There are many amazing characters in the world of comics but for me there hasn’t been any better than Batman. Despite having only been reading comics for little over ten years, my passion for comics has lasted all my life and that’s manly due to one man, Batman. Growing up I was like most children and loved cartoons, but it would be the 90’s Batman Animated Series that I’d loved the most. Don’t get me wrong I also enjoyed the likes of Spider-Man, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other fine children’s cartoons whilst growing up but none were quite like Batman.
Batman the Legend
Batman is one of the longest serving superheroes in comics, celebrating his 75th Birthday this year. In that time he has witnessed the death of his parents, trained five Robins (six if you count Carrie Kelley), and fought a gallery of villains including the likes of the Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin, Bane and many many more.
In many respects it’s lucky that Batman’s reached 75, as despite being one of the best known superheroes in the world, the poor sales during the 60’s and 70’s almost killed the Caped Crusader altogether. The Dark Knight however obviously survived these slumps, with the 1966 Batman TV series and revolutionary stories such as The Dark Knight Returns taking him back to greatness.
Talking of the Adam West TV series I remember it also having a big effect on my childhood love for everything Batman, as despite having not been born when it originally aired I can vividly remember my innocent child self sitting next to my father to watch the re-runs, anticipating what would follow the cliffhanger endings.
Films: The Highs and the Lows
Cinema has had a huge affect on Batman throughout the years, but the films themselves have had their highs and lows. Starting with a fun entertaining film Batman’s cinematic debut came with the 1966 film based on the Adam West TV series.
It would however take a further 23 years before Batman returned to the big screens in Tim Burton’s Batman. This was a revolutionary film giving Batman the dark and gritty look that cinematography hadn’t yet captured. It did however suffer a drastic twist of fate, as despite Burton’s sequel Batman Returns being good, the changing of director to Joel Schumacher was probably the worst thing to ever happen to Batman. Seriously, why give the Batsuit nipples? Schumacher isn’t totally responsible for the franchises demise as Warner Bros. greed for toy sales also factored in.
It took another eight years before we’d see Batman in cinemas again, with the release of Batman Begins launching the Nolanverse/Dark Knight Trilogy. This is by far the best film version of Batman to date, with the combination of perfect casting, brilliant effects and wonderful scripts making it a magical cinematic experience. One that I doubt Batman vs. Superman will top. It is however not without it’s faults with John Black being the equivalent of Robin along with Two-Face’s sudden demise really annoying me.
Batman has been involved in many legendary stories over the years, and I could easily talk about them for ages. I will however be as brief as possible, taking about a couple of stories that have had the most impact on me as a fan, as well as some of the revolutionary tales that have made Batman who he is today.
Without a shadow of a doubt the best Batman story in this fanboy’s opinion has to be The Killing Joke. Written by Allan Moore with illustrations from Brian Bolland The Killing Joke is one of the most popular Batman stories of all time, falling into the same category as Dark Knight Returns and Year One. What appealed most to me however is the Joker origin within, showing that he was possibly once a normal guy, and that “all it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy”. Add the gritty and dark nature of the story, along with the impact it had on the Batman universe (especially Barbara Gordon) and what’s not to love about this classic.
A more modern story that impacted me was Hush. This thrilling tale from writer Jeph Loeb and my all time favourite artist Jim Lee was simply breathtaking, being a very intriguing and deep story. It also showed Batman for what he fundamentally is, a detective, with this elaborate mystery involving most of the Bat-Family at one point or another. It was however the question of: “who is Hush?” that gripped me the most, with the outcome and revealed history being both intense and emotional.
Other notable Batman tales include the likes of Year One, Dark Knight Returns, and Knightfall, along with some modern adventures such as R.I.P and Return of Bruce Wayne. All these tales along with many others have shaped Batman into what he is today, with Dark Knight Returns giving the dark edge that in synonymous with the character, and Knightfall being one of Batman’s greatest tests by introducing Bane.
What to Buy in the Current Market
There is plenty for Batfans to choose from the now, but just what is worth getting? If I could only get one Batman series it’d be the main one written by Scott Snyder. So far it’s proven to be a very fun and enjoyable series that also captures Batman’s dark side perfectly.
Despite this there is however a lot of bad series’ out the now, and I personally feel there’s simply too many Bat title, with a fair few causing heartache for fans. Now Batman isn’t the only good title as Detective Comics, Batman/Superman, Batgirl and Nightwing all prove to be enjoyable reads. It is however the likes of Catwoman, Batman: The Dark Knight that make me question just how much publishers think about their fans, and why fans continue to buy such garbage.
I am however optimistic when it comes to Batman’s future, as hopefully Batman’s 75th Anniversary along with the upcoming Batman: Eternal weekly series will breath new life into some of the failing series.
Getting to the Point
Whether you hate him or love him Batman’s shining beacon has had huge impact on how the comic book industry is today. So for this I stand by this selfless hero, as although he may feel otherwise, Batman’s definitely the hero that we all need.