Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Evolution of the Batman In Cartoons

Batman first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939 and was little more than detective who wore a superhero costume. Batman's powers evolved along with the character through the years, eventually ending up on prime-time tv on the ultra-campy BATMAN (1966) tv show starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

The popularity of this show eventually led to the creation of the first animated Batman series, Filmation's THE BATMAN/SUPERMAN SHOW (1968). Well known for it's very limited animation style, Filmation kept the series going for only one year, repackaging the series as BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER (1969).

Batman (1968 - Episode 1 - My Crime Is Your Crime

Batman returned to the airwaves in Hanna-Barbera's THE SUPERFRIENDS (1973). The show was wildly successful and stayed on the air, in various incarnations, until 1986.

Superfriends (1973) - Original Opening

Filmation again returned to the Batman fold with THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN (1977), this time scoring the 'original' tv voices for the series - Adam West and Burt Ward. The goofy sidekick Bat-Mite was also included in this series that only lasted for one year/sixteen episodes.

The New Adventures of Batman (1977) - Opening

1992 marked the cartoon return of Batman and the debut of the best (by far) animated version to date in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. The show ran for three years, including a theatrical movie and a direct to home video release, before morphing into the almost as good THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (1997).

Batman: The Animated Series (1992) - Opening

The New Batman Adventures ended in 1999 which left space for a completely new imagining of the character in BATMAN BEYOND. In this future themed series, Bruce Wayne is retired and a new Batman emerges.

Batman Beyond (1999) - Opening

Batman Beyond was shelved so that the studio could concentrate on the excellent JUSTICE LEAGUE (2001) series but this made way for a new imagining of the original BTAS in THE BATMAN (2004).

The Batman (2004) - Opening

The show was retooled after the 2007-08 season to become BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (2008). The series is currently on the air and is a decent attempt at portraying the character. It's no BTAS but it's no New Adventures of Batman either!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008) - Comic-Con Preview

1 comment:

  1. "Batman: The Brave & The Bold" is a new series, rather than a continuation/retooling of "The Batman." Instead of the controversial original designs of "The Batman," BB&B's character designs tend to be closer to the '50s comic (especially the Joker and other Bat-villians)--with very selective differences--and the show goes for the campy atmosphere of the Adam West/Burt Ward TV series.

    The show is hit-and-miss (Teenage Outsiders? ...Whaaaat?) but has a great cast (Bender is Aquaman! Ron Stoppable is Blue Beetle! Mandy is Black Canary! And Hoss Delgado is Batman!) For new viewers, I highly recommend the episode "Mayhem Of The Music Meister," which is a solid musical and totally hilarious. Who knew Doogie Howser could sing like that?


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