Friday, March 2, 2012
About a couple years back I was doing a book signing. It might have been Free Comic Book Day but I can't remember. But I happened to overhear one overzealous fan going on a tirade about Adam West's Batman being an abomination and a disgrace to Batman.
Personally I thought the statement was a bit over-the-top. I can understand if you prefer the Darknight Detective over the Caped Crusader. But to call Adam West's take on Batman a "disgrace" is a bit much. And completely untrue.
I enjoy Dark Knight style Batman. I like the grittier Batman of the books like Dark Knight Returns and Killing Joke. However, I will go on the record and say I like the Adam West Batman. It reflected the comic books at the time as well as the swinging sixties and the Andy Warhol Pop Art culture at that time.
The show is probably the most brilliant piece of Pop Art ever filmed. The producers went out of their way to make Batman's mask look like the comic book:
In the comic books, what you see below is supposed to represent a shadow on Batman's mask. I think just for the mere fact that they went out of their way to actually sew the look of the shadows and the eyebrows and nose onto the mask is brilliant.
The idea was to make a comic book come to life with every BIFF and POW included. If you remember what was going on at the time, people wanted to escape from how dreadful the world was. This was the ideal Batman for that time. But like everything, we can only take so much of one thing. And when the television series had run it's course fans wanted a darker and more serious Batman.
Which I think fans are starting to go through now. We've had our fill of the grittier realistic look at Batman. Not that we should completely revert to the campy Batman.
But maybe something right down the middle.
The Batman of the Adam West series represented the time it was released. Much like the Batman envisioned in Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns represented the time it was published.
And for those who wish to argue everything about the current movies are better than the television series. I must respectfully disagree with two words: Julie Newmar.