for every twenty minutes of story. When Batman Returns came out in theaters around this time, I very desperately wanted to go but my parents deemed the film inappropriate due to its violence and menacing atmosphere. They hadn’t even let me watch the first one, but they teased, they teased me by buying me those damn movie-version action figures that only built up the mythology of the Bat-man in my impressionable little head. This hurts-so-good trend peaked with a Halloween costume:
Fortunately it was also around this time that Batman: The Animated Series began broadcasting, and if my love for Adam West’s Batman was analogous to being hooked on smack, then its animated cousin had me whoring myself out on the street for my next hit.
Though I may have been too young to fully appreciate it, Batman TAS showed me how the character could be interesting in manner way beyond fisticuffs. There was emotion, sinister character pathos, gorgeous art deco art direction and, of course, Shirley Walker and company’s stunning live orchestra scores for every episode. I was finally allowed to watch the Tim Burton movies, and although I loved them both and even developed a mild obsession with Returns, by that point Batman TAS was my main fix, the definitive version. Read the rest of this entry
Even before the release of the original Batman: Year One almost twenty-five years ago, there were probably few origins in popular culture better known than the one for its eponymous character: a young boy and his parents go down the wrong alley one dark night, and after a chance encounter with a trigger happy mugger, the parents lay dead and the young boy is scarred forever. Decades later, that boy, after spending his life training to be the world’s greatest crime-fighter, grows to become the Batman: protector of Gotham City and arguably the greatest superhero of all time (and certainly the most culturally versatile). If the origin was well known 25 years ago, it’s positively burned into the popular imagination now, with the beginnings of Batman having been reiterated in different ways, through two major blockbuster films, three (or arguably four or five) animated series, a major video game release, and numerous other comic book reinterpretations. Yet through all of it, Batman: Year One, written by the legendary Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, though not the first and hardly the last of Batman’s origin stories, still stands as perhaps the best and most resonant. Therefore it’s not surprising that DC Animated films and Warner Premiere would produce an animated adaptation of Batman: Year One; besides being entirely in keeping with their stated intention of reproducing and reinterpreting classic works of the DC Comics canon, the project would seem to be an almost commercial and creative slam dunk. Unfortunately, DC Animated’s Batman: Year One proves to be a fitting illustration of the difficulties that can sometimes transpire in transposing one medium to another; even two mediums that seem as inherently similar as comic books and animated film.