Happy Batman Day!
Today we celebrate our brooding Dark Knight and this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight’s existence fighting crime on the streets, sewers, airways, buildings, mansions, bat cave, prison, mental institutions, and more in Gotham City and beyond. Fans are looking forward to the upcoming television show Gotham which is set before Bruce Wayne donned the cape and cowl as well as the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice film. If you want to reminisce about Batman’s past adventures, there are plenty of great books, movies, and cartoons, that you can dive into. Since debuting in 1939, Batman has branched out from comics into other media such as film, radio, television, and video games, and merchandise. Here are a couple of favorites of mine in no particular order:
1. Batman: The Animated Series
This is the first animated series of Batman that I ever watched as well as the first introduction (along with reruns of the sixties live action series) to Batman. I grew up in the 90’s and I remember coming home after school and watching this show. It was one of the things that got me into comics and the geek/nerd world as well as introduce me to the characters of the DC Universe. It’s a wonderful, amazing series. Favorite episodes of mine are: “Christmas With the Joker”, “Heart of Ice”, “Joker’s Favor”, “Appointment in Crime Alley”, The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy”, “The Laughing Fish”, “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?”, “The Man Who Killed Batman”, “Harley and Ivy”, “Trial”, “Harley’s Holiday”, “Batgirl Returns”, “Holiday Knights”, “Joker’s Millions”, “The Demon Within”, “Legends of the Dark Knight”, “Girls’ Night Out”, “Mad Love”, and “Beware the Creeper”.
2. Batman the 60’s TV Show
I remember watching reruns of the show as a kid and it was one of my first introductions to Batman. Yeah it was cheesy, and yes Robin’s “Holy____ Batman!” could be downright just “Really?” but it was an enjoyable show. It’s a cult classic and the reruns continue on today. I mean who doesn’t love the theme song?
3. Batman Beyond
The Dark Knight is back kicking butt in the Gotham City of the future. Bruce Wayne however isn’t donning the cape and cowl this time. A teenager by the name of Terry McGinnis puts on the new bat suit and goes to work cleaning up Gotham. Though Wayne isn’t the hero that Gotham needs at that time, he’s the mentor that they deserve as he assists Terry through his crime fighting adventures.
4. Batman & Batman Returns
I loved Tim Burton’s films (there will be no mention here of the rest of the films directed by he who shall not be named. They do not exist.). They were a great take on our caped crusader and who didn’t love the villains? I mean Jack Nicholson as the Joker? Danny DeVito as the Penguin? And Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? Do I really need to say more?
5. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Director Christopher Nolan did an awesome job of reintroducing audiences to Gotham’s Dark Knight in movie theaters everywhere. After suffering a disappointing and horrid meltdown via the he who shall not be named films it was great to see Bats coming back to life and Christian Bale did him justice. Out of the three The Dark Knight is my favorite with Batman Begins in second and The Dark Knight Rises in a solid third place.
6. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
He’s back! Joker makes his return to Gotham with a new chilling joke. Watching the Batman Beyond series, it was great to see the new dark knight of the future face his own rogues gallery in addition to a few of Bruce’s old enemies. But I had always wondered what would happen if Terry faced the clown prince of crime? Needless to say my question was answered.
7. Batman Arkham City Series
This series is exceptional, even though Arkham Origins pales in comparison to its predecessors, it’s still a good game which tells the story of how (spoilers) the Joker and Bats met. I’m looking forward to the latest (and final) entry in the series Batman: Arkham Knight. From the looks of the trailer this is gonna be one hell of a ride.
8. DC Comics New 52 Batman Comic (Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo)
What can I say about this comic book? It’s amazing. From the book’s start to the present, Snyder and Capullo has kept readers intrigued and involved in their version of the telling of Batman’s adventures. Court of Owls and Death of the Family have been my favorite story lines so far. I’m looking forward to what this creative team has in store for us next.
9. The Batman
Compared to Batman the Animated Series, this show definitely comes in second place. However, the creators didn’t set out to make this show follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and it’s still does a great job in its own right. It was new spin on the character and shows a younger Bruce Wayne in his early adventures as the Bat. It reintroduces villains, sidekicks, and other superhero characters as well as give viewers new ones to become attached to.
10. Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Another animated series featuring the dark knight. Wherein this one isn’t as dark as the 90’s show, it’s still a great cartoon. Each episode Bats teamed up with other superheroes in the DC community in order to solve crimes and thwart villainy wherever it exists. The show is light and humorous but its still essential to who Batman is. One example and a favorite episode of mine is Invasion of the Secret Santa. While in the present Batman and Red Tornado are trying to stop Fun Haus, whose nefarious plan is to ruin Christmas with his deadly toys, in Batman’s flashbacks viewers learn of the tragic deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne which occurred on Christmas Eve.
11. The Dark Knight Returns (Part 1 and Part 2)
The animated version of Frank Miller’s comic is definitely a must watch. A 55 year old Bruce Wayne returns with cape and cowl, a Bat tank, and a new Robin to cleanse the streets of a Gotham City of the future and defeat enemies old and and new. I also suggest reading the comic. You won’t regret it!
One of the first Batman graphic novels that I’ve read. It’s written by Alan Moore with art by Brian Bolland, lettering by Richard Starkings with coloring done by John Higgins (original version) and Brian Bolland (deluxe version).The book explores the possibility that Batman is just as insane as the criminals he faces, but he displays his insanity in a different way. Batman uses his for good while the Joker uses his insanity to cause chaos. Basically the Joker and Batman are mirror images of each other.
13. Batman vs. Predator
The predator is one of my favorite movie characters and it was pretty cool to see Batman facing this member of an alien race who travels the galaxy hunting other aggressive species for sport. There are total of three books which tell the story. It’s definitely worth checking out.
If Batman has go up against Predators well then why not aliens? And that’s exactly what happens in this graphic novel. There’s a sequel which was published in 2003 which you might also enjoy.
Think this is a short list and I’m missing a lot more? Of course I am! There are many comics and films that you ought to check out, I just gave you a few to wet your appetite for more. And if you want more check out these lists of the best Batman comics and graphic novels of all time put together by these folks:
Happy Batman Day, happy reading and watching, and Happy 75th Bats!