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Batman: The Animated Series – Dreams in Darkness (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

One of the fascinating things about Batman: The Animated Series, apart from the shrewd writing, the careful character development and the skilled animation, was just how well it worked within the grand tapestry of the Batman mythos. The writers would frequently take ideas and concepts scattered across the breadth of the character’s rich publication history, tweak and update them for the small screen, and then go on to rework the concepts for the next generation of writers and creators working on the character.

Dreams in Darkness feels like the perfect example of this chain approach to reworking concepts and characters. It’s very clearly inspired by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s Shadow of the Bat story The Last Arkham, but it went on to be a major and obvious influence on Batman Begins. It’s an interesting perpetual character cycle, where the character is constantly renewed and reinvigorated by successive adaptations.

We all go a little mad some times…

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Batman: Earth One (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I think it’s fair to say that I approached Batman: Earth One with a reasonable amount of skepticism. After all, Batman already has two almost perfect origins. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins is really the perfect introduction to the character and his world, but Frank Miller’s Year One is also still a hugely iconic piece of work on the character. Miller’s Batman origin has, for example, withstood multiple re-examinations of Superman’s origin. (John Byrne’s Man of Steel, Mark Waid’s Birthright, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Superman: Secret Origin and Grant Morrison’s Action Comics among others.) So Batman: Earth One, a modernised “reimagining”of Batman’s origin story, does feel a tad unnecessary. However, despite the sense that it’s not really needed, it’s actually a fairly interesting take on the mythology judged on its own merits.

Yes, father… he shall become a bat…

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Recommended Batman Comics 104: Adam West’s Batman!

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I know that movies traditionally have a minimal impact on comic book sales, but to celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, I thought I’d make a list of accessible jumping-on points for fans of Batman in mass media. There are several wonderful things about Batman. There are two especially relevant to this article. First, Batman is an infinitely adaptable character. He can literally be anything to anybody. It is entirely possible for somebody to love one interpretation of Batman while loathing others. So I’ll be breaking down my recommendations by source, so you can look at your favourite interpretation of Batman and find the most thematically and tonally relevant jumping-on points:

The second factor is that Batman is one of the few characters blessed with a back catalogue of accessible runs and stories, so there’s quite a few recommendations for each. It’s as simple as finding one that works for you.

Finally, we’re going to take a bit of a leap backwards and dig into one of the first truly iconic representations of Batman outside of comics. No, I’m not talking about the film serial. I’m talking about the camp-tastic Adam West Batman! television show.

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Non-Review Review: Batman! (1966)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I have to confess, I think that Adam West’s Batman! gets a bit of an unfair time from comic book aficionados, movie fans and even casual pundits. In the years since the iconic movie and television show, fans have acted like camp and comedy are elements that have no place in the world of the Caped Crusader. There is – of course – a reason for that. Darker portrayals have since come dominate Batman’s characterisation, from Tim Burton’s Batman to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. However, I think one of the most endearing aspects of Batman as a pop culture icon is his ability to adapt. “I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be,” Batman tells Gordon at the climax of The Dark Knight. Sure, sometimes we need him to be a staunch and iconic hero triumphing against adversity. Other times we simply need him to whip out the Bat Shark Repellent.

Batman was “Urk-ed” by the Penguin’s plan…

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Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I do appreciate these nice hardcover collections that DC are putting out, collecting the work of iconic artists on iconic characters. There have been a number of Legends of the Dark Knight and Tales of the Batman collections, and DC will soon be publishing an Adventures of Superman: Gil Kane collection. So it is great to have pretty much all of Marshall Rogers’ work on Batman collected in one nicely-sized hardcover for the reader to digest, especially considering the monumental impact that some of his work has had on the character and his mythology. That said, there are unfortunately some production issues with the hardcover that take away from the experience of having all these stories released in a high-quality format in one place.

Na na na na na na na… Batman!

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Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I figured, what with Christopher Nolan releasing the final part of his Batman trilogy this month, it might be worth going back and taking a look at the early days of the Dark Knight. DC have done a rather wonderful job collecting classic material featuring their iconic heroes as part of their “Archives” line, a line that seemed to have died last year, but I am very glad to see undergoing a resurgence. The idea is that each archive edition collects roughly a year’s worth of classic comics. The premium format pays for the restoration of the material, with DC then making it available in more cost-effective packaging, like their paperback “Chronicles” line that collects every appearance in order, or their “Omnibus” line, which collects larger chunks.

Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 doesn’t collect Batman’s very first appearance in Detective Comics. However, it does collect the first four quarterly publications of his self-titled Batman comic book in 1940, each collecting several stories of Batman’s crusade against crime.

Batman Begins in six panels…

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