Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Batman '66 #1

You might want to check the weather report, as there may be a snowstorm in Hell right now. DC has done what was unthinkable just a couple years ago.  They have published the first issue of a new, on-going Batman series based on the 1966 TV show.  Batman '66 is not, however, a pure adaption of the series. That's a good thing, since the series strictly followed a set formula with a sameness to the episodes which caused the show to fizzle out very quickly.  In many respects, this series is more like a hybrid of the TV show, the 1968 Filmation cartoon which, while based on the live-action show, had a lot more action and variety to the storytelling, and mid-1960s DC Batman comic books.  Indeed, the first story in issue 1 showcases The Riddler, in all his Frank Gorshin glory, but with an extended action piece that would be inconceivable by the TV show's budget and primitive special effects technology.  The second story is part 2 of the Riddler caper, and introduces us to Catwoman, while the third story concludes the adventure. The art, by Jonathan Case, also captures Adam West's likeness to a T, as well as Burt Ward and Julie Newmar.  However, due to legal restrictions by the estates, the likenesses of Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp, and Madge Blake could not be used. The design for those characters look very much like the ones used for the early installments of the 1966 Batman newspaper comic strip, itself based on the TV series rather than the comics.  Speaking of which, I'd love to see DC publish a spin-off TPB collecting the first couple years of the newspaper strips.  While the TV show was on the air, the strips apparently had TV series style humor and special guests, like Jack Benny! And the new comic also follows suite by having a Bat-climb window cameo (by Count Dracula).  The script by Jeff Parker, keeps the characters in the TV show spirit, but, thankfully, doesn't reduce the Dynamic Duo to buffoons the way most second and third season episodes did. Parker seems to mix in the flavor of TV show head scriptwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr with a dash of Paul Dini of Batman The Animated Series.  Issue #1 is something a Batman comic has not been in too long a time: fun. I also finally get to see the real Dynamic Duo in action again, instead of Bruce with one of the multitude of inferior replacement Robins (and please, DC, do not, DO NOT, DO NOT have Dick Grayson become Nightwing in this continuity!!!!).  Word has it the digital first copy has sold very very well.  If the print edition also becomes a big hit, who knows, this may have a positive effect on the wretched DCnU continuity, and perhaps even the next Batman movie. Batman '66 #1 earns an A.


Sam said...

DC finally got me to buy one of their comic book titles again. Back in the 80s I bought just about every title DC published. In the 90s, after COIE, I kind of scaled back, sticking only to the main characters (Batman, Superman, JLA, and Power Of Shazam). By the millennium, tired of the obsession of "darkness" and the effort of the creators to be "edgy" I stopped buying DC comics. When I heard about DCnU, I was convinced I'd never buy another DC comic again despite me being a fan of the DC characters.

But then along came BATMAN '66. You got me, DC... and as long as you continue to publish this title, you'll still have me as a customer.

Unknown said...

One of the best comic books I have ever read.I have bought some
Batman Collectionaries as well. These are awesome for kids who are fond of toys.