I recently read a fantastic book titled The Caped Crusade written by NPR’s Glen Weldon. If you are even a passing fan of the Dark Knight, then stop what you’re doing and read this book right away. It is the most definitive review of both the character of Batman and the history of his comics that I’ve ever read.
Weldon selects a phrase, usually coinciding with a shift in the direction of the character of Batman throughout the years, and routinely uses it in the book which quite frankly sums up a particular set of fandom very well…”Not my Batman.”
Weldon discusses the societal shifts over the years of Batman’s existence and how the waves of change crashed upon the shores of Gotham City. These shifts extend into pop culture, and our favorite characters are usually where we first feel their effects. We tend to find ourselves so connected with our heroes, so in tune with their views on the way things are, so eager to see in them a reflection of ourselves, that when the characters inevitably change we tend to respond in anger…”This is not the character I fell in love with!”, we scream into the ether.
When examining the history of Batman, the largest sticking point between fans is often when Adam West starred in the Batman TV series from 1966-1968. The show was camp at its absolute best. Batman fought all of our favorite villains in between dance numbers, and his parents’ death was maybe mentioned once in the pilot. These paled in comparison to his motivation to protect the citizens of Gotham from threats big and small. Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.
I don’t need to tell you that we are on the tail end of the darker tone of comics and comic book movies. The tides are changing, and if the recent Wonder Woman trailer is any indication (not to mention DC Rebirth), some color is coming to the DC Universe. With that in mind, check out this teaser brought to us courtesy of Entertainment Weekly:
Oh man, that is Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles in Batman: The Return of The Caped Crusaders! Julie Newmar will be there as well (as Catwoman for those of you kids not in the know). With all of the darkness in the world and bad news we get every day, I think I would rather pop in this DVD over The Killing Joke. I am very much looking forward to this.
My Batman is one who can make me feel better about the state of the world, one who gives me hope. Who is your Batman?